Chapter 36: The Moonlit Meeting


My body took over first, writhing and pulling against the chains. My mind knew it was futile, but it wasn’t my mind that was in control. It was something else, something stirring below the surface. I felt animal. I felt like I wasn’t in control.

The wolf, I tried to tell myself. It’s just the wolf.

I heard the howl again and I felt my head snap up, my ear tilted toward the broken windows at the top of the windmill. She could hear it so clear, my wolf. She knew it was something like her and she wanted to get to it.

My body flung forward, and I felt myself pulling at the chains. I pushed forward with my right arm, and my left arm snapped back, the chain not long enough for both to move forward unless I was pushed back against the wall. And even though my mind knew that I couldn’t break free without my wand, the wolf didn’t want to take that route.

Which wouldn’t have been an issue if I was the wolf. But I was human and the shackles were biting into my delicate, thin, and very-much human skin. I could feel the metal digging into my wrists, and I felt the skin breaking, my wrist joints popping and my thumbs breaking. I felt every moment of it, but the pain didn’t bring back my humanity.

Another howl.

Mine, I could feel the wolf growling inside of me. She wanted to get to them so badly. And I was in her way.

I screamed, my thumb bones snapping and giving way against the pressure. A growl, gutterel and low built in the base of my throat as I slipped one hand out of its cage and cried out when the other broke free as well. I knew I was bleeding; the blood was warm on my wrists and smelled hot and metallic. I knew I was bleeding but her instincts won out over mine, and she wanted to change, wanted to be united with the wolf who howled somewhere out there in the cold winter night.

Call it pack mentality or something else, but my wolf wanted to be with them. She wanted to turn. She wanted to take over, but the potion was keeping her locked inside. And she didn’t like it.

My back arched, snapping. I cried out, putting a hand to the base of my spine as I turned, using the other against the windmill’s bricks to hold myself steady. My leg muscles tensed and I felt my right thigh bone crack the same time I heard it and fell to my left knee, crying out again, only this time louder than before.

Agony. I felt agony.

Normally, during the change I felt pain, sure. That was part of the deal that I didn’t actually sign up for. But this? This was different. My body was rejecting the change because of the wolfsbane potion in my system and she was trying to break my body and put it back together regardless. It was internal fighting in a way that I had never felt before.

I’m going to die.

Visions of the dream came to me in a blur through the pain. There were spots in my vision, leaving black splotches everywhere I turned. I tried to focus on the ground beneath me, the unfinished floor of packed dirt, but it looked like an abyss. An abyss with the date of my death on it.

I cried out again as my jaw began to grow, my teeth shifting and aching like knives moving around in my lengthening gums. Below me as I looked down, I saw new spots. Only these were red, thick. Blood dripped from my mouth before I could taste it, and I threw a hand up to my mouth as a deep, painful growl came from my throat. My hand came away wet.

Too much blood, I thought. There’s too much.

None of this was normal. None of this was right. I cursed myself for taking the potion. Things had been fine the last time I had been home for the change. Nothing had gone wrong. My body had shifted, I was in pain, but this? This was too much. I shouldn’t have taken it. I should have just let my body change where I knew I would be safe. I had never gotten out of my chains before and now?

I was partially transformed by the time I got hold of my trainwreck thoughts. I could feel it lengthening my spine, and the next time I cried out, it was in the form of a howl.

There was silence.

And then my response.

My eyes snapped up from the ground at the sound of my kin, my eyes changed and acquainted to the moon’s light through the windmill’s windows. I could see better than before when my dull, human eyes. I was a wolf. We could see anything. And hear anything.

I let out a howl louder than before, but this one wasn’t out of pain. It was a call.

Where are you?

I waited, head cocked to the side as I waited for the response. The answer. It took longer than I thought it would, and then…


I barrelled toward the windmill door, and threw my full weight on it, busting through with ease. Splinters bit into my tufts, breaking through my tough skin in a few places but I didn’t care. I had a mission.

