Chapter 7 : vii.
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Sirius sat with his head in his arms, his naked body shaking in the cold of the night. He knew it wasn’t possible, knew there was no way ever that he would turn into a wolf, but he still sat there, letting his body go numb and his thoughts turn to nothing more than shakes. He would die out here, if that’s what it took.
Iris watched, wolf eyes confused. They were so like her, blue and green, and she peered through them, a human memory caught in a wolf’s body. She knew this boy, knew the curve of his shoulders and the tumble of his hair. She recognized him from her other life, from the one where the touch of warmth sealed her skin and the touch of him brought her shivers that she didn’t fear. She sat down on her hind legs, her front paws tucked underneath her chin. She knew him.
Sirius cried out. He knew he was dying, knew that this agony ripping inside of him were his final moments. It infuriated him. When had she decided to mean so much to him? When had letting his life slip away become an okay action for her? Why wasn’t she here?
Iris whined, softly, watching him. Her stomach squeezed, and she closed her eyes in anguish, so human. When she opened them again, she could see so many colors. The dark brown of his hair, masked black by her wolf eyes, the pale tone of his skin, the shimmering pine needles blanketed under snow in the moonlight, and this: his blood. He was dying.
Sirius gasped as blood leaked down his arm. He hadn’t even known he’d been hurt, but now he could feel the warm trickle of red. He tried to reach up a hand to feel where the wound was, but he couldn’t move his fingers, let alone his arms. He would be frozen.
Iris approached him softly, and she watched his body shake, his eyes closed to the pain. She didn’t know how this was possible, how she had two feet and two hands instead of four paws. She knelt before him, her shoulders already shaking again.
“Sirius,” she whispered, and he sighed.
“Sirius, go back.” It seemed that was the only push he needed, for he’d transfigured in a flash as her words fell quiet again. “Go back,” she repeated, closing her blue green eyes as tears escaped down her cheeks, and the big, black dog bounded away from her. The shake of her shoulders claimed her.
James and Remus looked up as whoever was calling for them continued to pound and scream on their door. When it got louder, James got off of his bed where they were playing Exploding Snaps and hurried over to the door, pulling it open to find Lily standing there, panting and wild-eyed.
“Remus, good. Where’s Peter?”
“Not sure,” James said, “What’s going on?”
“Sirius is back. He’s in the Hospital Wing. He collapsed just outside McGonagall’s door, and she brought him up.”
James and Remus sprinted out of the room, Lily behind them. They were stopped, however, just outside the portrait hole where Emily was standing. “Everything alright?” she asked as they careened to a halt.
“What are you doing here?” James snapped, advancing on her as Remus scrambled to hold him back. “Where have you been?”
“I was helping Dumbledore with some rather secret business,” she retorted sharply, glaring at him, “Why?”
“Iris is gone, Emily,” he growled, “And Sirius almost just died. You don’t belong here.”
And James left, before anyone could say anything, and Emily just stared after him in shock. Remus touched Lily’s arm before jogging after his friend. “Gone?” Emily repeated, looking to Lily.
“Really, Em. What were you thinking? It’s the middle of November. James is right. You don’t belong here. Not with us as your friends and not in Iris’ life.”
“You don’t know anything about Iris!” Emily screamed as Lily stalked away.
“I know everything!” Lily shouted, stopping and turning, “I know more than you’ll ever know about Iris. Sure, you may have been there for the past years during her transformations, but you don’t know what she’s been through the past few months because you aren’t a good enough friend to stay around and be there for her! I know you’re off fighting Death Eaters or whatever, but Iris’ life is important, too!”
“More important than the lives of the wizarding world? I think not! If I can help save our world, then I don’t mind the sacrifices!” Emily shrieked.
Lily just stared in horror before shaking her head and running to catch up with the boys. When she arrived, they were already in the Hospital Wing doorway and trying to persuade Madame Pomfrey to let them in. However, when Lily arrived, Pomfrey seemed relieved and allowed them in.
“I was just saying, I was given word from Professor McGonagall to only let you in with Miss Evans.”
