The Snitch of Secrets Three

Real True Fear

The Gryffindors were becoming increasingly claustrophobic. The weather had brightened some but they were all stuck in doors until four in the afternoon when a teacher would be willing to take them out. It was Saturday afternoon – they should have been in Hogsmeade but the trip had been cancelled – and they were all sat in the common room watching the clock, waiting for four.

James sighed, "it's not fair – this year was supposed to be amazing… we're meant to be at Hogsmeade but we're stuck here."

"I know man – I was so looking forward to going to Hogsmeade this year," Sirius complained.

"At least we managed to go twice," Lily tried to think positively.

"Arg – twice?" Sirius sighed, "I was hoping more for ten times."

It was the full moon again and the group didn't feel complete without Remus. He had left them the night before to "go visit his sick mother." After Peter's father's death the girls reacted worse than normal to the idea of Remus' mother being sick.

"Oh gosh," Alice was saying, "I hope she'll be ok."

"She's sick so often," Marlene nodded.

They had grown quite concerned and couldn't wait for Remus to return to the school. Peter still hadn't come back himself. He's been gone for a few weeks now and they'd heard absolutely nothing. The marauders were growing scared – they were worried about their friend.

James and Sirius spent their Saturday night working on homework. With Peter and Remus gone, they had decided to leave the animagus spells until they were all back together again. They didn't want Peter to fall behind and they really needed Remus with them. He was their safety net – the one who put things right when they cast a spell wrong.

Lily was sat in the kitchen with Severus, "I'm telling you it's weird. He's gone again isn't he?"

"Yeah but his mum is sick," Lily frowned, "she's been getting worse ever since Remus' father died."

"That's an excuse and you know it!" Severus exclaimed angrily.

"I believe him," Lily whispered. "Why were you sent home Sev?"

"Got into a duel. Wrong place, wrong time."

"The grounds?" Lily replied, "We're not allowed in the grounds. Why were you outside?"

"How…? Have you been checking up on me? You don't trust me, do you?" He threw her a hurt expression.

"How can I? Is it true?"

"Fine – yes it's true. We went to attack Potter. Big deal – I've never lied to you. You know I hate him. He hexes me and stuff in the corridors – I just wanted to get him back."

Lily nodded, "that's everything?"

"Yep," Snape frowned, "You can't expect me to get on with him. He's a Gryffindor!"

"And so am I," Lily blurted out.

"You're different," Snape realised his mistake.

"Am I? I've got to go," Lily went to stand up but Severus grabbed her arm.

"You're my best friend – always will be."

"What if I don't like the person you're becoming?" Lily asked.

"Then I'll change," Snape answered.

"I don't think it's possible – I don't think people can change," Lily admitted.

"I can, for you."

Lily nodded, she hoped that he was right.

Night had already fallen when the dementors glided towards the whomping willow. They had felt a young boy going towards it earlier but he'd disappeared. It had intrigued them. They groped the tree as it tried to attack them but they were quicker, sensing its moves in advance. One of the dementors felt a knot on the trunk of the tree and the tree suddenly stilled. Another found a hole at the base of the tree and moved into it. The other dementors followed the first. They went down an earthy slope until they found a tunnel. The tunnel had a very low ceiling and went on for ages. Eventually the tunnel began to rise and twisted. The dementors felt their way with their hands. They still couldn't sense the boy but they knew that he must have come this way. Suddenly they heard a horrible shrieking noise. They could feel emotion in the house that they had found themselves in but the emotion wasn't human. No – it was something different, something animal like. The atmosphere was charged with emotion; anger, pain, loneliness, despair. They continued through the house. They walked up the hall. If they had been able to see they would have noticed the broken furniture and the boarded up windows. Instead they merely followed the emotion through the house and up the stairs. They followed the ear piercing screams until they found a room at the top of the stairs. The door creaked open and if they'd been able to see they would have seen a werewolf with shoulders hunched and bent knees ready to attack. The dementors could sense the emotions in the room – someone was there but they weren't completely human. They heard an angry snarl and they realised the noise was coming from a werewolf. They glided away leaving the werewolf alone once more. They hovered at the bottom of the stairs waiting for morning, waiting for his transformation. The dementors were patient. They had been growing eager for some time. They believed it was since one of them had made it into the castle only to be expelled once more by a small boy's patronus. They were hungry for emotion. The students hadn't been spending much time in the grounds so the dementors had felt unsatisfied by the emotions in the air.

Several hours later they heard a different sound from upstairs; the once shrill shrieking was now a gentle whimper and the emotions in the air were becoming more human. They began to ascend the stairs once more and entered the room. There was a small, frail looking boy on the ground. He was shaking as he cried. They made their way towards him. When he saw them he screamed. He didn't have his wand. Madam Pomfrey had it. She would be bringing it with fresh clothes soon. Remus thought to himself, what the hell am I going to do? He pushed himself up against the wall. They had him cornered.

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