By the end of that day, Sirius had 6 girls he had asked out (four said yes, two had been Slytherins who hated him) and 5 more to ask out. They met up with Remus and Peter in the Great Hall for Supper. Remus ate hurriedly and went to the hospital wing; Lily took his place with Annie right next to her.
“Where’s Remus off to in such a hurry?” Annie asked, watching as he hurried from the hall.
“Oh, he has an appointment of sorts,” said James.
“Yeah, it’s a monthly thing-owe!” Sirius said as James elbowed him in the ribs. “So, how do like being a member of us detention getters, Lily?” Sirius said, changing the subject.
“Ha ha, Sirius,” she said. Annie gave him a nasty look. Her new acceptance of James, and that was iffy as it was, did not extend to Sirius. Sirius just laughed.
“Have you seen Molly?” James asked the two girls, changing to a safer subject. Everyone immediately sobered.
“Yeah, she says she’s going to skip classes for the next few days, and I don’t blame her. She still wants to stay at school, but she isn’t ready for everyone offering their pity, yet. The wounds to fresh, you might say,” Annie said.
“Yeah, though she says hi to you James. She also says thank you for comforting her yesterday. It helped a lot,” Lily said. Annie nodded.
“That’s got to be horrible,” said Sirius.
“What?” said Peter, being the clueless guy he was.
“Loosing your family like that. I mean, she’s not even at home to get comfort from her parents. I know it was her choice to stay here, and I understand why she did, but I can’t imagine learning your brothers were gone like that. Just getting a letter or a notice, not having your parents there. I just think it would be awful,” Sirius said. The group was now very quiet and subdued, each lost in their own morbid thoughts of death and loss.
“We’d better head up to the common room,” Remus said, breaking the silence. Everyone jumped and looked around. The only people left were the stragglers and those who had had detention, so they had been late.
“Yeah, let’s,” said Annie. They slowly got up and left, still silent and still thinking.
Annie had been lucky enough to have no one she loved die, not even in the war. She couldn’t imagine going through that, knowing that you would never see those you loved again. She knew Lily’s story, and thought that was awful. She thought Molly’s was worse. Molly had lost two people, two brothers that she was very close to. Annie was thankful she had never had to go through that, and hoped it would be a long time before she did.
Remus had lost an uncle and distant cousin to the war, and he missed them a bit. He hadn’t really known them. Most of the family had tended to stay away after he got the bite, and he didn’t blame them. He would have felt horrible had he infected his cousins. The thing he had lost, and missed the most, was a normal life. A life without fear of the full moon and transfigurations. A normal life was what Remus would never have.
Sirius wasn’t close to his family. They despised him and he was sure he had been blasted off the family tree, but he didn’t care. James was much more of a brother than Regulus had been. Mrs. Potter was much more of a mother to him than his own had been. He didn’t have a father figure, since Mr. Potter had died, but he still thought of Mr. Potter as his figure. He hadn’t really known Mr. Potter too well, as the Blacks and the Potters generally didn’t get along, but he knew James. And if James loved Mr. Potter, than he would have too.
Peter was thinking of bed longingly, as he had only his mother and his father, and they were both alive and healthy. He had three powerful friends, he had his health and life, and he had his family, he didn’t need much more.
James and Lily were thinking of Molly, both having known her better than the others. James knew her because she was a family friend, Molly knew her because she was a prefect and they had been assigned together a lot last year. They each felt her loss, James more acutely than Lily because he had known the boys, and they felt bad for her.
“Twitterwit,” both Annie and Sirius said as they reached the portrait, then they glared at each other. They hated doing anything alike, even it was just saying the password.
They entered in and took some seats by the fire. James, Sirius, and Remus were sharing a couch, Peter and Annie were on chairs, and Lily was alone on a love seat. They mainly stared into the fire, thinking. A few minutes of this was too much for Peter, who got up and said, “I’m going to go study, I got extra homework,” and went on up to the dormitory. Sirius got up and left, not able to handle the sad atmosphere either.
Lily and James got up to go check on the prefects, having nothing better to do. They found Tonks and Abbot doing fine, so started to head on up. Lily suddenly slapped her forehead and said, “What time is it?”
James checked his watch, raising an eyebrow at Lily, and said, “It’s 7:25, Lily, what-where are you going?” he said as she suddenly took off down the corridor in the opposite direction of Gryffindor Tower.
“Detention in Greenhouse two,” Lily called back over her shoulder, she missed James suddenly paling.
