"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."-Helen Keller
*James's POV* *The previous night*
"You are so beautiful," I murmur against her lips as the final song of the night comes to a close. She giggles, kissing me gently as the lights around the Hall come up.
"James, you're too good to me," he coos, running her fingers through my hair, making it even messier than it was. "The best anyone has ever been."
"Really?" I chuckle, grabbing her hand and leading her off the dance floor. I spot Sirius and Marlene across the Hall at our table, waiting for us.
"Really," she says, wrapping her arm the whole way around mine. I don't know how to respond to this, so I'm grateful when we run into Peter and Diana. They look incredibly happy together, both wearing smiles from ear to ear.
"Well I suppose that's it, isn't it?" Sirius muses as we approach. "It's over."
"We still have tomorrow," Marlene points out, her hands resting on Sirius's chest.
"Come on," I say, leading the group out of the crowded hall. "Tonks is waiting for us. You know how she gets on these nights."
I whisper the last part to just Peter and Sirius. They nod in understanding.
After completing the trek from the Great Hall to the common room, which was a very slow process behind hundreds of students, and biding goodnight to Diana and Marlene, we collapse in our chairs in front of the fire, waiting for Tonks to come down from her dormitory.
"She'll be down as soon as she sees people coming back," I say, confident in my answer. "Just give her a few minutes."
But a few minutes go by, and there's no sign of Tonks.
"Lils, why don't you go check on her?" I ask, nudging her a little. "Just to make sure she's okay?"
"Sure," Lily says, standing up and straightening her gown before picking it up and making her way to the girl's dormitories. We sit in a nervous silence while she's gone, the air that something wasn't right all around us. I fidget with my dress robes, trying to pass the time, but it seems like Lily is gone forever.
"Guys…" she says, making us all jump. "She's not up there…"
I whip around to meet Sirius's eyes, and dread settles in the pit of our stomachs. I turn slowly back to Lily, my heart racing and my eyes wide in absolute fear.
"Of course I'm sure," she says uneasily. "What does this mean? What's going on?"
"Lily," I say, standing and placing my hands on her shoulders, staring her dead in the eye. "I need you to do something very important for me."
She nods, her eyes big and full of apprehension.
"I need you to get Professor Dumbledore. Tell him to go to the Whomping Willow. Tell him I sent you, and that Remus and Tonks might be in trouble. If you can get McGonagall too, that would be great."
"James, I'm scared. What's going on?" she breathes as I release her, turning back to Sirius.
"I don't know yet," I admit, shrugging off my tux jacket and throwing it across the couch. "I'm going to find out."
"You're not going to wait for Dumbledore?" Lydia says, incredulous.
"There's no time," Sirius explains, throwing his jacket next to mine and rolling up his sleeves. "We've got to go. Now."
"Please be safe," Lily begs, grabbing my hand as I'm about to leave. "I don't know what's going on, but… just… don't be foolish."
"I won't," I promise her, kissing her forehead. Seconds later, Sirius and I are already sprinting down the corridor, heading for the front doors. Peter chose to stay back with the girls since his animagus wouldn't be of much help in this situation. I almost considered him a coward, but I shrugged it off because there were much more important things to be worrying about.
As soon as we're clear of the lights of the castle, we transform, still barreling toward the Willow at break-neck speed. The adrenaline coursing through my veins didn't allow me to become tired. As we approach the Willow, I transform back, surveying the area. Sirius comes up behind me, still in his dog-form.
"It's too dark to see anything," I say, still squinting. "Pads, you have the nose. Do you smell anything?"
I glance back to my left and see my best friend standing where the dog was only a moment ago. He looks confused.
"It's hard to get anything out here," he sighs. "There's too many scents at once."
"Try harder," I urge, watching morph back to the enormous, shaggy, black dog. I watch him sniff around for a minute before I hear him whimper. He transforms only to shout out one word before he goes back and canters off down the hill.
I immediately transform, following behind him. He barks and growls as he sniffs around in the grass, trying to find the source of the smell. Suddenly, he howls, and transforms back.
"I don't get it!" he exclaims, frustrated.
"What's the matter?" I ask, back to myself as quick as a snap of the fingers.
"The trail ends here," he explains, pointing to the patch of grass in front of him. "There should be something there."
I don't respond, as confused as he was. I stare hard in front of us, trying to discern why we couldn't find anything. Then I see it. The grass there was flattened, as if something were laying on it. Something the size of a person. I lunge at it, and my hands land on something very solid.
