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Chapter 22 : Moonset
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May 6, 2005
As Harry, Ron and Hermione left the classroom, Hermione's eyes caught Remus standing with Tonks, and a sudden, slightly shocked expression crossed her face. "Shit...I forgot" Ron and Harry grinned behind their hands, and then Harry took the plunge.
"Forgot what, Mione?" he carefully asked, in a tone that he hoped conveyed interest. Hermione gave a quick, pained smile at him, as she didn't believe him, but appreciated the effort anyway.
"I think I figured out the potion for Remus." She replied quietly, glancing around to make sure no one else overheard. Harry's attention instantly peaked, he was interested, quite interested. As one, all three of them looked over at Remus and Tonks, who were laughing quietly.
Harry gave a quick nod, "Remus should hear this obviously" he said in an undertone to her and she gave a silent look of assent. Harry walked briskly over to Remus, and whispered in his ear, Remus gave Harry a shocked look, and then as Harry motioned back at the classroom they had all left, he nodded. Harry walked quickly back over to Hermione and Ron, "come on" Harry whispered and walked back into the empty DADA classroom, and up the spiral steps to the DADA professor's office. Opening the door he motioned the other two in. Since Dumbledore was the DADA professor this year, the room was more or less abandoned. Only the same desk that Lupin and several other DADA professors, good and bad, had shared over the years remained. Otherwise the room was pretty empty. A light layer of dust had settled on the wood, as the house-elves didn't bother unless there was actually someone to use the office, they had quite enough to do as it was. A knock sounded on the old oak door, Harry crossed to the door and opened it.
Only to find, with a slight shock, not only Remus and the more or less expected Tonks, but also Professor Dumbledore as well. Hermione suddenly looked a touch panicked at his appearance, and she motioned desperately at Harry. Sudden concern filled Harry at her expression and he moved to her. Grabbing Harry's head, Hermione pulled him very close, and whispered directly in his ear, so softly that his enhanced hearing almost had to strain to hear, "Harry...if we do this...you and Ron, will have to be there in your animal forms to control Remus, just in case." Harry gave her a shocked look, but then he took a deep breath.
With a wry smile, he grabbed her hand and gave it a quick, covert squeeze. Well its time for another generation of Marauders to control the wolf. Harry thought with an inner laugh. "Tell him, Hermione...everything, I trust Dumbledore."
With a look that promised death if she was expelled, Hermione glanced at him. As she turned back to Lupin, however, her expression faded to the slightly happy look that she got when she got to explain something. "Remus I think that we have the potion solved." Remus looked like he wanted to be excited, but was forcing it down. Dumbledore regarded her with a slightly questioning look. She continued as she glanced apologetically at her best friends. "When's the next full moon, Remus?"
"Couple of weeks" Lupin responded instantly, he kept up with his time of the month.
"Perfect" Hermione responded instantly. But before she could go on, Dumbledore interrupted.
"Hermione" Dumbledore said slowly and distinctly, "What are you three up to?"
She took a deep breath, Expulsion's not so bad "Sir, while researching another topic...I..."
"We..." Harry put in from the side, trying to pull off any heat off her.
Hermione gave Harry an mixed look of exasperation and thanks rolled into one, "We...wondered what would happen if you combined the effects of the Wolfsbane and the animagus potions." She blurted the sentence out and looked at her friends, Harry and Ron both gave her quick smiles. Fortified, she finished. "Remus it will take a week to brew and you should take it a week before the full moon. It should uncouple you from the moon's influence. You will be able to transform at will...like an animagus and doing so should keep the strain to a minimum. It's not a total cure though. I uhh...thought of a cure, but it was worse than the disease." Remus gave an incredulous look at that comment, and Hermione blushed a bit and muttered quietly, so that the two cat animagi and werewolf all had to strain to hear, "it sort of involved having a vampire turn you." Remus chuckled at her and rapidly crossed the room. He gave her a crushing hug in thanks, and she blushed a bit further. As he let her go though, she dropped the bomb. "Remus there is a catch, or two rather, and they are related." As everyone looked at her, "when you take the potion you will transform to your wolf form. There is a slight chance that you will loose control, instead of gaining it...Harry and Ron will have to be there to control you, just in case."