“Go straight there, Lily, and straight back when this is over,” he called, but she gave no sign he heard her. He sprinted up to the common room and up to his dorm. Time for the cloak and map to come out.
“Peter,” he panted as he got there and saw Peter with his books spread out around him, “why aren’t you headed out?”
“Too much homework,” he grumbled.
“So you can’t go?” James asked. Peter nodded and James said, “good.”
“What!” exclaimed Peter.
“Listen, Peter, Lily has detention,” James said.
“I know, I was there-” Peter said.
“Tonight,” James cut him off. Peter fell silent.
“Tonight?” Peter finally managed to get out. Not tomorrow?” James shook his head.
“Has Sirius headed out?” he asked, Peter nodded. “Go down to the common room and do your homework at one of the tables, wait until Lily gets up here. Make sure she’s sake, okay?” he asked, then grabbed the cloak, map, and left without waiting for an answer.
As soon as James hit the grounds he transformed into a glorious stag. The full moon was up and he headed straight for the Whomping Willow. As soon as he got there, he transformed back and checked the map. Sirius and Remus had just entered the view and would soon be exiting from the Whomping Willow, so James quickly transformed. He did not want to be a tempting target for Remus.
He waited and was soon greeted by a howl coming from an opening in the tree. Soon, a werewolf and a big, black dog were romping around the willow. James cut in and sent the werewolf into the forest with a powerful kick or two. The dog growled, and was suddenly not a dog.
“What in the world did you do that for, James?” Sirius asked angrily. He had a cut above his eye.
“Lily had detention tonight in Greenhouse two, Sirius. We have to keep Moony away,” James said. It was just light enough for James to see his friends blanch.
“Tonight? In Greenhouse two? This is bad James, real bad,” Sirius said, a note of panic in his voice. James nodded.
“I know, Sirius. I have the cloak and the map with me for those reasons,” James said.
“Where’s Peter?” said Sirius, just noticing the absence of their friend.
“Homework,” answered James. “Sirius, do you think you could handle Moony for tonight. I want to go watch Lily and make sure she gets in safe.”
“Are you sure you just don’t want to watch her, Prongs?” asked Sirius, smiling. James didn’t smile.
“Now is no time to joke, Padfoot. Be serious for once, Sirius,” James said with a bit of bite. Sirius was never serious, a quality that James loved most of the time. But there were times to be serious, but Padfoot just didn’t understand that.
“Sorry, James,” Sirius said huffily.
“Now, can you handle Moony on your own?” James asked, he looked nervously at the moon.
“Yes, of course. Not even a werewolf is too tough for Sirius Black to handle,” he said, flexing his muscles in a way that made even James laugh.
“Fine. I’ll go and wait by the greenhouses while-“ he cut off, his blood going cold as he heard a wolf howl. He had only heard Remus howl like that once before, when he gave them the slip and almost bit someone. The only person out right now was Lily. He checked the map, to be sure, and sure enough saw a dot labeled Remus Lupin heading for a dot labeled Lily Evans. “Sirius, we-”He started, but Sirius knew what he was going to say and had already transformed. He was heading for the greenhouses as fast as his four legs could carry him. James transformed and galloped after him, going very fast, but still unable to catch up to the dog.
Lily was just coming out of the greenhouses when the howl went up. It sent a shiver along her spine and made her look up. She froze, stunned by what she saw. She was too afraid to move.
Coming right towards her was a werewolf. A huge, horrible, glowing-eyed wereworlf. She wanted to scream, but no sound would come out. Suddenly a huge, black dog jumped out of the shadows and hit the werewolf at full run. They both fell over, snarling and biting. The werewolf was bigger and stronger, it was also hungry, it flung the dog aside. It walked menacingly towards her. She wanted to walk, to run, but a connection seemed to have gotten lost between her legs and her brain. She couldn’t move. She couldn’t talk. She couldn’t do anything but stare at the monster that was about to kill her.
A stag charged the werewolf. A beautiful stag, the moon glinting off its glassy coat. It was bucking at the werewolf, which backed away from its powerful legs. It was charging the werewolf, head down and antlers bristling. The stag was in the werewolfs way. It wanted her, and Lily was so scared she didn’t even have time to contemplate the strange actions of the dog or the werewolf. The werewolf raised a paw and swatted at the stag, as if it was nothing more that a fly, and sent if flying. Lily heard ribs crack. The dog was there before she could blink, and it attacked with a new force of will that stunned her. It apparently stunned the werewolf as well, because it headed back into the forest. For how long, Lily didn’t know.