I knew the area like the back of my hand, and my knowledge seemed to fuel my wolf. She had only seen the area once before, back when I didn’t know what I was. But I didn’t remember any of it. All I remembered was waking up naked in the middle of the cemetery, laying in front of brother’s headstone like I was guarding his grave. But I was dirty and cold and afraid and smeared with blood.

Afterward, I scoured the local papers for news of what I might have done. There had been murders and maulings and unexplained things galore, but none of them stood out more than the others and they had all happened further away from town. I couldn’t have said whether or not it was me that did any of them. There was no way to tell if it was a squirrel I killed or a person; whether I left my hometown or if I stayed at Tyler’s grave all night. I would never know what happened that night.

But right now? I could feel her in charge, but I knew what was happening. I was with the wolf every step of the way and, even though my brain was curious about this other wolf, I hated it. I hated not being in charge. And I was scared.

There’s still time.

That’s what the figure said when he told me today was the date on my headstone.

There’s still time.  

I could feel the stretch of my muscles as I ran, my paws pushing against the snowy ground like the cold didn’t mean a thing. I didn’t feel the cold the same way like this. The wind didn’t bite at me the same way; it fueled me. Everything fueled me, but nothing more than the howling beacon the other wolf was giving me.

Kin. The word kept cutting in and out of my head, pushing me to run faster, to keep going. My body screamed in response to the movement, howling out with the pleasure of pushing myself further to the edge. I felt free. Alive. Serena couldn’t feel like this. Serena could hardly come close, even with her thrill-seeking quidditch matches. Serena was nothing. This was real. This was perfect.

I was nearly to the edge of town when the howling stopped. But I didn’t need them anymore, I could smell him.

He was familiar like I knew he would be. He smelled warm and there was a sweat to his skin that clung to the tufts of fur I knew he would have. He smelled like dirt and pheromones and he smelled like a wolf.

But there were other smells. Dog, not wolf. Another animal… Food. Deer?

I could feel my mouth watering, the remnants of blood around my gums seeping on to my tongue, the taste of metal melting with the animal smells.

I felt on edge. Feed? Or find? My wolf instincts were conflicted. I wanted to find my kin, but the call of the hunt was filling my mind, overwhelming my senses.

Slowly, I padded forward through a thick of evergreens. My human mind knew there was a clearing up ahead, a place that Serena had jogged to a few times the previous summer. She thought it was serene there. I could smell them all, getting closer as I moved. They were there, I was sure of it. All three of the smells.

I made my way around the edge of the clearing, circling to a safe spot where I could duck around the trees to see them but which kept me hidden under the trees where the moon didn’t quite reach.


He was majestic in his wolf’s body. Taller than me, with more tufts along his skin, and he smelled of the kill, blood dripping at his mouth in a way that intrigued me. On the other side of the clearing, I could see the other animals I had smelled before.

On the left side, circling like its partner on the other side, a shaggy black dog with thick fur covering its entire body. It growled, a sound that came deep from the base of its throat, and it snapped its jaws at the wolf in warning. On the opposite side, a stag stood tall and proud, moving from side to side to mirror the dogs movements. They had him trapped--my kin.

Protect. The word bust through my thoughts like a brick through a window and I felt myself step forward. The moonlight hit my muzzle first, and then my chest and haunches as I moved. I’m not sure which animal saw me first, but I know the wolf could sense me. He tilted his head to the side curiously, but it was the stag that turned to look at me first.

Indecision, confusion.

And then he charged.

I can take him, my wolf screamed, but my body instinctively turned to run. I tore off through the trees, my haunches pounding against the snowy dirt, and I could feel my chest expanding to take in more air, my eyes dilated wide as the moon. I could hear hoofbeats behind me, not quite matching my speed, but he was keeping up far better than I had thought he would.

Before I knew it, he had me cornered.

