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Chapter 3 : Chapter 3
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Special Thanks To: CambAngst who was awesome enough to Beta-Read this for me. Seriously, do yourself a favor and read Harry Potter and the Conspiracy of Blood (M). It's completed so no excuses to not check it out.
Dedication: To Jami. Because I thought she would beat me up if I didn't update.
"Ah, Mr. Lupin, I was beginning to question if you were planning on meeting me tonight,” Professor McGonagall said when she saw me running down the entrance hall’s staircase. I skipped three steps at a time and hoped that any of the students in my way knew to move unless they wanted to be trampled. “Your father has been waiting in Hogsmeade for a while; he’s very anxious to get you to St. Mungo’s to see your mother.” Under any other circumstances, McGonagall’s ability to lie on the spot would have had me wondering what sort of life she had lived while she attended Hogwarts. But I was late, and asking her about it would only irritate her further.
“Yesprofessorimsorry,” I said in one breath, my hands clutching my knees as I tried to compose myself at the bottom of the staircase. It was the first full moon of my Sixth Year and thanks to James, and his long story about how he pranked the Ravenclaw Quidditch team, I was running late for the first time since I came to Hogwarts. I could feel in my bones that the sun was setting along with the dissatisfaction he felt for being inside his cage longer than necessary. It was as if he was gnawing at my brain and would not stop until he got what he wanted. That is why as I stepped out of the castle he tugged at my stomach so hard that I doubled over in pain. I hugged myself trying to regain my self-control, but my panic only heightened when I felt my hands sprout claws that dug painfully into my ribcage. I took a shaky breath to calm myself down before shoving my hands immediately into my pockets and prayed that they would change back just for a little bit longer.
“Run! Run! Let me run!” The bark in my head was getting louder by the minute. The smell of rain clouds, trees and fresh air made it difficult to keep him at bay for much longer.
“We should hurry,” McGonagall whispered as she laid a shaky hand on my back. I could feel that she was just as scared as I was. Luckily for me, there had been no one outside to have seen me and ask any question. I, however, agreed with McGonagall; I needed to get to the Raggedy Shack as soon as possible before I lost control.
“Oi, Moony!” Without turning, I knew that Sirius was rushing towards us. The mixture between the musky smell of wet dog and the cheap cologne he had bought in Hogsmeade was terribly overwhelming to my sensitive nose.
McGonagall sighed in frustration. “Mr. Black, don’t you have some homework to do?” I could hear her heart beat increase as Sirius walked up to us. He had a smile plastered on his face and his eyes shone with a hint of humor; he was obviously ignorant of the professor’s anger. The sun was minutes from setting and McGonagall’s main priority was to get me to safety and to keep the students safe from me. Sirius was not making her job any easier or making me feel any better about my current situation.
“Yes, Sirius, there’s plenty of homework you need to finish; you’re behind in Potions class as it is.” I gritted my teeth, and felt myself giving him a cold stare without meaning to. I could only hope that he would get the hint. The Alpha within me wanted to put Sirius in his place, to order him away but I couldn’t do that to my friend. While Wolf had no qualms about keeping his pack in order, I did feel uncomfortable for even thinking myself as any sort of leader of our group. The Marauders, as James liked to call us. I took a deep breath to calm the beast inside me and gave Padfoot a feeble grin, wishing he realized how close to transforming I was. “I really have to get to St. Mungo’s, mate, we’ll talk later.”
“Oh right, yes tell your mum that I hope she feels better.” Without much practice, my mates managed to play along with the stories the staff made up when I had to leave. Just before I turned to go to the Whomping Willow, Sirius looked at me and I could feel his hesitation. “Just wanted to let you know that I might have a small surprise that I hoped to give you tonight...”
“Mr. Lupin will not be coming back tonight, Mr. Black. His father has requested that he spends the night at home since the rest of his family is coming over to visit,” McGonagall explained. “So whatever that surprise may be it’ll have to wait. Now go do your assignments, Mr. Black, or I’ll deduct points for lack of discipline once again.”
McGonagall’s stern tone left no room for argument.
“See you later, mate!” Sirius turned and ran back to the castle, leaving me to wonder what sort of surprise he might have in store for tonight.
