Chapter 28 : The Marauders
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The way people move
is their autobiography in motion.
- Gerry Spence
I was playing with the ball in the end of my hat as I walked down to Rubeus Hagrid’s cabin.
The half-giant was ok, but I didn’t have any close relationship with him. The reason I was heading down there was because one of the cats had five kittens last week. I was excited as a child, kittens were one of my weak spots. I had volunteered to help him take care of them, not because he didn’t manage to do it on his own, but because they were so adorable.
The sky was steadily going darker, and I knew the full moon would be up soon, transforming my Remus into a monster. I shuddered by the thought…
I stopped, knocking on Hagrid’s door.
“Who’s there?” his voice called from within.
“It’s Lily Evans!” I replied, opening the door and stepping inside.
My eyes widened when I saw who was with him. It was James, who sat by the small cats stroking their fur, making them start purring.
“Hi, Lily,” he smiled at me, coming over and giving me a hug.
As his arms closed around my body, I forgot all about the anger I had built up towards him during that day. It just felt so right.. I pushed the kiss away from my head and pretended it never happened.
“Lily!” Hagrid smiled broadly. “I’m jus’ goin’ to go out fer some more wood, so please jus’ make yerself comf’table, ok?”
As he left the cabin, I sat down by the fire, warming my freezing hands.
“You were so quiet today,” James frowned. “Not like you use to be.”
“I know,” I said, looking into his face. “It’s because of the thing we talked about in the common room that night after the Quidditch-match,” I said.
“Can’t you just tell me? You always keep something back. Let me uncover at least some of the mystery that’s you?” James asked carefully.
“No, I can’t. Stop pushing the matter,” I answered, my voice going sterner.
“Ok, I won’t,” he gave up.
I walked over to the kittens, holding up a silver-grey female.
“They’re so pretty,” I whispered into her fur, scooping her up close.
James came over, stroking the kitten in my hands on the head with his index finger.
“This is the cutest one,” James grinned. “She’s usually very playful, but also the one who’s calmest when you cuddle with her,” he said, looking into my eyes.
Was he talking about me or the kitten?
‘Stop imagining things, Lily..’ I said dreamily to myself.
“Come again?” James looked curiously at me.
“What?” I snapped my head up.
“You mumbled something about stopping to imagine things… what’s that?”
‘Oh.. Did I say that out loud? Oops…’
“It’s nothing,” I waved it off, feeling my cheeks go warm.
James continued to stroke the little cat in my arms, but his eyes were on me.
‘God, he’s gorgeous…’ I sighed inside my head. ‘But I can’t give in.. he’ll just hurt me…’
“You said it as if you were daydreaming… Are you really in love, like Padfoot keeps hinting at, but not really allowed to spell out loud?” James teased.
I smiled embarrassedly, lowering my eyes.
“Maybe,” I said quietly, the little smile playing around my lips. “Why do you want to know?”
“Just wondering,” James replied casually, biting his lower lip slightly.
I let the kitten carefully down in James’s arms, and went over to the table to get the mother something to eat.
The smile twinkling on my face wouldn’t let go of it’s grip. Just being in this warm cabin when it was snowing slightly outside, together with James, taking care of kittens was too good to be true.
When I turned around with a plate full of fish on it, I saw James swinging his cloak around his shoulders.
“I best be off,” he said.
My eyebrows tightened together slightly.
“Just a pile of homework waiting, and I have some new Quidditch-strategies to plan out as well,” he said, still moving to the door.
“O-Okay,” I said, hurrying to set the fish down to the cat in the basket by the fire. “Good luck, then.”
‘Good luck? What’s wrong with you?’
“Thanks.. See you, Lily,” he smiled, leaving me behind.
I walked over to the window, expecting to see James hurrying up to the castle again. But instead, he rounded Hagrid’s cabin, heading for somewhere else. I felt my mouth open slightly as I saw his figure disappear.
‘Why would he lie to me about that? And where is he going?’
As soon as I’d finished feeding and watching over the kittens for a very short while, Hagrid came back.
“Leavin’ so soon, Lily? What’s with the hurry?” he asked.
“Sorry, I have some other things to look after…” I said hurriedly before heading out into the chilly evening.
I started walking in the direction I saw James leave, hoping I’d find out what he was up to. I walked around for some time, feeling the coldness start to take hold of my body.
‘Drop it, he’s probably just out for some prank with Sirius…’
I was about to turn back, when something white in between the trees caught my eye. I stopped up, focusing on the moving thing to see what it was.
‘It’s some sort of reindeer!’ I exclaimed to myself. ‘I haven’t seen one in ages…’
I slowly moved closer, and the creature noticed my presence. It stopped up, setting it’s eyes on me.
“Come here… I just want to have a closer look…” I whispered.
The creature didn’t move, and I steadily got closer to it.
