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T'Pol Hush

rhye in rs_small_gifts

Fic: The Beast of Godric's Moor for a_merry_chase

Title: The Beast of Godric's Moor
Author: rhye
Recipient: a_merry_chase
Rating: PG
Highlight for Warnings: *Minor transformation-related violence.*
Word Count: 6931
Summary: There's a rumour that a dangerous beast lives on The Moor behind Godric's Hollow. James and Sirius go in search of this terrifying beast. When Sirius is taken prisoner, he soon finds that there's more to the beast than meets the eye. Can Sirius's love break the curse of isolation that has been Remus's life? (AU; A sort of retelling of Beauty and the Beast).
Author's notes: Beta'd by singlemomsummer.

The Beast of Godric's Moor

Godric’s Hollow was a sleepy little town, part wizarding and part Muggle. Perhaps it rained more than many of its citizens would like, but at the end of the day, the people had to concede that they were, in fact, living in Great Britain, and a little rain was par for the course. The autumns were sodden, the winters mild and snowy, the springs drizzling, and the summers warm and balmy. In general, its people were happy. They had good schools, good markets, and good pubs. They had, all in all, very little to complain about.

A scant mile west of Godric’s Hollow, however, the story grew swiftly different, as the grassy knoll on which the town stood faded into fallow marshes and haunted bogs. The Moor, as it was plainly termed, was ardently avoided by the Muggle and Wizarding citizens of the town alike. For the Muggles, it was unpleasant and treacherous land. The Wizards had a better idea of what might lurk therein, and no desire to encounter whatever dark creatures might live on such abandoned land. Hinkypunks were not all that lived on The Moor.

“Miss Spreecher says there’s a hag out there,” Sirius said. He was sitting cross-legged in the Potter living room, facing James over an open carafe of mulled butterbeer.

James tipped his head, considering this as he poured himself another mug of the sweet amber liquid. “Old Jack said it’s a monster.”

“He’s a Muggle,” Sirius waved off the concern. “For all you know he could mean a hag.”

“A hag’s not a monster,” James said flatly. “My bet’s on a vampire of werewolf.”

“I say we go find out.”

James stared at his best mate long and hard before raising his mug to clank against Sirius’s. “To adventure,” James grinned.

Sirius beamed back at James. “To adventure.”

*****

It had not gone as well as James and Sirius had intended. For starters, Sirius had lost a boot in the dense mud. James had to fight off a hoard of Red Caps. Both boys tired and miserable, they had found nothing other than a terrific rainstorm that soaked them to the bone. It was now nighttime, and they hadn’t discovered anything special beyond what they might have expected. No vampires loomed out of the darkness to drink their blood. Exhausted, they sat in the shelter of a tree to wait out the storm, the sodden ground soaking into their trousers.

After a while, Sirius woke with a start, surprised to realize that he had been able to fall asleep despite the wet and the cold. He turned to the space next to him where James had been, but there was no one there. Instead, Sirius found a scrap of parchment. It read, “Went to explore the forest. Be back by dawn,” in James’s scrawling hand.

Sirius, though, was not mollified by the note. A careful glance at the sky told him that it was already long past dawn. Standing, he heaved a sigh, wondering what brambles he would have to extract a broken James from, and committing to killing his counterpart before they both returned to James’s home.

Sirius didn’t get far, though, before he noticed something terribly wrong: broken branches, muddy footprints, burned tree trunks. The forest bore evidence of a struggle of some sort. Panic crushed Sirius’s breath, and he rushed to follow the tracks-- two sets of bootprints through the soil. Sirius managed to follow the tracks back out of the copse of trees, across The Moor, and over a ravine to a little, muddy glen. There, surrounded on three sides by natural bulwarks, stood a little run-down cottage. Sirius could easily see the bootprints leading to the front stoop, and he wasted no time, running across the muddy distance. Wand drawn, Sirius banged his fist mightily against the old wooden door.

To his surprise, it was not a hag who answered. Sirius hadn’t even realized that he’d been expecting a hag until he found himself face-to-face with a tall, sunny-haired young man, no older than himself.

“Hello,” the man said, tipping his head to the side. The small smile playing around the home-owner's lips disarmed Sirius. He found himself lowering his wand.

“Um,” Sirius started, clearly out of his element at the appearance of this strange (and entirely un-haggish) young man. “I’m looking for my friend James.”

“Oh yes,” the man said, “he’s here. Won’t you come in, Mr.--?”

“Sirius.”

“Mister Sirius.”

“No,” Sirius corrected, laughing. “Just Sirius is fine.”

“Right, then,” the man stepped aside and cleared his throat. “My name is Remus. Your friend is right up these stairs. You’re welcome to join him.”

Sirius nodded and lead the way up a narrow flight of creaking stairs. When he arrived at the bedroom at the top, he found James, seemingly asleep on his bed.

Suddenly, though, Sirius recognized the sensation of a wand being held to his throat. Remus prodded him into the room with it. Then, before Sirius could react, Remus was stunning him, and all went black.

*****

Sirius awoke to find himself leaning into a snoring James. The small window in their upstairs bedroom showed full night, and the dell outside was lit by the looming waning gibbous moon. He reached automatically into his back pocket, but was unsurprised to find that his wand had been confiscated.

