Chapter 4 : Under the Full Moon
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As if on cue, a group of simpering girls crowded around Sirius. It was his fan club. “Oh, Sirius, you were so brave,” one said, throwing a scathing look at Kelsey, as if it were completely her fault that the man of the moment had saved her life. “I heard she carried you thirty feet into the air with her levitation!”
“That was so dangerous,” another agreed. “You could’ve been killed! I’m so glad you weren’t, though.”
Peter was looking glumly at his plate, mockingly mouthing, “Oh, Sirius! Oh, Sirius!” at it and frowning. Sirius looked sideways at him, and then at Kelsey, who was preoccupied with eating and talking to Lily, and then at the fifteen or so girls that were preventing him from peacefully eating his lunch. “Listen, ladies, I really need to eat, so—”
“Oh, we completely understand!” the third one said. She seemed to be the leader of the group. “Let’s go, girls.” They strolled off, most of them jealously eying Kelsey over their shoulders.
“Suddenly I’m not really hungry,” Kelsey said, setting her fork down. “Do you want the rest of my food, Sirius?”
Though he really wanted to be supportive, Sirius was never really one to pass up an offer of extra food. After only a moment of hesitation, he nodded and took her plate, scraping all of her leftovers onto his. She recoiled in disgust at the mounds of food mixed in with each other and stood. “I think I’m going upstairs. You know, to catch up on my work and stuff.” She left.
Sirius watched her go. Suddenly he could feel someone’s eyes boring holes in him. He turned to see Remus looking at him strangely. “What is it, Moony?” he hissed.
“You’ll be there tonight, won’t you?”
“I told you already, I said I’d be there! And why do you ask?”
“Oh, no…no reason.”
Sirius warily turned back to his lunch and thought, which was most unusual for him. He thought about many things, but mainly how he was going to have to give Kelsey the slip that night…
Kelsey sat in the common room, chewing thoughtfully on the end of her quill. She had absolutely no idea what were five signs that identified a werewolf. Maybe, she thought, she should ask Lily. Or if she was busy James (which she probably would be), she should ask Remus. Though James had made Head Boy, Remus was the smartest of the Marauders. He would know.
Friday the thirteenth was drawing to a close, and Kelsey was losing all hope that Sirius’s plan would work. Still, they had the date tomorrow. And today wasn’t over yet. Kelsey still wanted to find out what Sirius’s nighttime plans were all about. Kelsey looked at the gold-lined clock on the wall, which showed the larger hand pointing left and the smaller hand pointing in the opposite direction, to the right. About nine fifteen. Pretty much the perfect time for Sirius to pull anything. Well, anything else. Snape had found himself in many unpleasant situations throughout the day at he unmerciful hands of the Marauders, the purple goo and feathers the east of them. Kelsey smiled secretly at the memories.
She looked over at the couch where Lily and James were, but now Lily sat there alone. “Hi, Lily. Where did James go?” she asked, sitting down by her.
“With Sirius somewhere. They left nearly fifteen minutes ago.” Lily looked suddenly nervous, as if Kelsey was asking to reveal something she wasn’t supposed to say. “Peter was with them too.”
“What about Remus?” Kelsey asked.
“Didn’t you hear? He left during Potions. His mum is sick,” said Lily. Again, she looked a bit jittery, a sure sign that she was lying.
“Again? His mum is sick every month! It’s been that way since—since first-year. Will she ever get better?”
Lily didn’t answer. Now Kelsey was very suspicious. “Lily? Is there something you aren’t telling me?” Lily shrugged, twirling a long strand of hair nervously around her finger. “Lily! Answer me!”
“I can’t,” said Lily. “James would never forgive me.”
“What about me? I’m supposed to be your best friend. What happened to friends forever and telling each other everything? No secrets? Guys come and go, Lils, but friends never change. The only thing that has changing is you salivating every time James gets near you! He’s all you think about! It’s James this, James that, oh, I’ll do anything for James because he’s the reason I breathe!” She stood there, huffing, while Lily stared at her silently.
