Walking to Hogsmeade was the loneliest Lisa felt in the two days since Dorcas was poisoned. Lily and the others offered her to go with them, but she turned them down. Even though they both had different friends, going to Hogsmeade together was something she always did with Dorcas.
Lisa remembered with a smile one visit in fourth year, when Dorcas' then-boyfriend Corbin Gundry wanted to take her on a date, so he could 'show her' to his two older brothers who worked at Ceridwen's Cauldrons. Dorcas insisted on going with Lisa, which led to a huge argument, and by the end of it Corbin was sporting bright pink hair and a pair of antlers and spoke only in gibberish for two months. Dorcas and Lisa had a great time in Hogsmeade then, raiding Zonko's and planning even further punishment for the poor bloke. She remembered asking Dorcas what he said during that argument to deserve dungbombs stuffed in his pillow, and she had simply said, 'Insult me all you want, call me a every name for a slag in the book, but the second you call my best friend a bint, I will destroy you'.
Lisa wrapped her coat around her tighter and bit back tears. If it was her in that bed, Dorcas wouldn't just sit and wait. And neither would she. While the students were all stuck in the warm cafés, snogging with their dates, as it was the pre-Valentine's Day visit, Lisa went around all the potion shops. In J. Pippin's Potions she got most of the ingredients for a Wiggenweld Potion, but just like Slughorn's supplies, the Moondew was all gone. The wizard behind the counter told her someone bought them all a few weeks ago. She went in all the places she could think of, even to Dogweed and Deathcap, a Herbology store, but it was the same everywhere.
"Let me guess. Someone bought all of it two weeks ago?" Lisa asked the plump elderly witch selling at Dogweed and Deathcap bitterly, already knowing the answer.
"Yes. A young lad, I suspected he'd snuck out from school and was low on his potion supplies. Very courteous young man, do you know him?"
Lisa held back a growl and nodded noncommittally. He was probably a Death Eater, whoever he was, and he and his buddies had made damn sure everyone's potion supplies were low on Moondew. They had people everywhere, even in Gryffindor, as every single Moondew petal in the castle shriveled up and died mere hours before the poisoning. This was well-planned and every single loose end was thought of and prevented. Lisa slummed over the counter and buried her face in her hands despairingly. The owl Slughorn ordered would never make it. She hated feeling so helpless!
"It's hopeless..." the Gyrffindor muttered under her breath. The Death Eaters were too careful.
"I used to collect Moondew in the woods," the witch said absentmindedly. "But since all those spirits fled to the Shrieking Shack, no one wants to go there anymore. Everyone just orders what they need by owl."
"Wait. Did you just say it blooms in the woods?!" Lisa exclaimed hopefully, her head shooting up.
"Near the Shack, yes. But it's way too creepy. I haven't gone in years!"
A sliver of hope! It was grasping at straws, but at this point, Lisa would take anything she could get. She thanked the sales-witch warmly and ran straight into the Tomes and Scrolls bookstore to buy a lunar calendar. The full moon was on Monday.
Lisa shivered as she walked through the empty, snow-covered, dark streets of Hogsmeade. Even from here, she could hear the howls and weeping of the spirits. She thought to herself it was probably annoying to listen to them go wild every so often. The Shrieking Shack was rumored to be the most haunted building in Britain, and that it was Dumbledore who commissioned it, as something of a 'sanctuary' for violent spirits. Only the Headmaster would be batty enough to realize such an outlandish idea. In third year Lisa tried asking Nealy-Headless Nick if the Hogwarts ghosts go over there to have parties with the spirits, but he only said they keep away from such 'ruffians'. After a bit more coaxing, Nick admitted there were wards around the house, so they actually couldn't even enter it.
Lisa didn't see what the big deal was with the Shack, it was probably just full of poltergeists like Peeves that enjoyed making noise only to annoy others. Why were people so frightened by it? But even if the damned building was full of rampaging hippogryffs, Dorcas needed that Moondew.
Lily tried to comfort her back in the common room by saying the plant the teachers ordered would come soon, but Lisa knew that it would take a couple of days at the least, and she still had her doubts the owl would get to Hogwarts at all. Maybe it was the paranoia talking, but she worried Snape and his gang would try to stop it from arriving somehow, or would get their hands on the Moondew before the teachers and ruin it. He hated Lisa because of the whole Lily thing, but Merlin knew he and the rest of them were itching to get rid of Dorcas for months. They would probably do anything to keep her out of commission or... or even...
Lisa shook her head to get rid of the dark thoughts. Dorcas would wake up tomorrow. She would make sure of that.
She picked up the pace and quickly approached the Shrieking Shack. Looking around for the silvery spots of light on the ground, where the Moondew would bloom, she searched around in circles for about an hour. Just when her limbs were starting to go numb from the cold and she cursed herself for not wearing warmer clothes, she spotted the plant poking from underneath the snow. Hope swelled inside her and she ran to it, carefully picking the petals and placing them in a glass vial. So happy she almost cried, Lisa stood up to head back when a menacing growl made the blood freeze in her veins.
