A Grim Is Born
With many huggly thanks to Soupytwist for her helpful comments and Americanism-catchers, and Christina Teresa for betaing.
Dedications: To Arborealis, my long-lost and new-found twin of heart.
Well, really. The day simply called for it! Sod James and rules - this was Halloween! (Truly, it had been a dark day, when one of them had been made a prefect.) Sirius didn’t really have a problem with rules, not at all. It was just that sometimes, they got in the way. Or maybe that was simply James.
“No, Sirius,” he had stated. No. How was that possible? They had just made one of their most startling discoveries, so James could really forgive Sirius for swearing up a bloody storm when he had dropped the idea at its first budding. But, really, it wasn’t every day that they turned into animals.
Sirius couldn’t believe his luck at having turned into a dog. And such a huge dog, at that. Not only would they now be able to keep Remus company during the full moons, but his form was the closest to the wolf - and surely, he would be the one who would be able to restrain Remus if any trouble were to arise. Now, he would really learn what it was like to run under the full moon on four legs. And what it was like to smell the earth, and really feel everything, sense every animal and plant around. And now he would actually know what Remus looked like as a wolf. He’d always been curious.
However, those were not the only advantages his new form now afforded him. Oh, no. The most spectacular advantage would, of course, be the fact that nobody knew about them. And secrets sometimes translated into pranks.
Which was why he was simply beyond himself when James completely shot down the idea of startling the living daylights out of Snape at the Halloween Feast. Nobody would expect a huge black Grim of a dog to leap into the Great Hall and bound over to Snape. And who wouldn’t be happy at seeing a death omen slobber all over the slimy, big-nosed Slytherin?
Sirius knew plenty of people that would be - such as the whole of Gryffindor House.
However, James, in a moment of most unwelcome fastidiousness, refused to budge. Sirius knew that had a certain red-head not been influencing his best friend, the answer would have been an enthusiastic ‘yes’. But lately, James’s attempts at trying to impress Lily Evans had escalated to new heights, and somehow had made him quite boring.
Sirius pondered. It didn’t seem like James, to be shooting down Sirius’s ideas without really thinking them through. Perhaps he really did like her. Sirius wasn’t sure what it possibly was like for James, but he had strong suspicions that perhaps he knew...
Well, in any case, James had become slightly less adventurous as a result of his pining. Perhaps if Lily actually decided to answer those affections, his old best friend could return to them relatively unharmed.
And, really, all Sirius wanted was to see the look on Remus’s face when he finally got to see his best friends as Animagi. They had just completed the entire process last night, and hadn’t had a chance to let Remus know yet, as it just so happened that the night had been a full moon. Remus was still recovering in the hospital wing. If only they had done it sooner - but it was all right. Peter had needed some help, and, after all, they couldn’t leave him floundering in magic with unsteady paws.
Paws. Ha. Sirius now had paws. And a muzzle. And even - he grinned - a tail. No, he would not let those attributes go to complete waste on the day that deathly surprises were made for - Snape would definitely get it this time. James and his rules be damned.
“James,” Remus asked, picking up his forkful of mince pie. “Where’s Sirius, anyway?”
James glared from above his spectacles, and mumbled something around a mouthful of chicken.
“’E’s...buzhy...or something,” came the slurred reply and James swallowed, wincing. Remus wondered what was wrong with his bespectacled friend - he seemed extremely irritable today. Sirius hadn’t been seen since lunch, after he had visited Remus in the hospital wing. Remus had come back to the dormitory during the afternoon classes and thought he had seen Sirius slinking off to some passageway, but he couldn’t be sure, because as soon as he had seen him, he blinked, and then his friend had disappeared. Now that Sirius was missing during the Halloween Feast, he suspected that had indeed been him. Remus chewed on his jacket potato and wondered where his friend was now - and what he was up to.
His thoughts, however, were interrupted by the Great Hall doors slamming and all conversation ceasing instantaneously. Remus blinked, seeing Peter’s hand stop in mid-feeding, and the next second he saw something that made his heart race and his mind go blank with everything but Divination. An enormous black Grim bounded into the Great Hall, followed by a string of loud gasps and cries. Remus blinked again. Was it possible for a Grim to appear to so many people at once? And, if so, how exactly was it possible for them all to die simultaneously?