“You really are jealous,” she finally said.
“I am not! I’m just mad that James is now officially your only friend in the world and I’m just a footnote!”
“I thought you got over James when you started dating Sirius,” Lily said disbelievingly. “But you didn’t, did you? If you’re not over James, then why are you doing this to Sirius?”
Kelsey nearly choked over her next words. “Dating Sirius? DATING SIRIUS?” Luckily, she bit her tongue at this point and stormed past Lily up the stairs to the dormitory, muttering heatedly under breath all the way. Had she stayed there any longer, she probably would’ve let the entire plan slip, and it could not have ended well. Angry with herself, she checked between everyone’s bed hangings to make sure no one was listening to her rustling around in the room, and then she hurried back out, on a mission.
Kelsey crept down the stairs, trying not to bump into anyone, which would tend to delays, which she could not afford if she wanted to catch up with the three Marauders. She stopped for a couple of moments and looked at Lily secretly from a corner, who was punching holes in her Herbology essay, trying to write it but not getting very far. Then she hurried through the portrait hole. After shutting it, she began her trek up the dark corridor, praying that none of the teachers decided to come down this corridor checking for students breaking curfew. A little ways up, she heard loud, angry voices, and hurried toward them.
“Mind your own business if you like your nose where it is!” yelled the first voice. It was Sirius. Kelsey hid behind a fold in the wall that created a neat little niche, and she listened.
“It’s my business if you three are breaking curfew. I should inform McGonagall on you, you know.” It was the fourth-year Slytherin that Sirius had denied ever talked to. And here he was, yelling himself blue at him. Why had he lied?
“Come on, Sirius, let’s go,” said Peter. “We don’t want to mess with scum like him, do we?”
“No, no we don’t, Peter,” said Sirius. “Look, little brother, I know you want to get to bug me more since I moved out—” (here the boy scoffed) “—but you’re part of the reason I had to find better residence elsewhere. So go back with your Slytherin pals before I put your nose in a more agreeable place.”
“You wouldn’t dare, Sirius.”
Little brother? Kelsey suddenly realized. Did Sirius just say little brother?
“Try me, Regulus.” Sirius stood there confidently, Peter and James backing him up.
The boy Sirius had called Regulus took a step forward and Sirius made a jabbing motion with his wand. The next thing any of them knew, Regulus was flat on his back, just as Kelsey had been the night she and Sirius had made the deal. But it wasn’t the Body-Bind Curse; it was some sort of spell that Kelsey didn’t recognize.
“Don’t you move, now, Regulus,” Sirius said, laughing. Kelsey stood there, petrified, not knowing what to do. Sirius, James, and Peter moved forward up the path, and Kelsey followed at a distance, careful not to make any noise. The only downside was that the motionless boy on the floor saw her as she passed, and his eyes followed her up the hallway until he couldn’t see her anymore. Kelsey gave him a half-pitiful, half-disgusted look before she left.
James, Peter, and Sirius were muttering in low voices before her, and she couldn’t hear anything they were saying until James spoke up in a loud voice with, “So how are you and Kelsey doing, Sirius?”
Sirius heaved a sigh and turned to face James. Kelsey went diving behind another corner so they wouldn’t see her. “I’ve got to tell you something, Prongs. You can listen in too, Wormtail, but it couldn’t matter much to you.”
Kelsey sharply drew in a breath, her mind racing. Now she knew who Prongs was, and Peter was apparently Wormtail. But what in the world did Sirius think he was doing? He wasn’t…he couldn’t tell…James was standing right there, waiting expectantly, and Peter was bobbing up and down on the balls of his feet in anticipation. Kelsey covered her mouth.
“I’m not dating Kelsey Spencer, all right?”
No! He didn’t do it! He hadn’t admitted it! That was it. Her life was over. Sirius was about to spill her guts to the guy she had liked for nearly seven years. She would probably be banished, a social outcast, destined to live as a Muggle or have to move to France. This wasn’t happening…
“Um, Sirius?” James was saying. “Then why have you been holding her hand and stuff and telling everyone that you are for the past few days? Because I can’t think of any other explanation, can you, Wormtail?”