“James,” Sirius shook his brother-in-arms awake. “James.”

James started to wake-fullness, punching the air, and Sirius wondered if James had dreamt of being attacked.

“Relax, mate,” Sirius quelled the dueling James.

“Sirius, he could kill us.”

“Well give me a hand and we’ll be gone in a moment.”

James wiped his blurry eyes and nodded, belatedly helping Sirius in his attempt to pry open the window.

The noise they were making, banging against the stuck window frame, must have awakened their captor, because the door suddenly flung open behind him. “I don’t think so,” Remus said when he saw what they were doing. “I can’t let you go back to tell people that I live here.”

Sirius stopped dead. “Do you plan to kill us, then?”

Remus frowned, as if he hadn’t yet considered what to do with them.

“We’ll be missed,” Sirius warned. “Well, James will. My parents won’t miss me, good riddance.”

James nodded. “They’ll send out search parties,” he confirmed.

“Besides,” Sirius said, “What would we tell them? There’s some young bloke out in The Moor? You hardly seem a public nuisance.” Sirius stopped when he found that both James and Remus were staring at him oddly. “What?” he asked.

“I’m a werewolf,” Remus answered sharply.

Sirius clapped his hands over his ears. “I wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t just told me,” he wailed. He had seen this in Muggle mob movies.

“I knew,” James countered. “I found him last night, mid-transformation. Then he dragged me back here.”

“Well, Merlin, no one had to tell me. Now I know too much!”

“We wouldn’t tell, honest,” James pleaded. “Just let us go.”

Remus sighed. “I’ll let one of you go,” he finally conceded. “The one with the parents.”

James and Sirius eyed each other, eyes round in shock and fear.

“But Sirius--” James started.

“I’m keeping him as insurance,” Remus insisted.

“Against what?” James stammered.

“Your return,” Remus said mildly. “If you tell anyone about me, he dies.”

“And if I don’t? Do you just plan on keeping him forever?” James asked, sounding indignant.

“Until I can find a new place to go.” Remus shrugged.

“Go, mate,” Sirius said to James, a twinkle in his eye. “Go let your parents know you’re alright.”

James halted, but Remus grabbed James’s arm and yanked him out of the small upstairs room. “Go now,” Remus growled, suddenly sounding the part of a werewolf, “Before I change my mind.”

James stumbled down the stairs, stopping to call behind him, “I’ll be back for you, Sirius.”

Remus, though, laughed cruelly. “You’d both better hope not,” he interjected, before he threw James out the door and slammed it behind him.

Sirius, in the meantime, was left in his unlocked room. He popped his head out into the hallway. Remus turned, eying him as if seeing him for the first time. “Did you want dinner?” Sirius’s beastly host asked.

“Nothing you have,” Sirius answered, imagining what a werewolf might eat. Dead people? Live people?

“Suit yourself,” Remus said, though he stopped to secure Sirius’s window with an unbreakable charm before locking Sirius back in his room.

*****

It was well after midnight by the time Sirius managed to work the door loose from its frame. The house was silent, and Sirius moved from room to room, trying windows. They had all been charmed solidly locked, with impervious charms on the glass. Sirius was afraid to try breaking them too hard for fear he might wake the beast and be subjected to another stunning spell. Who in Merlin’s name had taught a werewolf to do magic, anyway? That ought to be illegal.

Eventually exhausting all possible escape routes, Sirius found himself in the kitchen. His stomach growled, and he wondered whether he would find anything fit for human consumption in the deceptively ordinary-looking kitchen. The chilled cabinet was surprisingly bare: it held only the essentials of butter, milk, eggs, mayonnaise, and one bunch of cress, seeming oddly green and out of place. The cupboard next to it, however, yielded a wide assortment of dried foods. Sirius set upon a bag of biscuits with ravenous hunger, washed them down with milk, and sat on the couch to think his situation through.

*****

Sirius woke again to full daylight. He was laying on the couch, but was surprised to see that he had been covered with a blanket. Sirius groaned.

“Morning,” a cheerful voice harped from the kitchen.

Sirius groaned again, but this time he looked up and around. Sitting up, he caught a glimpse of the werewolf moving about the kitchen. Sirius was convinced by now that there was no escape route, so he stood, gathering the blanket around his shoulders and trudged to the kitchen.

“How long do you plan to keep me here?” Sirius asked without preamble.

Remus looked up from the stove, and Sirius didn’t want to see what the beast was cooking. Remus was frowning. “I didn’t think this through, I have to admit,” Remus said, “but I gather eventually there’ll be a time when you might understand the world from my point of view, and then I could let you go, believing that you wouldn’t round up a mob to kill me.”

“I’ll never see things your way,” Sirius growled.

Remus went back to work at the stove for a moment and then turned, smiling cautiously. “Pancakes?”

*****

The days passed in a sort of monotony. Gradually, Sirius was able to convince himself that James was not coming to rescue him. James must have believed Remus’s story about killing Sirius, should James return. Sirius had believed it at first as well.