I was backed up to the river on two sides, and he circled around my escape routes, his lean, muscled legs kicking at the dirt in warning. My wolf was pacing, pushing back and forth and then lunging forward, trying to see if he would back down. It didn’t matter how many times I snapped and growled at him, he didn’t flinch. He would match my movements, but he never backed down.

And there was something familiar about him...

His eyes.

Inside, I was conflicted. Serena didn’t want to hurt him--I didn’t want to hurt him, but my instincts were telling me to. Prey. He was prey. I was the predator and he had a neck that was so long, fragile.


I turned my head, eyes darting toward the river, gauging the current. When I turned back, there wasn’t a stag in front of me anymore. There was a boy.

“Serena,” James urged. He was wearing a pair of jeans and a thin, long-sleeve shirt that he had been wearing earlier, and he was cold. I could smell that he was cold. I could see him shivering slightly, his breath coming out in tiny, warm puffs. “Serena, it’s me.”

Serena. My wolf didn’t like that. Serena was just a thing in the way of finding her kin. This human was the obstacle.

“Serena, I know it’s you. How many werewolves do you think are living here?” he asked with a forced chuckle.

Apparently one more than there was a semester ago.

There was something tugging at the back of my mind, some sort of logic that my wolf couldn’t put together and I didn’t have enough control to break through and figure out.

“You don’t want to hurt me,” he continued, voice calm. A forced calm. I could hear his vocal cords tightening. “You’re not going to hurt me.”

Watch me, the wolf taunted.

I could feel her winding up to pounce and I fought against her with everything I had, trying to break through. She was strong, so strong, but it was James.

You know him, I tried telling her. James helped us. James helped us so many times.

I felt my body slam against the dirt, my will pushing against hers to gain control.

“Serena,” he urged. “Fight it. Fight the wolf. You can do this.”

I looked up at him, my eyes locking onto his familiar features.

“Serena, please.”

All at once, like a switch, I won.

I fell to the ground, my muscles shifted and transforming into their original state--snaps and cracks filling the air. The turn back wasn’t nearly as painful, as it never was, but by the time it was done, I was laying stomach-down on the frozen ground shaking and gasping for air.

James ran forward, yanking his shirt over his head and pulling it over mine, feeding my arms through the sleeves, pulling it over my stomach. He dropped to the ground, pulling me up until I was curled in his lap, his arms circled around me protectively.

I breathed into his bare chest, my body shaking from more than just the cold. I had felt like that only two other times: the first time I had changed and the full-moon back at school where the wolf took over my mind. I hated it. I hated every single moment of not being in control but knowing that I wasn’t. Not knowing what happened during the changes was a blessing. This? This was the real curse. The curse was feeling my mind being warped into an animal and not being able to stop it.

I started crying warm, salty tears onto his skin, holding onto him like he was my life-raft.

“Where did you change?” I didn’t know how long he had been asking me that, but it must have been a while at least because when I looked up at him, his hazel eyes were filled with worry. They looked like the last time he had thought he lost me. “Where did you change, Serena? You’re going to freeze.”

I managed a choked smile. “So are you walking around with no shirt on.”

My joke must have eased him a bit, because he rolled his eyes and said, “Says the girl not wearing any pants.”

I laughed, the sound coming out strangled and pitiful. Naked. With James. Again. The entire situation was just so laughable that I couldn’t help smiling. “Never thought we’d be back in this situation, huh?”

James’s smile faltered.

I looked away from him, trying to figure out exactly where he had cornered me to. “The old windmill,” I told him, answering his previous question. “I changed at the old windmill.”

He looked around us, trying to gauge our position. “Closer to your house?” I nodded. “Okay, that shouldn’t be too far.” James shifted his hands around me, snaking one around my back and the other under my legs. It took a moment to get his bearings, but then he stood, holding me up against his chest fireman style.

“This is cozy,” I told him, “but my arse is freezing.”