Kelsey didn’t dare look, but she imagined that Peter was shaking his head, a most bewildered expression plastered on his face.
“It’s a long story,” Sirius said doubtfully. Kelsey peeked out from behind her corner.
“We’ve got time,” said James, looking out the nearest window through which moonlight was streaming. “Moony doesn’t expect us there for at least another quarter hour, and it’s not like anyone’s following us.”
Kelsey stifled a dry laugh at the irony while thinking. Moony was Remus, so he was waiting for them. But wasn’t Remus supposed to be visiting his mother?
“Well, if you really want to know, it was for you, mate,” said Sirius.
SIRIUS! I HATE YOU! Kelsey screamed inside her head.
“For me?” James asked.
“You. The most popular boy on the face of this planet. She’s been head over heels for you since first-year, and you’re the only one who hasn’t noticed. Even Lily knows it. So…I offered her a chance to win your affections, and I really thought it would work, Prongs, but you haven’t been cooperating very well, and I must say she’s kind of disappointed.”
“Kelsey Spencer…likes me. Lily would’ve told me,” James said, a note of disbelief in his voice.
“Earth to James!’ Sirius said loudly, rapping hard on James’s skull with his knuckles. “She didn’t want to hurt you and all that stuff. Boyfriend and girlfriend stuff.”
“You two are really good at acting, then, Padfoot,” said Peter, morosely picking at a spot on his forehead. “You had us all convinced.”
Sirius sighed heavily. “That’s because I’m through pretending. I’ve come to realize that I really…actually…truly like her.”
Kelsey recoiled, almost knocking her head on the wall behind her. She had to have gone deaf for the past few seconds, because Sirius Black could not have ever, ever, ever, in a million years ever, have said he liked her. Her. Kelsey Spencer, world’s biggest nothing.
There was a pause on the other side of the corner Kelsey was hiding behind. Finally, Peter spoke up. “Are you feeling all right, Padfoot?”
“No, I’m not! My God, she’s amazing, she’s beautiful, and funny, and…she likes you, James. How could I be feeling all right?”
Sirius had definitely gone mad. He didn’t like her. He was trying to humiliate her in front of James Potter. He was the most popular boy in school, along with James. He didn’t like her at all. He had probably…there was no reasonable explanation for this. This was completely insane. Sirius was delirious or something. Kelsey sank silently to the floor, trying to come up with any other reason that he would say something like this, besides that what he was saying was the truth. He had called her amazing. Amazing? She was boring and dull, a footnote, like she had told Lily. Beautiful? Was he looking at the same Kelsey Spencer she was when she looked in the mirror? Funny? Kelsey wasn’t even going to consider that one. She was dull, as she had known her whole life, dull, dull, dull, and duller.
“So…let’s change the topic,” Sirius was saying. It was as if he knew that she was listening. “Guess what I told old Snivellus?”
“What did you tell him?” Peter said, perking up.
“Well, he was skulking around outside the common room entrance when I checked for the all-clear, and he wanted to know where Madame Pomfrey was going with Remus. He saw them heading through the Whomping Willow, see. So I said to him that if he really wanted to see where Remus was at, since he was supposed to be visiting his mother, he could press the knot on the trunk and go on in! Brilliant, huh?”
Kelsey could hear the stunned silence. For whatever reason that Remus was being smuggled into a violent tree, she knew it had not been wise of Sirius to tell Snape to follow. Sure enough, after a few seconds of anxiety filling the air, James screeched, “WHAT? Sirius! How could you do this? We’ll be expelled, we’ll be killed, and we’ll get Moony into five tons of trouble, you git, Sirius! Snape can’t go into that tunnel unless he wants to come out in a million bits! Remus is violent when he’s transformed, he’ll either mangle him or bite him, and then there will be two werewolves!”