When we got to the Whomping Willow, a house elf dressed in the usual pillow cover was waiting for us. “Pinina thought Mistress and Master Lupin wouldn’t make it on time,” the elf squeaked as she immobilized the tree for us. She was McGonagall’s personal elf and the only one out of the house elf staff that knew my secret. By duty, she was bound never to reveal my secret to anyone; however, that didn’t mean that she wasn’t afraid of me. With every step I took towards the tree, Pinina took two steps towards McGonagall.
“What you requested is in there, Master Lupin.” I nodded in gratitude and went into the tunnel without saying a word. As the door closed behind me, trapping me in my safe haven, I realized that I couldn’t hold it in anymore. It felt like he was tearing me apart from the inside so when I couldn’t hold him in anymore, it was as if my body were lit on fire. I let out a yowl of pain as I felt each of my vertebral discs break away from their usual position and melt into that of a canine.
Somehow, while on all four, I managed to kick my shoes off as I felt my feet grow and reshape in the Wolf’s hind legs.I ran my tongue along my mouth and felt as it transformed into the Wolf’s muzzle and as each tooth became individual, sharp weapons. I could feel as each of my muscles shifted and rearranged themselves into powerful legs. Heaving heavily, I tried to take off my shirt but I ended up ripping it off my body; buttons flew everywhere. Not caring if I had a shirt to wear in the morning, I tried to undo my belt but I lost it completely by the time I got to my trousers’ button and zipper.
I shouted in agony. Wanting all of it to stop, to just...
When he came to, Wolf immediately began to panic. He was in a strange place and his hind legs were trapped in human clothing and no matter how much he kicked up in the air, it wouldn’t let him free. He whined, kicked and growled for minutes until he decided to attack the clothing with his teeth; his powerful fangs ripping it to pieces without much effort. Once he had bitten his way out, Wolf shook his fur and relished on the feeling of his tail wagging freely behind him. After relishing on the blissful freedom, Wolf began to growl at the apparent dangerous piece of clothing before pouncing and shredding it until only slivers were left.
When the human clothing was no longer a threat, Wolf commenced taking in his surroundings. His sharp eyesight allowed him to adjust to the darkness a lot faster so he was able to see that he was inside a passageway. By the smell of it, the pack’s den was nearby. He sniffed around, trying to find a trace of his pack but he only found a piece of meat the Other One had left behind for him to eat rather than hunt. He tore through the packaging and devoured the food, wondering whether his pack was going to show up at all tonight. He desperately wanted to get out of the dark, enclosed tunnel but something inside him told him to wait.
He licked his muzzle clean from the blood and waited as patiently as he could for the Rat, Stag and Dog. They had been his pack for such a short time but Wolf already thought of them as his family. His family, however, was late for the night and Wolf was itching to get out and smell the fresh air, to feel the grass under his paws and run. With a grunt, Wolf stood and began to trot towards his pack’s den.
“Stop, Snape! Will you just listen to me?” Wolf’s ears perked at the sound of the familiar voice. He walked back to the entrance and peeked through a small hole to see two dark figures coming towards his territory. When wind carried their scents over to Wolf, he recognized one of them as the Stag’s. His tail started to wag from side to side, thinking that his pack was finally on their way to join him until something struck Wolf as odd. The other scent was sour; evil…something dark was coming towards him and it was making him nervous.
“Trying to keep me away from this place just proves that my theory is right, Potter.” Wolf heard someone say. He sounded angry making Wolf himself angry at the situation. He growled when the dark shadows got closer but he didn’t think they heard him as they continued to argue.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about; just forget whatever Sirius might’ve told you.” Part of Wolf felt anxious. He was unsure of what was going on, and the Other One was urging him to just run away and hide because the one coming was bad news. But Wolf knew that he needed to defend what was his and protect the Stag if necessary. They were a family, and they protected each other no matter what.
“Oh, really? So you mean to tell me that you haven’t noticed Lupin going away every bloody month for just a night? And it just happens to be during the full moon?” The voice scoffed with disgust. “If that’s the case, you’re a bigger idiot than I thought, Potter, and that’s saying something. I really wish I knew what she sees in you…”
“That tree is dangerous!” The Stag shouted. “That’s all it is, whatever it hides, it is nothing!”