“When did you get so famous?” James teased, sending her a smile before letting Pomfrey lead them through the maze of beds until they arrived at Sirius’, where he was fast asleep and tucked under a few blankets.
“He nearly lost his fingers and toes, stupid boy,” Pomfrey sighed, “What was he doing so far out in the forest in the winter night?”
The three refused to reply, though Pomfrey hadn’t expected much. She retreated, leaving them alone with their friend. “Something brought him back,” Lily said quietly, voicing their thoughts, “And somehow, that something was Iris.”
“Do you think she’s human?” Remus asked quietly.
“Not in this weather,” Lily sighed, “But maybe she was, just to save him. Maybe it happened somehow.”
“We’ll find her,” James promised, and Lily allowed him to put his arm around her shoulders, “Full moon is in five days. We’ll find her.” And they stood like that, the three friends looking down on their fourth, holding a promise they couldn’t keep.
Peter looked up as the door to their dorm room opened, and gave a squeal as Sirius stepped inside. He was instantly bombarded by a flying hug from Peter, laughing as he rumpled his hair and hugged him hello. Remus and James were already in line, and Sirius couldn’t help but smile.
“I didn’t know she was releasing you yet,” James said, going back over to his trunk as Sirius flopped down on his bed.
“Yea, she figured I wouldn’t stop complaining that I needed to pack since we’re leaving tomorrow for the holidays, and so she cut me loose. I’m all working, so I don’t know why I’ve been there so long, but I bet it’s to do with Dumbledore visiting me seven times to talk about what’s happened.”
His friends eyed him curiously, all smirking. They continued to chatter a while until there was a knock on the door, and Peter opened it to find Lily standing there, looking rather shy. “Sirius, can I have a word?” she asked quietly, nodding toward the hall. He shrugged, going off outside and closing the door behind him.
“What’s this about?”
“I spoke to Slughorn,” she whispered conspiratorially, pulling a small note from her robes and handing it to him. He looked over the flowing handwriting, Lily’s, before Slughorn’s interrupted. nectar of a golden lily, New Zealand mountains was Lily’s; guarded by a silver dragon was Slughorn’s. Sirius gaped at her, disbelieving.
“We can’t pull this off ourselves,” she said, eyes flashing back to the door.
“We can’t ask them to join us. Especially not Emily,” he added.
“I wouldn’t ask Emily for help if my life depended on it,” Lily snapped, “But we have to ask them. Please, Sirius. We can’t do this ourselves, and they could help.”
Though he seemed rather reluctant, he caved, “Fine. But we’re not bringing it up yet. We wait until we’re away from Hogwarts.”
“No,” Sirius shook his head, “Better be at James’ house.”
“Oh, and how do you propose I explain to my parents that I’d like to go to Potter’s house over vacation more than once?”
“You stay the whole holiday, of course,” Sirius said with an evil smile, “Tell them you’re dating him, and you want to spend Christmas with him.”
“They’re my family!” she snapped.
“Aren’t they supposed to be on a trip at some point anyway?”
“Well, yes,” Lily said with a frown, “But that’s beside the point!”
“And you weren’t going with them because?”
“Because Iris was supposed to be staying with me,” she finally spat, and Sirius just stared.
“She didn’t want to go back to the orphanage, and I don’t blame her, but I also felt bad about her staying here for the holidays, so I said she could come home with me. And now she’s a bloody wolf, and I may never see her again. Fine. Fine. I’ll be there by the end of the week. Have you spoken to Potter about this?”
“I’m sure he’ll be delighted.”
He certainly was.
“Lily Evans is going to be staying at my house for winter break?” James asked, disbelieving. Sirius just nodded, flashing the letter he’d received in James’ face again. “Can I please read it?”
Sirius cleared his throat, and Peter sniggered. The three of them were gathered in the living room, lounging around and being lazy. “Black – I hate you. Really. Be more convincing, why don’t you? My parents immediately jumped at the idea of me spending the holidays somewhere else. Turns out they’re leaving in three days time. It’s Friday morning. I have to pack. I’ll be there by afternoon. – Lily ps, hi James, :)”
Sirius shook his head. He hadn’t read Lily’s ps the first time, but now that he did, he could do nothing but stare at the parchment in front of him.