Kelsey’s heart caught in her throat. Werewolves?
“Give me the cloak, Sirius, and we’ll head him off,” said James. He pulled out a silvery, light material from underneath his robes and threw it over their heads. And they were gone.
Kelsey drew breath quickly, her eyes roving over the spot where they had been. Where had they gone? It was as if they had just disappeared into thin air. Then something in her mind clicked: James must have had an Invisibility Cloak. Kelsey tuned in to the sounds around her with her ears and heard a light, soft padding of feet. It was them. Fortunately, it was an Invisibility Cloak and not an Inaudibility Cloak. She followed the sound at a distance, her ears constantly concentrating on the sound, however soft it might be.
Then they left the castle through a set of doors. Now Kelsey’s ears had a whole new set of sounds to contend with: the gentle wind blowing, the rustling of the leaves, animal sounds issuing from the forest, and other such distractions. Still, she traced the light footsteps over to a spot far away from the castle doors, a safe distance from the Whomping Willow. Kelsey looked up at the moon, which was round and full and perfect for werewolf transformations (Kelsey shuddered), if anyone so had the need of them.
Through the dark night came a familiar voice. It belonged to James. “You two go on in. No, wait, transform first! I’ll wait here and head Snape off. Go now, Moony is waiting. Peter, stop whimpering and go!”
Sirius and Peter unfurled themselves from the Invisibility Cloak, and their shapes began to shift, to change. Kelsey watched Sirius’s transforming figure in horror from behind a tree not far from the spot where they were. His shoulders became hunched, his face elongated into an animal’s snout, his arms shortened, and he sprouted jet-black fur all over his body. The last things to come were his shaggy tail, which wagged almost as soon as it was formed, and his wet nose, replacing his normal one. He was a huge dog, the size of a hippogriff.
So they were Animagi. What animals were Peter and James? But Peter seemed to have melted into the ground; Kelsey didn’t see him anywhere. Suddenly a tiny shape darted out from the area around Sirius’s enormous feet toward the base of the Whomping Willow: a rat. It had to have been Peter. He ran headfirst through the thrashing branches of the deadly tree and touched a small spot on the trunk. The limbs froze. Sirius the dog gave a growling sound of satisfaction and hurried through the opening that had been revealed, followed closely by Peter.
Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs. Moony is Remus because he’s a werewolf. Wormtail is Peter, because of his rat’s tail. Sirius’s name is Padfoot with his huge padded feet. Then what is James? Kelsey wondered to herself. She watched the spot where she was sure James stood intently, waiting.
Then two voices rang clear through the cold air. Kelsey retreated farther behind her tree, hoping neither the people approaching nor James would see her. “That idiot of a Black told me to press a knot on the trunk so I could get in. As much as I distrust him, I could get Lupin and company into heaps of trouble with this one.” It was Snape.
“But if Pomfrey was with him—”
“Shut up, Regulus!” Snape hissed. “You wouldn’t have even been here if I hadn’t come upon you lying helplessly in the middle of the corridor, breaking curfew. Now give me those glasses, I know Potter has a bloody Invisibility Cloak, and he’s probably waiting around with his friends.”
Please, oh please, James, please have heard that, Kelsey thought desperately. But there was no sound from James. Kelsey wasn’t even sure he had heard Snape and Regulus coming. Meanwhile, Snape was strapping a pair of goggles to his pallid face. “Where did you get these again?” Regulus asked.
“Knockturn Alley. Bloody brilliant things. They see everything, even what’s invisible.” Snape scanned the area, looking for something, until he faced James. Even behind the goggles, his eyes lit up so even Kelsey could see them. “Perfect.”
Without a sound, Snape rushed at James, tackling him to the ground. The cloak came off, revealing James on the dirt and grass. Kelsey let out a squeal of terror, and Regulus heard her. “It’s Sirius’s girlfriend!” he cried. Snape quickly stood, but James knocked him to the ground.
