Chapter 4 : What A Dog...
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Sirius had hoped that him and James would be causing chaos around the castle by now, terrorizing the next generation. Instead, they were moping around and doing schoolwork. It was unacceptable and he would stand for it no more! Something had to be done and he had just the thing.....
Lily rolled over on her bed, trying to get comfortable for the umpteenth time. The transfiguration book she had been reading dropped to the floor in a tangle of covers. She was trying to get through a complex chapter full of theories but she was finding it difficult. It wasn’t her strongest subject but asking for help was out of the question at the moment. The closest help was no doubt sitting in bed as well in the room next door but she couldn’t work up the nerve to ask. Their last interaction had been awful and she didn’t know what to do about it. She could ignore it for a while longer.
There was a faint scratching noise and Lily sat up, staring at her once closed door. A clicking echoed throughout the room, slowly getting closer but she couldn’t see where it might be coming from. It was only when she felt a light nudge on her hip did she discover the source of the noise.
A big black dog had appeared next to her bed, the transfiguration book tucked within it’s jaws. It placed two massive paws on the bed and placed her book on her lap before retreating back to the floor. It took a seat and stared at her with big grey eyes.
Lily immediately knew who was behind this. Sirius had been trying all week to get anyone to do anything. She had to admit that he was persistent and this was pretty creative. She would not have expected a dog, of all things. “Hello there.” She couldn’t help but smile as the dog’s tail began to wag back and forth across the floor. “Thank you for returning my book.”
The dog appeared to take that as an invitation as he leapt up onto the bed, nearly sending Lily off the other side. He quickly made himself comfortable, curling up next to her and looking up at her with those eyes.
Lily adjusted herself after the sudden occupation of her bed, frowning slightly at her new companion. “That wasn’t very nice,” she told him sternly. She immediately regretted her words as the dog removed his head from her lap and curled up into a tight ball, his tail tucked firmly between his legs. “Oh no, baby. I didn’t mean it.” She hesitantly placed her hand on top of his head. When he didn’t move, she began to scratch behind his ears. “See? All is forgiven. No harm done.”
The dog’s tail began to pound upon the bed and Lily knew she had fixed her mistake. She continued to scratch his ears and pondered how this dog came to be. It really was an impressive piece of magic. It behaved exactly as a real dog might, something she found her own transfigurations lacked at times. “Why don’t we go and find Black and tell him how great you are?” she asked, taking the dog’s face between her hands to look into her own. A slobbery lick to the face was to be taken as a yes.
Wiping the slobber off her face, Lily jumped off the bed and walked towards the door. “C’mon, boy,” she called and was satisfied to hear him leap off after her. He slipped by her legs and proceeded to run around the common room, tailing wagging and tongue hanging out. Smiling, she scanned the room for Sirius. He was nowhere to be found. “Looks like he’s in their room.”
Lily hesitated in front of the door. Both boys had to be in there and she wasn’t sure if she was ready to face James again. She felt the dog hit her legs with his head before offering a lick upon the hand. She ruffled his ears in thanks for the encouragement before knocking.
“Come in.” James’s response was muffled by the pillow he currently had his face shoved into. He had sprawled out on his bed, determined to remain so for most of the day. He had finished the assignments McGonagall had given them and this seemed like a good idea. Oddly enough, his best mate had been very respectful of his wishes to mope today. He’d been tiptoeing around whenever he came into the room, though knocking was a bit far. He slept in here too.
Lily pushed the door open and took a tentative step forward. The only person she saw in the room was James. Well, he had to be here somewhere. “Is Black in here?”
James froze upon hearing Lily’s voice. This was the first time she’d spoken to him since their argument. He looked up slowly after a minute, expecting the room to be empty. Nope, there she was. He sat up properly now, readjusting his glasses and running a hand through his hair nervously. “I thought it was him coming in.”
Lily frowned, both at Sirius’s lack of appearance and James’s nervousness. “Well, I was hoping to compliment him on the dog but I suppose if he’s not here....” she trailed off and glanced over her shoulder at the entrance to the common room.
“Hold on, what dog?”
At that moment, the black dog trotted into the room, plopping himself down at Lily’s feet. His tail began to wag and he offered James a wolfish grin.
“I should have known.....” James narrowed his eyes and was tempted to hit the beast. This only seemed to make the tail wag even harder. “I don’t think you should let that thing too close to you, Evans. It probably has fleas,” he said.
The dog growled at James, baring his teeth until he felt a hand on his head. “C’mon, Potter,” Lily said harshly. “Be nice. He’s done nothing to you and he’s very sweet.” She leaned down and gave him a kiss on his head. In response, he rolled over at her feet and presented his belly for a rub.
“Oh, he knows what he’s doing to me.” James had curled his hands into fists, knuckles turning white from the pressure. “And that mutt should know that I’ve no problems getting him fixed if he puts another claw out of line.” His eyes followed Lily’s hand as she rubbed his stomach, waiting for the moment.
The dog leaned up and made eye contact with James for a solid five seconds. Then, he gave Lily’s cheek a huge lick.
“You’re dead, Padfoot!” James was off the bed in an instant, hot on the tail of Padfoot, who immediately took off. He was lucky that Lily was smart enough to jump out of the way or he would have run her down. He ignored her shouts as he began to shoot curses at the dog while he chased him.
“Potter!” Lily watched in horror as the dog barely stayed ahead of James and his curses. “What the hell is wrong with you!?” She kneeled down and held open her arms, whistling sharply. The dog darted into her arms and she wrapped them tightly around him, pulling him close.
