If there is one lesson that Remus Lupin has learned in life, it is that if you wish to survive you have to be able to roll with the punches. Unfortunately, after thirty eight years he is finding that he has become exceptionally weary of the practice.

It was not enough that some arbitrary fate had decided that he would be cursed with lycanthropy. This was something that he long ago came to accept and has learned to deal with on both a physical and emotional level, much the same way that anyone with a debilitating disease or physical condition learns to do. After all, the wolf was what he became, but it was not who he was, not inside, and he had always refused to let it define him as a man. He has even learned to accept the fact that he will quite likely to be shunned by anyone who finds out about it. People are frightened of that which they do not understand, and it is easier to reject outright than to attempt to reach an understanding. But for every dozen or hundred who shunned him, there would be one or two who accepted him, who had the grace to see beyond the curse to the soul who suffered from it. These people he has always prized with a devotion which makes the word "friendship" seem a pale and weak thing beside it. When Remus Lupin cares about someone, he cares with every fiber of his being.

Unfortunately, that very caring is what makes the loss of each comrade such an intensely soul destroying experience for him. He never believed that he, the werewolf who had not been expected to live through adolescence, would end up as the single surviving member of the Marauders... his friends, his brothers, his pack.

The events of a single night of madness almost eighteen years ago had driven him to the edge of suicide, maddened him with grief for the loss of almost everyone he loved in a single, cruel stroke. It had taken him many years to come to terms with it, to heal the ravages left from the death and betrayal that had left him so utterly and completely alone.

So when fate seemed to have finally given him a break by returning Sirius to him, Remus had been overjoyed. Losing his position at Hogwart's had hurt, as had Snape's unbelievable cruelty - but it had seemed a minor injury beside the overwhelming, unbelievable miracle of having Padfoot in his life again. An innocent Padfoot, who had not been the betrayer after all.They had lived together, worked together, and travelled together for two years, doing whatever tasks Dumbledore set for them.

Remus had helped heal the emotional and physical scars Sirius suffered in Azkaban, and Sirius had healed the loneliness in Remus's heart. It was at that point that their relationship changed, becoming even closer, until finally they had taken the step from being friends to being lovers... and Remus had, for the very first time in his life, allowed himself to dream of a future.

That was when fate, the ever fickle mistress, had once again ripped Sirius from him, and Remus felt like a part of his soul had been ripped out at the same time. He hides it well, but ever since Padfoot's death, he has mostly just been going through the motions of living. There is an emptiness within him, a void that nothing and no one seems to be able to fill...Except the wolf. And that frightens him more than anything else in the world.

He got through the end of the war primarily for vengeance, to see the end of those who had destroyed so much of his life. But the victory, for him, tastes of ashes, and the relief that many people feel as their world returns to normal is not something that he shares.

He occupies rooms at 12 Grimmauld Place, remaining mostly because it was the last place he and Sirius were together - plus the fact that he really has no where else to go. On the outside he seems much the same, perhaps quieter and sadder than he had been before, but still the same old reliable Lupin upon whom everyone can depend.

But he can feel something stirring inside him, something he hasn't told anyone - that in the darkest hours of the night, even when there is no moon, he can often feel the wolf within him begging to be set free.