Chapter 18 : In the Light of the Moon
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She noticed that her brother, Black, and Pettigrew were still in school and looked as though they were anticipating something. After watching Remus for so long she had caught the nervous habits of everyone else in their little group: Black would bite his nails and laugh louder than usual, Pettigrew would get all twitchy and couldn't sit still, and James would never stop running a hand through his head.
She overheard them muttering in the corridor as she passed that afternoon as well as they were leaving lunch.. They had stopped talking when they saw her, James giving her a glare, but she caught a couple words.
Remus…moon…tonight …tree…Whatever they’re going to do, it’s going to take place on the grounds tonight.
Emily crossed her arms and tilted her head when she heard quick footsteps heading her way. Making an assumption Emily didn't need to turn to address the new person.
“You’re late, Evans.”
Lily huffed and stopped in front of her, an annoyed expression on her face. “Well, your common room is in the dungeons and mine is on the seventh floor. It’s only logical that you get here first.”
Emily shook her head. “Not true, if you left earlier, you could have gotten here before me.”
Lily crossed her arms. “I usually leave the common room with Remus and we just start the patrol, we never have to meet.” She defended.
“Well I’m not Lupin and you’re late.” Emily stated. “Now, can we start our rounds so I can get back to my common room and do something that’s actually productive?
“Fine.” Lily snapped, turning to walk back up the stairs. “If you’re that eager to get away from me.”
Emily raised an eyebrow. “And what’s that supposed to mean Evans?”
Lily stopped and turned her head to look at Emily coolly. “Well I only assume that you wouldn’t want to be in the company of someone like me.”
“An annoying over obsessive know-it-all who thinks she’s so important that everyone cares about her opinion and is the biggest tease that ever lived?”
Emily smirked at Lily’s outraged expression and fake realization dawned on her face.
“Oh…you’re just talking about the fact that you’re a muggleborn. Well that was the furthest thing from my mind and I really don’t care less about your heritage or where you came from, it’s just the earlier facts that bug me about you.”
Lily glared at Emily and her hands clenched into fists at her side. “You Potters are the most arrogant and self-absorbed bunch of gits I’ve ever met.” She hissed through gritted teeth.
Emily suddenly straightened to her full height, a whole three inches taller than Lily’s 5”4’ frame, and glared down at the redhead.
“Do not group me in with my so called brother, I am nothing like him. If you actually paid more attention to other peoples’ feelings besides your own oversensitive ones then you would know that James would never say something bad about you, even if it is true. And if he was here right now, whom do you think he would be defending?”
“Well I would think-”
Emily cut her off with a scowl. “You from me, so don't you dare make the assumption that he and I are the same when he is practically in love with you while I can't stand the sight of your face.”
Lily didn’t answer and took a step back in surprise, looking unsure.
Emily’s scowl dropped from her face and she inwardly rolled her eyes. So much for the Gryffindor courage. She composed herself and smiled. “Now, if you’re finished with the whole ‘Oh poor me the younger girl called me bad name five years ago that I just can’t seem to get over’ act, can we please begin our rounds?”
Lily caught herself mid-nod and straightened, trying to regain some dignity she had misplaced. “Fine, I’ll take first floor you take the ground floor and dungeons.” She turned on her heal and stalked up the stairs.
“Oh, Evans?” Emily called.
Lily paused, but didn’t turn. “Yes?”
“Next time you call someone arrogant for just expressing their true feelings you should really look at the way you present and express yourself closer. James isn't the only one with an over inflated ego, Miss Know-It-All.” Emily said.
Lily stood at the top of the stairs for only a moment longer before continuing on her way.
Emily smirked, but it quickly faded when Lily was out of sight. Looking around the entrance hall she searched for a nice hiding spot, and found one in the broom closet of the entrance hall. She left the door opened a crack and waited.
Emily checked her watch once, then again, and again, and again. By the fourth time it was 9:49 and by that time she was sitting on the ground. She was about to give up on waiting when the sound of heavy footsteps came to her attention. They were heading her way. She stood and watched, half of her thinking it was Lily again, but the other half hoping it was one of the Marauders so she finally find out what was going on to get over her dept to Snape.
She smirked when she saw pudgy Peter Pettigrew stumble down the stairs and rush out of the castle, muttering to himself quietly
Emily drew her wand and tapped her own head, casting the Disillusionment Charm on herself. She shivered as she felt the spell take effect, washing over her body and making her blend into her surroundings. Once complete she left the room, her wand still drawn and held firmly in her hand, and she followed Pettigrew, keeping an unnoticeable distance between them.
She was glad clouds covered the rising full moon so the darkness of the night plus the charm kept her hidden, because the older boy was constantly looking around nervously for followers. As he passed the greenhouse she paused behind one and watched him continue walking. She was confused when she saw that he wasn’t heading towards the Forbidden Forest, like she suspected he would have to meet the rest of his group, but towards the thrashing, twisting Whomping Willow.
Emily had no idea why that tree had ever been planted. It was a danger to the students and an eyesore to the school grounds. Narrowing her eyes she watched as Pettigrew stopped in front of the tree.
What’s he planning?
He eyes widened as he suddenly disappeared.
Moving swiftly, Emily hurried towards the tree. She squinted and looked around frantically. She was glad when the clouds moved away from the moon and the moonlight lit up the grass, causing her to be able to spot something scurrying through the grass and towards the tree.
The small thing, an animal if she had to take a guess, reached the tree and jumped onto a raised root. Suddenly the branches of the stopped moving and Pettigrew’s figure rematerialized. He then quickly descended into the tree through an open space in the roots.