James skidded to a halt in front of Lily, debating on whether the risk was worth the reward of cursing Padfoot while in her arms. He lowered his wand and swore when Padfoot winked at him. “Look, just hand him over and I won’t hurt him. Much.”
Lily was absolutely appalled by his behavior. She never would have thought that James Potter would hurt an animal. “I most certainly will not! He’s just being a dog! There’s no reason for you to be acting like such a brute!”
“Lily, I promise you, in a minute, you’re going to want to do so much more damage to him than I ever will.” With lightening fast movement, James flicked his wand at the dog. He was able to smile at the look of terror that came into his eyes when he realized what was about to happen.
Lily screamed. Where a dog once sat, Sirius was now squatting in front of her, completely wrapped up in her arms. She released him at once, shoving him away from her. “What the hell, Black!?”
Sirius pulled himself up off the floor, rubbing his ears in attempt to rid himself of the ringing. “Merlin, Evans. Did you have to do that right in my ear?” he groaned. He then grinned at James, who glared back in return.
Lily turned her glare onto him as well. “You turned yourself into a dog!? Do you have any idea how dangerous that is!? What if we couldn’t turn you back!?” She pushed down the curiosity of how he managed to do so with such detail. She was far to angry at him. “And you licked my face!? And you let me rub your stomach!?” She mentally gagged.
“I regret nothing!” Sirius said boldly. He edged slightly away from James in preparation for his next comment. “Your belly rub was fantastic and your skin was oddly sweet.”
“I will kill you, Padfoot,” James said, raising his wand once more.
Sirius rolled his eyes at the threat and addressed Lily once more. “Anyways, I would have been fine. Watch!” He quickly shifted into his furry form for a moment before shifting back into himself. “See? No problem!”
James groaned and threw himself down into a chair, muttering under his breath.
“You’re an animagus,” said Lily in awe. She knew Sirius was smarter than he let on but she never would have imagined that he was capable of something like this. Becoming an animagus involved some very difficult, and time consuming, magic with a lot of theory and technical skill. Plus, she’d never heard of anyone becoming one so young! “How did you do it?”
Sirius shrugged. “We just did. When you’re determined to help.....” He shut his mouth and ducked his head, looking very much like a pup in trouble under James’s harsh glare. If looks could kill, he’d be six feet under about now.
Lily rounded on James, her eyes going wide. “You’re one too!?” She watched as his expression went blank but it was enough to confirm her suspicions. “Merlin’s beard! So what do you turn into then?” she asked. “C’mon, Potter. Let’s see it.”
James shot Sirius another dirty look, who had enough sense to look abashed. No one was supposed to find out and now Lily was putting him on the spot. Great, just great. “It’s not exactly indoor friendly.”
Lily pulled her wand out and moved the furniture about with a wave, making James jump up and causing Sirius to dodge an end table. “Now you have plenty of room.” She was curious to know what form he would take. Her first thought was a lion. It wasn’t an animal you’d find inside and he was a true Gryffindor, through and through. It wouldn’t surprise her one bit. He seemed a bit reluctant still. “Please?” she added.
James found his hand heading towards his hair again so he forced it back down to his side. “I suppose it won’t hurt.” Even though he’d done it millions of times, he felt extremely nervous. Besides the lads, no one else had ever seen him in animagus form. Now Lily, the girl of his dreams, was standing here, patiently awaiting his change. What if she didn’t like it? Or he looked weird?
“Would you just do it already?”
Sirius had the push he needed. James took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and changed.
Lily was speechless. Standing in the middle of their common room was a stag. She had never seen one so close before and she marveled at his appearance. He stood tall and composed, a distinct look of intelligence in hazel eyes surrounded by glasses-like markings. He looked quite noble. She raised her hand slightly, wanting to touch him but knowing it would be slightly inappropriate. She was greatly surprised when he came forward, placing his muzzle gently under her hand.
Running her hand up and down lightly, Lily was amazed at how soft he was. She pulled her hand away and smiled, a mischievous sparkle in her eyes. “So, Potter, is there anyway we could make this change permanent?”
Both Lily and Sirius burst out laughing upon James’s look of indignation, which is quite hilarious upon the face of a stag. He snorted and stomped his hooves on the ground before he stood before them as human again.
“That was just mean.” Despite the blow against him, James was delighted that Lily had actually teased him about something in a friendly manner. Unless she actually meant it..... He studied her carefully now, all the positive feelings now slipping away. “You weren’t...” he shot a warning look at Sirius, who put on his best innocence face, “...serious, were you?”
Lily couldn’t help but to roll her eyes at him. “Merlin, Potter, I was kidding,” she said. “While you do make quite the specimen, I’m sure someone out there might actually miss you.” Seeing him light up at her words was enough to send her packing though. “As usual, you’re both mucking things up for me. I’m supposed to be angry at you but here we are, sharing deep dark secrets and having a laugh. So I’ll be heading to back to my room now and I’ll see you blokes in the morning.”
“Wait a minute, Evans!”
Lily turned back towards the boys, her hand resting on the doorknob. “Yes, Black?”
“We’ve shared a secret so it’s your turn,” Sirius said with his most charming smile. “It’s only fair.”
There was a moment of silence.
“Surprisingly, your kisses were only the second worst I’ve ever had.” With that, Lily entered her room and closed the door, cutting off Sirius’s choking noises of disbelief and James’s loud laughter.
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