Chapter 3 : The Cat's Out of the Bag
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******Chapter Three: The Cat’s out of the bag******
“Oh, no!” Alice cried, “No, no, no!”
She and Lily were running down the marble staircase one mid-September night.
“There he is!” Lily yelled, pointing to the small ball of gray fur at the foot of the staircase. They had been sprinting after Alice’s kitten, Sebastian, for going on twenty minutes. Sebastian looked up at them and scampered across the floor, out the open entrance doors and out into the night.
“Aaah! No!” Alice screeched, now standing at the bottom of the staircase. “He’s going to get lost!”
“Alice!” said Lily, grabbing her friend by the arms. “We can’t go out there, it’s against-,”
“But…,” Alice’s face scrunched and she began to cry. Lily relaxed her grip and put and arm around her over emotional friend.
“I cant believe Sarah let him out.” Alice sobbed between gasping breaths. “I’m never going to see him again! He’s going to be eaten! Or k-killed! And… he’s only a baby!”
“Sarah didn’t mean to let him out!” Lily said, as Alice continued crying.
“I only got him this summer!”
Alice was hysterical. Lily sighed. “Okay let’s go.”
Alice’s face immediately brightened. Lily let go of Alice’s arm and they sprinted out the door.
It was pitch black outside, and freezing. The only light was coming from the full moon in the sky. Lily and Alice looked around but saw no cat.
“Where’d he go? I can’t find him!” Alice cried hysterically, tears rolling down her face again.
“Um… okay…you go this way- I’ll go that way.” Lily ordered. Alice nodded and they took off in separate directions.
“Lumos.” Lily muttered as she ran. The tip of her wand lit and light flooded the grass in front of her. Then she spotted him, the fluffy gray ball was scuttling down a hill into the forbidden forest.
“Sebastian!” Lily yelled, her long red hair billowing behind her, desperately wishing she had a cloak. “Come back, you stupid cat!”
Sebastian had disappeared into the trees. Lily groaned as she ran into the forest after him. Alice owed her big time for this.
Running through the trees was much harder than running through the grass. Branches and twigs snagged her clothes and her hair, as though trying to grab her, as if trying to hold her back. Lily felt her robes rip as she entangled herself from thickets of thorn in her path. Her arms were soon covered in many small cuts and scratches. She was so deep in the forest now that she couldn’t even see the big silver moon above her. Then her foot caught a tree root and she fell, landing hard on her elbows.
“I hate cats. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them.” Lily muttered, as she steadily got back on her feet. She walked for a bit longer, and then found herself in a small clearing, the full moon shining directly overhead. Lily stood, catching her breath, clutching a stitch in her side. Then she heard a soft mewing from nearby. Lily looked up, and sure enough, there was Sebastian, sitting on a tree branch just above her head.
“Ah ha!” She said breathlessly. “There you are!”
Lily reached up and grabbed him by the scruff of his neck. Sebastian was extremely tiny, so small that Lily could hold onto him with one hand. “You’ve caused a lot of trouble, little guy.”
Sebastian looked up at her with his big, round blue eyes. Lily couldn’t help but smile. “Now let’s get out of here, Alice is on edge.”
Lily turned around and began to walk toward the trees again. “Wait… did I come in this way? Or this way?”
Sebastian looked at her again. Lily smiled. “And what about you, huh? Do you remember how to get out of here?”
Sebastian said nothing. Lily sighed and started walking again. “Didn’t think so.”
Back in the trees, Lily was wandering, not having any idea where she was going. Panic was welling in her chest as she zigzagged through the trees, whimpering to herself. The trees were growing closer together… this wasn’t the right way! She turned and began walking the other way and she walked faster and faster, until- she was in another clearing. Was it the same one from before? No, it hadn’t been this small… had it? Lily was shivering from the cold, her breath visible in the air in front of her. Lily stood in the middle of the clearing for a moment, catching her breath again, holding her lit wand in one hand and Sebastian in the other. Lily felt a faint sense of foreboding, the forest was much too quiet.
CRACK! Lily jumped. She heard a twig snap from somewhere behind her. The noise echoed in her ears. Lily took a deep breath to clam herself. It was probably only a rabbit or something. She was just jumpy.
Then she heard it- a horrible snarling noise. Lily wheeled around, and her blood turned cold. There, standing a mere seven feet from her, stood a great big menacing creature, it’s back hunched, two inched fangs bared and hackles raised.
Lily froze. She couldn’t move. She couldn’t even scream. The tiny kitten trembled in her arm.
The werewolf took a step forward. Lily took a step back. Then another, then another, and-
She tripped on the uneven ground and fell onto her rear end. The creature took another step forward, its long jaws snapping and then-
A big bear like black dog jumped out of the trees and tackled the werewolf. The werewolf gave a roar of anger and threw the dog off. It lunged for Lily but the dog jumped onto its back and sunk its fangs into the back of the werewolf’s neck.