“Kelsey…run for it…” he managed to say as Snape came at him again. This time when Snape rolled over, James was laying facedown in the mud. He wasn’t moving. Snape stood triumphantly over him as Kelsey tried to get away.
“Locomotor Mortis!” yelled Regulus, his wand aimed at Kelsey. As soon as the Leg-Locker Curse hit her, her legs froze together and she tumbled onto her stomach. “I’ve got her, Severus! She’s right here!”
Struggling to turn over, Kelsey waved her own wand. “Furnunculus!” The spell hit Regulus in the face, and he began to break out in humongous boils the size of oak leaves. He yelled. “AAAAAAAAAA! My face! My face!”
“Idiot!” Snape snarled. He muttered the countercurse and faced Kelsey, who was still struggling to stand with her motionless legs. “You’re coming with us, Spencer. You’re more trouble than you’re worth, but I’m sure you know a bit more about this than we do.” He grabbed her by the robes, heaved her upright, and undid the curse. Then he pointed his wand at her head. “One wrong move and it’s the last move you’ll make. Let’s go. Regulus, come here NOW!”
“I’m seeing if he’s awake, Severus,” said the boy. Kelsey had finally decided that he was indeed Sirius’s younger brother, and she’d have to ask Sirius about it later, if there was a later. “He’s starting to stir. We better move along.”
“Find me a long branch, or stick or something,” said Snape. Regulus began to search around in the grass, and finally came up with a long gnarly dead branch from the Willow. Snape took it and stood as close as he could without getting a whack from the tree. “Look! See that knot? That’s the one Black was talking about.” He reached in, earning himself a long scrape across his forearm from one of the farther-reaching tree branches, but he managed to press the knot. The tree went still once more. Kelsey looked over at James; he was trying and failing to sit up. “You first, Spencer,” Snape hissed in her ear. He pushed her forward, his wand still pointed at her head, into the low tunnel that Sirius and Peter had entered earlier.
It was dark and musty inside. Occasionally Kelsey stumbled and she had to grab onto the walls for support, but that didn’t help much as they were covered in a slimy muck. “Keep going,” Snape kept hissing in her ear, and Regulus laughed in a low, husky voice constantly. The only thing that kept Kelsey from spinning around and cursing them was the tip of Snape’s wand nearly taking her ear off. So she kept on.
Presently they heard footsteps, not from before them, but from behind them. “It’s Potter,” Regulus whispered. “We’ve got to move.”
“We’re doing that, you imbecile,” Snape sneered over his shoulder. “Spencer…”
Kelsey heard a low growl and her heart froze. Remus had already transformed. If they went any further, he would probably attack them and kill them. Kelsey tried to warn Snape, but no sound would come out of her mouth. “Shut it,” Snape told her. “I don’t want to hear a sound from you.”
“I know he’s down here somewhere. Listen, can you hear that?”
The growling was growing louder. They were nearing the end of the tunnel. Kelsey could see a dim light up ahead. The footsteps behind them were growing louder too. Kelsey prayed that James would reach them before they reached Remus.
They turned a corner, and there was a stepladder. Snape shoved Kelsey up it, and followed with Regulus behind him. Their heads came out to see a frightful sight.
“The Shrieking Shack,” Regulus said, confused.
“A werewolf!” yelled Snape.
“SNAPE!” James bellowed from beneath them.
There, before their very eyes, was a horrific monster. It had grayish fur, a long tail, lengthened claws, and a long snout, longer than the one Sirius had acquired when he had transformed, ending in a muzzle full of razor-sharp fangs. It was Remus, but it was clear that Remus’s mind was buried somewhere deep inside the monstrous creature. It snapped its jaws repeatedly, and then it spotted them. Kelsey screamed.
Snape disappeared from Kelsey’s side. James had tugged him into the tunnel below. Then Regulus leapt down after him. Kelsey felt paralyzed with fear. The scream had triggered the animal’s instincts, and it was coming at her, fangs bared, ready to attack—
Just then, a large black dog came bounding out of nowhere. It leapt up to the werewolf and attached its jaws to its neck. The werewolf let out a terrible cry and attempted to shake off the dog, but to no avail. The dog hung on until it produced blood from the neck of the animal, and then it dropped to the floor, obviously convinced that it was victorious. But the terrible monster just roared louder, causing the windows to rattle and shake. Then it lunged for Kelsey’s head.