Turning her head very slowly, she saw two yellow-green eyes burning through the darkness. The growl intensified as the creature slowly stepped out of the shadows. A huge wolf, as big as a tiger, glared at her with almost human blood thirst. Her eyes darted to the short snout and the tail tuft, and Lisa realized with horror that it wasn't an animal. It was a werewolf.
It took another step, making her jerk back frantically and slip on the frozen snow. She was so incapacitated with fear, the thought of using her wand didn't even cross her mind. The werewolf neared more and the sounds from deep within its throat were quickly becoming deafening, as its lips pulled back to reveal two rows of very big and very sharp teeth. Its back legs bended, preparing for a jump, and she saw almost in slow motion the monster lunging at her, eyes wild and full of hate. Just as a final, desperate shriek came out of her throat, something hit the werewolf in mid-air, dragging it away from her. The dark shape barked at the werewolf and she realized it was a big, black dog.
Her brain was completely short circuited by this point, and all she could do was watch the beasts struggle, as if in a trance. Jaws snapped in the air, both creatures growling warningly. The werewolf's eyes darted between the dog and its pray. Suddenly, it tried to launch forward again but the dog was in the way in an instant, teeth bared and tail on end. It caught the wolf by the scruff of the neck, trying to draw it father away, but the monster wrenched free and the two engaged in a vicious fight, and all Lisa could see were claws and jaws flashing in the moonlight.
A sharp pain in her right hand made her snap out of it. Lisa looked down to see one of her fingers was bleeding and scrambled to stand up, almost crushing the rat at her feet. A sharp poke in the shoulder finally made her register the tall stag standing right next to her. Her head was so full of 'what the hell' that she didn't even question it. The stag knelt slightly, shaking his antlers impatiently, and she interpreted it as an invitation. Not forgetting to tighten her grip on the Moondew, Lisa climbed on his back and he galloped fiercely down the path to the village, as the two furry silhouettes continued their fight behind them.
When they were safely on the main street, she got off and inspected the animal curiously. Her hand rose to pet him, when a dog yelp cut through the night and the stag turned his head sharply. He bounded back towards the woods, and for a second she had the insane urge to shout after it to be careful. Then she shook her head at her idiocy because werewolves were only dangerous to humans anyway, and she needed to make it back quickly to brew the potion, to save Dorcas. Lisa turned her back to the woods determinately and made a run for the secret passage.
"Good heavens girl, what happened to you?" Madam Pomfrey exclaimed with worry on Tuesday morning, as a messy, tired-looking Lisa ran straight into the Hospital Wing.
"I got it!" the Gryffindor cried, waving a flask in her hand. "I got the potion!"
The Healer's scrutinizing eyes went over her muddled appearance, disheveled hair and shadows under her eyes, but the patients were always a first priority. Madam Pomfrey took the magenta-colored potion and lifted it to the light, expecting it thoroughly. She mixed the contents a little, opened the flask and took a whiff. Satisfied with the results of her short test, she shot another sharp look at Lisa but did not ask questions and rushed over to Dorcas' bed. The Gryffindor followed suit, twisting her loose tie nervously in her fingers. The Healer propped Dorcas' head up gently and poured a few drops into her open mouth. For a few horrifying seconds, nothing happened. Then the brunette's eyes fluttered open and she took a hazy look around the room. Lisa's eyes welled up with tears and she threw her arms around her friend, sheer relief flooding her entire being.
"What... happened?" Dorcas asked groggily.
"There will be plenty of time for explanations later. Right now I need to run a full physical examination on you, to make sure your friend hasn't poisoned you," Madam Pomfrey said firmly and ushered the protesting Lisa out of the ward.
"It's alright, mate," James tried to say carefully, placing a hand on Remus' shoulder.
The young werewolf shrugged it off violently, knocking down the tray with bandages next to his bed and once again burying his hands in his hair. He pulled and pulled, the physical pain only slightly distracting him from the one in his chest.
"She's fine, Remus," Sirius said quietly. "We were there, no one got hurt..."
Remus let out a sound between a snarl and a sob, shaking his head.
"Nothing is fine... nothing!"
"We wouldn't have let you... you didn't do anything bad..." James tried again.
"Didn't do anything bad?" Remus growled. "You weren't in my head, James! You didn't want to break her bones with your jaws and taste her blood! You didn't want to bite her, to hurt her... to rip her to shreds." The last words were barely above a whisper. His whole body shook violently, as he buried his face in his knees, covering the head with his arms.
The Marauders exchanged worried glances. They all knew there was no point in reasoning with him right now. The first day of the cycle was always the worst, after all.