As the dog and the werewolf fought, a great brown stag stepped in front of Lily, separating her from the two snarling animals. Lily stood up. The stag looked at Lily and turned into-
“Potter?” Lily whispered incredulously.
“Shh…” He hissed. “You have to get out of here! Now! Go, run!”
“I… I… don’t know how to get out!” she whispered hysterically. “I was chasing Alice’s cat and-,”
“Shh!” He said again. “Okay. I’ll get you out.”
He looked over at the werewolf and the black dog. The dog was herding the werewolf into the trees. The awful creature had gone.
“Padfoot!” James called over to the dog. The black dog trotted over to him and transformed into-
“Sirius!” Lily whispered her eyes wide.
“Shh! What the bloody hell are you doing out here?” Sirius asked Lily, his voice was a fierce whisper, Lily was taken aback. Sirius had never ever sounded this… well, serious.
“Never mind. Lily, run! He should be back soon!”
“She doesn’t know how to get out of the forest!” James whispered. “I’ll take back to the castle.”
The werewolf reappeared form the trees, fangs bared.
“GET HER OUT!” Sirius roared, and then transformed into the black dog, fending off the werewolf once more.
“Come on, Evans.” James put his arm around her waist and led her away from the scene, Lily still holding her lit wand and tiny, shaking Sebastian. They zigzagged silently through the trees until the castle was in view again.
“Tell me what the HELL is going on!” Lily demanded, after James let go of her. “How on earth are you and Sirius animagi? Who’s the werewolf? Is-oh my god- is it Remus?”
James looked at her curiously. “How did you know?”
“Well I suspected, but- oh my god! Sweet, kind Remus! He was that horrible monster?” Lily was no longer whispering. “But ...how?”
“Shh!” James said, urgently. “Look, you must-,”
“And what are you two doing, running around with a werewolf at night? Are you really that stupid or are you asking to get expelled?”
“Look, Evans,” James said, and Lily was still getting used to his voice without that cocky tone. “I want you to PROMISE me that you won’t say a word about this to anyone. We will answer all of your questions, but not now.”
“Lily!” Called a voice nearby.
“I have to go. Not a word, Evans.” And he transformed back into the stag and galloped into the woods.
“Lily?” Called Alice again. “Oh, Lily, I can’t find him! He’s gone!”
“I’ve got him, Ally.” Lily called back, and ran up the hill. There stood Alice, her hair tangled and her face tearstained. Lily guessed she didn’t look much better.
“Oh, Sebastian!” Alice shrieked, taking her beloved kitten from Lily. “Oh, I thought I’d never see you again! Thank you, Lily!”
“No problem,” said Lily, her mind still on what happened earlier.
“Are you alright?” Alice suddenly asked her friend. “You look like you saw a ghost or something.”
“Oh, I’m fine. Uh, I just don’t like being out here at night, that’s all.” She turned and started walking up to the castle, then warily looked up at the full moon in the sky. “Let’s go in, I don’t think it’s safe out here.”
The next day Lily didn’t speak of the events that had happened the night before, and Lily, Sirius and James went about their days as if nothing had happened. At breakfast Sarah asked where Remus was, Peter and James looked away, but quick thinking Sirius said “He fell down the stairs last night, the stupid idiot.” And after that breakfast was as normal as it could possibly be. Lily and James even did the asking Lily out bit. But inside, Lily was dying to know more about what had happened.
During Transfiguration, their last class before the weekend, a folded piece of parchment levitated onto Lily’s desk as she copied down the homework. Lily looked behind her and Sirius raised his eyebrows, signaling that he had sent it. Lily looked up at Professor McGonagall to make sure she wasn’t watching. The transfiguration teacher had her back to the class, as she graded papers at her desk. Lily unfolded the parchment.
Meet me after class.
Lily looked at Sirius and nodded. He nodded back.
When class ended, Lily told Sarah and Alice that she’d meet them at dinner, and hung back to wait for Sirius. When he came out of the classroom, he grabbed Lily’s hand and led her into a broom cupboard. Inside stood Peter and James. Lily found it extremely odd that they all had serious expressions on their faces, instead of their usual cocky grins. The cupboard was dusty and extremely cramped. All four of them stood shoulder to shoulder.
“Okay, guys, what’s this about?” Lily coughed; she just inhaled a large dust bunny.
“Remus wants to see you. He’s in the hospital wing. He doesn’t remember a thing that happened,” Sirius started.
“We sort of filled him in to some extent. He wants you to come so he can tell you everything.” Said James.
“And to apologize for nearly ripping your head off last night.” Sirius said, trying to lighten the mood. “Well, boys, I guess the cat’s out of the bag. Lily, you have to swear not to tell anyone.”
“Oh, don’t worry, I won’t say a word.” Lily said. “And of course I’ll see him.”
“Excellent.” James opened the door. “Pleasure doing business with you, Evans.”
“Hey, guys-,” Lily said, before James and Sirius left.
“Yeah?” They asked in unison.
“I just wanted to… thank you for saving me last night, Potter, Sirius.”
