Chapter 16, Consequences

Remus shivered against the cold; he stood naked in the Shrieking Shack, waiting. He could see splinters of the moon through a boarded up window, and he could almost feel the tremors running up his spine already.

He heard footsteps echoing from the tunnel downstairs and knew that the others had arrived; they would wait until the screaming stopped and then he might go down to meet them, or they would have to come up. Nothing was sure after the change, and he may or may not retain his human mind. Sometimes he could almost feel human; other times he would not be able to remember the entire night as he fought with the animal for control of his body.

He knew in his wolfish form he was a terrifying spectacle; he could remember the haunted looks on his friends’ faces the day after they had first transformed to accompany him. He ended up as nothing resembling a human, in any way, other than fact he could still stand on two legs. The textbook pictures of the shaggy creature looked more like something between a great ape and a wolf more than a human; and the transformation was the most painful thing he had ever experienced.

He had to go through it every month.

Then the first tremor hit; he briefly saw the skin on his stomach ripple upwards as every muscle in his body cramped, seized and contracted viciously. He threw back his head and screamed his pain for anyone to hear.

The boy’s hands clenched involuntarily and the knuckles bulged, sharp cracks could be heard as his spine changed shape, his head began to lengthen and his canines grew into two inch fangs. He screamed and screamed as dense muscle suddenly rippled across his shoulders, his back broadened and shaggy, grey hair sprouted across his skin like needles. His screams deepened; becoming more animal and the pitch changed to a call that would echo around the landscape for miles if he so chose it to. His arms lengthened and the muscles in his thighs tightened, shortening to become more powerful than any human or wolf’s. His eyes faded from amber to yellow, and a tufted tail sprouted from his lower back. He dropped onto his new limbs and snarled as his ears stretched painfully; a flood of new feelings and senses were dropped into his wolfish mind.

The beast reared up once more, standing on its hind legs to reach a height of almost eight feet and it roared at the misery, the pain, the frustration and the anger of its life. Soon the note changed though; becoming smoother and a lone wolf howl echoed throughout the valley and off the hills about the castle and tiny village.

James drew his wand as he ran; firing spells as he stumbled forwards, ‘IMPEDIMENTA! IMPEDIMENTA! STUPEFY! STUPEFY!’ were the first to come to mind.

The first two hit the werewolf and it froze, pushing forward slowly as it fought the jinx. Snape turned as James shouted, ‘YOU!’ he shouted, apparently oblivious to the danger behind him. But an off target spell caught him in the chest. He collapsed to the floor.

James reached him and bodily lifted the unconscious boy in his arms; thinking bitterly, if Lily could see me now. Then again, she would most likely blame him for Sirius’ actions. He stumbled back into the tunnel, as the growling grew behind him. Sirius appeared round the bend, horror on his face and shouted; James turned to see the beast bearing down on him. He transformed.

The stag and the werewolf collided with enough force to daze them both; the unconscious Slytherin only a metre or so behind Prongs. He charged forward again, trying to shake off the lights that were exploding across his vision.

Behind him he could hear a dragging sound; he slammed forward again, catching the werewolf in the chest as claws ripped across his shoulder. He hoped Sirius could get Snape away; he had never seen the werewolf like this, they had never met humans on their adventures. It wasn’t Remus who was raking his claws across his chest; it was the real Moony, the other half that inhabited Remus’ mind.

Blood flooded down his front legs, as even the stag’s tough skin gave under nightmarish claws. He slammed forward again and again, and again, stubbornly forcing the beast back and away as his vision began to blur. Somehow thoughts came quite calmly, but the feelings began to fade; only the dull thud of antler of flesh reached him. He didn’t want to die, but at least he was helping someone.

What would Lily think?

Antler hit flesh with less force each time and a huge paw swung round into the stag’s head like a hammer blow.

He had to hold the line; that was all.

What would Lily think?

Sirius dragged Snape all the way to the end of the tunnel, where something of Moony’s size couldn’t reach. Peter arrived as he dumped Snape unceremoniously on the floor, ‘Peter, go get help! Anyone! A teacher! Prongs is dying!’ he shouted; they were beyond covering this up now.