Now... he was not so sure. Remus didn’t seem to eat bodies. He ate sandwiches and biscuits and tea and pancakes. And he didn’t spend his days on a plot to takeover Godric’s Hollow. He read books. Some were Muggle books, nonfiction and some fiction. Most were books on magic, especially texts. Remus would bow his head over them for hours, taking notes and occasionally looking up to ask Sirius about a specific wand movement. Sirius, bored out of his mind, obliged the beast. At least this answered the question of who had taught Remus magic. He had taught it to himself, evidently.

One evening, while Remus was stoking the fire and Sirius was engrossed in a Muggle adventure book, Remus looked up, a wry smile on his face, and outright asked, “Would you teach me some of the trickier charms?”

Sirius didn’t need to think. He shook his head, answering, “Why, so you can attack the village?”

Remus’s face instantly fell, and he did not answer Sirius for a long while. When he did, he shrugged, saying, “I can see well what you think of me. I’ll be finding a new property just as soon as I can. I’ve been reading the papers, looking for one. Then I can get out of your hair and you can be out of mine as well.”

Sirius bristled at this last sentiment. Was he annoying Remus, that Remus wanted him ‘out of his hair’? “Hey,” Sirius answered sharply, “What did I do?”

Remus wheeled on him. “I might well ask the same question! You’ve done nothing but debase me since you arrived, and I feel I’ve been more than hospitable.”

“You’re a monster,” Sirius answered flatly, “And you’re keeping me prisoner.”

Remus’s chin rose a centimeter as he said, “From where I stand, I’m not the only monster in this house.”

Sirius’s eyes glittered dangerously. “I’ll have you know, I escaped that particular fate. My family is entirely into the Dark Arts and I ran away so that I could be different from them. Different from you.”

“You think I am involved in the Dark Arts?” Remus asked incredulously.

“You’re a werewolf. That’s Dark enough for anybody,” Sirius answered, not even looking up, as though Remus weren’t worth that little courtesy.

“You left your home because you wanted to be more than your destiny allowed,” Remus guessed.

“Exactly!”

“Then it’s as I said, we are more alike than different.”

Sirius’s mouth dropped open and he seemed to be searching for a retort when Remus said quietly, “I’d like to ask you to retire to your room now.” He seemed intent on the fireplace, quite lost in his thoughts.

Sirius thought to object, but he finally turned and walked up the stairs to his room-- a room where Remus had outfitted him with multiple pillows and blankets. Only when Sirius had locked the door behind him did he realize that Remus hadn’t ordered him, hadn’t pulled a wand. He’d simply asked, and Sirius had obeyed.

Sirius lay back on the bed and thought long and hard about his interactions with the deceptively human werewolf.

*****

Remus was once again bent over his books when Sirius came downstairs the next day. “Alright,” Sirius said, quickly before he lost his nerve, “I’ll teach you whatever you want to learn. Anything I know, anyway.”

Remus smiled up at him, but oddly, answered with a simple, “No, thank you.”

What? You asked me to.”

“That was before I realized that you thought I would use anything you taught me to murder your friends in the middle of the night,” Remus answered dismissively.

“I don’t think that!” Sirius objected.

“You do,” Remus replied.

Sirius, unable to come up with a good defense, stormed out of the room.

*****

The following day, Sirius once again awoke to find Remus finishing pancakes for the both of them. Pride wounded, he slowly sat down at the meal and muttered something unintelligible.

“I’m sorry,” Remus said, passing the milk, “What did you say?”

“I said,” Sirius sighed in exasperation, “that I’m sorry I said you were a monster. In fact, I’m sorry I even thought it.”

Much to his surprise, Remus smiled across the table at him, replying cheerfully, “Apology accepted.”

*****

That afternoon, Sirius and Remus worked their way through an entire charms textbook, Sirius filling in the gaps in Remus’s knowledge and the book’s explanations with practical examples and demonstrations. Remus nodded softly at the instruction, hanging on Sirius’s every word. Sirius enjoyed the attention, he had to admit to himself. Before they knew it, it was dinner time, and Remus rose to make them sandwiches.

“Let me,” Sirius interrupted. “You’ve been cooking for me for too long and I haven’t so much as washed a plate.”

Remus tilted his head, quietly conceding the point, and Sirius rose to fix the meal.

*****

With time, Sirius began to forget that he was a prisoner. He was studying as hard as he ever had in school, and though Hogwarts was starting back up again, he didn’t miss the stuffy professors. He did miss James, but he was making a new friend here in Remus. He did have to wonder, though, whether James had returned to school when the term started. How had he explained Sirius’s absence? Still, it was not as if Remus could keep him here forever, and surely he would return to school. Even now, he was keeping up his studies and wasn’t likely to be much behind when he got there.

One day, he broached the subject. “Remus, when do you plan to set me free?” he asked. “I’m missing school even now.”

Remus laughed flatly. “You don’t seem the type to enjoy school all that much.”

Sirius tipped his head, conceding the point, but Remus went on in a sterner tone, “When I move, I’d be happy to leave you behind, so long as you promise not to follow me. I’ve located one house that might work. I’m just trying to come up with the money for it.”

“How do you come up with money?” Sirius asked, intrigued.

