Copyright: All the characters seen in the Harry Potter books and/or movies are owned by JK Rowling and Warner Brothers studios. The story is entirely from my imagination. It is for pure reading enjoyment, and not intended for profit or resale.
Violence/Subtext: Nope, none… sorry.
Teaser: Just how did the Marauders decide to become Animagi anyway?
Author's Note: This story was written sometime between the publication of Book 5 and 6 of the Harry Potter series.
Feedback: If you've got any, positive or negative, or if you'd like to see more to this story email me at: AkielaXal@yahoo.com
“Does it hurt much?”
“Does what hurt?” asked thirteen-year-old Remus Lupin.
“Changing into a werewolf. Does it hurt?” asked Lily Evans his Hogwarts classmate and friend of two years.
It was early December and the Holiday season was fast approaching. The pair of Hogwarts students were on their way from their Defense Against the Dark Arts class back to the Griffindor common room. As was often the case their closest friends James Potter and Sirius Black had been requested to remain behind as a punishment for disrupting class.
Remus stopped in his tracks and stared at Lily. He glanced furtively around the halls to see if anyone had overheard her comment. Remus grabbed Lily's arm and dragged her into a nearby vacant classroom. “Bloody hell, Lily! What kind of a question is that?” he hissed. “You know as well as I do that they wouldn't let a … a werewolf into Hogwarts! The students wouldn't be safe. The parents would raise a royal ruckus if the Headmaster ever allowed a Beast into the school.”
Lily crossed her arms and stared at her friend. “Remus, what am I going to do with you?” she said. “We've known each other since we first came to Hogwarts. Every few weeks you disappear even though we aren't allowed off grounds except at the Holidays or Hogsmead weekends. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that you're never around when the moon is full.”
The color drained from Remus's face. “Lily, are you trying to get me expelled? What if someone hears you?” They both knew he was speaking of Severus Snape, the greasy, know-it-all Slitherin who would do anything to get Remus and his friends in trouble.
“Look Remus, I'm not trying to get you expelled,” Lily replied, putting her hand on his shoulder. “I'm just worried about you. The full moon's only a few days away and I want to make sure everything's all right. I want to help you.”
He sighed. Remus knew there was no way to sidetrack Lily Evans when she got like this. “Look Lily, the last thing you want to do is be around me when it happens.”
“When what happens?” asked a new voice. Lily and Remus looked up in time to see both James and Sirius entering the room, trailed by the ever-present Peter Pettigrew. “Look at you two,” teased James. “If I didn't know better I'd think you were conspiring about something.”
“That or our Remus here's asking Lily for a date,” quipped Sirius, not noticing the glare that James threw his way.
Remus and Lily exchanged a glance. She shrugged her shoulders as if to say, it's up to you . “All right, but you've got to swear you won't tell a soul,” Remus begged.
“Oh, sounds serious,” joked James as he nudged Sirus in the ribs.
“It is,” answered Lily. “You've got to promise you won't ever tell anyone. If you do, I'll put a terrible curse on you!” Of the five of them, they all knew that Lily could do it if she wanted. Muggle-born or not, she was the cleverest witch of her age.
“All right. I swear,” said James as he swiped his fingers over his heart.
“Me too,” said Sirius.
All eyes turned to Peter. “Huh? Oh, right! I swear. I won't tell anyone. No matter what.”
Remus took a deep breath, for once wishing the gossip Pettigrew wasn't around, and began to tell his friends the story of how he became a werewolf. “It all began a while back…”
“Well, I still think we should help him,” said James Potter the next day as the group headed for their Transfigurations class.
“There's no known cure for werewolves,” answered Lily. “I've already checked every source in the library I can think of.”
Remus looked at his friends in turn. “Look, I appreciate you wanting to help me, but there's really nothing you can do. Nothing except stay away when I change that is. I've been given permission to go to a secret place a few hours before nightfall so nature can take its course. A place where I'll be safe, and where everyone else will be safe too.”
By this time the little group had reached the door to the Transfigurations classroom and the conversation died. They entered the class and took their seats. James looked around, but didn't see Professor McGonagall anywhere. He grinned as he nudged Sirius, slipped his wand from his robes, and pointed it at his ink bottle. “Wingardium Leviosa,” he whispered. The bottle began to float towards Lily who was sitting just in front of him, her long dark braid down her back. The bottle did a little swirl in mid-air, dipped and came up underneath her braid, dunking it into the ink.
Lily let out a little yelp and both James and his seatmate Sirius let out a laugh just as the gray and black tabby that had been perched serenely on the teacher's desk jumped forward and transformed into Professor McGonagall.
“Black, Potter! Ten points each from Griffindor. You will both remain after class for detention,” said the Professor.
“That's it!” breathed James looking at his partner.
“What is?” asked Sirius with a bewildered expression.
“I'll tell you after class,” answered James with a suddenly angelic expression on his face.
“Animagus!” cried Lily. Fortunately the foursome was alone in the common room. “That's way too advanced for you! You're only a Third Year.”
“Well,” said Sirius crossing his legs nonchalantly, “I think it's Brilliant! If we can transform into something big enough to keep ole Moony here from harming us we can still be there when he needs us.”