‘But-’ the boy protested.

‘GO!’ he yelled and transformed.

Padfoot raced back along the tunnel on sure feet; he knew this place like the back of his hand. The roaring ahead had stopped, and it galvanised him; Prongs either had the beast under control or he was… Padfoot didn’t think, he just ran.

He rounded the corner.

The stag was sprawled at the end of the tunnel; Prongs wasn’t moving. The werewolf was alternating between growls and breathy whimpers as it saw him; there was blood everywhere. Moony was bleeding from a dozen cuts and Prongs…

Padfoot did the only thing he could think off, he grasped one of the stag’s back legs and began to pull. In his stag form James was over four hundred pounds of muscle and bone; Sirius was less than half of that but he braced himself and heaved. The great body inched towards him, sliding over rock and dirt, leaving a bloody trail in the darkness.

Peter ran for all he was worth.

He didn’t know what had happened; James had suddenly run off, he’d followed as best he could and found Sirius carrying Snape, of all people, almost at the entrance to the Shack tunnel. Sirius had simply yelled for him to get a teacher. James was hurt.

Peter had obeyed.

He had only just reached the Entrance Hall, gasping and out of breath when Professor Dumbledore appeared, looking extremely worried, ‘What’s happened?’

‘Remus… S… Snape’ Peter gasped and pointed out of the doorway to the Whomping Willow.

Dumbledore was gone in a whirl of midnight robes.

‘Come on, Prongs. Wake up, wake up, mate! They can’t find you like this; not like this. C’mon James,’ Sirius couldn’t think; he tried shaking his friend, tried slapping him, but how did you wake up an unconscious stag? There was blood all over both of them.

Suddenly he remembered his wand.

He pulled it out of his robes and said, ‘Enervate,’ the stag stirred and suddenly there was a bleeding James Potter lying in front of him. His eyes flickered and he was gone again.

‘James! Vulnera Sanentur, Vulnera Sanentur!’ but the wounds wouldn’t close and for the first time in years, Sirius felt completely helpless, ‘Help! Somebody help us! Help!’

The only sound he could hear was the howls echoing back from the tunnel.

James had cuts across his face and his shoulders and his arms and chest and they wouldn’t stop bleeding. Beneath the dirt and blood he was getting paler every second.

‘HELP!’ Sirius yelled desperately, ‘HELP US!’

Then Dumbledore was there; in an instant he took in Sirius and James. James Potter in an odd tangle of limbs across the floor; bleeding from a dozen cuts and gashes across his upper body. Sirius Black kneeling beside his friend; shaking and white, blood across his robes and strangely over his face, but it was James’ blood.

Dumbledore’s wand seemed to move of its own accord and something silvery flew out the end of it towards the castle end of the tunnel. Then James was floating on a stretcher and bandages were unfolding across his chest, ‘This is beyond my skill to heal,’ Sirius heard Dumbledore mutter and suddenly Dumbledore and James were disappearing back down the tunnel.

Sirius stumbled to his knees, ‘Sir! Sir!’ he called, but Dumbledore didn’t seem to hear him.

Then he was out onto the lawns; Professor McGonagall was there, and Miss Pomfrey and Professor Slughorn.

‘-been injured, do whatever you can. Horace, Mr Potter needs your help.’

Sirius stumbled and fell to his knees, beyond the range of the Whomping Willow; James was dying and he had caused it.

The next hour became a blur as James was taken away, and a white-faced and shaking Professor McGonagall led Sirius to the Hospital Wing, where Snape was already in a bed. Peter was sitting, sobbing on another bed and Sirius didn’t know what to say or do; he felt empty, as though someone had taken any emotion he could ever have and sucked it out of his body.

McGonagall sat him on a bed, and Professor Dumbledore appeared, locking the door behind him as he entered. He strode down the ward, loose robes billowing behind him and he stopped in front of Sirius. Sirius looked up at the old Headmaster through emotionless eyes and said simply, ‘It’s my fault.’