“My parents left me a few assets when they died. Unfortunately, wizarding law doesn’t exactly let me access them freely, so there’s some paperwork involved in gaining even the funds to buy a shack. We’re waiting on the Ministry to release the funds, but it shouldn’t be long now.”

“You can let me go now, you know,” Sirius said. “I wouldn’t lead anyone back to you. I wouldn’t let them hurt you.”

Remus sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose. “It’s not so simple, Sirius. Your friend--”

“James,” Sirius interrupted.

“James would lead others back here, if I weren’t holding you as a hostage.”

Sirius wanted to deny it, but in fact he couldn’t. He was surprised that James hadn’t already come back, Sirius’s life or no. James would have the safety of all of Godric’s Hollow on his conscience, if the werewolf got loose. Sirius didn’t believe that Remus would hurt anyone, but James would make no such leaps of faith.

Sirius sunk into silence, unprepared to argue.

*****

With time, Remus ceased locking the doors. He opened the windows to let in fresh air when the winter days got stuffy. Sirius made no move to leave his new friend.

“Why haven’t you escaped?” Remus asked one day in the middle of a lesson on Transfigurations.

Sirius shrugged.

“You’ve had opportunities,” Remus reminded him.

“If I leave,” Sirius answered, “James will come back and kill you. I can’t let that happen.”

Remus smiled lightly, but let the subject drop.

*****

Sirius knew, of course, that tonight would be the Full Moon. He had been watching the Moon with barely-contained trepidation. It took Sirius, despite his usual bluntness, nearly until two in the afternoon to work up the courage to ask the question on his mind. “What will you do tonight for the full Moon?”

Remus closed the textbook in front of him and sighed. He leaned back in his chair and eyed Sirius mildly over folded hands. “I usually transform outside. I’m a little worried about having you around, truthfully. In wolf form, I seek human prey.”

“Were you out a month ago when you happened on us?” Sirius shivered to think they had been secretly hunted by a werewolf.

“I was closing in on you when the Moon set and your friend James found me. We met just in time for him to witness my transformation.”

“So...” he whispered, “You almost killed us that night.” It was not a question. It seemed strange to Sirius that Remus spoke about all of this with a smoothly clinical detachment. After all, weren’t they speaking about James and Sirius’s near brush with death? They had been wandering The Moor, never so much as realizing the danger they were in.

Remus’s mouth drew into a grim line. “I can assure you I didn’t mean to. I’ve never encountered humans this far out on The Moor.”

“What about this time?” Sirius asked. “Do you imagine you’ll be attacking me?” And how does one defend themselves from a werewolf? They had not covered that in Defense Against the Dark Arts.

“I... was thinking,” Remus said quietly, “that we might be able to chain me in the cellar.”

Sirius’ instinct was to balk at the idea. Chaining any innocent person into a cellar seemed like a drastic measure. After a moment of consideration, however, he had to admit that he had no better ideas. “Alright,” he answered hesitantly, “If you think it’s best?”

Remus nodded, and their plan was determined as swiftly as that.

When evening finally eclipsed the little cottage, Remus went into the cellar voluntarily, Sirius following. Remus, it seemed, had already accumulated a hodgepodge of chains of various sizes. Together, they frowned over the pile, examining Remus’s spoils.

“You’ve clearly been thinking about this for a while,” Sirius commented, noting the sheer size of the pile.

“I thought such a measure might one day be necessary. I pick them up when the opportunity arises.”

None of them, to Sirius’s eyes, seemed any too strong, but maybe with some well-placed charms they would hold. Remus and Sirius set about tying Remus to a large stone support column in the cellar, adding their own strengthening charms. Sirius added his own set of ropes from the end of his wand as he eyed the pile of chains dubiously, and then he closed and locked the cellar, returning to the house alone.

Now, he thought, might be the time to escape. He wasn’t overly optimistic that the bonds they had used to secure Remus would work on a werewolf. An escape could save his life. He tried, while he heard the screams and eventually howls from the basement, to convince himself to leave.

The dawn found Sirius still sitting, anxious and sleepless, on the couch. He had not left, and he had come to the slow realization sometime in the night that the proper time to leave would have been before this evening, so that Remus didn’t need to be tied in the cellar. That time had passed, though. By early morning, Sirius had convinced himself that the bonds with which they had bound Remus would, after all, hold. At dawn, Sirius descended the stairs in an eerie silence, hoping he wasn’t over-eagerly anticipating Remus’s transformation back to human form.

He was not early. The vision that met Sirius’s eyes was horrific. He dashed the rest of the way down the stairs, not stopping until he was leaning next to the broken and bloody form of his new friend. After lifting Remus from the cold floor, Sirius was sharply aware that Remus weighed even less than his thin frame suggested. He was able to easily carry Remus up to the bedroom where Remus usually slept, but healing Remus was not so easy. Sirius used a bastardization of muggle healing methods and magical techniques. It was a scraping together of whatever he knew and whatever he could find about the house. By evening, Remus was sitting up and talking through his swollen lips, drinking the warm tea that Sirius provided in abundance.

“You weren’t this bad off last month,” Sirius said to Remus, remembering how healthy Remus had seemed the day he had kept James and Sirius prisoners.

“Being locked up... doesn’t agree with me,” Remus answered softly.