He was an animagus, Emily thought baffled. She shook away her shock and followed down the hole before the tree began to move again.
Once inside the tree she stopped to let her eyes to adjust to the dark before following the sound of Pettigrew’s footsteps. She wondered why they were meeting under a tree and how they even found this hiding place. Although she knew she shouldn't underestimate the Marauders, apparently they were smart.
A pain filled cry of agony and torture made Emily stop short. It caused a fearful chill to run through her veins and her heart rate to escalate dramatically. She began to walk again, her pace increasing, and a sudden strange curiosity to rise. A rational voice told her to turn around and run far away, but a little voice in her head told her to keep going. She needed to find out what was going on. She had to.
Had the Marauders finally crossed the line and began torturing Slytherins?
She turned the corner of a bend and found herself in front of an ajar door. She winced as a howl-like scream tore through the air. She leaned forward to look into the room, her hands shaking.
Moonlight was streaming into a room that was the image of destruction. Torn drapes, a bed in the corner that was shredded; mattress springs coming out of its torn cloth, claw marks everywhere. Mud, dirt, and grime covered the room. Sitting rear the bed was a white stag, a big black dog, and a rat.
Emily realized that the dog and the stag were Black and James, knowing already that the rat was Pettigrew. If Pettigrew was an animagus, or even had the ability of becoming an animagus, then Black and James were as well. The animals were staring at something.
She followed their gaze and saw the withering and twitching figure of Remus Lupin in the center of the room. He was clad in only a pair of jeans, leaving his chest bare open for Emily to see the scars that covered his chest, arms, and neck.
She watched with sick fascination as Remus began to claw at his own skin, screams and howls leaving his mouth. He was screaming his throat raw and his screams only seemed to get louder and sharper as more moonlight entered the room through the window. His skin torn open and seemed to be ripping at the seems, his nails growing longer and further ripping his flesh. Emily covered her mouth and glanced at the full moon through the dirty window then back at Remus's panting and tortured form.
He let out an animalistic howl and clawed at the ground, digging deeply into the wooden floor and adding another set of claw marks. He arched his back and his skin stretched and torn as his bones grew and shifted, fur beginning to sprout all over his body, his jeans ripping as his legs grew longer and muscles bulged. More fur began to grow at a excruciatingly fast rate and he was covered.
Soon Remus was not Remus anymore, but a fur covered beast with clawed toes and hands, a long snout with fanged teeth shining eerily in the moonlight as the boy turned beast let out panted breaths from his mouth turned muzzle.
The furry figure stood up, stretching and arching his new body, letting out a one last howl.
Emily’s eyes were incredibly wide with fear and her mouth was parted in shock. Her hands shook and it took all her willpower to not faint or drop her wand.
Lupin…Lupin is a…a werewolf!
Emily knew it was now time for her to leave before she was noticed and killed. She took a step back, and then another, heading towards the bend and corridor that lead back to the exit. However, her heart stopped as a twig snapped underneath her foot.
Her eyes turned back to the room and the rustling and growling inside informed her that the werewolf had heard her. Emily turned swiftly and ran, but before she could get far the door flew off its hinges and the werewolf stood before her, crouched on his hind legs ready to strike. He growled, his yellow eyes watching her hungrily.
Emily whimpered and tears began to fall from her eyes. She didn’t want to move, fearing to provoke the werewolf, but she knew she couldn’t stay there and wait to be.
Suddenly another growl sounded, followed by a bark, and the big black dog Emily identified as Sirius ran in front of Emily and growled at the werewolf. He took a protective stance and lowered on his haunches.
Emily watched mystified as the werewolf took another step foreword and Sirius pounced.
Emily could not move or look away as the two canines fought. She knew she should have been moving, her mind was screaming at her to move, but her body refused to listen, and she felt an overriding fear take over her. Partly for herself, and partly for Sirius.
A sudden urgent nudge made Emily look into the familiar hazel eyes of James in the form of a stag.
It didn’t take any more for Emily to run full speed towards the exit, but a sudden crash and pain filled yelp made her look over her shoulder. The werewolf had thrown Sirius off him and into the wall.
It was now James trying to block the beast’s path, but he too was thrown out of the way, leaving his prey open for the chase.
Emily let a sob loose and she tried to run faster. A piercing scream broke through when she felt her skin rip and tear as the werewolf’s claws slashed against her back.. She stumbled and her head hit the stone wall of the passageway as the beast took a powerful swipe at her. A loud crack rang through her head, and a warm liquid slid from her temple.
Her vision began to blur and laid face down on the ground, tears running down her face and dripping onto the dirt. The werewolf’s looming figure hovered over her, ready to deliver the fatal blow, but he was once again thwarted by Sirius as the large dog jumped on the werewolf’s back and bit its neck.
Emily panted and tried to stand, a hand pressed over the gash on her head, but failed as the world around her began to spin. She was nudged again and she looked up with pain filled eyes, her blue eyes locking onto James’s hazel ones.
“James…” She whimpered. “I’m sorry.”
His eyes flashed and he knelt down beside her, motioning to his back.
Emily understood and wrapped her arms around the stag’s neck. James stood with a little difficulty before galloping toward the exit. Once out he began to dodge the Whomping Willow’s branches, but one swept above him and knocked Emily off his back and sent her flying through the air.
She landed in a painful heap some yards away, and her consciousness left her, leaving her broken and bleeding on the Hogwarts grounds.
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