The dog walked over to the stag, and sat down beside it. It licked the stags face, and suddenly wasn’t a dog. It was Sirius black. Lily didn’t know whether she was seeing things or not. She pinched her arm, to make sure she wasn’t dreaming. She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, and she was utterly confused. First a werewolf, than she was rescued by a huge dog and a stag, then the stag turned out to be Sirius black. What was going on?
“Sirius?” she asked, he ignored her, concentrating instead on the stag. She heard him talking to it.
“Can you hear me? Show me you can hear me. If Moony killed you, I’ll kill him. Wake up! Transform! Do something!” he was muttering, talking quietly and nervously. Her mind stuck on the word transform. Was the stag…could it be…was it another person? Perhaps even James?
“Sirius, what-” she gasped as the stag transformed into James Potter. A very pained James Potter.
“Sirius, you idiot, you’re letting Moony go around on his own,” James said, trying to be his normal, joking self. The pain in his voice ruined the effect.
“But I’m not leaving you. How will you be safe if I go?” Sirius asked. Lily wondered the same thing.
“I can still transform. It won’t be too hard to get Lily and me up to the castle, with the cloak and the map. You just worry about keeping Moony away from us and uncaught,” James said, sitting up with a groan.
“But, mate-” Sirius said, concerned.
“Just go, Sirius!” James said. Sirius took one last look at James and was abruptly running off into the night as a big, black dog.
“James Potter, what is going on?” Lily asked, crossing her arms. He stood up on his own, and bent double with pain. She mentally chided herself for not helping him up.
“I suggest we discuss this someplace safe,” he said, and as if to affirm his words, a howl went up. Lily didn’t need anything else to tell her to get going. “Wait!” he said as she set off. She did, nervously looking around. He reached in his cloak and brought out a bit of cloth. He handed it to her, saying, “Put this on.” She put the cloak on and found that the material was smoother that silk and lighter than air. How was this supposed to help her? As if reading her thoughts, James said, “Look at your feet.” She did, and gasped. I was an invisibility cloak!
“Where-” she began excited.
“Let’s just get inside,” James said, and he started limping up to the castle. She looked at him and came to a decision.
“Get under here, James Potter,” she said. He turned and gave her an exasperated look.
“Lily-” he said.
“No, James. You’re hurt, under or I am staying here.” He came under, muttering something that sounded suspiciously like, “women.”
They got up to the castle with safety, and James pulled off the cloak. “In here,” he said, pointing at a broom closet.
“James Potter, if you think I will snog,” Lily began angrily, then she saw James’s pained smile.
“To explain, Lily, I need a place away from listening ears.” She nodded and entered. He told her everything. How the werewolf was actually Remus Lupin, how he had found out, how he, Peter, and Sirius had turned into illegal animagi, and what animals they all were. He briefly described their adventures and told about how they had come to write the marauders map. By the time he was done, she was stunned. She still had one more question.
“Where did you get the cloak?” she asked, fingering the material.
His reply was so quiet he almost missed it. “It was my dads.”
She dropped the material and looked at him. He wasn’t looking at her. She knew this cloak must mean a lot to him.
“James Potter, you need to go to the hospital wing,” she said. He looked at her.
“Lily, you need to understand-” he said.
“This is all a secret? I won’t tell, James, though what you did is dangerous. Look at how close I came to being bitten. I am sure I am not the first. It was brilliant, loyal, kind, and stupid. Now, let’s go,” she hauled him up, and heard his intake of breath. They walked to the hospital wing arm in arm.
“So, Mr. Potter, what have you been doing lately?” said Madam Pirtletonn. She was examining the cut on his forehead.
“The usual,” James said. Madam Pirtletonn only nodded.
“I will be seeing Black and Pettigrew in here as well?” she asked.
“Just Black, Pettigrew…went to bed early,” he said, the pause was barely noticeable.
“Well, you look fine, but I would like to keep you overnight. Miss Evans, thank you for bringing him, but I suggest you go to bed,” Madam Pirtletonn said. Lily nodded and headed out, yawning.
This secret was a big responsibility, but it also gave her more new insight into James Potter. She was liking this new James Potter, liking him a whole lot. Right as she passed a window, a werewolf howled on the grounds. She looked up and saw the full moon. She smiled. The truth, while a burden, was worth knowing.
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