“Oh, so tree is just hiding a fluffy rabbit then?” The dark one sneered. “Doubt it, Potter. Now go bully someone else, I don’t have time for you tonight.”
“Damn it, Snape! Levicorpus!” Wolf yelped with happiness at the Stag’s quick move.
“How dare you?” The dark one shouted as he hung upside down. Wolf’s happiness banished when the dark one started flinging spells towards his pack member. One spell hit the Stag on the shoulder allowing the enemy to fall on the ground with a heavy thud. The Stag was injured and Wolf was trapped unable to help. He launched himself at the door repeatedly, using his head or shoulders but no matter how many times he tried, the door never budged.
“Listen to me, damn it!” Wolf peaked through the hole and saw the Stag on the floor holding his shoulder; the dark one stood over him, his wand pointing at his pack member.
“I don’t have to listen to you, Potter, Silencio!”
Wolf watched as the one with the horrible stench approached him and all Wolf could see was red. He had hurt a member of his pack and was coming to invade his territory. All Wolf wanted to do was to rip into his throat and taste his warm blood before ripping the invader’s entire body to pieces. His other side, however, was screaming for him to run and get away for he was in grave danger.
Wolf’s heckles were raised as he saw the dark one close to this territory. Then something strange began to happen inside the passageway. A loud grinding noise started to fill the place to the point where Wolf though he was being attacked from everywhere. Nothing, however, happened yet the loud noise still filled the place. He peeked through the hole again and saw tree branches swinging from side to side as if it were moving on its own.
Just as a branch came crashing down, the Stag ran up to the intruder and tackled him to the ground saving him from the violent attack. The dark one, however, didn’t take the noble act too kindly for he started yelling and swinging punches at the Stag. Wolf felt miserable for only being able to watch instead of being able to help his family. He tried to escape once more by head-butting and scratching but nothing seemed to work on the door. He was trapped and there was nothing he could do to help.
“Impedimenta!” A third voice said. Wolf stopped his attack on the door and peeked through the hole to find the Stag and the invader both on the ground unmoving as a man with a long beard stood next to them. Wolf had no idea who he was but when the scent carried over to Wolf he felt frightened by him. “Both of you, in my office. Now!”
Wolf waited for a while but the Stag didn’t come back and the Rat and Dog never even made an appearance for the night. With a whine, Wolf shook his head and headed towards the den. He felt tired and the idea of running without his pack wasn’t appealing anymore.
I woke up the following day on the usual bed with a massive headache. As I looked around for my clothes, I recalled not making it to the shack on time so I had no idea where my clothes were at the current moment. Luckily for me, Peter had suggested to keep a spare change of clothes just in case something happened. Today, I was glad I had listened to my friend. As I got dressed, I tried to recollect what had happened earlier in the night but only flashes of light, spells, formed in my head.
Then it hit me.
Snape had almost entered the tunnel and he and James had got into a fight. I remember him feeling agitated, angry…he had been ready to kill Snape if he had managed to find his way in. ‘I might have a small surprise that I hoped to give you tonight.’ I kept telling myself that Padfoot was not that dumb to have brought Snape just as a prank. That he wouldn’t deliberately bring someone into the tunnel for me to bite. Yet the more I tried to defend Sirius, the more I became convinced that he had been the one that sent Snape as a ‘surprise’ for me.
I stormed into the tunnel as fast as my legs could take me.
After my visit with Madame Pomfrey, I found Peter sitting in the deserted common room with three books propped open right in front of him. His hair was a mess and he looked like he hadn’t had gone to bed at all. “Hey Remus...” he greeted me as I sat next to him. I could smell the sweat from his forehead. He was nervous.
“What happened last night, Peter?” I tried to keep my voice calm but my anger managed to seep through.
“Well…” Peter put down his quill and sighed heavily. “It was all supposed to be a joke. To scare Snape. Sirius had been apparently working on Snape on his own…giving him hints…specially last week when they were both in detention. Snape has been apparently taking note of your disappearances and wanted to make sure that he was right before going to Dumbledore about you. When Sirius told James about what he had done and that Snape was going down to the Whomping Willow to look for the werewolf, James left in a hurry.