The dog ran at it again and this time it sank itself into the werewolf’s matted gray fur on the back and bit down hard. The werewolf howled. Then Kelsey felt a tug on the back of her robes that pulled her down back into the tunnel. Only a moment later the creature’s jaws appeared where she had been and snapped loudly, growling and dripping drool all over the ladder. Kelsey leaned against the slimy wall, relieved to be alive.
“What were you thinking?” James yelled at her.
Snape and Regulus were both under the full Body-Bind Curse, and they hung in the air next to James. Kelsey opened her mouth to respond, but she was cut off by a huge crash. Remus had broken into the tunnel. James waved his wand and began to run, and the forms of Snape and Regulus followed him, as did Kelsey. Halfway down the tunnel with the werewolf following, she tripped and went sprawling across the damp floor. In a flash, James was transformed into an animal (a deer? a unicorn?) and bounded over Kelsey to ram the werewolf in the chest. From behind Remus came Sirius the dog. He gripped Kelsey’s wrist in his mouth and began to drag her as fast as he could across the bumpy floor, all the while with Kelsey struggling to get to her feet.
The end of the tunnel came sooner than Kelsey had expected, and Sirius dropped her wrist as soon as they got past the whipping branches of the Willow. Remus came charging out but was prevented from leaving by the same branches that had scraped Snape earlier. Howling, he backed into the tunnel once more. Kelsey lay panting on the grass while Sirius transformed back into himself again. They could just see James with his antlers ramming Remus back into the tree.
“What…were…you…thinking…” Sirius panted, his chest heaving. Kelsey instantly felt horrible. “You could…have died…are you…insane…”
“Did you really expect me to sit back in the common room while you and your friends go on some secret quest? You should have told me, Sirius.”
“You followed us?” Sirius asked.
“No, I sniffed you out. Of course I followed you.”
“Did you hear…anything we were talking about?” he asked nervously, scratching behind his ear with a free hand while the other propped him up.
Kelsey decided to take the safe route and…lie. “No. You were talking too softly. Why?”
Sirius looked down at the ground. “No reason. But…you were with Snape and Regulus!”
“They caught me when they were coming into the tree.”
“But James said he was going to stop them…”
“Well, he didn’t. They knocked him out and then they took me with them. And why didn’t you tell me that that slimy little Slytherin kid was your brother?”
“Would you have cared?”
“Of course I would have! Don’t you know me a little better than that by now?”
“I thought I did,” Sirius muttered under his breath. “So you heard us fighting?”
“Yes. You’ve been keeping so many things from me, Sirius! Your brother, the fact that you moved out of your house, and not to mention the whole Remus being a werewolf thing! When did you plan to tell me?”
“Exactly!” Kelsey said. She groaned loudly, standing up. “Look, Sirius, we better take Snape and your brother up to the hospital wing.” The frozen figures of the two said Slytherins had followed Kelsey all the way out of the tunnel, and now lay motionless on the grass at her feet. “I’ll take Regulus, and you take Snape.”
“Are you sure you trust me with old Snivelly?” Sirius said, flashing an echo of his usual winning grin. But Kelsey just bit her lip and shook her head before picking up Regulus with a spell. Sirius meekly followed her with Snape, for once knowing that this was not the time to joke. They headed all the way to the castle, and Kelsey didn’t speak to him for the entire time until they got to the common room.
“I think tomorrow would be a good time to fake our breakup of our fake relationship, all right? In Hogsmeade, at the date, or maybe before. Before would be good.” Then she stormed up the stairs, leaving Sirius staring mournfully up after her.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed. Next chapter will be the last. See that button down there? You know, the one that says submit review? PRESS IT!
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