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Chapter 9: First change
I obviously forgot to mention my dear friend Moony’s “furry little problem”. You see, Remus is a werewolf. I know, I know, Remus? A werewolf?! But it’s true. To make things a little easier for him, we, Peter, James, Sirius and I, became Animagi in our fifth year (also the year we finished the Marauders’ Map, a magical map of Hogwarts that is pure genius.).
James tried to talk me out of going again this time (which he had done last month, but only because I was feeling really sick and had tons of homework) but there’s no way I was missing again. I could tell he and Remus were worried about me transforming with my cancer, but how were we supposed to find out if it was bad or not without me trying it?
The first time we transformed is was so weird. Walking on four legs? Not the easiest thing to learn how to do, and very awkward at first.
The Night of the First Transformation
Remus was so nervous about us becoming Animagi. He was flat against it at first, but we told him we were doing it with or without his help. He gave in eventually. When we finished the potion, we couldn’t wait. All of us were so excited.
Remus put his foot down with a firm hand. “We’re trying this thing before the full moon, understand? I don’t want any bloody accidents.”
“Duh, Moony!” James said, grinning.
That night, we snuck out under the invisibility cloak (not an easy feat, there being five of us, me holding four vials of potion, and one invisibility cloak).
We eventually made it to the Shrieking Shack, and we all immediately noticed how torn apart the place was. Remus flushed a little as James said, “You’ve done a job on this, haven’t you mate?”
We shuffled in and stood in a circle in the bedroom, where it looked like Remus did his main transformation by the extent of the damage. Once we were ready, we nodded and lifted our vials.
“Cheers.” James said. We clanked out vials together carefully and down them in one.
When we were done swallowing, Remus came around and tapped us each on the head with his wand, saying “Animorphagus”.
Everyone says that becoming an Animagus is hard, but the hardest parts of it are the first few transformations, and getting the potion right. The potion is severely complex, and if you mess up even the simplest, tiniest detail when making it, you’re screwed. It takes a bit longer than six months to make it (which was even more difficult because what we were doing was illegal and had to be hidden very carefully). The transformation bit is difficult the first few tries because you need to learn how to control it. You need to get in the right mindset before you can do it. Sort of let go of all your thoughts and just let your body take over.
We stood there, looking at each other, for a good ten minutes before Peter spoke up. “Maybe we didn’t do it right?”
Sirius looked disappointed but James look determined, “Pete, how are we supposed to clear our minds if you’re talking?”
We all closed our eyes and focused. It seemed like about a half an hour before Remus let out a yelp and my eyes shot open.
Sirius was mid transformation and suddenly, instead of the good looking boy that was there, a big, black shaggy dog stood in his place.
James burst out laughing, clutching his stomach. Sirius barked. This made James laugh harder. “You-you’re a dog!”
Sirius growled at him and suddenly he was transforming back. “Let’s see you do better then!” Sirius shouted at him indignantly.
James closed his eyes, and as quick as can be, he began to transform, and suddenly, there stood a stag.
It was Sirius’ turn to laugh now. “You’re a deer!”
James changed back with a disgusted look on his face. “I’m a stag, you mutt!”
Sirius snickered, “Whatever, Deerboy.”
James tackled Sirius into a head lock and during their kafuffle, Peter whimpered a bit, and he transformed into a rat.
James and Sirius paused, James’ head under Sirius’ arm now and watched in awe. Peter changed back and they stopped what they were doing and walked over. “Hey, Pete! You’re a rat!”
They all turned to look at me. James had joked a couple months ago that it would be hilarious if I turned into a tree. He found this positively hysterical and I had called him an idiot at the time, but now I worried, not that I would turn into a tree, but that I wouldn’t turn into something cool or useful.
The sensation started at my head. It was a feeling like your skin started fizzing. The sensation spread, and I start shrinking down, and my bones changed, and suddenly I was on all fours, and the boys were staring at me in awe.
“That’s definitely not a tree.” James whispered, his mouth hanging open. It would’ve been comical had I not been wondering what the hell everyone was staring at so funnily and what I was.
I moved to the left slowly. I could feel my powerful back muscles shift up and down and my shoulder blades move easily. I looked down, and noticed that I had big, powerful looking paws with claws on them. I turned my head around and saw that I had a long tail, and that my fur was a silky, dark red brown colour. I moved towards the boys, who were still staring and they backed up a bit.
The fizzing started again, and as quick as I had transformed, I was back on two feet and looking at them questioningly. “What’s wrong?”
“You’re just a really big, slightly menacing jungle cat is all.” James said, with an air of incredulity.
“Probably a lynx, by the look of you.” Remus added.
“That awesome.” I said, smiling widely.