"As much as I deeply respect Harry and Ron's skills, Hermione" Dumbledore put in amusedly, "I would think that would be dangerous."
"Not necessarily" Harry responded quickly. And before Dumbledore could disagree, "not if we weren't human at the time."
To all of their surprises however, Dumbledore looked at Harry, then at Ron, then at Hermione, and broke out laughing. A hearty belly laugh that shocked everyone there, after a minute he calmed down and looked directly at the trio, " Am I doomed to have a generation of Marauders every twenty or so years?" Harry, Ron and Hermione looked at each other, they didn't get it. Tonks and Lupin did though, Tonks covered her mouth to conceal her giggles, and Lupin just smiled. No one explained to the teens however. "Well?" Dumbledore asked, motioning to them. Without another word, Hermione transformed to her eagle form and perched on Harry's shoulder for an instant, before transforming back. Dumbledore looked introspective for a moment, "and you two?"
"Not enough room" Harry responded succinctly, "I'm a black lion and Ron's a tiger though" Harry shrugged a bit and regarded Dumbledore suddenly at the look that had crossed his eyes at the mention of his animagus form.
"Good, I assume that no one knows? I will keep the confidence. I knew before, and now I know again."
Hermione nodded gratefully and turned to face Lupin again. "Ok, I will give Professor Snape my research then, he can brew up the potion. He should believe me if I say I figured it out while researching something else."
"No" Lupin snapped, then at her quizzical stare, "No Hermione, you brew it..."
"But Remus" She objected. "He's the potions master."
"Hermione please..." Remus moaned.
She nodded, and gave a great sigh, "I'll get started this weekend, I can use the Room of Requirement this time." With that comment, Hermione left, followed by Harry and Ron, who hurried to keep up. Tonks looked at her lover and received a motion to go on without him, which she did, blowing a kiss to him as she closed the door behind her.
After they left, Dumbledore considered Lupin meditatively; "Remus she is right, as good as she is...Serverus is better at potions, for right now anyway."
"Perhaps, Albus...but I trust her" he replied, and then as he turned to leave he whispered something under his breath, that Dumbledore wasn't sure that he actually heard. "Just like I trusted Lily."
***************************Room of Requirement*************************
May 14, 2005
A wisp of wind came in through the door to the room, as the portal opened and closed with seemingly no one coming in the door. With a quick flash of movement, Harry appeared from under his cloak with a serious look on his face. Hermione and Ron were already there. They had gone on rounds together, and had conveniently forgotten to return to the tower. Lupin was sitting on a couch in the corner, talking lowly to Tonks, who held his hand and ran her other hand through his hair, every now and then. Harry glanced over at the couple then walked purposefully over to Hermione and Ron, who were standing next to a table in the middle of the room. The only item on the table was a glass beaker holding an odd potion. The potion was glowing slightly, glowing the exact same pale white of moonlight. Beside that single table and the couch in the corner, there was not any other furniture today, only mats on the floor. Ron looked up at Harry's approach, "We're just waiting for Dumbledore now, Harry" Ron said quietly. As the last word slipped from his mouth, Dumbledore appeared next to Hermione, silently. She jumped a little as he reached around her to inspect the potion.
"Interesting Hermione. It is ready then?" He asked and she nodded slowly, hesitantly.
"As far as I can tell," Hermione shrugged nervously, "I wish he had let Snape make it though, I might have missed something...I don't know." She made a helpless little gesture and Ron gave her a quick one-armed hug around the shoulders.
