Sirius Black sat in the
Marauders' usual corner of the common room, sucking on a sugar quill. He was
pretending to write his Care of Magical Creatures essay (discuss the
righteousness of laws pertaining to the magical creature of your choice), but
he’d finished hours ago. His topic had been werewolves, so he’d needed to do
very little research for the paper. Remus hadn’t even helped, as the full moon
had been approaching since it was assigned. Lupin’s alibi was detention with
Snape, but Sirius and James knew that Peter was serving that detention alone.
Instead of plotting their next prank, Sirius and James were staring at their
crushes, best friends Lily Evans and Alexis Cunnings, waiting for the common
room to empty out so they could join Remus at the Shrieking Shack. The boys
were looking forward to this full moon; it would be a lot more fun without
having to worry about harming the little rat.
With reluctant eyes,
Black and Potter watched Lily and Alexis pack their books and head up the
girls’ staircase. James took out a piece of parchment and drew a tic-tack-toe
board. Sirius sighed, but he understood James’ ploy. Playing the stupid game
would look like they were plotting something over that piece of parchment.
Sirius played along until, 20 minutes later, the last group of first years went
to bed. The boys stashed their bags under a loose floorboard in the corner,
threw on the Invisibility Cloak, and made their way to the Shrieking Shack. It
wasn’t long until Moony, Padfoot, and Prongs were on another midnight
Sirius stopped in the
middle of the grounds to smell the crisp, nighttime air. Moony’s howl reminded
Sirius that he was with a werewolf, in his illegal Animagus form, and the
punishments for being caught were too harsh for even Sirius to risk it. He
trotted with his friends to the Forbidden Forest. Tonight they only planned on
running through the forest, maybe play with the Centaurs to see if they’d help
Padfoot, the helpless pup, or just scare away small creatures. Nothing big. The
trio headed deeper into the forest. Most students would’ve panicked by now—the
deep parts of the forest were dangerous, and most would be lost here-- but
after years of midnight adventures, their knowledge of the forest was second
only to Hagrid.
Suddenly, the squeal of
some sort of animal echoed through the forest. Padfoot and Prongs looked out
around them, trying to figure out what had been attacked. Moony howled, drawing
his friends’ attention to him. At first, nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
However, it didn’t take Padfoot long to notice that one of Moony’s paws was
lifted. Blood trickled beneath it, but stayed hovering in the air. Prongs
watched as Moony tried to remove his paw from what appeared to be an invisible
creature. Padfoot grabbed Moony’s leg with his mouth and tried to help him
remove his forefoot. Moony let out a howl of protest, although he had been
freed. The invisible creature made an even louder painful noise. Prongs kicked
the dirt with his hoof, and Padfoot let out a soft bark of understanding. The
adventure was over for tonight. It wasn’t worth the risk.
Padfoot and Prongs had enough
practice controlling Moony that they managed to get him back the Shrieking
Shack without a problem. James and Sirius stayed up in the common room, trying
to figure out what went wrong.
"What did he
attack?" James was at a loss, and it bothered him. He was used to being
the top student, having all the answers. He shook his head. It just didn’t make
"They don’t live
James bit his lip.
"I don’t know."
Remus spent Friday in the
hospital wing, recovering from the ordeal of his transformation. The Marauders
knew better than to ask Madam Pomfrey if they could visit. Since it wasn’t in
their nature to do more work than absolutely necessary, the boys brainstormed
pranks instead of trying to figure out what Remus attacked.
Remus was released from
the hospital wing on Saturday. His friends greeted him heartily when he joined
them in the common room that afternoon.
"You know you…"
"Yeah, I know about
the Thestral. We need to help it."
Peter asked stupidly.
"I stepped on a
sleeping Thestral and my claw got stuck. Didn’t they tell you?"
"They said you hurt
something invisible, but they didn’t know what it was."
"Invisible? But I
thought for sure Sirius had seen someone die."
Sirius shook his head.
"My parents are pure-blood maniacs, but they aren’t killers."
"Who have you seen
die?" Another stupid question. The boys ignored Peter. They all knew the
story—Remus had survived the werewolf attack with only one bite. His little sister
hadn’t been so lucky.
"What are we going
to do?" Sirius asked.
"We need to get
someone who can help," Remus said.
"And who has she
seen die?" Sirius questioned. James looked baffled, but couldn’t think of
a comeback. "Could you do it, Remus?"
"I can try."
James led them back to
where they’d found the Thestral on the night of the full moon. Remus looked
down at it and turned away.
"What is it?"
couldn’t get the words out.
finished. He could smell it in the air. It smelled like number twelve Grimmauld
marks—they’re not mine."
"So it’s not your
fault," James tried to comfort.
"Yes it is. I made
it vulnerable in the first place."
"No more midnight
"I never said that,
but…maybe not for a while."
"It was an accident,
Remus. Everyone makes mistakes."
Remus nodded. "I
think I need to be alone right now."
Peter, James, and Sirius
headed back to the castle, their hearts heavy. Running around with a werewolf
wasn’t all fun and games.