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February Stars by Padfoot_Prongs
Chapter 11 : xi.
 
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February third.
1978.


My eyes stay the same, even under these February stars.  Don’t forget me, for I fear I will be soon to forget you.  When you see me next, I will be not of skin but of fur.  Remember my eyes, Sirius.  My eyes stay the same, even under these February stars.  I love you.

Iris watched the tiny owl fly off, wings beating desperately against the harsh winds of the mountains.  She sat by the window for a while, just watching it go, until Ian came clomping in through the front door, and she flinched, a shake instantly grabbing at her.  He slammed the door shut, sealing away the cold, as he began peeling off his layers.  He noticed her after a time, giving her a nod before he noticed her position by the window.

“Did you send it?” he asked softly, stopping halfway to the kitchen.

Iris looked away, tears flooding her eyes.  It was so hard to be here, to stay hidden in the warmth of Ian’s house when she knew, just tomorrow, she’d be trapped in the body of a wolf again.  She wanted to be in his arms, but she wouldn’t see him for so long.  She’d begged and pleaded for him to write Lily and ask her to come back, to give her the potion, to make him see sense, but Ian had steadfastly refused.  Today was their last day, and they were already back in school.

She felt empty, hollowed out.

She wanted Sirius.

--

Iris finally left the window after a solid two hours of staring and intermittent crying.  She had never been one for much emotion, but it was useless to hold her tears inside.  No one was there to wipe them away.

She headed upstairs to where her room was located, the warmest in the house, and she turned on the water in the shower before disrobing and staring at herself in the mirror.  She put a hand to her face.  This wouldn’t be hers tomorrow.  Angry, she fisted her hands and resisted the urge to smash the mirror.  She had to find a way out of here and to Hogwarts.  She’d done it before.  What was to say she couldn’t do it again?

She continued to stare at her reflection, the steam from the shower rolling out into the bathroom.  She just wanted to be normal.  She didn’t want this curse, for this was a curse, something beyond Remus and beyond the wolves of the mountains.  Someone had tried to kill her.  She was sure of this now.

She’d never feared for her life, not at first.

Not at first.  She repeated the words in her head a few times before opening her mouth, “Not at first.”  A memory flashed before her eyes, a memory of her crouched in a corner, shaking, as the window in the hallway banged open and cold air streamed in.  She remembered shifting, and then she couldn’t think anymore.  She shook her head, angry that she couldn’t recall wolf memories.

Something wasn’t right.

Iris stepped into the hot water, flinching a little as it burned her, but then she relaxed into it.  She loved when it was scalding.  To anyone else, they would have instantly backed out of it, but she relished in the hot, hot, hot feel of burning water.  It made her feel safe.

“So why don’t I feel safe now?” she said aloud, stopping suddenly.  Soapy suds fell over her shoulders from her blonde hair, and she frowned.  Why was something different?

Another memory flashed before her eyes, unbidden, and she gasped.  She knew this memory from her skin and her fur.  She remembered, very distinctly, showing this memory to Sirius the first time she’d ever met him as a dog, when she was a wolf, when she felt like she was drowning in danger.  The memory of Emily finding her for the very first time and telling her she wasn’t alone.

Emily.

--

After her shower, Iris settled on her bed dressed in the jeans Lily had left at the house, James’ Quidditch jersey that he’d forgotten, and Remus’ sweatshirt that she was pretty sure he’d left on purpose.  She pressed her back to the wall and closed her eyes.  The room was dark since she’d closed all the shades, and so she was surrounded in a world like night as she closed herself off.  She had to remember these memories.

She felt her stomach lurch with nausea, and she knew she was going to shift.  She was only twelve, and she hated every second of this.  She’d been bitten when she was so young she couldn’t remember the incident, bitten by a wolf from the mountains when her family was on vacation, and she’d been told by one of the healers at St. Mungo’s that she wasn’t an ordinary wolf.  And so when the window in the hallway clanged open, Iris shook, her skin rippling.

