Chapter 13 : The Thirteenth.
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It was late, far past bed time but I didnít really care. Being prefect was a viable excuse for staying out late, I would just say I was completing patrols of the grounds and no-one would be any the wiser as to my own personal goal. Plus no one was going to find out, I had strayed around a spot on the outskirts of the forest. Not many people went that far out from the castle, especially not at night.
I remembered sitting there with the big black dog so I sat down in some foolish hope that it would show up, I needed some company that wouldnít ask any questions. It had been just under a week since the Hogsmeade incident and Remus hadnít been in class since Thursday. His uncle must really have been sick, usually he just stayed away for a day but he had been gone for two days so far.
I asked Sirius about the day before it but he just said that Remus wasnít feeling very well either and that it had been a tough month. Then he said something about Remus being back in a couple of days time or sooner, it was always better after he came back rather than leading up to his visits. This thoroughly confused me.
Sirius had become a really good friend to me, I was glad too. Not just because he was helping me get closer to Remus but he was a really good listener and I could tell I could trust him not to tell Remus about my thoughts. Not to mention that being his friend pretty much meant that every girl in school was nicer to me in the hope I would introduce them. Even if they had been introduced before.
Even Camilla seemed like she was being nicer to me, as nice as she could get having the sense that I liked her boyfriend so much and the knowledge I hated her. She didnít spend nearly as much time with Remus as I would have thought although I had noticed he tends to keep people at a distance, apart from James, Peter and Sirius. Maybe he was keeping her at a distance too.
When we did all sit together, usually after studying, he seemed much more calm but in classes I got the feeling he wasnít telling me much. The conversation was always superficial. I kind of wished that he would actually talk to me for a change, not just chatter. Sometimes he would look at me as though he wanted to properly talk to me but he always seemed to think the better of it. I would get annoyed but I didnít think it would help and there was something about him which stopped me getting annoyed at him.
I was twiddling my wand in-between my fingers as I thought. Somehow my hand and fingers traced the shapes of the spells which I needed. I had even brought a bag with me which I would hopefully be able to stow my wand in as quickly as possible so I could find it easier later. You know because I was changing near woodland, wouldnít want to drop it in amongst the other branches. When I started to transform, it was not quite instantaneous yet, I put my wand in the bag and placed it beside a noticeable looking rock.
Obviously I did that pretty quickly because before I knew it, the trees all looked slightly bigger and the grass became much clearer. I could see every twig, every leaf and every little bug that was running about. Usually the bugs would creep the heck out of me but I just accepted it.
I was a leopard which was an awesome realization as I looked at my body. But as youíve guessed, I wasnít the golden leopard which would first come to mind. I was a melanistic leopard, completely black, like a panther although some spots were visible but not many. I just figured it was because it was so late, it was past eleven and the trees were inly illuminated by the moonlight. It was full tonight.
I was expecting to be human again pretty soon so I just walked about in circles and enjoyed the new sight I had, none of the books had mentioned this but maybe it was just specific to the animal into which you transformed. I had no idea the books had been pretty sketchy on the whole changing thing. Maybe I got the senses that the animal had, it was only guesswork.
It must have been at least ten minutes before I realised I had fully managed it. A really long ten minutes. I had pretty much curled up and waited so I could get my wand and go back to the castle. I wouldíve been cold had I still been human but I was oddly warm right now as a panther.
I started to go for a prowl, well not really but I liked the word, prowl. I was a prowling panther. Prowl, prowl, prowl. I walked into the forest for the first time since I had come to Hogwarts. I was told the forest was out of bounds as a first year and I listened, I just figured the rule did not apply when you werenít exactly human. Maybe.
I hadnít realised I was straying towards the whomping willow, I didnít go near the tree, I wasnít stupid but I was now in the patch of forest which was closest to it, having too much fun to paying attention to it swishing and trashing, or rather itís lack of swishing. I was having too much fun.
I managed to spot another sign of life within the forest, besides the bugs, I hadnít seen any interesting creatures yet even though the forest was supposedly full of them. I guess I hadnít gone in far enough. The life which I saw wasnt particularly interesting but I was having too much fun to care wether or not it was a dragon or even a rat. It was a rat, but a really big rat.
I think it must have spotted me because it started to run away. Pretty cowardly if you ask me but I wanted to play. So I chased it. I guess it wasnít exactly the most fair chase in the world considering I was about seventeen times the size of the rat but it was the only animal I could see so it was getting a game. I caught it a little too easily to have enjoyed the game. Even if the running part was getting better every time.