“Sirius laughed at first thinking that James just wanted to get a good seat and watch Snape get trampled by the tree. We grabbed his invisibility cloak assuming that he had left it behind…wouldn’t want to get caught right. But as we got down to the grounds we found Snape and James arguing. James was trying to convince Snape that it was just a ruse by Sirius, nothing more.” Peter paused as a first year girl came down to the common room to collect her books before heading out the portrait.
“Sirius is very cross with James,” Peter said as he scribbled rapidly on the parchment while not looking at me. “Thinks that James betrayed him by protecting Snape. Meanwhile James is angry with Sirius for daring to taunt Snape about the tree and for putting your secret in jeopardy just for a few laughs. Both Snape and James got a hundred points deducted for fighting in school grounds putting Ravenclaw in the lead with Hufflepuff in second. Sirius’ defense is that Snape shouldn’t have been trying to get into our business so this was just a small lesson.”
“A lesson?” My eye twitched.
“Sirius doesn’t understand that last night could have ended badly. For all of us, I mean, including Snape.” I nodded in agreement. I was beyond angry at Sirius for even thinking that this was a good lesson for Snape. He didn’t seem to grasp the severity of the situation. If the Wolf had managed to get out and bitten him or any of the students at Hogwarts, I would’ve been banished from school. Possibly ended up in Azkaban while Dumbledore himself and the rest of the staff would be questioned about their involvement in harboring a dangerous animal. I couldn’t help but feel slightly betrayed by him.
“Detention with Professor McGonagall. Sirius on the other hand is sleeping. After the big blow out with James, he drew the curtains of his bed together and grumbled himself to asleep.”
“Ah,” was all I could say before I spotted a second person coming down the staircase. Wolf immediately wanted to punish him while the human side of me wanted to punch him. As much as I wanted to do both things, I was afraid that our friendship would end if I took either route. And I had to be honest with myself, his friendship, along with Peter’s and James’s was what kept me going. I couldn’t bear to lose them and their friendship.
That didn’t mean that I had forgiven him yet.
“Hullo, Moony,” he greeted me as he proceeded to sit next to me. Peter kept giving us nervous glances before going back to his assignment. I tried to read his features. He wasn’t nervous or anxious but he wasn’t wearing the usual stupid grin either.
He stared at me, and I tried-well, Wolf tried-to not take it as a challenge. “You’re not pissed off with me too, right?”
No Sirius, I’m completely and utterly livid, I wanted to say, but I just shrugged, unsure of what I could say without angering him.
My silence apparently said a thousand words. “Look, it was just a bloody prank. And I’m seriously sorry about this whole mess. Snivellus, however, had it coming. He’s always spying and following us waiting for a chance to turn us in and get us expelled. You may think of him as the victim but if he had gone to the Board of Governors about you, who knows what would’ve happened. I wanted to teach him a lesson, that’s all.”
I wanted to shout at him that Greyback thought of biting me was part of a lesson my father needed to learn for disrespecting him. Yet all I could do is shake my head before leaving the table.
“Where are you going, Moony?” Peter asked as I walked out of the common room.
“I need to walk and think before I can even fancy myself having a descent conversation with anyone right about now.”
I left the common room and proceeded to make my way to the Great Hall. Being a Saturday morning it was bound to be mostly empty due to the students’ love of sleeping in on the weekend so I was looking forward to a bit of solitude with my thoughts.
“Remus, wait!” If I had been paying attention, I would’ve been able to smell her coming instead of her taking me by surprise.
She smelled of lavender, cinnamon, a hint of Mandrake from the herbology greenhouse and sweat. The muscles were tense around her shoulders and her heartbeat increased as her green eyes darted to the few people around us. “I wanted to talk to you...perhaps we could talk in private, if you don’t mind.” I narrowed my eyes. Something was up.
I allowed her to lead me into an empty classroom where she locked the door behind us. Wolf didn’t seem to take too kindly at the idea of being trapped, but I on the other hand, was nervous. My nerves were still raw from the transformation so I had no idea on how to react to this. She was nervous as well, yet her eyes clearly told me that she was hurt.