“Are you shagging her?” Sirius shouted.
“No!” James exclaimed, looking mortified, “We’re just friends!”
“Since when did you become friends?” Peter asked, shocked.
“Since, well, a while ago. We’re not friends friends, but she doesn’t hate me most times.”
“Let’s just hope it stays that way,” Sirius muttered, heaving himself up, “C’mon, I wanna play Quidditch. Moony should be here any minute. I get Peter.”
“Why do you want me?” Peter squeaked, getting up to follow them.
“Cos the only thing you’re even remotely good at is flying a broomstick. And I don’t feel like playing with James and watching him smile dazedly every five seconds.”
“Doesn’t mean I want to either!” Remus’ voice rang down the hall, and they all cheered obnoxiously before exiting through the back door, waiting for their friend to join them.
They spent the next two hours flying around and playing a makeshift Quidditch game until James’ mother appeared, calling them in to help Lily with her things upstairs. Sirius had informed her and James’ father previous to James finding out. Lily hugged them all hello, smiling brightly. She seemed happy enough to be here, despite all that Sirius knew was going through her mind. Her worries were finally released around two o’clock in the morning when Sirius knocked softly on her door and opened it to find her grabbing a notebook, a pen, and a blanket.
“Good, you’re already here. I was just coming to get you. I’ll get James, if you want.”
“What’s going on between you two?” Sirius asked, leaning against the doorway.
Lily sighed, meeting his gaze. She came right up to him, and she shook her head. “I don’t know. A lot of things. I think I like him, but I can’t be sure, and I don’t want to let that interfere right now.”
“Is that why you’ve been so nice to him? I’m just curious. James is my friend, and he’s really letting his hopes soar right now.”
“He should. I might give him a chance soon,” Lily admitted before pushing Sirius out of her room and closing her door. She headed off down the hall where James and Sirius stayed while he went in the opposite direction to get Remus and Peter. The two often frequented the Potter’s house, as Peter disliked his home and Remus felt continually bored at his.
When they finally met, the three boys groggy-eyed and curious, they settled in the living room while Sirius brought a fire to life. “We—” Lily began, indicating her and Sirius, “—have something we need to discuss with you three.” This instantly awoke James, who looked alert and angry. “Not something like that, you idiot,” she scoffed, hitting him lightly, “Something about Iris.”
James nodded, settling back into the couch and curling an arm around Lily’s shoulders; she didn’t object, to which Sirius smirked. Peter had taken one of the armchairs, so Sirius settled next to Remus on the other couch. “We know what needs to be added to the potion,” Sirius began, watching as his three friends leaned forward a little, waiting.
“But it’s very rare,” Lily continued, “And very dangerous to obtain. We know where it is and what’s guarding it, and, well,” she paused to swallow before looking down at her hands, “We were going to leave this break and get it ourselves before we found out what was guarding it, and now we’re asking for your help.”
A silence fell over the group, though it wasn’t tense or worrisome. Instead, it was inquisitive, and James was the first to speak. “Exactly what are we up against?”
Sirius looked at Lily for a long moment before rising and pulling a small map of New Zealand out of his pocket. Together, he and Lily explained where they were headed and what had to be done.
Disclaimer: Everything recognizable belongs to J.K. Rowling. Everything otherwise recognizable belongs to Maggie Stiefvater.
This is getting so exciting! Gosh, I just love this so much. And, well, I guess I’ll attribute the fact that I’ve been listening to the Game of Thrones soundtrack nonstop recently to the reason why this is so epic, haha. I’ve finally begun my third book, too, The Awakening, which is absolutely thrilling. So, if you’ve never read or watched GOT, get on it! I still haven’t jumped into the series of books yet because I’m doing a Harry Potter reread, but I do have the books and plan to read them after I’m done. Thank you for reading!
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