“Well, ma’am,” he lectured, “that happens when you neglect to wear pants in the middle of winter.”

I shot him a look, securing my arms around his neck to hold myself steady as his footsteps sunk into the snow. “I’ll have you know that I intended to be sitting in a windmill all night under blankets in a pair of jeans. Like a human.”

“And why didn’t you?” he asked, looking down at me curiously.

The wolf.

With my mind so muddled, I had nearly forgotten about the entire reason I was in this situation in the first place. The other werewolf. The pack howl.

“The other one,” I gasped. I dug my fingers into the back of his neck. “You were with the other werewolf. You know him.”

“Says who?” James shot me a look. “I just got here.”

I frowned at him. “You were a deer.”

“A stag,” he corrected.

“A stag,” I repeated.

“Who’s a stag?”

I sighed. “You’re an animagus,” I accused him, “and you know who the other werewolf is.”

“It’s not my place,” James told me with a shake of his head. “But yes, I’m an animagus. Just don’t tell anyone… I’m not exactly registered.”

I scoffed. “Neither am I.”

James was silent for a time as he walked, then he said, “Yeah, I suppose being a stag in my freetime is a lot less end-of-the-world than your hobby.”

“Hobby?” I asked, peering up at him. “I’m not sure that’s what I would call it.”

“Is that it?” he asked, nodding his head off toward the windmill looming in the distance.

“Yes,” I told him and then turned back to those warm hazel eyes. “Who is it, James?”

“Did you take your wolfsbane potion?” James countered.


James shifted me in his arms, his hands warm against my frozen legs. “Then, why did you change?”

My eyes met his. “Who is the other wolf?”

We walked the rest of the way in silence. James bumped the door the rest of the way open with his hip when we reached the windmill, and he walked me all the way over to the makeshift bed before letting me down, turning around to give me the illusion of privacy even though it wasn’t like he hadn’t seen it all before. Stepping onto the cold of the ground hurt the bottoms of my feet, but I ignored it. My legs were shaking too--whether from the cold or from nerves, who could have said--so I reached out, putting a hand on the wall while I eased myself down to retrieve my duffle. It was a good thing I had packed another set of clothes, because my previous ones were in tatters on the windmill floor.

I stumbled into my clothes, pulling off James’s shirt and tossing it over to him when I swapped it with my own sweatshirt.

Shoes. I hadn’t brought another pair of shoes.

I must have made a noise, because James turned around slowly--checking to make sure that I was fully dressed--and asked, “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t have another pair of shoes,” I told him with a sigh. I knelt down, my socks turning damp against the cold, packed earth beneath my feet. Scooping them off the floor, I picked up my trainers and frowned down at them sadly. The sides of the fabric had been torn during my transition, making it impossible to wear them without having them completely fall apart. “And these are obviously not going to work,” I told him, laughing. Halfway through my laugh, my voice caught and I felt my eyes fill with hot tears.

James darted forward, putting his hands on my shoulders and squeezing slightly. “We can fix it.”

“What?” I blubbed. “They’re ruined, James.”

James looked down at the shoes in my hands and then slowly moved me back and pressed down on my shoulders so I sunk down onto the strawbale mattress. Once I was settled, he dropped to his knees in front of my and grabbed the shoes, placing each of my feet inside.

I stared down at him, watching him work as he took the laces and unwinded them from their original position. Starting with my left shoe, he lifted up the bottom of my foot and threaded the lace underneath the arch of my foot, then put it back down, looping them back over the top. He repeated the process, tying the laces around my shoes to secure the tops of my shoes to the bottom of them. When he was finished, he dropped my left foot and started in on the right one.

I wiggled my toes, my sniffles coming less frequently while I tested the makeshift shoe.

“They’re not perfect,” James was saying as he worked. “But they’ll keep until we get you home.”