After that, their nicknames (Prongs, Padfoot and Wormtail) were established over the course of a few weeks. Our first night, which was a couple nights after the first transformation, was almost unbearable, only because it was the first time the rest of us had to see Remus in the extreme pain that he’s in when he transforms.
The first full moon went without a hitch, so Remus was finally okay with us being there, and even got a little excited about the planning on our monthly “excursions”.
And now today would be my first full moon since I got sick, or at least, found out I was sick. I knew that James was going to be over attentive and I flashed him a dirty look as he sent me a cautious one, just before we transformed.
Remus groaned in pain as we watched him, knowing we could do nothing but wanting to do everything. He yelled out in pain and gritted his teeth against a full blown scream. It always felt like hours, and tonight was no different. Each crack of a bone I winced at, each scream I held my breath. When it was finally over, the wolf Remus was heaving, his body big, his ribs showing. He looked up and did the same thing he did every time: he sniffed each of us. Then came the recognition in the wolf’s eyes, which were the things Remus got to keep in the transformation.
It was a windy, October night. You could tell that summer had ended and fall was starting up. The stars were out, only a few clouds cluttered the sky. We played around a bit, what James called “wrestling”. We did basically what animals did when they played with each other; not too rough, but rough enough. I biffed Sirius over the head and looked around for Remus.
We were always very careful to keep close eye on Remus; if he took one step too close towards the school or Hogsmeade, we led him back in any way possible. We had had to be a little rougher with Remus a couple times because he got too aggressive, or he had tried more than once to make his way towards Hogsmeade, which of course, could’ve been a disaster if we hadn’t been there.
Remus felt bad sometimes, because Dumbledore had built the Shrieking Shack to make sure Remus didn’t hurt anyone. Dumbledore had to convince some of the Ministry that Remus was responsible with his “furry little problem”, and that he wasn’t a danger. “Gallivanting around outside like it was nothing” made Remus feel like he was abusing Dumbledore’s trust. No matter how many precautions we took.
We never had a problem. Okay, that was a lie. We once had one problem. A problem that we never bring up because of how it makes everyone feel. Sirius didn’t mean any harm really; he just wanted to scare Snape. Remus was furious with him, wouldn’t talk to him for weeks and even James and I wouldn’t talk to him. He was really sorry. He regretted it so much.
Anyways, even though James hated Snape, he couldn’t not save his life when he found out. James rushed and caught him just in time, but Snape still figured out Remus’ secret. Snape was ordered into silence by Dumbledore.
Suddenly, Sirius gave a frustrated growl and I looked where he was growling towards and noticed Remus running towards the grounds.
‘Oh for goodness sake! How many times do we have to go over this?!’ I rolled my eyes and ran towards Remus and cut in front of him. I pushed my big paws off his chest and he growled a bit; half playfully half slightly frustrated. We made our way back to the group and began moving deeper into the forest that was near the Shrieking Shack.
Peter was running in between our feet as we ran into the forest, dodging trees. Remus howled playfully and I whipped my head around as I felt a body crash into me. Sirius was running up beside me, a wolfish grin on his face and his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. Sirius barked lightheartedly and it made me giggle, thinking again that his bark sounded like his laugh.
Suddenly awful, rattling growls were emitting from in front of us, and we turned to find Remus, standing in front of the group of us protectively, and seven surprisingly big wolves creeping out of the darkness of the woods.
Remus started barking, horribly angry barks as he launched himself closer to them, all the while trying to protect us.
I didn’t know what to do, but I did know that I needed to get Remus out of there. James backed up, him being the first animal out of all of us that the wolves would want to eat. I moved towards Remus slowly and suddenly, the wolves attacked.
It felt like they were everywhere. Everything was quick and a flurry. My feline senses usually made everything easier, but because they made me on the defense, my senses were on a haywire. I could hear Remus and Sirius snarling and gnashing their teeth. I could hear James’ hooves, but when I tried to look for him I couldn’t find him. I was trying to not step on Peter as I fought off a wolf, but each one seemed to just keep coming back. Peter was trying to gnaw at their heels the best he could. It was a mess and I was scared.
I biffed the wolf in front of my around the head and it stumbled slightly. I pounced and pinned it against the ground and was going for its shoulder when I was tackled off of the wolf and I found myself in reverse positions. The other wolf had me pinned and it launched, missing my throat my inches and sinking its teeth into my muscly shoulder. I heard myself as a cat cry out in pain. The wolf dragged its paws down my front and my torso as I struggled to get free. I could smell blood everywhere and I could feel my head wanting to explode as I kicked my hind legs and the wolf flew off me.
There was a loud, drawn out howl and suddenly the wolves were lumbering and limping back into the forest and as quick as they had appeared, they were gone.
I lay on the ground, panting, and laughing inside my head at the fact that the first time I’m out for a full moon that something goes wrong, and that James was right.