"It's her!" I exclaim, and Sirius is suddenly next to me, helping me turn her right side up. "She's under the Invisibility Cloak!"
We pull our darling Tonks out the cloak and into the world the eye could see. And what waits for us under that cloak was something I wish I could un-see.
Blood. Just blood everywhere. It was all down her clothes, in her hair, on her face, wet in the grass beneath her. Her right sleeve is torn up, and that seems to be the source of the bleeding. I try very hard to keep calm, but the tears come fast, running down my cheeks as I watch one of my best friends die.
"Was she bit?" Sirius asks, examining her arm.
"I dunno," I choke out. "I can't tell."
I pick her head up and hold it close to my chest, sobbing.
"We were too late," I exclaim. "She's dead!"
"James, calm down!" Sirius says. "She's not dead!"
"How do you know?" I respond, my chest aching terribly. I lower her into my lap, staring down at her pale, blood-stained face. Sirius suddenly reaches across me and places two fingers under her jaw to check her pulse.
"It's there, mate," he says, sighing in relief. "Barely, but it's there."
I feel for myself, but don't relax. This girl was going to die within moments if she didn't get help. Suddenly, we hear shouting coming from the castle, light from the front doors spilling across the grounds.
"We're over here!" Sirius shouts, standing up and waving his hands. He reaches in his pocket and retrieves his wand, sending up red sparks. "Over here! Please help!"
Before we even have time to catch our breaths, Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Hagrid have surrounded us, lighting the gruesome scene with their wands. McGonagall gasps and looks away, Hagrid makes a strange noise in the back of his throat, and Dumbledore swiftly kneels down to examine her.
"She's alive," he mutters, almost in disbelief. "We need to get her to the hospital."
McGonagall reacts like this was an order and sends a patronus to St. Mungo's, urging them to be ready when she arrived.
"Boys," Dumbledore says calmly. "You did beautifully. But we can take it from here."
I begrudgingly let him slide Tonks off my lap and onto a gurney he conjured up from thin air. After strapping her securely in place, he nods to Hagrid and McGonagall before apparating without another word. The four of us stand motionless in shock for a few moments before McGonagall speaks.
"Do you boys have any idea of what happened?"
We glance over at each guiltily before nodding.
"Well then," she says in a clipped tone. "Follow me to my office."
Hours later, after telling McGonagall the whole story, we find ourselves back in the boy's dormitory, showered and anxious for news. It was daybreak, and none of us had slept a wink. Lily, Lydia and May joined us around midnight, asking questions, and we decided it was time from them to be in on it, too. They reacted surprisingly well to Remus's "furry little problem," and said it couldn't change how they felt about him. That gave me hope for him in the future.
Lily lays draped across my lap, her ginger hair spilling across my bed. I stroke it, trying to comfort her, for she was very distraught after completing the task I gave her. Lydia and May sit on Remus's empty bed, trying to occupy their time by twiddling their thumbs and twirling their hair. Sirius lays flat on his back in his bed, staring at the canopy above him. I know he was trying to sleep, but sleep was impossible this night. Peter remains on his bed, too, running his wand through his fingers and pretending not to be nervous.
As I'm about to explode in frustration, I hear a tapping at the window. We all jump, heads swiveling to the window in between Sirius's and Peter's beds. Lily sits up, allowing me to cross the room and retrieve the letter. It was from Dumbledore, and very brief.
Dear Marauders and friends,
He's awake in the Hospital Wing. He does not know of what happened last night. I thought it would be best if you told him.
Miss Tonks is being taken care of as we speak. I do not know of her condition yet.
I read it aloud to the room.
"Well, we have to go then, don't we?" Sirius says. He receives no response. "Although, I suppose it would be best if it was… just the three of us."
He nods to me and Peter.
"Just incase it gets ugly."
The girls nod in understanding. After biding them goodbye and being told "good luck!" by each of them, the three remaining Marauders leave their dormitory and head to the Hospital Wing. Each step seems like we're closer and closer to our doom, for we know Remus will not take the news very well.
"If you've got something to say, just say it!" I exclaim after several tense minutes with the boys. Madam Pomfrey had let them in to see me under Dumbledore's orders, and they all looked very uncomfortable, fidgeting in their seats and avoiding eye contact. Peter had mumbled something about bad news, and that led me to snap. After spending the night as a wolf, the last thing I wanted to deal with was people who beat around the bush.
"Remus, it's not that easy to say!" James replies with just as much fire.
"What's going on? Something is wrong, and I know it. Where's Tonks?"
This causes them all to shift in their seats uncomfortably, looking down into their laps.