Sirius said nothing. He knew Remus had done this because of himself, and he wondered if he should leave after all, leave Remus to his own way of living. But then, there was the matter of James. Could Sirius influence James to leave Remus be?

*****

It was a beautiful morning in late winter, and Sirius was evaluating the cupboard with a look very near indignation. “Remus, a man can’t live on sandwiches,” he called out to his friend in the other room. He had felt how thin Remus was the day after the full Moon, after all.

“I’ve been living on sandwiches for years,” Remus answered, nonplussed. “And pancakes,” Remus added.

Sirius decided then that he was going to leave here, in the middle of the night. He was going to Godric’s Hollow, to the market, and he was going to buy the proper ingredients for a real meal. He didn’t tell Remus of his plan. After Remus had fallen asleep, Sirius left via the unlocked front door.

*****

Remus awoke in the morning and made breakfast as usual. When Sirius didn’t come downstairs at his normal time, Remus began to wonder if Sirius was ill. When he went to Sirius’s room and discovered the truth of the matter-- Sirius’s complete absence-- he didn’t dare assume that Sirius had escaped. Remus checked the washroom, the cellar, the back yard where he had started a modest garden, now covered by snow. Only once he had come to terms with Sirius’s escape did Remus sit down to breakfast. He would have to, he knew, pack and leave soon. He had spent six years in this house, accumulating the goods around him. His mind already whirred ahead, evaluating and inventorying which items he would bring with him. His textbooks, he knew, must come. It was only thanks to the magic that he knew that he had survived thus far. He could pack perhaps a blanket and some food, but not enough to get him very far.

Deep in his heart, though, Remus believed (wanted to believe?) that Sirius wouldn’t give him away, would somehow manage to hold back James. Tomorrow, he decided, he would leave. Tonight, he would wait to prove his theories right-- to prove Sirius’s honor-- and to choose where he would go and what he would bring with him.

*****

It took Sirius several hours to wend his way clear of the maze that was the forest bordering The Moor. Nevertheless, by the time he had, it was not yet daybreak and the market to which he was headed was sure to be closed. He was cold. It had snowed in the night during Sirius’s journey and there were a couple inches of fresh fall to wade through. His toes were numb, and his hands were numb. Even the very tip of his nose was numb. His original plan-- to wait outside the market until it opened-- seemed like a very bad idea now. He ached badly for his bed at Remus’s, or even his bed at the Potters-- anywhere he could go to sleep underneath a warm blanket. While a bed was not available to him, there was another option. The Potters had a garage attached to their house, something Muggles used for automobiles, though they used it a sort of recreational room for more violent games of wizarding chess and exploding snap, plus the occasional game of darts. Sirius knew they kept the door to this space unlocked, and he was already dreaming of the couch and warm blanket that could be found inside. Without giving it a second though, his feet steered him in the direction of the Potters. He had no sooner entered the Potter’s rec room than he was fast asleep on the couch, bundled under the warm blanket.

Sirius awoke to a troubled face hovering just about his own. He started, but then he saw it was only Mrs. Potter. She smoothed back his hair with a gentleness his own mother had always lacked, and softly said to him, “James told us all about what happened. We’re so happy to have you back, Sirius. It must have been awful for you.”

Sirius blinked for a moment, not at all sure what was supposed to have been awful for him, until it struck him: she was talking about his ‘captivity’ at Remus’s.

“No,” Sirius balked, shooting up to a sitting position. Mrs. Potter’s warm hand guided him back down to the bed. “You don’t understand,” Sirius tried to explain.

“I understand enough,” Mrs. Potter answered. “I understand that you were being held captive by a werewolf. Even now, James and his father are out with a group of men from the town, trying to root him out.”

Sirius groaned. This was the worst possible outcome. All he had wanted to do was buy some fresh, filling food for Remus, and instead he had brought the feared posse down on his friend’s head. He was sure that if the townsmen found Remus, they would stop at nothing short of killing him. Sirius himself had been raised with the firmly-held belief that killing a werewolf was doing a favour to everyone involved. He couldn’t expect the townsfolk to understand. Sirius shot to his feet. Before Mrs. Potter could stop him, he was out of the door.

Sirius ran, not daring to pause to catch his breath. How much of a head start did the townsfolk have? He hadn’t the faintest clue. He sprang through the recently-fallen snow, tripping over his own two feet, in pursuit of the men who wanted to kill Remus.

Sirius had come this way twice before, and he knew by now something of the path that might get him back to Remus’s house the fastest. Sometime mid-morning, Sirius came to a little vale from which he could overlook much of The Moor. Across the fallow land, he could even see the posse of pursuers. He was aware at that point that he had, via his more direct route, just overtaken them. Out of breath, lungs and legs burning with fatigue, Sirius plunged on through the marshes.

By the time he found the little dale containing Remus’s modest old house, Sirius guess he was only just ahead of the group. He had to assume they were fast on his tail. He burst through the front door, panting too hard to even call out warning to Remus.

Luckily, Remus was standing in the center of the living room, pacing, uneaten sandwich sitting on the coffee table. Remus stopped his pacing immediately, color draining from his face. “Oh thank Merlin,” Remus breathed.