I began to get up, whimpering slightly in pain. I looked around and counted four animals and I sighed in relief to see they weren’t too badly marked up. James had a few scratches on his hide and legs, Sirius’ nose was bleeding and he looked a bit shaken up. Remus had a few scratches on his arms and Peter looked fine.
I stumbled over to them, limping horribly on my front right paw because my right shoulder was the one bitten. I could feel the blood dripping from my torso down my front legs and it was unpleasant.
Sirius whined when he saw me and pushed his muzzle against my side in concerned question. I slumped to the ground, my head swimming with dizziness. He pushed me up with his head so that I was somewhat standing, and then held his body close to me so I could lean on him. James quickly made his way to the other side of me and stood close too.
We made our way out of the forest and noticed the sky getting lighter; dawn would soon be here. We led a tired Remus back into the Shrieking Shack and exited through the trail. As soon as we were out we transformed into humans.
I gasped in pain and Sirius placed me on the ground and the rushed to either side of me, Peter at my feet.
“We’ve got to get her upstairs!” Sirius said frantically.
“God, it’s just a scratch.” I murmured, getting up. I clutched my side and winced. “Are you a wizard? Just do some magic and heal me up.”
“God you are so stubborn.” Peter muttered. I flashed him a smile.
“I wouldn’t have to be so stubborn if you guys stopped treating me like a girl and started treating me like one of the Marauders again.” I pointedly stared at each of them.
James waved his wand and said a few incantations and I felt my wounds seal up slowly, until I only had little pink scars.
“God, I wish it was a weekend.” Sirius whined childlike.
I laughed. “You are such a tosspot.” I pushed him into the wall.
Then again, I completely agreed with him. We’d only be able to get about four hours of sleep at this point. We made our way up the dormitory steps and climbed into bed after healing each other’s minor scrapes and bruises. I again slept in James’ bed. I snuggled down and faced Sirius’ bed. To find Sirius staring at me. He grinned, winked and closed his eyes.
“Wolves.” Remus shook his head in shock. It was lunch time the next day and I was half falling asleep. All of us were. Remus looked worn out like usual as he lay in his hospital bed.
“Were the others hurt?”
Sirius, Peter and James had popped in just to see if Remus was all right and then apologized, saying they were so tired they were taking their lunch to nap. They most definitely were going to sleep through their next class if I didn’t wake them up.
“Not really, just a few scratches here and there. Peter surprisingly wasn’t hurt at all practically. I think I got the most of it. A bite and a few deep claw marks, but I’m okay.” I gave him a smile, pushing back my hair and collar of my shirt to show him the still pink scars from the bite on my right shoulder.
“God, I’m sorry.” He shook his head sadly.
“Please,” I laughed sarcastically. “It wasn’t your fault the wolves came. I’m surprised there were even in that forest; animals are never in that forest!”
He shrugged. “Maybe you should stay back next time.” Remus kept his gaze on his hands in his laugh.
I groaned. “Not you too!” I stood up from my seat and began pacing, rubbing my forehead hard with my hand.
“It could’ve been much worse last night Tree. You could’ve died!”
I looked at him. “I’m dying Remus. This is what I live for! Being with you guys! Keeping me from what we regularly do is just going to make the time I have left dreadful! Please, let this be the last time you bring this up. Any of you. I’m getting so tired of it!” I huffed and sat back down in my seat.
Remus looked at me seriously, and slowly a smile that he was trying so hard to hide broke his face and he started laughing.
I scowled amusedly. “What?”
“Where y-you rubbed your forehead. You’ve got a big red mark. When you were yelling at me all I could think was how you being angry and at the same time so ridiculous was hilarious.”
I began to laugh and the conversation was changed.
Remus was okay to leave around dinner, so I met up with him at the hospital wing and made our way to meet the boys in the Great Hall.
“You didn’t miss much in class today, Moony. We had some homework in Charms, but it’s just practice the Metamorph spell.” We walked down the corridor towards the Great Hall. “Of course, you’ll have it down in no time at all, Mr. Smartypants.”
We sat down finally, the boys telling Remus that they were glad his Aunt was feeling better (our code for when Remus leaves for a full-moon-rest day).
I noticed Lils was sitting beside James, and they were awfully close. I gave Lily and eyebrow raise and she giggled, blushing and looking down. I sent her a wink and thumbs up.
“What are you grinning about?” Peter asked me.
“Oh you know, just happy Remus is back!” I covered. I could understand why Lily and James wanted to keep it a secret. I mean, if I didn’t, I would kind of be a hypocrite, wouldn’t I?
Everything was going fine, but then Rebecca just had to make her way up to us.
“Hey, Siri baby.” She said in a disgustingly sweet voice. Rebecca “nudged” Alice Carlisle, a sixth year girl, over about a foot and sat beside Sirius.
