When Doves Cry

Under the Stars

~~You know you look so tired You're gonna stay up late tonight Under the stars~~
The rest of the week passed easily, with Sirius getting over his rather unpleasant birthday in light of the upcoming weekend. Friday night was the full moon, which meant it was time for us to have our monthly shenanigans. James, Sirius, Peter, and I were excited about this, but poor Remus was just trying to act normal in social settings. His senses were heightened greatly, causing him to grumble constantly that girls wear way too much perfume. It also meant he overheard random snippets of conversations that he had no interest in, but that I shamelessly made him tell me about. I don't spread rumors, but I will happily listen to them.
"Did you know that you and Sirius have a fan club?" he asked me Thursday morning, looking tired.
"We what?" I asked in surprise.
"You have a fan club dedicated to the two of you."
"Why?" I asked, laughing at how absurd that was.
"Because there's a fan club of girls who love Sirius and are determined to get you out of the picture. The Supporters, as they call themselves, spend most of their time making sure the Stalkers, as they call the other group, don't do anything to interfere with you and Sirius because you're "soul mates" or something."
I laughed even harder. "Oh, man, the students at this school need to get their own lives! Okay, tell me more gossip that your wolfie hearing picked up."
"You know that Ravenclaw seventh year, Katherine McCroy?"
"Yeah. What about her?"
"She's pregnant."
"No! I thought Ravenclaws were supposed to be smarter than that! Who's the father?"
"The father is her boyfriend's brother, Leo Pine."
"The Slytherin sixth year with that shaggy blond hair?"
Remus nodded.
"Oh, he is cute. Poor...uh, Orion, right?"
"Okay, poor Orion. His girlfriend and his own brother, sneaking around behind his back. So what is she gonna do about it?"
He shrugged. "She doesn't know yet. She hasn't even told anyone other than her best friend Ivy."
"Wow. See, that's why you don't cheat. It will come back to bite you in the ass."
Remus gave a small chuckle. "And you would know better than anyone."
"Hey, your life would be very dull if I hadn't been wooed by the charms of Godric Gryffindor and then cursed by the jealousy of Salazar Slytherin."
"This is so very true. You are..." He trailed off, apparently unable to think of a word to encompass the full spectrum that was my personality.
"I just go with insane," I offered.
"Insane works," he agreed.
"So, how's your temper?" I asked.
"Short," he answered.
That was another thing that happened as the full moon approached. Remus's temper would flare up, making him more easily irritable and giving him a tendency to snap at people. He was less likely to snap at us because we were his pack, his family. Still, James and Sirius were careful not to be as loud and boisterous around him the week before a full moon.
"Well, the week's almost over. Hopefully you won't hit anyone, and if you do, I'm sure they'll deserve it."
He smiled at that. "Of course they will. They'll have done something truly horrendous, like grabbing the jam at breakfast when I was reaching for it."
"Well, if some bastard is gonna do that, they're just asking for a bitch slap," I said, grinning at him.
I nudged him playfully with my shoulder, trying to brighten him up because I knew tomorrow night would be difficult for him. The transformations got a bit easier with age, and it certainly helped now that he didn't have to go through them alone, but his body was still disfiguring into a foreign shape, bones snapping and growing into new forms. I was sure it hurt like a motherfucker.
Friday night, as everyone else was going to bed, Remus silently made his way to the Hospital Wing, where Madam Pomfrey would escort him to the Whomping Willow. James, Sirius, peter, and I silently waited until we were sure she was back in her office before grabbing James's cloak and the Map and heading outside. In order for all four of us to fit under the cloak, Peter had to transform into his rat shape, so I held him gently in my hands as we walked across the grounds to that deadly tree.
"Okay, Wormtail, you're up," I said, setting him down on the ground. He ran to the tree, easily dodging the flailing limbs in his small form, and pressed the knot on the trunk that made the tree freeze. With a shared grin, James, Sirius, and I all changed into our animals forms, dropping the cloak and Map near the entrance that opened up beneath the tree. When we got into the tunnel that would lead us to Remus and the Shrieking Shack, I could feel the excitement building inside all of us. These nights were the best times of our lives.
I led the way through the tunnel to Moony, who was fully transformed by the time we reached him. The creature before us was mostly a wolf, but a few things set him apart from his lupine brethren. The limbs were a little too long, the snout wasn't quite the right shape, and the back almost arched. But it was our Moony, a familiar friend, and the sight of him didn't bother us in the slightest. I slowly walked towards him, knowing the wolf was sometimes unpredictable, but he simply whined happily and came to meet me halfway, bumping into me affectionately. Sometimes, I felt like the wolf was still a bit of a puppy.
Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail also came over, and Moony eagerly greeted all of them. I used to be cautious whenever he would get too close to Wormtail because he was so small and I knew Moony sometimes had a high prey drive, but he had never once tried to eat Wormtail. He was always very careful about being gentle with him and not nuzzling him too hard. It was sweet to watch, honestly. This big ass wolf being gentle with a little rat.