I had my paw on itís tail so it couldnít run away again, it was going to be my friend, sort of. I donít think it got my thought because it started squeaking like mad. Trying to get out of my hold. I could consciously feel my tail flicking back and forth, I was having a good time. It was weird being able to feel a tail. Iíd never had a tail before. I probably looked like a common house-cat.
I gather from itís reaction that it thought I was going to eat it. I laughed at it when I was laughing in my thoughts Icould feel my lips stretching back to reveal a grin and what were probably some very sharp teeth.
I heard a noise in the background and my head snapped up to locate it. I guess the phrase cat-like reflexes came from that reaction. It was the black dog, it was bounding towards us. I wondered curiously for a second if it would recognize me in this form. Animals were known for having amazing senses.
Apparently it did not recognize me because it was snarling at me. I still had my paw on the ratís tail but I was glaring at the dog who was approaching much more slowly now but with larger growls. It bore itís teeth so I decided to return the gesture. Mine were surely bigger than the dogís. I think I was larger than the dog because I registered the fact I had to look down slightly to look directly into itís eyes.
They were a steely grey and were cold. The dog apparently did not like cats. I could barely hear the ratís squeaks over the snarls. My fun had been ruined by the dog. Maybe it wanted to play a game. I was in the mood for chasing something and it would probably be quicker than the rat. I was just away to let it scamper off when the dogís growls exploded into barks which were ridiculously loud. I barely had time to register the fact it was running towards me.
I took my paw off the ratís tail and I saw it scurry up a gentle slope and amazingly, up a stagís leg and onto itís shoulder. What the hell was going on?
I did not ponder on this thought, partly because I was not allowed to. I had no sooner released the rat when I felt the dog lunge at me, knocking me over and causing us both to roll and tumble into a shallow dip. I could feel the dog jump off of me and make to leave.
I guess I was pretty annoyed that it had attacked me for no reason or I assumed it was a game maybe my pride had been wounded by the ease with which the dog had floored me, either way I wasnít going to let it get away with jumping at me, my shoulder was slightly stiff but I got up quicker than expected.
The dog was beginning to turn away when I pounced. It hadnít been expecting it but at least this time we didnít have an audience. The stag had ran off into the distance at the howling sounds which were coming from the shrieking shack. The stupid animal wouldnít have known of ghosts or how harmless they truly are.
When my claws collided with the dogís shoulder, they made no scratch or wound, they simply pushed the dog. The force was immense but I managed to keep myself up right. I took a new stance when my paws touched the ground softly after leaping away from the dog, leaning forward slightly and preparing for itís next move, maybe this would be fun.
It lunged and I jumped, agile as ever, out of itís way so it almost slammed with a tree. It barked at me and I roared back. I hadnít realised how loud my voice could be, but I would show this dog. Nobody beats me, not the dog, not Remus and definitely not the blonde skank who had stolen him from me.
My anger was taking over which I shouldnít have let happen but it made me feel stronger and I loved feeling stronger. It was vindicating, knowing I could be in control. I lunged at the dog again but my strength had clouded my judgement as well as my agility. Either that or the dog got lucky, really bloody lucky.
I felt itís teeth sink into my shoulder, I could feel the blood run warm and think into my fur. It also landed a swipe across my right side. Leaving three very distinct and agonizing slash marks. I roared again and managed to land a bite into the dogís back leg. It wasnít very satisfying though as the dog still managed to run away.
I was in a lot of pain as I ran back through the forest, trying to get back to my wand. I knew that once I got to it, I could at least stop the bleeding. Even if the scars wouldnít heal. It was strange knowing exactly where to go. I guess animalistic senses were under-rated. I kept running until I got there.
I changed back almost naturally, instinct kicking in. I scrambled at the rock and retrieved my wand to perform the necessary spells before the blood soaked through my shirt, luckily it hadn't gotten to that stage yet. I would examine my injures and my spellwork tomorrow I decided. I just wanted to sleep.
A/N: Yay! Animagus stuff, I really enjoyed writing this and I hope you didn't miss the dialogue too much. The next chapter has more :) Hope you liked this chapter even though it was shorter than the other ones which are quite short themselves. Reviews would be lovely but you guys are pretty good at making me smile in them :D Alex
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