torch, flambeau@strangeplaces.net
December 18, 2001

Disclaimer: It's all Ces' fault. She can take it up with Mr. Whedon and Ms. Rowling. This is one of the Canadian shacks. I honestly can't remember who edited which shack, so thanks to the hive mind. Do not archive this without permission.

Shack 12

He rolled to his feet as the door opened, out of sleep and into wakefulness. His skin prickled with awareness of the waxing moon. "They told me no one else would be here," he said, and then he took a deep breath and every hair on the back of his neck stood up.

The young man who had walked in through the door stood very still. He was slightly built, under the layers of bulky Muggle winter clothing, and his eyes were watchful. "Janey said that?" He pulled off a glove. There was purple polish on his short nails. "Figures. Oz."

"What?"

"My name. Oz."

"Oh." He moved forward, instinct at war with courtesy. "I'm Remus. Are you with the wolfwatch program?"

"In a way."

Oz stretched out his hand, Remus took it, and they both snarled. Their eyes met and locked together, and the stare lasted for long, hot moments. Remus hissed and made his fingers loosen their grip, one at a time. They each took a step back, eyeing each other warily.

Very slowly, Oz tipped his head back and to one side. Remus let his breath out and closed his eyes. "You don't have to do that," he said.

"Well." Oz pulled off the other glove. "You're older. And bigger."

"This is your territory."

"Not really." Oz unzipped his coat, and Remus took it, hanging it with his own. "I'm just passing through."

"So am I."

"I guessed. The Britishness is kind of a giveaway." Stepping out of his boots, Oz walked towards the iron stove. Remus had spread his bedroll in the warmest place he could find. "I woke you."

"I wasn't sleeping very well." His dreams had been a confused jumble of rats and dogs chasing each other through a dark forest. "I'm not used to the," he almost said 'Muggle clothing,' "sound of the wind."

"You can't sleep in jeans." Oz began to unbutton his own. "Only drunk people sleep in jeans."

Remus nodded. All clothes felt wrong and confining when his skin tingled like this, and he saw the same feeling in the way Oz moved. He stripped down until the chill began to numb the sensation. "Was it recent?" he asked, not sure why except that Oz smelled new.

"A few years. You?"

"I was a child."

Thirty years of bones pulled out of alignment and thoughts skewed out of true. He turned and barely kept himself from another growl as Oz got into his bedroll, putting his scent on the blankets.

Oz reached up. "Come here."

The heat of skin against skin was alien enough to be terrifying, and the scent went straight to the darkest part of his brain. Remus felt a craving that seemed to belong equally in his human self and his wolf self, and he shook his head. "I'm not sure this is such a good idea."

"It's all right." Oz tipped his head back again, sweet pale throat, and his eyes grew narrow and languid. "We can't hurt each other."

And it was true.

* * *

shacks || buffy & angel || harry potter || e‑mail