She was avoiding my eyes almost as if she knew...
“I-I think I know why you’re leaving every month...” she said as my heart began to sank. “I’m sorry. It’s just...I want to know the truth, Remus. The last few days you’ve been rather aggressive towards everyone...I just need to know that I’m not imagining silly things and that you’ve just been having a few bad days.”
I nodded my head and told her that I was a werewolf. I had thought about making something up but she was a smart witch and in the end she would figure it out. One thing was to keep part of my life secret; another thing was to lie outright when you’re being asked for the truth. Lily was a wonderful friend and the last thing I wanted was to lie to her.
“Do they know the truth about your constant departures?”
I knew who she was referring to. I debated on covering for my friend but in the end, what was the point. “They figured out in our second year,” I said as I settled myself on a chair. “James was the one that figured it out first thanks to a comment Peter made.” She arched her eyebrow wondering what Peter had said but that was something I did not want to repeat. “James is a good friend and he swore never to repeat my secret with anyone. He made Sirius and Peter swear as well into secrecy so ever since they’ve guarded my secret and covered for me when I needed them. James even writes extra notes whenever I can’t make it to class.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Why would I?” I shot back but quickly apologized. “I never meant to tell anyone. I considered myself lucky with every full moon that passed without anyone finding out. I couldn’t risk what Dumbledore had done for my sake... Anyone could’ve figured it out if they had paid attention to Defense Against the Dark Arts and my departures, Lily. I'm just glad that some people are not bothered about what goes on in my life. ”
“It is very noble of Potter to have kept your secret well-guarded.” I could feel Lily’s body temperature increase slightly. “They’re good friends towards you; despite being prats sometimes, I think that there might be hope for them.”
“Yes, they are my loyal friends.” I smiled. “You should give them a chance. You know James fancies you.” Her cheeks reddened but I pretended not to notice.
“How old were you when it happened?” She asked after a moment of silence.
I sighed and thought back of that frightful night. “I was too young to understand what was going on.”
“Oh, I’m sorry Remus.”
“Now my turn…how did you figure it out?”
“Sev-Snape was the one who planted the idea in my head. It was then when I started to take notice and started charting your leavings and your moods along with the full moon. When we became prefects I hoped that you would confide in me but-”
“I’m sorry Lils, but this was not something I wanted to share. If I had got my way, James, Peter and Sirius would still be in the dark.”
An awkward pause filled the room. “Can I as you something else?”
I cringed inwardly, I really was not in the mood to talk to anyone let alone answer questions about my disease but I nodded. “Is the Shrieking Shack haunted?”
I laughed. “I had forgotten that Dumbledore called it that.”
“For me, that shack is just my raggedy shack; however my screams were frightening the people from the village and they started thinking that it was haunted. When the rumors got to Dumbledore, he started encouraging them saying that the shack was indeed haunted by a vicious ghost. He let it slip one day, according to his tale, at a pub that the name of the place was the Shrieking Shack and that he himself had tried to go in there once but was so frightened that he had to leave right away.”
Lily nodded, understanding. “So the place is not haunted as the people from Hogsmeade say?”
“Just me.” I couldn’t help but smile a bit.
“And Dumbledore just made it up to keep you safe?”
“Yes.” We laughed until my stomach growled with an angry protest. The last meal I had eaten, without counting the piece of meat I had given Wolf, had been a late afternoon meal. Asking Lily to join me for an early breakfast, we both proceeded to make our way towards the Great Hall. As we turned a corner, she pounced on me. I could feel Wolf wanting to fight back at the sudden attack, to push her and put her in her place. Werewolves, sometimes, could not tell the difference between a friendly hug and a hostile attack.
“Thank you for telling me the truth, Remus,” she said.
I hugged her back. “Thanks for being a good friend, Lily.” I was still annoyed at Sirius and his rather stupid decision. However, as Wolf felt about his pack, I felt the same towards my friends. They were my family, and sometimes family members make stupid mistakes. There was nothing they could do that would change that view I had towards them.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter! Don't know when the next one will be but it'll be soon. Hopefully...meanwhile! Please remember to review.
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