Once Moony had greeted each of us for the first time in a month, we headed out of the Shack and on towards the Forbidden Forest. Some nights, we ventured out to Hogsmeade, but it was a good night for a run in the forest. Since Wormtail was so small and couldn't keep up with us, he usually rode on my back. When he wanted to get a view of where we were headed, he would climb onto my head and rest there, his little paws clinging to my fur.
If anyone had been looking at the Forbidden Forest right then, they would have seen a very strange sight. A stag, a dog, a wolf, and a lion with a lump on its head, all running together through the trees. As if on cue, our run turned into a race, and we all picked up our speed. Because I liked to run as a human and Moony was stronger under the moon, we had an advantage, but Padfoot and Prongs still put up a good fight. Their competitiveness made them push harder, essentially evening out the odds. Moony was in high spirits and bounding with energy tonight, though, so he won our little race.
We walked back out of the forest, all of us panting at least a bit. Wearing out the wolf was good, though. It made him less likely to get distracted by things and try running off. There had been quite a few times where I had nearly had a heart attack because Moony had been eager to chase after things. Like rabbits, centaurs, and humans. He'd had a couple ribs broken once from a kick to the chest by a rather angry centaur who did not appreciate being used as a chew toy. We made a not to avoid their territory after that.
When we got out of the forest, it seemed Moony wasn't done playing yet. He would bounce around us, nipping playfully at our limbs. It took only seconds for Prongs and Padfoot to catch onto his excited mood and play with him, and I followed suit. We darted and pranced and tackled, a family pack of misfits. Even Wormtail joined in on the fun, scurrying around our feet and climbing his way from back to back with nimble little paws.
We did this until it was almost dawn, at which point we led Moony back to the Shack. We sat with him and waited for him to become human again, pressing our warm bodies against him during his painful transformation. Finally, he sat on the floor, panting and looking very tired, but smiling all the same.
"You should all get under the Invisibility Cloak before Madam Pomfrey comes," he said.
"There's still time," I answered after shifting back to my natural form. "Last night was a really easy night. You didn't try to chase a single thing."
"Moony missed you lot," he answered. Aside from being his nickname, Moony was what we called the werewolf. Because it really was its own being, and therefore deserved a name. "He was eager to spend time with you again. Some nights he doesn't care as much, but I guess he felt lonely this past month while he was locked away."
That was how we viewed Remus's lycanthropy. The wolf was locked inside of Remus and could only come out when the moon was full and bright. It made sense, too, if you knew Remus. There were times, even when the full moon was still weeks away, when you could sense it within him, prowling close to the surface. But without the moon to aid it, it was too weak to make an appearance.
"Well, works for me," Sirius said, human again. "Just means we didn't have to shove your nose in the dirt to keep you from eating something."
"And it means you don't have to feel guilty this morning for another murdered rabbit," James said, rolling his eyes at how delicate he found Remus.
"You try waking up with animal blood covering your face," Remus said in annoyance. "Then tell me I'm being silly about feeling guilty for it."
"At least you've never tried to eat me," Peter said, his voice a little more squeaky than usual from his transformation. He cleared his throat to get his regular pitch back.
"That's true," Remus agreed. "Moony recognized right away that you're not food. Thankfully. I'd kill myself if the monster ever tried to hurt any of you."
"Monsters wouldn't recognize family," I said stubbornly. "Call yourself or Moony a monster one more time, and I will show you what a fucking monster is."
He visibly slumped down from my words. "Yes, Roxi," he muttered, then grimaced. "That's annoying," he said.
"What is?" I demanded. "My refusal to let you think badly of yourself?"
"No, not that. Since the moon just went down, the wolf is still pretty close to the surface. Which means I have to obey you."
"You what?" I asked in confusion. Sirius, James, and Peter all looked perplexed too.
"You're the alpha," he said, like it was completely obvious.
"I'm what?" I said, feeling really inarticulate.
"You're the alpha," he repeated. "The wolf recognizes you as being the leader of our "pack." You didn't know that?"
"Well, no. I didn't really think there was an alpha."
"It makes sense," Sirius said. "I mean, you boss all of us around and get pretty violent when we don't listen to you."
"He has a point," James agreed.
I scowled at them. "I do not."
"Yeah, you do," Remus said.
"Shut the hell up. No I don't," I said.
They all started laughing because I had essentially proved their point.
"Okay, fine, I'm bossy. But let's face it, you four need me to boss you around."
"That we do," James agreed, slinging an arm around my shoulders. "We also need to get out of here before Madam Pomfrey finds us. Moons, we'll see you soon."
Remus nodded in farewell, watching us walk back to the tunnel under the Willow. I sighed sadly, looking back to watch him while I walked. He was always so strong after a full moon, but I could see dark shadows under his eyes and he looked so fatigued. I made a mental note to sneak off to Hogsmeade later that day and buy enough chocolate to make a giant hurl. If I was the "alpha," that just meant I had to work even harder to take care of my boys.