“Moony, I like that. I'll think that's what we'll call you from now on Remus,” said a satisfied looking James. “Everyone needs a nickname – and you've just gotten yours.”
Remus smiled at his friends. The only one not currently present was their friend Peter Pettigrew who, as a Slitherin, wasn't allowed into the Griffindor common room. “It's a great idea, but Lily's right. It's pretty advanced stuff.”
“Of course I'm right,” sniffed Lily crossing her arms and flouncing back in her chair. “There's all sorts of things that could go wrong. Not the least of which is forgetting who you really are when you're in the form of a creature.”
“Don't be a spoil-sport,” huffed James. “Who better to do this than us? And what better reason than to help out a friend?”
“Do what you want James Potter , but don't expect me to be a part of it! One of these days you're going to get yourself killed with your arrogance,” said Lily as she rose from her chair. She stormed out of the room and up the stairs to the girl's dormitory.
“It says here that most Animagi find that it is much easier to let their alternate form find them than to attempt forcing themselves into an animal form that doesn't fit,” said James pointing to the Animagus book that he'd nicked from the library. “What a load of rubbish. I'm supposed to wait around for some animal to cross my path and presto that's the one I change into? Rubbish.”
It was the first warm day of spring and James, Sirius, and Remus were lounging in the sun by the lake. It had taken the boys several months of research, not to mention quite a bit of sneaking around, to find just the right spell book with their project. Animagus: A to Z was a well kept secret and it had taken Sirius months of sweet talking to get Professor McGonagall to even mention it to him. Then, of course it took he and James a while to find a way to smuggle it out of the restricted section in the library. There wasn't much those two couldn't accomplish once they set their mind to it.
James rolled onto his back and put his arms under his head looking up at the pale blue spring sky. He watched a bird soaring lazily on the warming air currents. “I want to be a lion. Or a tiger maybe.”
“How about a bear?” asked Remus deadpan.
“Oh, my!” shrieked Sirius in his best feminine imitation and both boys broke into a laugh.
“I'm not kidding,” snapped James as he rolled back onto his side to shove Remus. He stopped in mid-motion looking over the other boy's shoulder. There just at the edge of the trees was the largest stag any of the boys had ever seen. It seemed to lock eyes with James then bounded away into the forest. “Hmmmm,” he murmured, “maybe a stag wouldn't be so bad.”
“So bad for what?” asked Peter as he trudged up to the lounging boys.
James tossed the Animagus book to Remus who shoved it into his satchel. “Dinner,” joked James. “I was just thinking that it would be nice to have venison once in a while.”
Peter stared from one boy to the other, for once looking like more than the lump of a boy that he was. “I don't think so,” he said shaking his head. “What's that book you shoved in your bag Remus?”
Sirius stood up at that. “Nothing,” he growled putting his hands on his hips and staring down at the much smaller Peter.
“D… don't try to intimidate me, Black,” said Peter. “I know you are up to something and I want in. It's got to have something to do with him,” he pointed a finger at Remus. “And what he told us about… you know. You've figured out a way to help him?”
“Sit down Sirius. You too Peter,” snapped James. “There isn't any known cure once someone becomes a werewolf, but we've figured out a way that we can still be around him when … you know. We may have a way for you to help too.” James winked at his other friends. “We need someone, or some thing small to help us carry out our plan.” At this both Remus and Sirius understood what James was driving at.
“You see, Peter,” began Remus, “I know a secret passage off campus but it's dangerous. When I feel the … change … coming on, I'm not going to have time to go looking for everyone. I've just got to go. That way I can make sure that I've got enough time for everyone, including myself, to be safe.”
Peter was leaning forward listening intently to Remus's story. If they could have, his ears would have been pricked forward to hear better. “Where do you go?” he whispered.
“To the Shrieking Shack,” answered Remus leaning back on his elbows. “You've got to admit it's the perfect hiding place. No one will dare go inside because it's supposed to be the most haunted place in Britain . The problem is the entrance to the secret passage is under that new willow tree. You know, the Whomping Willow.” Peter gasped and the other boys grinned at him. “Sirius and James need someone small enough to scoot under the willow's branches and press a certain knob on one of its roots. This will stop it from striking out at anyone for a few minutes. We think that someone could be you.”
“Me,” squeaked the portly Peter. “How could I get past those branches? You know I can't run very fast.”
“Ah. Glad you asked that old chap,” said James slapping Peter on the back. “Show him Remus. You see, Petey old boy, Sirius and I have decided to learn the fine art of the Animagi and we want you to join us,” he continued as Remus pulled the book from his satchel.
“Once I learn how, I'm going to be a stag and Sirius here … I bet he will be a big black dog like his namesake. Obviously neither of us will be able to dodge the branches, but you Peter, you could become something very small. A cat perhaps, or a weasel, or even a rat.” James threw his arms wide. “We need you Pettigrew. So, what do you say? Are you in?”
“I'd … I'd be honored,” stuttered Peter. “When do we start?”
“Right now, I'd say,” answered Sirius, “No time like the present.”
Exams were over and the train home would be leaving the next day. Soon the summer holidays would start. The three boys still hadn't managed to master the Animagus spell yet, but all made a blood pack that they would continue working on it. They would become Animagi, or die trying, and none would ever reveal the secret or that of their werewolf friend Moony.
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