“Excuse me,” a soft voice said, and Iris’ head snapped up as she stared at the raven-haired beauty before her.  “Are you okay?” she continued, but that was the last Iris heard as she whimpered and her skin split, the fiery coat of a wolf overcoming her.

“I can, too,” the girl whispered, and, suddenly, there stood a silver-feathered falcon.  “You’re not an Animagus,” the girl’s voice said in her head, “My name is Emily.  You’re not a normal werewolf either, though.”  Iris just blinked at her before lowering to her haunches and trying to back further into the corner.  “I won’t hurt you,” Emily promised, and Iris believed her.

Iris held herself closer, arms wrapped around her knees.  Why did she feel so afraid?  “This will help.”  The voice rang in her head, and Iris stiffened.  Emily had said that to her once, when she was fifteen, right before she disappeared.  It had been a vial of silver liquid, the same potion that Pomfrey gave her to drink every day.

Emily.  Emily was trying to kill her, and she had no idea as to why.

--

“Ian!” Iris called some hours later as he was preparing a small dinner, “Ian, I need your help!”  She darted into the kitchen, heart pounding, and Ian let out a shriek and quickly turned away again.  Iris cursed and ran back out of the kitchen.  “I’m sorry!” she exclaimed as she sprinted upstairs.  Her mind was tumbling and tearing.  She felt like she would shift again any second.

She wasn’t sure how she’d managed it, but only seconds before, she’d forced herself into the form of a wolf after throwing up charms around the bathtub so she wouldn’t be able to get out, and she’d forced herself to remain calm and dig through her memories.  She knew.  She knew for certain now.

She quickly threw on her clothes, and she was braiding her hair as she ran back downstairs.  “I’m sorry, I was excited,” she said as she tied off her braid and came back into the kitchen.  “My best friend poisoned me when I was fifteen,” she blurted out, “Ever since then, I’ve been taking this potion that she said would help keep the cold away, and it has, but it’s also killing me.  I need your help.  I can’t piece everything together.”

Ian stared at her like she had six heads, and Iris sighed before sitting.  “Okay,” she began, “The only other person that knows any of this is Sirius.  When I was just a toddler or something, I was bitten while my family was vacationing in the mountains, bitten by a wolf of the mountains.  That’s why I’m different than regular werewolves because that werewolf was different, like the ones you know.  When I was twelve, I met Emily Kelunt.  Yes, you know her,” she added when his eyes widened, “She was an Animagus at thirteen, and, for the next two years, she helped me with my shifting.  She made it so I wasn’t lonely.  Like the guys do for Remus,” she whispered, the realization suddenly dawning on her, “Huh.  Anyway, when I was fifteen, Emily gave me this potion.  It was silver.  I remember that because Sirius and Lily have been trying to create a gold potion.  Silver.  Silver because it represents the cold.  See, this is why I need you because I figure things out when I talk out loud.  Okay,” Iris paused to tuck a loose curl behind her ear and grip the edge of the table as Ian turned back around to finish his cooking, “Okay.  The silver potion helps my body adjust to the cold, so the wolf isn’t affected, but it’s also killing me.  I don’t know how, but it is.  Emily must have told Dumbledore about it.  Yes!  She had to have!  Because McGonagall knew who I was as soon as I told her I was a werewolf!  Because Dumbledore knew about me, and he’d told McGonagall, and so they must have been expecting me!  But why would Emily do that?”

“Maybe she didn’t know that it was killing you?” Ian offered.

“No.  This is Emily we’re talking about.  She was the smartest student in Ireland, except she isn’t at Hogwarts because the Marauders and Lily are there, and they’re smarter than her sometimes.  Especially James and Lily, and she hates both of them.  She’s always telling me how she can’t stand Lily and how she doesn’t understand why I hang out with her.  But.  But I don’t know why she hates James.  He’s equal to her, and he’s never done anything wrong.  It’s just Lily.  She has to be doing it on purpose.”

“Why would your best friend be purposefully trying to kill you?” Ian said, setting a plate of hot pasta salad down in front of her, “That makes no sense.”