“No,” Sirius panted. “They’re coming.”

Remus didn’t wait to ask who. He instead started rapidly shoving his books into a bag nearby. He’d read of a marvelous Extension Charms that would have allowed his bag to hold much more, but unfortunately he had not yet learned such a spell. In his haste, he realized he was going to have to pick and choose among the books he had on hand. He couldn’t bring more than he could carry. Unfortunately, Remus had gathered only a couple books when suddenly there came a pounding on the door. Sirius caught Remus’s eyes, both pairs wide in fear.

“Hide,” Sirius suggested.

Remus shook his head. “They’ll find me eventually.”

“Apparate,” Sirius suggested, but Remus shrugged, answering that he didn’t know how. He had never learned. Sirius growled in his throat, wishing that he himself had learned, but he was not yet seventeen.

“Is your fireplace connected to the Floo network?” Sirius questioned, desperation leaking into his voice.

“Open up in there,” voices called from outside. “We know you’re in there, you vile animal. We’ll kill you.”

A sad, almost resigned smile spread across Remus’s pink lips. “You know it’s not,” he said. “Sirius, it’s alright. I can’t outrun them forever. And if it weren’t this town, it would be another. It was bound to happen sometime.”

“You can’t just give up.”

Remus shrugged. “If I come peaceably, maybe they’ll make it quick.”

Sirius felt bile rise into his throat. “Do you even hear yourself?” he snarled. “What was the point of learning all that magic if you won’t even use it to save your own skin?”

“I didn’t learn magic to fight others with it,” Remus said flatly. “I learned it--”

But his explanation was interrupted by the shattering of the door, as an ax drove into it again and again. A familiar voice rose over the noise. “Come out now!” It was James.

“James!” Sirius whispered. “I’ll just speak to him--”

“Even if he listens, the mob won’t.”

Sirius stepped close to Remus, close enough that Sirius could feel the heat radiating off his friend, his friend who was thinking of giving up his very life to an angry mob. “You are not going to just let them kill you, Remus. I won’t let you.”

Remus raised one cool eyebrow. “What’s it to you?”

Sirius didn’t answer in words. Instead, he closed the distance between himself and Remus, pressing his lips against Remus’s. The kiss was hesitant at first, but Remus responded positively, and Sirius found himself pulled Remus closer, deepening the kiss. He had just gotten the courage to dart his tongue into Remus’s mouth when the front door came shattering down.

“Step away from him!” a voice exclaimed. It was a voice Sirius recognized immediately. Sirius broke the kiss, not sure who Mr. Potter was yelling at, and not entirely caring. Sirius whirled, keeping himself between Remus and the outstretched wands of the wizards who filed in now through the door. James was there, right behind his father’s shoulder. Sirius also recognized various other denizens of Godric’s Hollow: the pub master, the Potters’ neighbor Broderick, the man who ran the grocery. All of them had their wands drawn, tips pointed directly at Sirius and Remus. Sirius felt the weight of the magic backing up those wands.

Sirius, as a rule, was not much of one for talking himself out of situations. He’d tried many times with McGonagall, to be sure, but always with little success. He much preferred using his wand, but he recognized now that drawing his wand would be a very bad move.

Remus, suddenly, stepped out from behind Sirius, holding up his wand.

Expelliarmus!” someone shouted, and Remus’s wand flew from his hand. Sirius saw, as if in slow motion, others in the crowd prepare spells. Sirius could only guess there were curses on the tips of their tongues, and he darted once again in front of Remus.

“Sirius,” Mr. Potter called. “Move aside. We’ll capture him.”

“How did you get here? You were in the garage.” James said, a voice of reason in the mob.

“I came to warn Remus,” Sirius answered, aware that he was speaking to the entire crowd and not just James. “He’s not bad. You can’t hurt him.”

“Here’s a werewolf,” Mr.Potter said, as if that fact properly refuted Remus’s goodness as a person. “James saw him.”

“I did!” James added. “And how good of a bloke can he be if he took you hostage for over a month, Sirius? Do you have any idea how much school we’ve missed?”

“You idiot,” Sirius snapped back at James. “I could have left weeks ago. I didn’t because I knew that the moment I did you lot would get up and do this.” Sirius waved towards the door to indicate the crowd. “And maybe you missed school, but Remus and I have been studying.”

Another man from the crowd of a half dozen, someone Sirius didn’t know offhand, laughed cruelly. “What have you been studying, then? The Dark Arts?” His comment was aimed at much at the crowd as it was at Sirius. A few murmurs of assent rippled through the ring of men as they seemed to agree with this man’s assessment of the curriculum at Remus’s house.

“Or ha’ you been learning sodomy?” someone else called out.

Sirius felt his cheeks warm with that particular remark. “No...” he stammered.

“If you won’t back away,” Mr. Potter exclaimed, “I’ll have to force you. I’m sorry.”

Sirius barely had time to comprehend the words when Mr. Potter summoned magical bonds. They snaked out with the speed of an adder to entwine about Sirius’s ankles, waist, and feet. In a moment, Sirius was being dragged away.

