mare demanded remus and sirius, one eating, one watching. mare can make me do anything.

And the thing about Remus was that he didn't know. Because he was so trusting, see; because he was the sort who believed in his friends and thought they'd leave him to his own business.

but it *is* my business, too, Sirius thought as he slanted a quick glance out around the corner, watching Remus shuffle silently out through the side doors. he's my friend, my responsibility, and he's my business. He hurried after Remus, pulling his robes tighter about him when he stepped outside and the cold, cold air hit him.

"Bugger all," Sirus muttered under a webby spume of breath as Remus started to lope out across the grounds to the woods. He half-considered catching up with the silly tit and dragging him back inside to the nice toasty dorms, but that would mean cocking up any chance he had of figuring out what Remus did on these midnight waxing-moon jaunts. No, it would have to be the freezing fucking cold, then, for the sake of friendship. He would have laughed if his nose and throat didn't feel like they were full of razor-sharp icicles.

Remus had slowed down now, near a little copse of trees that just skirted the Forbidden Forest; they'd had a Care of Magical Creatures lesson in there a few weeks ago, learning how to properly crimp feathers from a garuda hawk. But Remus wasn't going inside the ring of trees. He was hovering just outside the circle, head tilted, watching intently as creatures moved around within the copse. Sirius squinted, trying hard to see between the leaves and branches, and caught a glimpse of short fast-moving doglike haunches. He could hear what was happening without much effort, though. Those doglike things were killing something in there and ripping it apart.

"Awfully nasty way to get your jollies," he thought, startled, but then Remus didn't seem very moved by the proceedings one way or another. He just stayed where he was, still and observant and utterly perplexing.

There was nothing left for it. Sirius leaned up behind a boulder and waited. And waited and waited, for what felt like at least an hour. Remus didn't move one bit in all that time and when he finally did move, it took a few moments for Sirius to shake himself out of his cold-induced torpor and follow, taking up the spot behind the tree that Remus had vacated. He watched his friend walk haltingly into the copse and then drop to his knees near the pink-and-white carcass that the doglike things had left — crups, they were probably crups — and reach out with a greed that Sirius didn't know Remus possessed.

His stomach lurched and he reached up to press his fingers into the bark of the tree to keep quiet, but Remus didn't grab for the picked-over bones of the crups' meal. He clawed his hands across the bloodstained earth around the dead thing and lifted double handfuls of dirt to cram them into his mouth. Sirius dug bark underneath his fingernails and watched Remus's throat as he swallowed mouthfuls of dirt and blood, and when he couldn't take it any more he turned and ran, straight back in to the dormitories and up to his bed and underneath the covers.

In the morning, when he woke up, there was a neat handful of dirt sitting on his nightstand, an ovoid pellet of it with marks for fingers and a high fresh smell. Sirius crumbled the clump of dirt and brushed his smudged fingers across his lips, and Remus didn't look at him once.

mail .. index