"What the bloody hell is going on?!" I exclaim, receiving a dirty look from Madam Pomfrey, but I was too worked up to care.
"Okay, listen Remus," Sirius says, giving me a very solemn stare. "This won't be easy to hear. You're just going to have listen."
"I have ears… I can do that."
"Something… happened last night," he continues. "Tonks is at St. Mungo's. She got injured."
"Injured?" I reply, quirking an eyebrow. "How could she have gotten injured? All she did was stay in her dorm all night."
The boys glance at each other nervously.
"Moony," James interjects. "Do you not remember last night at all?"
"No," I reply. "I never do. What aren't you telling me?"
"You don't remember our plan?" James continues. "Tonks was going to use my cloak to… yanno… watch."
It suddenly all comes back to me. Tonks was with me last night. They're telling me she's injured. No. No, no, no, no. This isn't happening. My worst nightmare. It's not coming true.
"Oh my God," I breathe, my stomach in knots, a hole forming in my chest. "I… did I? No… I couldn't have… I did… Oh my God…"
"Remus, it wasn't your-"
"Do not tell me it wasn't my fault," I say, short and through gritted teeth. "Because it was."
"Don't be so hard on your-" Peter starts.
"I don't want to hear it Peter," I cut him off. "Is she alive? Is she okay? What did I do to her? What happened?"
"We don't know," James admits. "Dumbledore took her immediately to St. Mungo's, but she'd lost a lot of blood from a wound on her right arm."
An icy silence falls over us, a question nagging my mind. I take a moment to breathe deeply and slow the racing of my heart.
"Did I… bite… her?"
"We don't know, mate," James repeats. "I'm very sorry."
I don't respond, swallowing very hard and blinking the tears from my eyes.
"I knew it wasn't a good idea," I mutter.
"How could you have kno-"
"GOD DAMMIT!" I exclaim, punching the pillow I had resting on my lap. "I let her do that! I let her put herself in danger! How could I have been so stupid?! I'm a horrible person! I killed her! I killed the best thing that's ever happened to me!"
I start to sob, bringing the pillow to my face and burying myself in it, wishing it would swallow me up. I feel a comforting hand on my back, and James suddenly speaks.
"She could still be alive mate," he says, very reassuring. "You never know. She's a strong girl. She could pull through."
Suddenly, there's a tapping at the window. James responds by opening it and taking the letter from the owl waiting anxiously there. He scans it quickly before his face breaks into an enormous smile.
"She's alive," he breathes in relief. "She made it!"
Everyone relaxes, beaming, except for me. I still couldn't believe myself.
"Dumbledore says we can come and visit her!" he continues. "He wants us there at once."
There's a very loud scraping of chairs as the three boys stand and gather themselves to leave. But just before they do, they notice that they're one short.
"Remus, he said you can come, too," James says, standing at the end of my bed, looking at me with excited eyes.
"I can't," I explain, not meeting his eyes as his face falls. "I can't see what I did to her. She won't want to see me. She hates me."
"Remus that's not true," Sirius chimes in. "She loves-"
"Not anymore," I interrupt. "Not after what happened last night. What would she want to do with me?"
No one responds.
"We'll be back later, Moony," James says, voice full of disappointment.
"Have fun," I say solemnly, gazing out the window.
"We will," Sirius says over his shoulder. "Especially without you. You coward."
That simple word touches a nerve, and I suddenly become very angry again, for I was no coward. I want to get up out of this bed and show Sirius this, but suddenly the thought occurs to me: what if I really was a coward? If I was, then I would be a coward and the scum of the earth. I didn't deserve to live after what I'd done. I deserved to die alone at the hands of thousands of hungry werewolves.
Hey guys! I'm soooooooooooooooooooooooo sorry about the delay! L
I've just been busy I guess! Because guess who just came back from London? Me! Yes, it was THE MOST AMAZING experience of my entire life, and I loved every minute! I even went to Leavesden studios! :D (Coincidentally, me and mannequin of Tonks's costume had the same boots!)
That's the only update I have for now, but if you want to hear more about my trip, just leave it in the reviews and I'll add on the next chapter! J
Alright that's it guys, I hope you liked it! PLEASE REVIEW!
Ps. Have any of you seen "Tonight You're Mine" (or "You Instead" which is the UK version) starring the lovely Natalia Tena? I watched it last night, and although it was VERY cliché, it was pretty good! I only watched it for her though! LOL J What did you guys think of it? Like it? Dislike it? Not seen it? Want to see it? (It's on Netflix!)