Remus, however, reacted nearly as quickly, arms clinging to Sirius, pulling Sirius back against his chest. It was a morbid tug-of-war, Remus and Mr. Potter pulling on Sirius. Or it might have been, but neither was terribly strong. Sirius understood that it wasn’t for his own safety that Remus was pulling, but for Sirius’s freedom and dignity. He was momentarily touched, though he had no means of expressing it. James stared in horror at the parody of a children’s game, and then he seemed to come to some decision. He jumped in front of his father.

“Wait a minute,” James hollered. “Just... wait! This is ridiculous. Look at us! I brought you here because I thought Sirius had been held hostage, but that’s clearly not the case. I thought this man,” James waved at Remus, “had been holding Sirius against his will, possibly even hurting him. But that’s not true. That’s why I wanted to get him. But Sirius says he’s not bad, and maybe he’s not. let him say his piece at least. Do you all really mean to kill this man for no reason than that he’s a werewolf?”

Someone bellowed “Hell yes,” and a couple hands shot up, fists raised in anger.

James suddenly drew his wand, pointing it directly at his father. “Let Sirius go, Dad,” James instructed.

“James. Be reasonable.”

“Let him go!”

Mr. Potter did as he’d been instructed, but not everyone in the crowd was so moved. Some kept their wands trained on Sirius and Remus. Others trained their wands on James. This appeared to have a strong effect on Mr. Potter, who turned angrily to the man next to him. “Don’t you dare point that at my son!” he barked.

“He’s defending the werewolf,” the man answered. “I’ll kill them both if I have to.”

Mr. Potter, never a man of great restraint, hauled off and punched the belligerent older man. Slowly, the mob devolved into chaos, punches and hexes flying within itself. Some seemed to agree with James, others with Mr. Potter, and still others with the group that still wanted to kill Remus. James took the opportunity to cast a Protego charm. Speaking over his shoulder to Sirius and Remus, he hissed, “Run. Run now! I’ll hold them back.”

Sirius pushed Remus, and he didn’t look back as they made for the back door and freedom.

*****

The three boys bobbed down the sunny, springtime street in Hogsmeade, one of them with a thick paper bag folded under his arm. When no one was looking, they ducked behind the buildings and made their way up the long sloping hill towards the Shrieking Shack. They let themselves in through the front door, which required a small verbal spell in order to enter.

“Hullo?” James called into the house. The downstairs was a wreck of battered furniture and scarred walls. It had no lights, and the dimness added to the overall heaviness of the attitude. Sirius turned and darted up the stairs without a second thought.

The upstairs was an entirely different matter than the downstairs. The hallway was still dark, but a rectangle of warm light flooded into the hall from one large bedroom. Sirius popped in the door.

The inside was a domestic and neat as a dorm room at Hogwarts, with lamps, a warm quilt on a single bed under the window, a bookshelf loaded with books on magic, and a desk. At the desk sat the boy: Remus Lupin. He was hunched over a book, taking notes. He looked up at this interruption and smiled at Sirius. Sirius promptly dragged him out of the desk chair and over to the bed, where they settled side-by-side against the window.

Peter and James entered a moment later, and James took the desk chair. Peter sat cross-legged on the floor between the desk and the bed. He set the heavy paper bag into his lap.

“How are you doing out here?” James asked.

“It’s wonderful, really,” Remus answered. “Professor Dumbledore is still sneaking me lessons, and the people from Hogsmeade give the house a wide berth. ‘Course I never see anyone ‘sides you lot and Dumbledore, but it’s more people than I am used to seeing.”

“We brought you something,” Peter said, indicating the paper bag. He unwrapped it and rooted inside, pulling out a bottle of sparkling Dirigible Peach wine. James leaned down to swipe the bottle from Peter, and he began ardently working on the cork.

Sirius, in the meanwhile, layed his head against Remus’s shoulder. “Miss you,” he murmured.

“Yes, well,” Remus smiled. “Dumbledore says that if I work all summer I’ll be caught up with your year and I can come to Hogwarts if the Ministry will allow it.”

“Do you reckon they will?” Peter asked.

James popped the cork on the sparkling wine. Of course, he’d had to shake it up first, so the bit of cork exploded out of the bottle with such force that it dented Remus’s ceiling. No one minded. James hefted the bottle and said, “To Remus joining us next year.” He took a deep swig.

“If you come to Hogwarts,” Peter continued, “You and Sirius won’t be all queer in our dorm room, will you?”

James passed the bottle to Peter, saying, “Shut up and drink, Pete.” Peter obeyed.

Sirius, on the other hand, pressed a kiss against Remus’s cheek, which promptly blushed in response to this treatment. “Course we will,” Sirius smiled.

Remus simply gestured to Peter to pass the bottle.
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Comments

Oh, this was so sweet, and I love the ending with Remus at the shrieking shack. *happy sigh*
Thank you do much!
Aww, thank you!
That was terrific! I love how you made the characters fit with Beauty and the Beast. Yay, James helped them escape!

Sirius clapped his hands over his ears. “I wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t just told me,” he wailed. He had seen this in Muggle mob movies.

That totally made me laugh.

