Sirius ran into our dormitory just as I was getting ready to
leave. After all, it was the full moon, and Remus needed us. But the look on
Sirius’ face was unusually terrified, and I was immediately filled with
“James!” He was breathless from running, and I could tell
that whatever he had to say to me was urgent. “Look, you have to help me. Tell
me what to do.”
“Slow down, okay? Calm down. Tell me what happened.”
He caught his breath, and said quietly, “I told Snape how to
get past the Whomping Willow.”
I stared at him, then shouted, “What the hell did you do
He sighed. “He’s been spying for ages, and realized where Remus
goes every month. I was so mad at him; I thought it would serve him right to--”
“What? You thought it would serve him right to be bitten by
a werewolf? Are you mad?”
“I probably was. I wasn’t thinking, and I sure didn’t expect
him to actually try it, but I saw him going down the tunnel!”
“You must not have been thinking! I know you think it’s all
just great fun, but how could you do such a thing?”
“C’mon, James, the harm’s already done, and there’s nothing
I can do now. Please just try to help me.”
I sunk into a chair. What could I possibly do to undo the
damage, without getting all of us expelled? After all, I had to do something. I
was no longer afraid of Snape telling the world about Remus. There was more at
stake than that.
Somewhere deep down, as much as I hated to admit it, I knew
that Snape’s vicious curiosity could cost him his life.
“I have to go after him.”
“What? Go after Snape? What kind of idea is that? He’ll turn
us all in if he sees you as an Animagus!”
“Not as an Animagus. I’ll go as myself.”
“Okay, that’s even worse. Remus could kill you both!”
“Either that, or we leave Snape to his fate. We can’t
possibly tell any of the professors. You know we’ll get expelled.”
“But James . . .”
There was no more time for chit-chat. “Sirius, I’ve got to
do it. Stay in the castle, and keep on the lookout.” Grabbing my Invisibility
Cloak, I ran out the door, and out of the common room.
The grounds were dark, and the moon had not yet risen.
Praying for time, I prodded the knot with my wand, and slid down the tunnel
that opened in front of me. “Lumos,” I said, and my wand produced a
faint light at the tip.
I ran through the dark passageway, only lighted by my wand.
There was no sign of Snape. Unlike him, I had traveled through countless times,
and I knew every step of the way by heart. With this in mind, I hoped that I
could reach him before it was too late.
I was nearer and nearer to the end of the tunnel. There were
only a few footsteps, a few moments left. Where was Snape?
I felt as if I could hardly run any more. Sweat covered my
face, and I gasped for breath. Suddenly, I saw a light that could only mean I
was at the end of the tunnel.
And was that Snape, lying eerily still on the ground, about
to have his head ripped off by a werewolf?
I had never before seen Remus as a werewolf in human form,
and I was just as terrified Snape must have been. With all the remaining energy
I had, I ran into the room I had been in so many times before. But this time,
for the first time, I was unprotected. Remus would never hurt a stag, but as
myself, I was in great danger of being bitten or killed. Snape was lying on the
opposite side of the room. I grabbed him by his sleeve, and half dragged, half
carried him away from the opening. The werewolf (I couldn’t bear to call him Remus,
since there was hardly anything Remus-like about him now) howled as it turned
and snapped at us, and I felt a chill.
For a moment as I stood in the doorway, I pointed my wand at
it, trying to think of a spell to use. But then the werewolf raised its head,
and I thought that I saw Remus’ eyes in the beast’s face. Shivering, I dropped
my wand and shoved Snape through the entry. But as I managed to scramble
through the doorway, I felt my Invisibility Cloak slip off my head. The
werewolf had grabbed on with its teeth, and I was visible. There was no time to
spare, however, and I shoved Snape through the hole.
At last, we had reached the tunnel. But how could I carry Snape
through the passage? “Ennervate,” I whispered, but it was useless
without my wand. Snape didn’t seem like he was going to regain consciousness
anytime soon. His head fell limply on his shoulder, and his whole body was
I swore under my breath. How was I going to get him out? I
swung him over my back just as the werewolf turned in the direction of the
passageway. Summoning all of the strength I had left, I stood up and ran.
The tunnel was longer than it had ever been before, and the
load on my back was killing me. I remembered that Remus had no way of getting
out of the room, and sighing in relief, I dropped the unconscious Snape on the
But try as I did, there was no waking him up. I knew that I
had to get him back to the castle before dawn to avoid expulsion. I promised
myself that I’d hex him the next time I saw him in the halls—for the time
being, I had to carry him all the way back.
That night was the longest of my life, as I struggled
through the long, dark, tunnel. Even as I reached the end, my ordeal was not
yet over. I raised myself and my burden out of the roots of the Whomping
Willow, and staggered across the grounds. Just as the coast seemed clear and I,
or rather we, had almost reached the castle, I heard a voice.
“James Potter! What do you think you’re doing?”