Dumbledore had just shot out of his chair, when the Grim took a very sure turn towards the Slytherin table and headed straight for...Snape?
Surely, it couldn’t be. Was Snape ill? Besides his apparent lack of hygiene of any sort, he had never really shown any sign of illness. In fact, he always seemed rather resilient, especially after that string of curses that Sirius had sent his way about a month ago, earning himself two black eyes, a broken nose and a detention from Filch. Never did a prouder soul enter into the hospital wing - either for healing or scrubbing bed pans without magic. Remus smirked. Sirius had been brilliant.
Remus shook his head and came back to reality, which at the moment, was rather absurd. The Grim, having made its way to Snape, jumped up on its prey and...began licking the Slytherin’s long nose. Snape spluttered, looking horrified, and tried to push the beast away from him, but to no avail - the black paws held him firmly, and the great black tail was wagging rather enthusiastically.
Hold on a moment...black. Black! The sudden realization hit Remus like the proverbial Bludger to the head and he turned to James, trying to ask what was really a simple question, and failing spectacularly. James, however, looking rather resentful, yet oddly proud, nodded his head.
The Grim was Sirius.
They had succeeded. His friends had become Animagi. The past full moon had been his last lonely night.
Remus turned his head slowly in the direction of the spectacle. The students, having realized that the beast had been nothing more than an overly-friendly dog with a penchant for drooling on Slytherins, were now laughing at their peer’s misfortune, while the professors tried their hardest to hide their own grins. Only McGonagall shot out of her chair and began striding towards the Slytherin table, looking determined to stop all the fun. Sirius - the dog - turned his head her way and, wagging his tail, leapt off of Snape and ran towards the doors, running out just as they were about to slam in his face. McGonagall looked furious. Snape, Remus noticed, looked even more so. And everybody else was trying their hardest to not fall off their benches while laughing.
Remus decided that there was an acquaintance to be made. He got up and quickly left the Great Hall, bidding his quick goodbyes to James and Peter.
He found Sirius on his bed, holding his sides, wheezing and spluttering. Remus gathered that he was laughing.
“Sirius?” he asked cautiously. “You all right?”
“Remus!” Sirius choked on his own laughter and hiccoughed. “I didn’t hear you come in!” He looked strangely flushed now, probably from the laughter.
“Yeah, well, I saw you run in - great show, worth about a thousand galleons,” he smiled, sitting down next to his friend.
“You knew it was me?” Sirius asked, sounding disappointed. Remus nodded “How?”
“I’m not quite sure, actually. It was sort of just a feeling - I just knew.” He shrugged and looked down, feeling his cheeks heat up in an odd manner. “You were brilliant,” he added quietly.
“Yeah. Really.” Remus looked up once again and smiled a small smile. “I can’t believe you’ve done it. When did you finally manage it?”
“Last night,” Sirius answered, smiling back. Remus noted that the smile was somewhat goofy. Well, he was sure his wasn’t any better, anyway. “Peter needed some help, but we’ve all done it - James, Peter, me...” He began picking at his duvet. Remus nodded and for a moment, they were both quiet and busy de-linting Sirius’s bed. Finally, Remus smoothed the cover down and looked up. When did Sirius move so close? And since when was Hogwarts so bloody hot in October? He blinked a few times and tried to think of something to say. However, what he was feeling at the moment - gratitude, love, embarrassment, heat - was all so strange and new and yet old that he really didn’t think he could narrow it all down to just a few words.
“Sirius, I... I really don’t know how...how t-to...thank you,” he finally stammered. “For this.” He breathed out. There. He’d said at least some of it. He looked up at Sirius to find the other boy looking at him thoughtfully.
“You’re welcome,” he answered. “Anything for you.”
Remus felt himself flush for the thousandth time and ducked his head. He wasn’t sure what had made him do it, but the next moment, his hand crawled towards Sirius and his fingers tentatively touched the other boy’s hand. Sirius’s sweaty palm covered his within a second. They both squeezed lightly and relaxed.
It felt like some of what Remus had been feeling lately, and the fears that came with it, was now laid out in front of Sirius, who appeared to be taking it willingly. It was an odd feeling. Odd but good. And, after all, Halloween was nothing if not either one of those things.
He looked up and smiled. A brilliant smile answered him.
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