But this piece just totally made me happy. There was something extraordinary cool about this very original re-retelling of "Beauty and the Beast." It was a fantastic idea, but the beauty was truly in the details, the way Remus ate sandwiches and Mr. Potter losing his cool and punching that guy. And Sirius' slow change of heart was fantastic. I loved how truly kind he was. The dawn found Sirius still sitting, anxious and sleepless, on the couch. He had not left, and he had come to the slow realization sometime in the night that the proper time to leave would have been before this evening, so that Remus didn’t need to be tied in the cellar. He really is a kind and ethical person. We see than in canon, but too often it is missing in fanfic.

Very nicely done!
Thanks so much! I really wanted Sirius to come around in a very natural way, but I do think that as a pureblood he would have had some prejudices. Still, if anyone is good at overcoming what he has been taught, it's Sirius. I'm glad you enjoyed it!
We always see 'Little Red and the Wolf' inspired fics this side of the fandom, but I don't think I've read anything based on 'Beauty and the Beast' before. And because that's one of my favourite fairy tales ever, I scarcely have to tell you that I loved this fic to bits! And for some reason, I loved this line the best: “I’ve been living on sandwiches for years,” Remus answered, nonplussed. “And pancakes,” Remus added. Haha, Remus!


I like how you managed to create that progression in Sirius's mind--from 'Remus was a monster' to 'Remus is a person with unique problems'--in such a short fic. The ambivalence that Sirius feels for Remus at the beginning, and Remus's cool acceptance of it, as if he was used to it, made me feel a bit teary. I'm so glad things ended well between all four of them.
Thank you so much! My main concern was that I was rushing the bit where Sirius comes around. I wanted to do it slowly so that it didn't feel artificial, but I also didn't want the story to be 40,000 words! I tried to pick moment that showed Remus's humanity and use them to challenge Sirius's previously-held beliefs without dwelling on every little moment. And Sirius did not have the benefit of talking teapots to help him!
I love the details in this story and how you gave the fairy tale a modern twist. I like how you show Sirius changing his mind and that Remus is never so much a beast at all (and how slowly they fall in love!) It's just such a lovely story.
Thank you so much for reading and leaving a lovely comment :)
What a charming retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales. :-)
Thank you so much!
Ah, so cute, yet a bit sad, too, because of the rampant prejudice, and the positively gleeful hatred of the townspeople.

I love the feel of this; a perfect blend of HP and fairytale, while the characters are very real and human.
Thank you! I took my inspiration for the "gleeful hatred" from the poor townspeople in the Disney version. They believed they were doing the right thing, so they were in fact very happy to be involved in such a self-righteous act. Thanks for reading and commenting!
This was masterful. It just had a perfect fairytale feel to it, a really wonderful meld of the original and the HP characters superimposed over it. I love that Sirius doesn't leave for fear that harm will come to Remus. Remus is darling in this. and I just wanted to hug him. This was just wonderful!
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)
What a delight! I adore fairy tales, always have, but they are rarely translated well to fanfic. Yet this is wonderful!

“You’re a werewolf. That’s Dark enough for anybody,” Sirius answered, not even looking up, as though Remus weren’t worth that little courtesy.

“You left your home because you wanted to be more than your destiny allowed,” Remus guessed.

“Exactly!”

“Then it’s as I said, we are more alike than different.”

Despite knowing this is a "Fairy Tale," I got quite worked up and even shed some tears over this. What a treasure!
Aww thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and that it evoked so much emotion.
Waitwaitwait, you managed to bring freaking Beauty and the Beast AU around to parallel canon?!

You, dear, win at life.

I'm a complete sucker for Beauty and the Beast anyway (I have four retellings of that story on my bookshelves), so this made me jump up and down from the moment I saw the summary.

I totally love the way you characterize Sirius - his prejudices coming into play at first, the slow but sure way he begins to recognize the truth in front of him, and of course, once he sees that, he has to fight tooth and nail for it because he's so much an embodiment of Gryffindor courage. Guh. So many things I see in him, you put in this fic. YAY.

And Remus, so sadly willing to let fate catch up with him even with love standing right in front of him (which, now that I think about it, is common to pretty much every Beauty and the Beast story I've read or watched, well done). You even let James play Mr. Bad-ass.

In short, I love this, thank you. *glomps*

I do have a complaint to register, though, and that's that after reading this I'm now totally craving pancakes. FAR TOO MUCH TALK OF PANCAKES. I blame the kitchen raid I'm about to go on COMPLETELY ON YOU.
Aww, thank you! I'm so glad you liked it!
“Alright,” Sirius said, quickly before he lost his nerve, “I’ll teach you whatever you want to learn. Anything I know, anyway.”

Remus smiled up at him, but oddly, answered with a simple, “No, thank you.”

“What? You asked me to.”

“That was before I realized that you thought I would use anything you taught me to murder your friends in the middle of the night,” Remus answered dismissively

I really liked this it shows great depth of character for Remus and pisses Sirius off lol
A great retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Thank you! And thanks so much for leaving a lovely comment :)
What a completely charming story. The mixing of universes was really well done. The drama of the mob scene had my heart in my throat and the ending was so very satisfying. Really well done!
I'm so glad the mob scene worked for you. I had a lot to accomplish in it and I didn't want to draw it out unnecessarily, so it was probably the scene I struggled the most with. I was worried it felt rushed!