Disclaimer: All HP is JK Rowling’s. Nayda and the plot are mine…
A/N: BONUS-here’s chapter seven! A note: I made up Sirius’ middle name, as I don’t know what it is (if it’s even mentioned in the books). As always, Read, Review, and Enjoy! ~Manya
The scream ripped from the back of her throat without her permission, tearing away at the measures of control she thought she held so tight. Her cloak fell to the mossy ground of the forest as she ran deeper and deeper into the darkness, pain induced tears blinding her. She could hear the sounds of her companions, already (un-painfully) transformed, running several feet away on either side, all of them headed in the same direction—away from the castle.
Every four weeks the curse returned, vicious and merciless. For one night every month her true form would be cast violently away, and with wings she neither wanted nor cared to keep, she was forced to fly.
She stumbled as her bones shrank and rearranged themselves, crying out with anguish at the pain. Her voice became higher pitched, loosing the humanity in it, and taking on the piercing cry of a hawk just as another cry—the howl of a werewolf—blended with hers and lifted its plea to the cold white moon.
A hard flap of her new white feathered wings in tandem and she was lifted onto the breeze. She glided, not willing to exert any more energy than necessary, and watched the animals below. The stag was most visible, his ivory coat shimmering in the moonlight. The rat could be seen scampering among the twigs, avoiding her direct sight. Despite having her right mind, it was often hard to control the instincts of a hawk; and hawks ate rodents. The black dog was nearly invisible, blending into the night as if the two were one and the same. He was closest to the werewolf, who was pacing just ahead, in a clearing that they’d found the last time they had entered the forest.
Upon entering, the dog immediately pounced on the werewolf, pinning him to the ground with the quickness of having done so many times before. The werewolf fought back, shoving the dog off himself and letting out a growl from deep in his throat. He rushed forward, claws extended, but the dog scampered out of the way, letting the stag take over—all the werewolf caught was a chest full of horns, which were subsequently used to push him down and away.
Perching on a high branch of a nearby elm, she watched the battle in silence. It always took some time to get Remus subdued enough to stay put for the evening, and until then, she made a point of staying out of reach.
Slowly, she stirred from her sleep, wondering why someone was calling her name. The last thing she remembered was settling into a pile of fallen leaves to get some shut eye before the sun rose. Do I have something in my feathers? she wondered, then, as she sat up, she realized she had transformed back into her human form, and James was leaning over her. Golden rays of sunrise glinted through the eaves of the forest. It was morning.
"Good morning, sleeping beauty," James said, quirking a smile at her. She wrinkled her nose at him in disgust, but took his offered hand anyway, using it as leverage to stand up.
She looked around and saw that there was no one else in sight. "Where’s Remus?" she demanded to know.
"Sirius already took him to the hospital wing," James reassured her, "he’s with him there now. I’ve been ordered to take you there as well."
Nayda rolled her eyes and muttered under her breath at the inhumanity of such an order. "I’m perfectly fine, I don’t need to be hand-held," she protested, marching away from him. He followed, almost running to keep up with her quick pace. "It’s Remus that needs medical attention to deal with his furry little problem, not me. I just transform, I don’t harm anything or anyone." Despite having slept a few hours, she was still tired, and rather annoyed at having spent the night curled up in a bunch of wet leaves.
"Actually, you do need medical attention," James contradicted her, hurrying ahead of her and blocking her path. She stopped speed walking and frowned at him.
"And why is that?"
She raised an eyebrow. "Where?" Tilting her head, she tried to locate the place where James was pointing and started when she found it. There was a gash along her right shoulder blade, dark red blood soaking into the outer layer of her robes. "How did that happen?" She couldn’t remember it, and that disturbed her. She should have remembered…She started to march ahead again, dodging out of the way of James, and was hardly surprised when James followed, answering her question as they walked.
"Sirius was trying to catch a squirrel," James said, chagrin and humor mixing in his voice, "You happened to be on the branch just below it, so when he leapt up to grab it, one of his paws caught your wing."
Pieces of memory returned to her as she listened to her friend describe the scene, and steadily she remembered what happened. "I’ll get him for this," she muttered. James caught it and flinched.
"Go easy on him," he asked, "he already feels bad about the whole thing."
"I promise," Nayda said, "I won’t kill him. I’ll just teach him a lesson about not messing with hawks."
"SIRIUS MARION BLACK!"
Nayda’s shriek echoed across the hospital wing like the cry of a banshee, causing Remus to flinch and Sirius to practically leap out of his chair in fright.
"I didn’t do it," Sirius sputtered automatically, recovering himself from the floor and backing away from his enraged friend.
Nayda advanced on him, wand tip pointed directly at his forehead, her violet eyes flaring. "You chased a squirrel over me?!? What were you thinking?!"
"I-I-didn’t—I’m sorry?" He held up his hands in front of his face, as protection against whatever she might shoot at him. "I wasn’t trying to hurt you, I was trying to—"
"Chase a rodent wanna-be up an oak?" Nayda supplied, continuing to glare at him. "You could’ve killed me!"
"I was aiming for the squirrel!" Sirius protested. "You were just in the way!"
"I was in the way was I?" Nayda said, her voice calming dangerously. "Do that again and I’ll make sure your climbing days are over, along with any chance you ever had at being able to pass on the Black family name!"
Sirius lowered his hands from his face, his eyes now three times their normal diameter. He gaped at her, his mouth moving but no words coming out. "Don’t you think that’s a bit harsh?" he asked, managing to speak at last; the question came out in a squeak, much higher pitched than his normal tenor voice.
Nayda lowered her wand and stepped closer to him. "Perhaps," she said softly, so only he could hear, "but it would teach you never to cross me again, wouldn’t it?"
Sirius nodded quickly and rapidly several times in agreement. "I promise, I’ll never do it again."
"Good." She turned to Remus, who was sitting up in his bed. "How are you feeling?"
"Better than Sirius, I can guarantee you," Remus answered, smiling briefly. "I’ve been through worse," he added seriously. "Thanks to Prongs and Padfoot, I have only a few scars this time."
Nayda let out a sigh of relief. "That’s good to hear," she said.
"How about you? Any injuries?"
"Only one, inflicted by Sirius," Nayda replied. "Apparently he wanted to catch a bushy-tailed rat and didn’t see me in the way."
"Are you alright?" Remus examined the bandage on her shoulder.
"I’m fine," she assured him. "I’ll live."
(to be continued…)
A/N: What’d you think? Good? Bad? Wonderful? I love to hear from my readers, so please use the review box to pass along a note to tell me what you think of this chapter. Thanks to all who have reviewed so far! ~Manya
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