Then I saw it was a proud stag. It was extremely beautiful, and something about the eyes just made me want to get even closer…
As I reached my hand out, it moved closer to me instead of further away.
My fingers came in touch with it’s soft fur, at least it was soft for being a stag. A smile curved onto my face as I patted it.
“You are really beautiful, you know that?” I whispered into its ear. I looked it kindly in the eyes again. “You even remind me of someone I know.”
I realised the eyes were the same colour as James’s eyes. The same hazel type. I felt warm just thinking about that..
The stag started moving slowly out of the forest, lifting it’s head up at the full moon. I followed it, continuing to stroke it gently.
“I’m going back to the castle now,” I said, remembering Remus could be out there somewhere. Even if I knew he was far away, I wanted to be sure I was safe.
“Go back to the other animals, ok? Maybe we’ll meet again sometime,” I whispered. “You really are stunning.”
I saw the pearly white colour of the male stag shine at me as I left for the castle. Something about it just made my head spin around… Something about that creature fascinated me.
I made myself comfortable in the Gryffindor common room together with Padfoot and Wormtail. It had become winter, and we couldn’t stay with Moony all night because the moon didn’t disappear until the morning. It was the middle of the night, and the fireplace was warming our cold, exhausted bodies.
“James, never forget the invisibility cloak again.. ok? What if we had been spotted going back to the castle after we’d transformed back?” Peter said nervously to me.
“Hmph… I know,” I replied irritably. “It won’t happen again, I promise!”
“You’re lucky it’s winter, and not summer,” Padfoot smirked. “We would have been seen as easily as a white unicorn in a clearing.”
That reminded me of Lily. I had seen her follow me after I’d left Hagrid’s cabin, and I didn’t want her to find me. So I had transformed quickly into my animagi-form, hoping she’d turn back.
But she hadn’t… I had got her attention even more … when had I ever been able to resist the charm of that girl? Of course I wouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to have her close in any way…
“We were spotted,” I said hoarsely, breaking out of my thoughts.
“What?” Sirius looked disbelieving at me. “You’re joking, right?”
“Nope,” I confirmed, warming my hands on the warm cup I was holding. “By none other than our prima ballerina…”
“Lily Evans?” Peter choked.
Sirius shook his head in assignment, his black hair swaying down to cover some of his face.
“Indeed,” I said, smiling wryly. “She saw me as a stag.”
“Did she understand it was you?” Sirius quickly snapped his head up.
“Hard to tell,” I said insecurely. “She said some things.”
“She talked to you? She talked to a stag?” Peter laughed a little.
“Actually, she did,” I said sternly to him. “She said I reminded her of someone.”
“Well, it could be anyone, couldn’t it?” Sirius shrugged.
“I think she thought about me,” I protested. “I know you told me once my eyes didn’t change as a stag. We have at least some characteristics holding on even when we transform.”
“You’re sure you’re not imagining this? That it’s not wish-thinking?” Sirius said amusedly.
‘Well.. Lily and I have had some deep looks at each other.. wouldn’t she recognise my eyes? I know I would remember how her green ones look like.. Her brilliant emerald eyes…’ I thought.
“She said some other things as well,” I continued, grinning at the two friends sitting with me.
“Oh, really?” Sirius gave me a look, probably expecting what was coming.
“She said I was really beautiful…” I quoted, fiddling with my cup.
Sirius let out a bark-like laugh and Peter let out a snigger.
“Well, at least your animagi-form is somewhat more good-looking than ours?” Peter joked. “Can’t say Padfoot’s dog-form would get thought of as ‘cute puppy’ …”
“Look who’s talking? At least a shabby dog is better than a rat..” Sirius replied defiantly.
“Anyway… I don’t reckon she put the puzzle together… if Lily ever finds out we are unregistered animagis… What do you think would happen?” I said, concerned.
“Wait! Quiet…” Padfoot suddenly let out.
His eyes travelled around the room, looking for something. He rose up from his chair to get a better view. He even sniffed the air a little.
“No… Just forget it, it wasn’t anything,” he breathed out, dumping back into the armchair.
“Do you think someone was there?” Peter suggested.
“No, I think good old Padfoot would have noticed,” I smirked, looking over at my best friend.
Slipping James’s invisibility cloak off my shoulders, I had a hard time breathing. Did I hear what I just thought I heard? Was James, Sirius and Peter talking about them being animagi? About them being outside just now? That they had done this illegally and that they kept it from everyone?
I was as quiet as ever as I slipped under my covers again, my head spinning in thought. Those eyes… Could it be that exact same pair of eyes I usually drowned in? The same hazel gaze?
‘You’ve just revealed the big Marauder-secret, Lily… And it’s a bit scary.. Knowing they’ve been changing into animals all this time.. Was that white stag really James?
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