Full Moon of January, Maya’s 2nd Year
Maya hurried down to Hagrid’s Hut a few moments before the sun set, muttering crossly, “You three are making me late.”
“Not on purpose, Maya,” came Peter’s disembodied voice from behind her.
“Yeah, Filch’s darn cat...” James began.
“Go away so I can transform,” Maya snapped at them. “This isn’t going to work anyway.”
“It might,” Sirius insisted. She heard them walking away, stumbling a bit as the three of them tried to maneuver underneath James’ invisibility cloak, and she rolled her eyes before ducking behind Hagrid’s house. She changed out of her clothing just before the clouds drifted away from the full moon. Her head snapped back and the transformation began.
Please, Maya thought as she felt herself slipping away. Please remember them.
The boys waited about five minutes before taking off the invisibility cloak (Hagrid’s snores could be heard through the walls of his hut) and crept towards the pumpkin patch.
“Maya?” Whispered Peter. “Maya, where are you?”
Sirius nudged him in the ribs and pointed. There, standing in the light of the moon, perched on top of a gigantic pumpkin, was a black cat. She had a single white paw that reflected the moon’s light. The cat’s eyes were riveted on the full moon. She seemed to revel in it, as if she got power from its light.
“Maya,” Sirius said. The cat did not even twitch. Sirius went right up to it and put a hand on its head.
The cat hissed and a quick paw slashed at his hand. Three thin lines of red welled up on Sirius’ hand. He snatched it back. “Maya!” Sirius reproached her.
Her response was to hiss angrily; her ears flat on her head and eyes narrowed into angry slits.
“She doesn’t recognize us,” said Peter dejectedly.
“We haven’t tried yet,” said James fiercely. He gently pulled back Sirius and knelt in front of the cat. The black cat’s tail flicked the air, and she hissed again, showing teeth.
“It’s okay,” James said soothingly. “It’s okay, Maya.”
“Well,” said Sirius, nursing his cut hand. “She’s not really Maya, is she?”
“We need to call her something,” said Peter.
“I know,” said Sirius. “Give me a minute...”
“For what?” Asked Peter.
“Just hang on a sec, P.”
James ignored his two friends and met the eyes of the angry cat steadily. She wasn’t hissing, but her tail was still flicking and ears were flat. James began to hum, as his uncle had once down to calm a dog, and slowly reached for his pocket. The cat watched him suspiciously. James pulled out a handkerchief, and unwrapped it. The cat’s ears pricked up and she sniffed the air. In James’ hand was a turkey leg from dinner. The cat regarded him cautiously. Slowly, James outstretched his hand and put it before the black cat. Three sniffs later, the cat had swatted the turkey out of his hand with that little white paw and was eating it happily on the ground at James’ feet.
“Maya Night,” Sirius mused aloud.
“Hey, Maya,” James said, kneeling in front of the cat. “Don’t you know who I am?”
“Midnight,” said Sirius.
“No,” protested Peter. “It’s barely 6 o’clock.”
“No,” Sirius said. “The cat, her name is Midnight. Sort of like Maya Night.”
“Oh,” Peter considered that for a minute, “Brilliant, Sirius!”
“Shut up or help, you two,” said James, not taking his eyes off Midnight. She had sat back and was licking her white paw daintily, ignoring the human boy before her. Sirius went to pet her again but Peter grabbed his arm.
“Never touch a cat when it’s taking a bath,” he warned. “I have scars from my Aunt Tess’ old tom-cat for doing that.”
Sirius nodded and sat down beside James’ in the dirt of the pumpkin patch. Peter sat beside him. The cold wind, still carrying a hint of snow, blew through the trees of the Forbidden Forest and Peter shivered. The cat looked at the forest with distaste and then turned her large green eyes on the three of them. “Meow?”
“Hello Midnight,” Sirius whispered. “We’re not going to leave both of our friends tonight.”
“Yeah,” James put out his hand. The cat hissed and he froze, his hand still outstretched. Midnight sniffed him. He smelled like the yummy dinner and like warmth and...familiar. Very, very familiar. Midnight took a step closer and rubbed her head against his hand. James obliged, scratching her behind the ears. Midnight began to purr. Sirius chuckled. The cat froze. She knew that sound, and the smell of the boy’s hand on her head, and the musty scent of the old magical cloak he had around his neck like a scarf and the sweet smell of the candy the fatter boy had in his pockets. All of that was familiar.
Clouds covered the moon and the three young wizards were plunged into darkness. Midnight’s eyes were twin pinpricks of light by James’ hand. Sirius rummaged in his cloak and pulled out his wand. “Lumos,” he whispered. They were bathed in a small circle of magical light.
“Meow,” said Midnight. She jumped onto Sirius lap and began purring loudly, rubbing her head on his arm.
“Maya?” Asked Peter, hardly daring to believe it.
“Meow!” She said, and ran around him in a quick circle before sitting down in front of James’ again.
“If you know who we are,” said James’ excitement brimming in his voice, “Go sit on that pumpkin and meow?”
Midnight looked at him for a moment, then ran to the pumpkin, jumped onto it and meowed loudly, as if declaring that it was her property. James’ smile was so wide that his teeth gleamed in the light of Sirius’ wand.
“Yes!” Sirius crowed, raising his fist into the air. “Yes! I knew they would recognize us!”
“Well...” Said Peter reasonably. “Maya recognizes us.”
