When Lupin is asked to go underground with the Werewolves, no one understands exactly what that means. (This is not a ship fic.)
Lupin slumped in his chair, one hand rubbing at his forehead distractedly. Slowly he stood, straightening his threadbare jacket as he did so. He nodded at Dumbledore and turned to go. There was nothing else to be said.
As he walked toward the door, Dumbledore stopped him. "Remus, it would probably be best if you didn't have contact with ... certain people for a while."
Remus, not bothering to turn around, nodded his head once to indicate he understood and continued out the door.
"Nymphadora, we've had this argument before. I'm too old, too poor, too ... I just can't be what you need. I'm going away for a while ... it'll be a good time for you to think about this and realize I'm right."
The pink had drained from Tonks' hair, along with the blood from her face at Lupin's words. "I don't care about any of that! I don't know what I have to do to get you to believe me ... I love you. You don't have to go away like this ..."
Lupin struggled for a minute, then the weary frustration fell away from his face, replaced by a utterly blank expression. "I'm sorry. I do." He turned and walked out the door, leaving Tonks standing alone in the middle of the room, her arms wrapped around herself, her dull brown hair framing her tear-stained face.
Lupin paused at the edge of the Black Forest. He understood too well what it was he had to do. He simply had to convince the pack of werewolves led by Greyback not to kill him on sight. If he managed to accomplish that, he then had to convince them to trust him, to ignore the trappings of the Wizarding World that he had been living in for years and believe that he was giving it all up to join them.
And hardest of all, he had to convince them that siding with Voldemort wasn't a good idea, something he didn't entirely believe himself. Why shouldn't they side with the ones who were willing to give them more freedom than the Wizarding World had ever saw fit to give?
It was a suicide mission, he thought bitterly. Dumbledore knew how dangerous it was when he asked Lupin to do it, but Remus had only considered for a moment before accepting. Dumbledore had given him a job, trusted him with students, when no one else would. Beside, if something happened to him, well, that just meant that Tonks would move on and find someone more suitable, he thought wryly.
With that thought, he entered the Black Forest, without another glance for what he was leaving behind.
Lupin had been hanging around the edges of the pack for two weeks now, trying to initiate contact with some of other lesser werewolves. They hadn't accepted him yet, but they hadn't driven him away, either. But tonight would be the real test - the night of the full moon. He had overheard plans to attack a small nearby village, and he knew his actions would be watched tonight.
He had carried some Wolfsbane Potion into the forest and hidden it in a nearby copse of trees. He knew he would need to be able to keep his wits about him, to keep from being injured or weakened, for that would invite a quick death here.
As dusk fell, he followed the others at a distance to right outside the village. As the moon rose, angry yelps and snarls grew around him as the others transformed. His snarling joined the din as he transformed, his flesh twisting and melding in a familiar dance of pain.
The transformation complete, his bright eyes looked around as the other wolves took off into the village. Already he could smell blood, his sharpened hearing picking up the screams of terror. He dropped to all fours, loping off toward the village, feeling the eyes of one wolf in particular watching him.
As he rounded the corner of one house, he saw a small girl kneeling over the bloodied body of a woman, weeping and clutching at the lifeless shape. Movement nearby caught his eye, and he started forward as he saw another werewolf approach the untouched girl, his instincts screaming at him to save her. Then he stopped suddenly, his hackles rising as he sensed another presence, eyes boring holes into his back.
And he knew what he had to do.
As the first wolf snatched the screaming girl up to mark her as one their own, it took everything in him to turn and walk away.