When he finished, James stood and put out a hand, helping me to my feet. On my feet, I looked up and our eyes locked. He was close, only a few inches away from me, and there was the same electricity that had been there before. The same feeling that was there during the Winter Ball. And my hand was still in his, with the silence dragging out and warm puffs of air meeting between us in the chilled air.

“James…” I breathed, my mind foggy. “About--”

He shook his head, cutting me off. “No, Serena. Don’t go there.” He released my hand, but he didn’t move.

“We should talk about everything…” I continued, my voice wavering.

He’s always been there. He’s always been there through everything. He always knows how to bring you back, my mind insisted. Why are you kidding yourself?

Those warm hazel eyes were so conflicted, so unsure, but when James opened his mouth to speak, it wasn’t his voice that I heard.

It was a howl. And it was closer.

His eyes widened in an instant and I fell to my knees, the wolf fighting to gain control once more.

“Serena!” he yelled, grabbing my shoulders. He tried to pull me up onto my feet, but gave up and knelt beside me instead, shaking me to get my attention. “Serena, what’s happening?”

I could feel a growl in the pit of my throat and it escaped my lips through clenched teeth when I looked up at him, pain clouding my eyes. “Who’s the werewolf, James!” It was a question, but it came out like a bark and I snapped my teeth at him, fighting against the change.

“Serena, what’s happening!” He asked again, his voice louder and frantic.

His fingers dug into the flesh of my shoulders and I fought against him, trying to push free. Taking him by surprise, I managed to push him off me and bolt for the door. Breaking out into the cold wind, I turned and sprinted as fast as I could in the direction of the howls. They were so close and somehow I knew that if I could just reach him… Just reach my kin…


I ignored him, pushing into the trees and back the direction of the clearing. I hardly got into the evergreens when I heard James behind me, his feet pounding against the ground faster than mine. I might have had more reason to reach the wolf, but my makeshift shoes were slowing me down.

But it didn’t matter in the end.

He was there, just outside the line of trees, standing by the side of the river. Slowing, I turned toward him and stepped away from the thicket.

My heart was thumping painfully in my chest. Nerves, I told myself. It’s just nerves. He was so much taller back in my human body, but he looked just as I remembered. I couldn’t smell him, but I knew he was mine. My pack.

“Serena…” James’s voice was low and warning behind me, his mouth inches away from my left ear.

I ignored him, taking another step forward, but his hand darted out and he grabbed my forearm, stopping my movements.

“Serena, please. We have to get back to the house.” The urgency in his voice was incredibly prevalent.

“Don’t worry,” I breathed, the puff of air from my words pushing out in front of me and lingering for a moment before it disappeared into the wind. “He won’t hurt me.”

James tightened his grip, but I pushed him away, stepping out into the grass. The moment I moved, the wolf turned to me, cocked his head to the side and sniffed at the air, trying to pick up my scent.

I could tell James wanted to follow behind me, but when he took a step forward, the pressure of his foot snapping a small tree branch, the werewolf hunched down, turning his gaze toward him in a way that he would look at prey.

Trying to turn the wolf’s attention back to myself, I stepped forward again, but this time didn’t stop. I kept walking under those gray, shadowed eyes turned onto me, and then I stopped, a couple meters away from his hulking mass of muscle.


It was a stupid thing to say, I know that. But what else was I supposed to do when I met my very first werewolf?


My back snapped, the wolf inside me fighting to regain control with her kin so close, so within reach. I cried out and the sound startled him. He reared up and let out an agonizing howl.

And then a growl. But the growl wasn’t his.

I forced myself to look up and my eyes met those of the shaggy dog I had seen earlier in the clearing. And, on the other side, the stag. James’s stag. And both were moving forward, trying to put themselves in between the werewolf and myself.

My left arm clamped down onto my stomach, I flung out my opposite arm, trying to tell them to stop. It took me a moment before I was able to catch my breath enough to yell, “Stop! He’s not going to hurt me.” I lifted my head enough to look at the werewolf in front of me, our eyes meeting. “Are you?”