“If Midnight can do it, so can Moony,” said Sirius breezily.
“Meow?” Said Maya.
“He gave you a nickname,” James explained. “Midnight. Kind of cool, don’t you think?” Midnight purred. The wind began to blow even harder and snow began to fall.
“Do you think we can go inside now?” Asked Peter forlornly.
“Want to come?” James asked Midnight, already gathering her clothing. “You won’t attack anyone.”
Midnight glanced worriedly at the clouds; but, getting only a face-full of snow from the sky, she nodded. Sirius put out the light on his wand and held out his arms. Midnight leapt into them and purred loudly, snuggling against the chest of her friend, all the way back to the Common Room.
The next morning Maya didn’t want to wake up. She was warm and comfortable – she could smell the hint of firewood in front of her and she was surrounded by something that smelled faintly of…she wasn’t quite sure what but it made her feel happy and safe… Maya took a deep breath without opening her eyes. It smelled like…like…boy. One particular boy – Sirius Black.
What? Thought Maya.
She opened her eyes. She was on a couch, in the Gryffindor Common Room, wrapped in a black Hogwarts cloak with a blanket thrown on top. Maya ducked under the blanket and pulled on the cloak, feeling awkwardly exposed having awoken after a full moon in her own Common Room. Cloak tied securely, she looked around the room. Her face instantly softened into a smile. Sirius was asleep in the armchair opposite from her, his handsome face graced with a soft smile and his dark hair disheveled around his face. As she watched him, he twitched in his sleep and opened his eyes. He smiled when he saw her watching him, her large green eyes reflecting the light of the fireplace. “G’morning, Midnight,” he said.
“Good morning, Sirius,” she replied. “Wow…I can’t believe it…you guys did it.”
“Of course we did,” said Sirius breezily. He was going to continue and say something teasing and dismissive, but paused. Maya was looking at him with those large green eyes, wrapped in a blanket and wearing, he knew, only his cloak. There was something so trusting in the look she was giving him now, that he couldn’t make light of the situation. He was always joking; but this…this meant the world to both Maya Night and Remus Lupin. For him and James and Peter this was a challenge, this was a promise to a friend. For them, this was their entire world.
“Yeah,” repeated Sirius, dropping his joking manner, “We did it. Actually, you did it. We just talked to you until you recognized us. And…” he frowned a bit. “It was off and on. You decided that you didn’t like me about halfway to the Common Room and ran off. Took us fifteen minutes for Peter to convince you to come along.”
Maya grinned sheepishly. “I know; I remember.”
“What was it like?” Sirius asked. “Recognizing us?”
“It wasn’t remembering, exactly,” said Maya with a slight frown. “It was more like…an instinct that I followed. An instinct that said I could trust you three…” she shrugged. “I can’t explain it.”
“Didn’t expect an explanation,” Sirius assured her. “Beside…we’ve got time to practice, don’t we?” He smiled at her.
“Yeah.” Maya laughed suddenly. “Oh…this is going to mean trouble for the rest of the castle, doesn’t it?”
Sirius chuckled, “No more trouble than we give them already. What this actually means is…” Sirius glanced around. But at this time of the morning, not even the studious Lily Evans was awake yet. He lowered his voice and continued, “What this actually means is that we’re going to go ahead and keep figuring out the animagus spells. Now that we can prove to Remus that he can recognize us.”
Maya’s heart beat a little faster. She wasn’t sure whether she was excited or nervous at the thought of three of her best friends becoming animagus – but it would sure be an adventure.
“Werecats and werewolves aren’t…” Maya began.
“But we’ve gotta try, Midnight,” Sirius interrupted her. He sat down on the same couch as her and looked at her earnestly. Maya’s heart beat even faster as it never had before when she talked or joked with him.
“You’ve seen his scars,” Sirius argued, still talking about Remus, “You’ve seen how ill he looks as the moon begins to grow and how it takes him days to feel like himself again after – even though he tries to hide it.”
“I know,” Maya replied. “Trust me…more than any of you, I know.” Maya looked at the flickering fire and said, “It’s more than just the transformation. It’s being isolated from everyone else. It’s being told that we’re half-breeds and worthless. You’ve all already done more than you know, simply by accepting who we are and not treating us differently for it…what’s wrong?” Maya cut herself off as she looked at Sirius. His face had darkened and he was glaring at the flames.
“It’s…my family are…they don’t…have a good opinion of anyone except purebloods…” Sirius couldn’t believe he was saying this. The only person he had ever told was James. He was sure Remus and Peter had guessed but the only person who knew for sure the darkness of his family’s past was James Potter.
Maya shrugged. “Doesn’t matter to me as long as you don’t care.”
“You kidding?” Sirius gave her a smile. “I think its bloody brilliant!” Maya laughed. And then a yawn nearly split her in two. The two looked at each other and started laughing. Sirius laughed so hard that he broke out into his high-pitched giggles which just prompted Maya to laugh even harder.
“Stop!” Sirius begged. But it wasn’t very convincing with his giggle still happening. “I hate my laugh…”
“You sound like a hamster,” James said smugly from the staircase.
“I’ll hamster you!” Sirius tried to threaten. He was still giggling so it didn’t really work. The two began to chase each other around the Common Room, and Maya watched them with a smile. It was great to have brothers. Or…her stomach flip-flopped a bit as she thought of Sirius’ wide smile…or maybe, someday…