"Shall we then?" Dumbledore asked, and without further ado, he motioned to Remus. "Harry, Ron" Dumbledore picked up the beaker with one hand, and vanished the table with the other. Harry and Ron glanced at each other and with a shared nod; they SHIFTED. The adults gave a quick gasp of appreciation at their forms. None of them had actually seen Ron's animagus form and only Lupin had seen Harry's. It was quite a different proposition, between having a nine-foot red and black tiger, or a slightly smaller, jet-black lion explained to you, and seeing them in person. Harry and Ron padded to opposite sides of Lupin, as the girls backed away, wands in hand, just in case, and Dumbledore handed Lupin the beaker. Dumbledore crossed to the girls and stood ready.
Lupin observed the silvery-white potion with a lingering look. Raising the beaker, "Cheers" he saluted Hermione, and in one quick draught he swallowed the potion. For almost two minutes nothing happened, then with a sudden spasm, Lupin crushed the beaker in his hand. He fell to his knees in the midst of the broken glass, and SHIFTED. His body started elongating, his face stretching. Brown and gray fur erupted on his body, and his clothes vanished, incorporated into the transformation.
After transformation was completed, a very large, very dangerous looking wolf stood between Ron and Harry. Unlike a normal wolf, this one was almost the same size as Harry or Ron's animal forms. The wolf looked about the room and as Lupin spotted Tonks, he padded over to her. Ron and Harry followed warily, their claws out and making little ticking sounds on the floor. Ready to pounce instantly if he made a hostile move towards either of the girls or Dumbledore. They, for their part kept their wands pointed. Lupin however just stopped next to Tonks, looked up and began wagging his tail furiously. With a happy laugh, Tonks started petting the wolf, and he rubbed up against her like a giant dog. After a minute of getting his ears scratched, Lupin backed up, and with a look of concentration on his snout, Lupin changed back into human form, his clothes reappearing as he went, just like a normal animagus transformation. He barely caught Tonks as she ran and jumped on him, kissing him furiously, laughing as she caught her breath. Lupin looked over at Harry, Ron and Hermione. The boys had transformed back and were standing with her, grins plastered over all three faces. "Thank you" he said, his eyes alight with most happiness Harry had seen on his face since Lupin had rediscovered Sirius in the shrieking shack almost three years ago. Lupin leaned over to Tonks and whispered something in her ear; she gave him a grin and kissed him on the cheek. Lupin kissed her back and walked over to the door and looked back at the teens, "Coming Marauders?" Lupin asked laughing as he stood by the door. He SHIFTED back to his wolf form, and headed out the entrance.
Hermione, Harry and Ron looked at each other and with identical smirks; they vanished, to be replaced by an eagle, lion and tiger. The entrance door automatically opened as Hermione approached, and she flew out into the hall. Ron and Harry followed at a more sedate, cat-like pace, their tails flicking back and forth.
**************************Edge of the Forbidden Forest********************
May 15, 2005
A great black lion stopped and glanced back at his retinue composed tonight of a giant red and black tiger and a quite outsized wolf, that looked oddly as if it could walk on its hind legs if it wanted to, and with a large, almost hand-like front paws. With a slight shake of his large mane, the lion SHIFTED into a cloaked, bespectacled young man, with raven hair. Above them, a great brown eagle swooped down on Harry, and SHIFTED, the chestnut tressed witch landing lightly beside Harry.
In front of Harry and Hermione, Ron and Lupin SHIFTED back into their human forms, and looked expectantly at Harry. "What's wrong mate?" Ron asked, concernedly, thinking Harry had felt something through his scar or something.
"Nothing Ron" Harry replied, with a humorous cast to his gaze. "I just want to ask Moony something."
"Yes Harry?" Lupin asked instantly.
"Remus, how would you like to make up for a missed opportunity, from your school days?" Harry asked, a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. Hermione instantly got where Harry was going and covered her mouth to conceal the grin she wore.
Lupin raised an eyebrow, "And what opportunity would that be my boy?" He asked, slowly.
"Why pranking Dumbledore, of course." Harry responded instantly, his grin or Hermione's no longer concealed. Beside Lupin, Ron beamed as he waited with baited breath for Lupin's response.