My arm snapped, and I hunched forward again, crying out. Another snap and my other arm was a blinding flash of pain as well. Another, and another, it was happening too quickly, and my cries were turning into yells and those yells into screams.

The werewolf howled and then pounced.


It was warm when I regained consciousness, but there was an immense weight on my body, making it hard for me to breathe. I opened my eyes slowly, noting that it wasn’t yet morning. The moon was still in the sky--though lower now and the sky didn’t seem to be quite as dark as when I last remembered. But I was warm.

There was something big in the corner of my vision, and I turned, trying to figure out what was on top of me.

But when I turned, it was eyes that I found.

Light gray eyes. Light gray eyes surrounded by tufts of warm fur. Light gray eyes surrounded by tufts of warm fur belonging to the werewolf who was laying over me, keeping me warm. And safe.

Safe. When was the last time I had felt like that?

I blinked at him and he slowly blinked in return. I shifted, bringing a hand up from where it had been pinned at my side and reached out. At first he flinched back and I paused, waiting until he was still again, before moving my hand further, placing it on the side of his muzzle. I stroked the side of his face slowly, my eyes taking in everything about his face that I could see.

Is this what I look like? I wondered. He seemed so kind, so majestic. I spent so many years thinking that werewolves equated monsters. Except in books, I reminded myself. Maybe he’s like a book. Wounded. Gentle. Immeasurably perfect.

We stayed like that, watching each other, breathing into each other, until the moon fell away and the sun’s rays started to reach over the horizon. And then I wasn’t covered by a wolf anymore.

“Merlin’s beard…” I swore under my breath.

He blinked at me, his gray eyes human, but the same. The same kind, familiar eyes. The same eyes that I had known since I was a first-year.


He had shifted off of me when the change started, and when he finally stopped breathing hard, he was crunched up by my feet, doing his best not to flash me all of his manly goods, but I didn’t care. It was his face I was glued to.

“Remus?” This time when I said his name, it came out breathless and I could feel my eyes welling up.

Remus’s eyes searched my face, taking in every detail like he wasn’t sure if I was real or not. “Serena?”

I couldn’t help it, I flung myself forward and wrapped my arms around him, pulling him into my chest. I put a hand to the back of his head, drawing him closer as I buried my head in his neck, crying openly.

It was relief. So much relief. And he must have felt it too, because soon we were both crying and I could feel his cold fingers digging into the back of my sweatshirt like he was clinging onto me for dear life. Just as I was with him. I ran my fingers through his hair, stroking the back of his head like I used to with Tyler when he was upset and I was trying to calm him down.

I think a part of me thought he might disappear and float away and that holding him like that would keep him real. Solid. Safe.

“I can’t believe it,” Remus was saying under his breath. “I thought…” he trailed off for a moment and pulled back far enough to see my face, his hands moving from my back to either side of my face, cupping it gently. “I thought I was the only one.”

“I did too,” I told him in a whisper.

He had a cut under his left eye, I noticed. I lifted my thumb up, tracing the edges below it gently. There was a feeling in the pit of my stomach that tightened as I wondered how he got it.

Did someone hurt him? Because I would hurt them. I would.

I’d kill them.

I pulled my hands away from him, startled by the feeling burning inside me.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, his brow pulled together in concern. I thought I saw the same feeling behind his eyes. He was watching me so intensely, like he was trying to figure out the cause of what had startled me so he could squash it like a bug.

I ignored my thoughts and went to pull my sweatshirt off to give it to him, but when I turned, I spotted a duffel bag on the ground beside us. Reaching over, I pulled it closer and unzipped the top, peering inside. Clothes. Remus’s clothes.

Pushing the bag over to him, I nodded down at it. “Apparently someone thought you might be cold.”