“Hey, I was there too!” Peter piped up.
Lily looked at him. He stood about three inches shorter than her. “You were? Are you an animagus too?”
“I’m a rat.” Peter said proudly.
"Go figure," Lily nodded and then left for the hospital wing.
“Good afternoon, Madam Pomfrey,” Lily said as she entered the hospital wing. Madam Pomfrey was changing sheets on a bed with her wand and looked up at Lily. “Um… is Remus Lupin here?”
“End left, behind the curtains, Miss Evans.” Said Madam Pomfrey, then scampering into her office and shutting the door. Lily walked over to the bed on the end left and peered around the curtains. Remus’s eyes were closed and his left arm was terribly bruised, and he looked paler than usual.
“Remus?” Lily asked timidly, not wanting to wake him if he was sleeping. His eyes snapped open and he sat up.
“Lily… I thought you weren’t going to come.” His voice was soft and he sounded weak.
“Why did you think I wasn’t coming?” asked Lily, sitting on a chair next to the bed.
“I…just thought… that now you’d be… afraid.” Remus said slowly. Lily put her hand on his.
“I’m not afraid. You’re my friend, and it’s not like you asked for this, right?”
“Right.” Said Remus, and then he looked fearfully at Lily. “I didn’t… hurt you, did I?”
“Oh, god, no! You didn’t.” Lily paused. “You tried to though.”
“I’m so sorry, Lily.” Remus looked into her deep green eyes.
“When did…um… it happen? The bite, I mean.” Lily asked awkwardly.
“I was only four years old. My parents didn’t think I’d ever be able to come to school. The Dumbledore became headmaster, and he sympathized. He planted the whomping willow over an underground trail that leads to the Shrieking Shack in Hogsmeade. Once a month Madam Pomfrey takes me there, so I can… transform. All those rumors about angry ghosts in that old house aren’t true. Those noises are made by me.”
“Oh, Remus…” Lily said.
“James, Sirius and Peter were the first to find out my secret, in second year, and I thought that they would desert me. But instead, they became animagi, and stayed with me during my transformations.”
“That’s insane...” Lily said wonderingly.
“This wasn’t supposed to happen.” Remus groaned, “James and Sirius and Peter have always been so careful…,”
“They were.” Lily assured him. “Sirius and Potter saved my life last night.
Remus smiled at her. “What were you doing out there last night anyway?”
“Looking for Alice’s stupid cat,” Lily laughed. “Sarah accidentally let him out of our dormitory when she was coming back from a detention. Alice didn’t like to let him out, see, he tends to run away and not come back. Anyway, we chased Sebastian-,”
“Sebastian?” Remus asked.
“The cat.” Lily said, and Remus nodded. “Anyway, we chased Sebastian out into the grounds and I found him in the forbidden forest, but I was lost, and couldn’t find how to get out. So I wandered for a bit… then I… er… ran into you.”
“Oh.” Remus said. “I’m so-,”
“Stop apologizing, it’s not your fault.” Lily said softly. “You know, you’re lucky it was me, not some other student you didn’t know.”
“I know, that’s what James said.” Remus replied. Lily smiled, then changed the subject.
“So, I haven’t really been able to talk to you very much this term. How was your summer?” Lily watched Remus’s face harden and he looked away.
“Remus?” Lily asked timidly. “Are you okay?”
“My mother died this summer.” He said, not much louder than a whisper. Lily’s eyes widened.
“Oh, I’m so sorry! I shouldn’t have said anything…”
Remus’s face softened. “It’s not your fault.”
“Do you want to talk about it?” Lily asked, and Remus told her about her memory potion poisoning. When he was done, Lily’s eyes sparkled with tears.
“That’s awful.” She whispered. “How are you holding up?”
“I’m okay.” Remus said, and smiled at her sadly.
“Do you need a hug?” Lily asked, half joking, half not.
Remus laughed and looked down at his scratched hands. “It was mum who fought for me to come to Hogwarts. They usually don’t let werewolves come to school. It’s dangerous, they say, to the other students. But mum… she knows what she wants. And she’ll go out and fight for it, and she won’t stop fighting until she’s satisfied. Hey, Lily?”
“Yes?” she asked, looking into his deep brown eyes.
“I think I’ll take that hug now.” He sighed. Lily smiled at him, then they embraced.
“I’m so sorry, Remus.” Lily said again over his shoulder.
“I know, thanks, Lily.” Remus said and they broke apart. Lily stood up.
“Well, I’ve got to get going; I’ve got pounds of homework to do. But when do you get to leave the hospital wing?”
“Tomorrow.” Remus laid back down again.
“Oh! Great!” Lily smiled and then said, “Remus, if you need anything, you can always talk to me, remember that.”
“Thanks, Lily. Same to you.” Remus said as Lily stepped out from behind the curtains and strode out the door.
Okay, chapter four will have Lily and Michael’s long awaited date~
i know that's going to be super.
thanks everyone! tip your waitresses.
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