Lupin paused, looked down at the ground beneath his feet, and then with a quick snap, he raised his head, his fangs showing a bit as he grinned, "What do I need to do?"
"Does Dumbledore still host the Friday evening staff meetings in his office after dinner?" Harry queried, and after Lupin replied with a slow nod, "Good, then you need to do two things, first, next Friday at dinner, I need you to make sure Mad-Eye is not looking up near Dumbledore's office if he's here, and second, if Dumbledore tries to actually speak to any of us during dinner, distract him, ok?"
"Sure Harry" Lupin replied with a puzzled nod, though he was grinning at the thought.
(A/N Start Mission Impossible Theme)
May 20, 2005
Ron, Luna, Ginny, Harry and Hermione walked into the Great Hall and headed quickly to their normal seats. This was a normal occurrence that had been repeated innumerable times over the last few years, however today there were a few, minor details that a particularly close observer might wonder about. First, although Ron, Ginny and Luna were all talking animatedly, laughing and joking, the other two were curiously very quiet. Also despite the fact that no one had eaten since lunch, the pair seemed to hardly be touching their food. And finally, Ron and Ginny, for some reason, were clutching their wands down by their legs, and surreptitiously pointing their wands at the their best friends.
Up at the staff table, Dumbledore noticed them come in and started to ask Harry a question, only to be interrupted by Remus, "Albus, have you seen the newest article in the Quibbler about Voldemort? Luna's dad is claiming that he's actually a chicken farmer in Wales, the same one who keeps screwing with the muggles' heads by planting crop circles."
Dumbledore chuckled, and forgot the question he was going to ask Harry, as he turned to Lupin, "No I hadn't but there was that article accusing him of cross-dressing last month."
"Tropical Skittles" A patch of air whispered in a soft soprano, the gargoyle instantly stepped aside, then the with a comical double take it glanced right and left and finding no one, it stepped back into its guard position and settled back down, muttering all the while about the bloody wind in this castle.
At the top of the stairs the great oak door with the griffin knocker, opened of its own accord with a tiny squeak. A small, tiny breeze flitted to the center of the room and stopped. Since there was no one in the office right now, the portraits were all sleeping, all the silver implements were silent, and Fawkes was not at home.
"Perfect" Harry whispered to his partner for tonight's escapade. "Are you ready, Mione?"
"Yeah, if you cast the shielding and bubble charms I can transfigure the air, we'll have fifteen seconds to get out of the room from here though, I have to cast it from the middle of the room, Harry. Otherwise, we'll get kind of wet."
"Okay" Harry murmured back, he closed his eyes and concentrated for a moment, "ebullio quaedam areum" Around each and every portrait, every silver object and every piece of furniture, in short anything that could get hurt if it got wet, a softly glowing translucent bubble appeared. Hermione smiled and took a deep breath.
"Ready, she asked, softly. Harry just nodded and held up the cloak over their heads ready to run. Hermione raised her wand, and with an odd wand movement, almost as if she were drawing a fish in mid air, "mutatio aqua cella mora" A pause for breath, "well run" in a harried whisper. Together they both ran for the still open door, exiting just as all the air in the room, instantly transfigured into water. The water stopped at the open doorway as if there were an invisible wall holding it back. Hermione glanced at he handiwork and looked over at Harry next to her under the cloak with her. Her heart skipped a bit at the happy light in his eyes. With a sudden thought she turned back to the doorway. "Needs something" She mused, "Do you have any knuts?"
"Sure" Harry replied puzzled, but he dug into his pockets and gave her ten or so. He watched as she took them and flicked them into the room, the knuts caused a ripple on the surface of the wall of water, like rings on a pond. Hermione pointed her wand at the knuts, which had settled to the bottom of the room.
"Mutatio piscis," Instantly the knuts changed into ten large koi swimming about the room. "Now that isn't enough" Hermione muttered, and with a "multiplicus" the ten koi became forty. "That's better" she finished with a smile for Harry as he chuckled in her ear.