‘Mr Potter has been taken to St. Mungo’s and his parents have been informed. Mr Black, I would like to know what you, Mr Potter, Mr Snape and Mr Pettigrew were doing in that tunnel at full moon.’ Dumbledore’s tone was stern, but not angry.

Peter’s sobs filled the empty silence and Sirius wondered what Moony was doing now; did he know what he had done? Did he know what Sirius had done?

He blinked at his Headmaster and said, ‘It’s my fault,’ again, though it seemed as though he was listening to his own voice from far away.

‘I… we figured out what Remus is years ago. Lately we had an argument, and I’ve found Snape following Remus a lot. I was angry at Remus for the argument, and we’ve never been friends with Snape. I…’ Sirius swallowed, ‘Earlier I found Snape watching Miss Pomfrey take Remus to the Willow to transform; he didn’t know what was happening, but I told him how to get to the other end of the tunnel.’

‘Where he met an almost fully grown werewolf.’ Dumbledore muttered.

‘I told James what I had done, and he went after Snape; he must have pulled him back at the last minute. But he… he was injured when I got down there.’ Sirius finished, rather lamely; unable to tell Dumbledore what had really happened.

‘I believe Mr Black is telling us the truth,’ Dumbledore said to Professor McGonagall, ‘Though I feel there is something missing. James Potter wouldn’t have run down there to fight a grown werewolf unless he knew how to combat one, or else was exceptionally brave. I do not doubt his knowledge of werewolves, or his bravery, but I feel that something is missing from this tale.’

‘What are you going to do?’ McGonagall answered.

‘I think the two most important things right now are keeping Mr Potter alive and keeping Mr Lupin’s secret, a secret. I think we can say that Mr Snape was in the Forbidden Forest, as were the four boys; where they were attacked by a werewolf, to explain Mr Potter’s injuries. Mr Potter fought the beast as the others called for help; we arrived in time to drive the beast off.’

‘And Mr Potter?’ McGonagall asked, fear and pity clinging to her voice.

‘There is nothing we can do now but he will survive; it is in the hands of Poppy Pomfrey and the Healers of St Mungo’s. He will, at least, be horribly scarred. I have no idea how his parents will react; they will, of course, need to know the true story and I fear that the rest of Mr Lupin’s education and, indeed, life is in their hands. I feel you may want to talk to Mr Black, although having his best friend in such a state may be punishment enough. Mr Potter though, whether he lives or dies, deserves an award for Services to the School for exceptional bravery. Mr Snape will, of course, be sworn to secrecy.’

Wormtail scurried back through the crack in the Hospital Wing door which had been left ajar when the two Professors had gone outside. He changed back into his human form and went to tell Sirius everything he had heard.

‘Apparently they got attacked in the Forest.’

‘By what?’

‘A werewolf.’



‘Then Potter fights off this huge Chimera, saves Snape, and-’

‘That’s ridiculous, when would Potter ever save Snape? Besides; we don’t get Chimera in Britain.’

‘Just on the edge of the Forest, yeah, and now Potter’s in St Mungo’s; they’re not sure he’ll make it.’

‘Oh my God…’

In light of what had happened, Dumbledore was surprised at the Potter’s reaction; yes, they were surprised the boy who had stayed at their house several times was a werewolf, but it explained several things. They also knew that their son cared about his friends and as he seemed to be recovering, they would wait until they had spoken with him before deciding anything.

Dorea Potter sat with tears streaming down her face beside her son’s bed though; the claws would leave irreparable scars, but the Healers had discovered something even worse. There were clear bite marks round James’ left ankle; the Healer-in-charge had come and told them that James would never be the same again. Though the man was obviously perplexed; the jaw size from the bite and the claw markings didn’t add up to the same size of werewolf.

Snape had told him that Potter had been in on the supposed ‘prank’ Black had pulled, but Dumbledore doubted that. He had a shrewd idea that Black had acted alone, with little thought for the consequences and the others had merely been bystanders.

He’d make an announcement at breakfast, now that it seemed that Mr Potter would live.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.