“Hi Rebecca.” I said, in an even sweeter voice. She sent me a dirty look.
“Hello Rebecca.” Sirius sent me a smile and I gave him one back.
“Haven’t seen you much lately.” She said, pouting. Rebecca linked her arm in with his, kind of disabling his ability to eat.
Sirius dropped his spoon noisily. “I’m trying to eat, Rebecca. Not to be rude, or maybe to be, what do you want exactly?”
“Oh, someone’s grumpy today.” She said, smirking. “Let me fix it. Later tonight? My dorm?”
“Rebecca, I’ve tried being nice. But now I’m tired of this. I will never go out with you. I told you.” He said, with an air of frustration.
“Oh Siri, don’t be that way.” Rebecca now surprisingly, looked a bit embarrassed and pleading. “I’m the hottest girl in the school, you’re the hottest guy. We were meant to be together.”
All of us snorted at this point.
“That depends on different people’s opinions actually.” James said, kind of under his voice.
I grinned as I watched Lily throw him a little smile.
“I can show you. I can be much better than this girl.” Rebecca said slyly.
Peter, Remus, James and Lily sent Sirius questioning looks.
“Wait, what?” James asked. “What girl? What the bloody hell is going on?”
“You told Rebecca and not James?” Remus demanded, a shocked yet disturbed look on his face.
“Wow, don’t I feel special.” Rebecca smirked. “Is this girl really so special? If she was so great why do you keep her such a secret? Ashamed?”
“Of course not!” Sirius looked affronted. “I would never be ashamed of her.” Sirius turned his head slightly towards me.
“Jesus, I’ve never heard you talk about a girl like this before. Why the bloody hell didn’t you tell me?! James said, looking upset.
“It’s a long story. Complicated at best.” Sirius said apologetically.
“You tell Rebecca Snoove, before me?” James said rudely.
“Jesus, say my name like it’s a disease why don’t you?” Rebecca shot at James.
“Yeah, basically.” James agreed.
Rebecca began to retort when Sirius lost it.
“I love Tree!” He said loudly. Loud enough to be heard over the conversation, and loud enough to knock my heart up into my throat.
Everything went quiet. The only one who didn’t look shocked enough to have a heart attack was Remus, who of course, was giving me a smug look.
Lily, Rebecca, Peter and James were looking back and forth from me to Sirius with very comically shocked looks on their faces. I stifled my laughter, because now was not a really good time to laugh.
“Excuse me- what?” James said bluntly.
“I’m in love with Trina.” He looked at me.
Hearing him say that to everyone made me feel lightheaded, but in such a good way that I couldn’t keep the massive grin off my face. Sirius looked relieved, seeing that I wasn’t angry and he sent me a grin as well, taking my hand in his and intertwining our fingers.
“I’m going to- go.” Rebecca said awkwardly, and she stood up and went back over to her table.
“Thank god she’s gone.” Sirius said, turning back to look at the group.
“Wait, so you just said that you loved Tree so she would go away?” James leaned in so that he wouldn’t be overheard.
It felt like longer, but it took about a millisecond. You could see the options spinning through both me and Sirius’ head, and we were both waiting for someone to make the decision. Remus was giving me a disappointed face and I knew he wanted the truth to be out. But I had told Sirius that I didn’t want anyone to know. If we were going to use this as a cover, everyone would believe we were in love, except the group, who would know that Sirius and I “weren’t serious”. But that would be lying to our friends… I was torn.
I made the decision eventually and I initially came to the conclusion after remembering what I had said to Remus. I was sick and tired of lying. One less lie would do me some good.
“No,” I paused. “Sirius and I are actually- a couple.” I said, squeezing his hand and giving him a reassuring smile. Again, he looked relieved and he kissed me on the cheek.
“Would you mind telling since WHEN?! It’s not like I’m your best friends or anything.” He crossed his arms.
Sirius opened his mouth to continue but I put my free hand up. “It’s not Sirius’ fault. It’s mine. I didn’t want anyone to know because I wanted to know whether or not we had something- real. I didn’t want to be one of those girls who dated Sirius just for a day and have everyone know about it.”
“Wow.” Lily’s eyes grew three sizes. “Does that mean you think you have something- ‘real’?”
“Definitely.” Sirius said, and he kissed the top of my head.
Remus began playing the imaginary violin. James began singing, “Looooooove is in the aaaiiiirrrr.” He looked at Lily while he sang it and she smacked his shoulder, pretending to be annoyed but she flushed with pleasure.
“Jesus, things have changed.” Peter said, shaking his head with a smile on his face.
“Change isn’t so bad, Pete.” Sirius said, smiling down at me. I stuck my tongue out at him.
“Not bad at all.”