Without another spoken word, they carefully closed Dumbledore's office door, descended the stairs, once again confusing the gargoyle, and headed for the Great Hall, still concealed beneath the cloak. Entering the Great Hall, the pair crept up behind their Doppelgangers, which were sitting closely next to each other. Under the cover of the cloak, Harry and Hermione sat down, the false images cast by Ron and Ginny's wands unaffected by the cloak. In a whisper that just barely carried to Ron and Ginny on either side of them, "three...two...one...Envesco Cloak"
"Finite" from Ron and Ginny at the same exact instant. Suddenly Harry and Hermione reappeared at the same instant their duplicates disappeared, in a move so well timed that it was impossible for someone not expecting it to notice.
Ron looked at Harry with a slightly raised eyebrow, and received in turn, a slow incremental nod. With a tiny contained smirk Ron buried his joy in pumpkin juice.
"Albus we need to go over the budget for next year on magical creatures spending" McGonagall muttered to Dumbledore as the pair led the rest of the staff up the stairs to the Headmaster's office. Behind them, Professors Flitwick, Sprout, Glyph and Vector climbed the stairs, Snape lagged behind muttering the whole time, about this meeting wasting his time.
In fact Snape was muttering so much that he almost missed the "UMPFH" a small voice squeaked out. Snape had ran over Professor Flitwick, as all the other Professors had stopped and were looking, with more than a touch of shock, and not so secretly with touch of admiration at the wall of water that had been revealed as Dumbledore opened the door to his office. All of them, even Snape watched in amazement as a pair of koi swam by at shoulder height.
Flitwick picked himself up and gazed, entranced at the aquarium that the Headmaster's office had become. "Very good charms work" he squeaked, and looked up at McGonagall in time to catch the grin before she quickly banished it from her face.
"POTTER" Snape hissed, and glared at the water.
"Where?" Dumbledore asked, with a broad smile not quite concealed by his beard.
"He did this" Snape stated viciously, waving with a free hand at the spectacle.
"How Serverus?" Dumbledore asked politely. " I was in the office until right at Dinner, then we all saw him at Dinner and we came here directly from the Great Hall. I will admit that it looks as if my office, has, how shall we say it? Changed, but we have had this conversation about accusing students without proof." Dumbledore said the last in a tone that conveyed adequately for all those present it was the last time that he wanted that particular topic to come up. "Now I believe that we have a meeting scheduled, coming? I think the Assistant Headmistress would like to bring up budget concerns." Without breaking stride, Dumbledore cast a bubble head charm on himself and walked through the wall of water into his office, the wall rippling as he passed through. The rest of the Professors, with expressions ranging from gleeful in the case of Flitwick to carefully neutral in McGonagall's case, to basically pissed, in Snape's all followed suit and walked into the office, heads enbubbled.
************************Gryffindor Common Room**************************
In the Gryffindor common room, a pair of heads bent over a pair of parchments. Harry and Hermione were working on yet another punishment essay assigned by Snape because some Gryffindor, Ron in this case, had screwed up a potion in class. So as a reward the entire class, with the notable exception of the Slytherins, had been assigned three feet on the properties of cats paw in poison antidotes. Ron had started the essay, but after he had written the title, he gave up and went to bed muttering something about having until Monday, and accusing Harry of dying his hair brown. "This is bloody stupid, Mione" Harry groused as he threw down his quill. "Can you even come up with a foot on this stuff, I can only find it being used in one potion, and that on curing baldness in dwarfs."
"No," Hermione sighed, "Honestly.... this is asinine, I've read 1001 herbs and they don't hardly even mention it in there. And even the restricted section doesn't have anything on it in potion antidotes, I did find something that is supposed to help with hairballs..." But before she could continue, a brief flash of fire erupted above their heads, but as they were the only ones in the common room, Harry didn't bother looking around to see who had noticed Fawkes' delivery. With a great sense of trepidation Harry picked up the note that Fawkes had dropped on to of his assignment, and held it so Hermione could read it at the same time.
The pair slowly turned to face each other and as their eyes met, they erupted in laughter.
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