Chapter 2 : Stags and Wolves and Dogs, Oh My!
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I couldn’t believe how close I had come to kissing James Potter. What surprised me even more was how I felt about it; I had wanted it. When he was pulling me closer, I had leaned forwards. I had wanted no space between us.
I think I’m crazy.
This is James Potter I'm thinking about here. JAMES POTTER!
I must be crazy.
The guy who’s been teasing me and annoying me since we first met. He’s been a royal pain for nearly six years. And I wanted to kiss him???
I'm definitely crazy.
Tonight was just too much, so I decided to go for a walk outside to clear my head. Sure, it was super-early in the morning, but that just meant I wouldn’t run in to anyone. I had gotten through the halls and to the entrance hall without running into anyone, but I hadn’t considered that Dumbledore might have the front door locked. Luckily for me, it had been left opened a crack, so I was able to sneak outside. The cool October air felt refreshing as it blew through my hair. My tank top, sweater and jeans weren’t the best for the weather but the chill kept my mind clear.
I walked downhill, passing Hagrid’s hut and listening to the noises coming from the forest. I realized after a while that I was walking right towards the Whomping Willow. This tree had been planted during my very first year at Hogwarts and it was only six years old, but vicious. I didn’t want to get any nearer, so I was turning to go back to the castle when I saw two glowing yellow eyes staring from a large space beneath the tree. I froze when I realized that the eyes were staring directly at me.
I didn’t dare breathe. I had no idea what this was, or what it wanted. I slowly took a step back, then another, keeping my eyes locked on the thing in the trees. It snarled menacingly, scaring me, and I fell back on my ass. Just then, it got up, coming closer to me, and I was able to see it in the light of the moon.
It was huge. It stood up on its two hind legs, was covered in fur and had long claws. It certainly wasn’t a dog; it looked more like a wolf. I caught my breath. It must be a werewolf. We had learned about them in Defence Against the Dark Arts, but all of my knowledge on it flew from my head as terror took its place.
I scrambled to my feet, and started to run back up the hill. Of course, my foot had to find a nice hole to step in and my ankle twisted the wrong way as I fell on it. Pain shot up my left leg and I gasped, clutching my foot. The animal was still slowly advancing, its fangs showing as it snarled.
“DON’T MOVE EVANS!”
I looked up and, through the darkness of the night, could barely distinguish a big black dog running towards me, James following far behind it. I covered my head with my hands as the shaggy dog drew nearer, but it ignored me completely, running for the werewolf. The dog nipped at its ankles, but the werewolf brushed it off easily with a smack of its giant claws. It ran at me now, and I couldn’t get up in time. It grabbed me by the arm, lifting me up as its claws sunk into my left shoulder; I screamed in agony.
“NO REMUS! LILY! LILY!”
Remus? Was he here too? I hadn’t seen him with James. I hoped he wasn’t in trouble... my thoughts were fading, my mind solely focused on the pain I felt and the terrifying animal that was holding me off the ground. I stared into its eyes for a brief second; it stared back with cold, merciless, dark anger.
A flash of brown came into my peripheral vision and suddenly the werewolf had been knocked away, its claws leaving deep scratches in my arm as it was thrown sideways. I fell to the ground, now in double the pain, groaning as I felt the three deep wounds in my left shoulder. I removed my hand from the injury; it was covered in my own scarlet-red blood. I had never been the queasy type, but the sight of all the blood made my stomach do a few flips. I couldn’t look at myself any longer so instead, I looked up.
It appeared to be a large deer that had joined in on the fight. No wait, it was a stag, definitely a stag. It was standing beside the dog and both of their backs were to me. They appeared to be pushing the werewolf back into the trees, away from me. This was odd behaviour coming from two completely different animals, but I barely considered this as my vision was starting to blur. With a final growl, the werewolf began to retreat and my head hit the ground as pain overcame me.
The last thing I can remember seeing was the stag turn its large head to look at me with large, concerned hazel eyes. What was I thinking? Animals can’t do that...could they? My thoughts were confused and static as my eyes shut.
I was vaguely aware of my name being called and right before unconsciousness took over me, I know I felt human hands holding me.
Then I blacked out completely.
If someone were to ask me what the scariest moment of my life was, I’d have way too many answers and all of my options had occurred in the past few minutes. Seeing Lily lying on the ground, looking up at me with a look of pure horror; seeing Remus lift her up and then drop her when I knocked him of his feet; watching her slump down unconscious through my keen animal eyes; there were too many choices. I let Sirius lead Remus farther into the forest, changed back to myself and ran to Lily at full speed.
I almost sobbed at what I saw. Her shoulder was drenched in blood, her ankle was looking swollen and she was pale. I dropped to my knees beside her, lifting her into my arms with as much gentleness as I could. I took one of her hands in mine tightly.
“Lily, Lily, please if you can hear me, squeeze my hand, c’mon Lily, please, please...”
I could hardly see her now through the tears that clouded my eyes. I wiped them angrily on my sleeve as Sirius joined me on the grass, back to his human form as well.
“Oh sweet Merlin...” he gaped down at her too, lost for words. He shook his head vigorously as if to shake off the shock. “We have to do something, now.”
“Get a teacher,” I whispered, unable to take my eyes off of Lily’s beautiful face.
“And tell them what? Madame Promfrey, we were out for a nice late walk when Lily here got attacked by a werewolf. Did I mention that it was Remus?”
“This is no time to joke!” I yelled angrily, feeling more tears threaten my eyes. “We have to help her!”
“I know,” Sirius said, putting his hand on my shoulder. “Let me think...have you perfected your healing spells yet?”
“Almost,” I muttered. Sirius and I had gotten good at healing injuries due to all of the ones we got from wrestling as animals, but I had never tried one on a wound this bad.
“C’mon mate, you can do it, better you than me,” Sirius said bracingly. Nodding, I composed myself, took a deep breath and drew my wand. My hand was shaking a bit as I pointed it at Lily and murmured an incantation. To my great delight, the bloody wounds closed over, leaving behind three faint pink scars.
“Alright mate!” Sirius clapped me on the back; I smiled in giddy relief, but it was wiped from my face as a new thought came to mind.
“How are we going to get her into the castle unnoticed? And what about her ankle?”
“We aren’t going back tonight,” Sirius grinned mischievously. “If there’s one thing I'm good at, it’s thinking on my feet.”
I gave him a puzzled look. He cocked his towards the hole underneath the Whomping Willow and I grinned as I caught on.
“Genius, mate,” I congratulated him as he transformed back into a dog. He ran to the tree, pressed a knot and the branches that had been waving in the wind froze immediately.
I stood, lifting Lily up as gently as I could. I held her for a minute, staring down at her; even when she was pale and bloody, she was still stunning. I hated to think of how she would react to everything that had happened once she woke up, but I wanted to be sure that I was the one to explain it to her. I owed her that much.
Sirius pawed the ground impatiently from the foot of the tree and I hurried towards him, crawling down the hole with Lily, Sirius bringing up the rear as the tree’s branches swung around once more.
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