“That’s where I’m lost.  Maybe Emily isn’t telling us the truth.  Maybe she… maybe she isn’t working for the Order.  Or maybe she technically is, but she isn’t really.”

“You think she’s a Death Eater, really?” Ian snorted, “That sounds likely.”  Iris noted the roll of his eyes as he said this, and she sighed.

“But why else would she try to kill me?”

Something seemed to have clicked in Ian’s head because he stood suddenly, and Iris started to stand when he put up a hand.  “Just stay here.  I’ll be right back.”  Right back turned out to be two hours later, and, when he finally returned, he looked frazzled and wide-eyed.

“She is a Death Eater,” Ian gasped, slamming an issue of the Daily Prophet down on the table.  Emily’s picture was staring back at Iris, and she gaped.

There she was, beautiful black hair chopped off and hanging in odd angles around her jaw.  Her eyes were wild-looking, and her skin was pale.  She’d try to change her appearance, to hide herself, Iris realized.  But there she was, struggling against her captors, all who had wands trained on her, and she could just make out the outline of her naked shoulders.  They’d caught her as a falcon and she’d transformed.  A sign with strange symbols and numbers lingered beneath her, Azkaban symbols.

Iris felt her heart racing and her breath quickening as her eyes dropped to the caption.  Emily Kelunt was found at the sight of four dead bodies, all previously missing Muggles.  When forced to transfigure, she was given Veritaserum and revealed that she had, indeed, murdered all of them and would gladly show them to her so-called master, He Who Must Not Be Named.  Pictured below is the Dark Mark that each of his followers, known as Death Eaters, possess.  Story continues on page—

“This can’t be true!” Iris shouted, backing away, “No!”  She knew she was hyperventilating, but no tears fell and otherwise she was calm, “She was the best the Order had!  How could she have betrayed them?  How could she have betrayed me?” she finished with a gasp, suddenly sinking from her feet and onto her knees, “How could she have led me to trust her all this time?  What did I ever do to deserve this?”

You—” a voice spat, and Ian instantly whipped his wand out as Iris turned her head wearily, “—are the reason Tom will fall one day.  You just had to bring James and Lily together.  There’s a prophecy, didn’t you know?” Emily sneered, “They’ll have a child, a mere child—” she roared, “—who will defeat my Lord!  And you brought them together!”

Iris started to stand at the same time Ian let loose a vicious stunning spell.  Emily deflected it, and, faster than Iris could ever have imagined, a jet of green light shot from the end of her wand.  “No!” Iris shrieked as Ian was thrown against the cabinets and sunk to the ground with a soft thump.  “Emily!”

Suddenly, Emily’s arms were wide, and the windows shattered everywhere.  Cold, winter air seeped into the kitchen, drenching Iris’ body in the icy night, and she gasped, gripping her arms as her body shook uncontrollably.  “You will never see him again.”

“Why don’t you just kill me?” Iris spat out, “It’s clearly no problem for you.”

“I’d rather not kill my best friend,” Emily returned hotly.

“You were already poisoning me!  Damn it!”

Emily started to turn, and Iris closed her eyes, imagining Sirius’ warm arms and soft kiss.  She would see him again.  She had done it once; she could do it again.  Emily’s back was to her when she opened her eyes, and she just narrowed her eyes before letting the sickening lurch of apparition take her away.

--

Disclaimer: Everything recognizable belongs to J.K. Rowling.  Everything otherwise recognizable belongs to Maggie Stiefvater.

For those of you who also read Frivolous Thoughts, I’m sorry there was no update on time.  I don’t know when the next chapter will be.  These two stories were started some time before they were actually posted, and, while I have still a few chapters left already written for this one, I only had ten chapters pre-written for Frivolous Thoughts.  Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem, but it seems my Harry Potter muse seems to have taken a vacation and welcomed my Marvel muse on home.  That said, I do hope to not abandon these, and so I will be trying to find the inspiration anytime I can to get these stories finished.  Thank for your patience, and I’m sorry.


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