Remus reached inside, pulling out a shirt which he pulled on, and then dug his hand back inside, retrieving the rest of his clothes. He stood, dressing quickly to ward his skin from winter’s chill. He didn’t turn around, he didn’t ask me to avert my eyes, he just stood up and dressed like it was the most natural thing in the world.

And it was, for some reason. There was nothing weird or awkward about it.

The pack. We’re part of the same pack, I thought. That must be why.

When he was fully dressed, he reached out a hand and pulled me to my feet. The back of my clothing was damp from the snow, and I reached back, peeling the fabric from my skin uncomfortably.

“Do you want to swap?” he offered, motioning to his own jacket.

I shook my head. “No, it’s fine.” I looked back down at the duffel bag as he hoisted it up over his shoulder. “I’m surprised James isn’t still out here somewhere.”

“James?” Remus asked, his eyes seeming unfocused for a moment. “Do you remember what happened last night?”

I nodded. “Don’t you?”

Remus shook his head. “I only remember pieces. Most of them involving you, but it’s blurry. You were transformed and then I saw you again as a human...” he trailed off, his brow furrowing as he tried to remember the details.

“Yeah,” I said with a chuckle. “We’ll have to talk about that more later.”

Remus looked back up at me from the ground and answered my original question with, “and James and Sirius must have gone back to the house.”

Remus had started walking after helping me up and I stopped when he said that, staring at him as he walked away from me.


Remus stopped, turning back to me when he realized I wasn’t next to him anymore. “What?”

“Sirius was out here?” I asked him.

Remus frowned, making his way back closer to me. “I figured if you saw James that you must have seen Sirius too.” He paused for a moment as he tried to puzzle it out. “Wait… He went after you.”


“James,” he explained. “I remember him going after you.”

I blinked at him, unsure where he was going.

“Why did he go after you? He could have gotten himself killed.”

“Because he knew it was me,” I told him, the words coming out of my mouth before I had a chance to decide if I should say them or not. “Where was Sirius?”

“Sirius was the dog, just like James was the stag,” he explained, brushing it off like it wasn’t significant. The words flew from his lips just as easily as when I had answered his question. Like we couldn’t keep anything from each other.  “Why did James know it was you?”

“Because I’ve turned with him before,” I told him, unable to stop--or unwilling to. “He’s known about me for months.”

We stood in silence, the cold morning winds whipping through the trees around us. I could feel the damp fabric on my back growing colder, sending shivers up my spine. Remus stepped toward me instinctively and put an arm around my shoulders to ward off the cold. We started walking again, silence dragging between us as we moved.

It wasn’t until my house was within eyesight when Remus cleared his throat.

“I wish he would have told me.”

He dropped his arm from around my shoulders and our hands met between us, our fingers lacing together naturally.

“I wish he would have told me too,” I agreed. “I knew he knew another werewolf, he couldn’t hide that from me. But I’ve been asking to meet you for what feels like ages now.”

“You didn’t know it was me?”

I looked over at him and shook my head. “How could I have? It’s not like I was ever around in the evenings on full-moons, waiting for someone to sneak out of the dorms. I didn’t think it was anyone at school since I was using the Room of Requirement for my own changes.”

Remus watched me, reading everything in my features that I wasn’t saying out loud. “Chains?”

I nodded. “And a cage.” He squeezed my hand. “You?”

“The Shrieking Shack.”

I squeezed back.

We were standing on the front steps of the house by then and the sun had gotten a bit higher in the sky, though it could have only been a half an hour maximum since sunrise. I looked up at the house and its looming form.

I wondered how many more times I would show up on my parents’ doorstep a changed woman.

“You ready?” Remus asked

“Are you?” I countered.

Remus laughed. “This should make things better, right? Knowing?”

I considered. “It’s not as lonely, I think.”

“Not as lonely,” he agreed with a nod.

I took a breath and looked back at him.

This makes things better, I told myself. Sirius knows. Well, not everything, but he knows this. And that makes things better…



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