The weather was cloudy and cold, but at least it didn't rain. The game lasted four hours and finished with a snitch caught for the Hufflepuff team but unfortunately for them, Lisa and James had plenty of time to score 520 points in total, to the opponent's 270. With such a colossal win, the Gryffindors were the favorites for winning the Quidditch Cup and the whole house was celebrating like mad. Sirius and Peter brought food and drinks from the kitchen (even managed to nick a few bottles of Firewhisky from somewhere), and the wild party went on for almost as long as the game itself.
Lisa was just laughing at something Adrian Fleet said, when Marlene stumbled into her.
"What happened to my cupcakes?" Marlene slurred a bit drunkenly behind her shoulder.
"What cupcakes?" Lisa said with an amused smile.
"The ones you said you'd bring me! How did you get back here so fast, anyway?"
"I haven't gone anywhere, Mar."
"Did you send Lily alone? You know it's not exactly safe!"
Lisa's brows knitted. "What are you on about?"
"You and Lily! You left for the kitchens, like ten minutes ago!"
Lisa felt as if someone pulled the rug from under her. Looking around frantically, she noticed the absence of the redhead and swore loudly. She bolted out the portrait hole and down the corridor, having no actual idea where she was going. When she got to the second floor, Lisa stopped to draw breath and thought frantically where someone pretending to be her would take Lily. Looking around, hesitating which way to go, her glance chanced a look out the window and saw the unmistakable red glint of hair walking through the darkening grounds. And with her was the impostor, dressed in normal, black school robes.
Dashing like mad, Lisa made for the Entrance Hall but by the time she got to the door, the only thing she managed to see was the fake her leading Lily into the Forbidden Forest. Her heart skipped a beat, but there was no time to think and worry, and ignoring the tearing pain in her lungs, Lisa ran after them. She wondered in the back of her mind what in the world would posses Lily to agree to a walk in the bloody forest, knowing full well it wasn't safe! Panting heavily and feeling like her sides would split soon, Lisa paused at the tree line. Which way did they go!? Thank Merlin it was getting dark, because soon she spotted two distant dots of light, wandering in deeper. Throwing any caution to the wind, Lisa pulled out her own wand and followed as quickly and as quietly as she could.
The two girls were just chatting pointlessly about homework and the game, as the real Lisa crept closer and closer. She could take out the impostor now, but where was she leading Lily? The Death Eaters were up to something dirty and she wanted to get to the bottom of it. She followed them for nearly half an hour, ready to strike at the other her, as well as at any other dangerous creature lurking nearby. After walking in a much calmer pace, she found her breathing had normalized, just as they heard voiced up ahead. The fake Lisa suddenly yelled out a disarming spell and Lily's wand was flung away from her, as the other girl wrapped her around with thick ropes.
"What are you doing!?" Lily screamed, but was hit almost immediately with a silencing charm.
The fake Lisa didn't waste breath to explain anything, and the real one silently summoned Lily's discarded wand and followed them. After a few more minutes they came into a clearing, where at least ten people were gathered in a circle, their wands lighting up the night. Some she recognized as fellow Defenders, but she guessed they were just more copycats. That's how they had gotten into the common rooms and suckered people into following them here!
"Tie her with the others," barked a tall Ravenclaw bloke, who Lisa had only seen in passing. This directed her attention to the trees, where more than two dozen students were tied up, each to a different tree trunk. Mary was there, trembling like a leaf, as was Seth, and scanning the other faces quickly, Lisa realized every single one of them was muggle-born.
As the group of disguised Death Eaters shifted around a bit, she could make out another form, tied up and curled on his knees in the middle of their circle. She tried to move closer and saw with a sharp pain in her chest that it was Remus.
Lisa couldn't breathe. She felt like she would start hyperventilating any second, but ordered herself to take deep, silent breaths. She wasn't going to be on any help if they discovered her. She concentrated on counting how many of them there were and wanted to smack herself for not attacking the person that looked like her and just saved Lily when she actually stood a chance.
Twelve of them, and a bunch of tied up, probably wandless muggle-borns. Chances were slim. Not helping matters was the fact they were so deep into the forest, the Death Eaters would probably feel safe enough to use killing curses.
Lisa crept as silently as she could around the clearing, and heard Lily's voice cry out,
"Remus! What're you going to do to him!?"
'The silence charm must be wearing off', Lisa thought.
"You... fools," Remus croaked from the ground, trying desperately to stand up. "Don't you know what will happen to me in a few minutes?!"
The Death Eater that had Lisa's face took a step towards him and pulled his head up by the hair. He groaned in pain and Lisa had to bite the inside of her cheek to stop herself from running out into the open.
"We're counting on it," her doppelganger whispered menacingly. Remus' eyes widened in horror.
"You're just going to leave them here... for me," he realized. "Aren't you?"
"How perceptive," another Death Eater sneered. "Yes, Lupin, take a good look at your dinner. Did you really think refusing the Dark Lord would do you any good? You will make an army for him... whether you want to or not."
Remus struggled frantically against the restraints again as the Death Eaters laughed, but it was hopeless.
Lisa snuck up quietly behind Lily's tree and silently undid the ropes. It seemed the Death Eaters had decided Remus' struggle was very amusing, and the circle of people around him tightened, continuing to taunt him. With them distracted, Lisa pulled the back of Lily's robes and the two of them slowly retreated into the darkness.
"Six for you and six for me. You up for it?" Lisa whispered quietly, giving the redhead her wand back.
Lily nodded, a determined flame burning in her eyes. Lisa whispered her plan to her and the two of them crept in opposite directions.
"Don't touch my robes, you mutt!" one of the Death Eaters yelled suddenly. "Crucio!"
Remus twisted in pain on the grass, a terrifying scream coming out of his throat. Lisa remembered with a pang of pain the feeling this curse could bring, desperation flared up in her chest like a hot blaze, and fired the signal early. A silver bunny hopped onto the clearing and the screams seized, as everyone's attention was caught by the little ball of light. Lily shot a silent spell from somewhere on the other end of the field and one of the Death Eaters fell down. After a second, Lisa followed her example and another one lost consciousness.
"We're under attack!" someone shouted and ten wands were out in the blink of an eye.
The two girls managed to take down three more, before spells flew in every direction. Keeping low but ever changing her position, Lisa ducked and fired and ducked some more, as hexes flew past her or hit the trunks she was hiding behind. Soon she noticed they were indeed using killing curses and shouting Crucio! left and right, and the ball of nerves in her stomach increased considerably. She hoped to Merlin Remus had the good sense to stay down, and she kept glancing up at the sky every so often. They had to defeat those Death Eaters and do it fast!
There was a scream from the opposite side of the clearing, and Lisa knew Lily had been hit. Hoping it wasn't a killing curse, she jumped out from behind the tree line and engaged in an open duel with four of them, the others going after Lily. 'We'll never make it', she thought, but never the less she twirled, twisted, and shot hexes, trying to draw her attackers away from Lily. She managed to take one out, but the rest were pressing her so hard, she was about to lose at any moment...!
Suddenly, three figures ran into the clearing and James, Sirius and Peter entered the fight, wands whizzing and sparks flying everywhere. After a very intense couple of minutes, all of the Death Eaters were scattered to the ground and Lisa realized with surprise they had won.
She threw a quick glance to make sure Lily was alright and saw James asking her questions feverishly, as Sirius and Peter were untying the muggle-borns. Flinging herself to her knees, she bent down to check on Remus. Brushing the hair away from his face, she almost cried when she discovered him mostly unharmed. Lisa caressed his cheek tenderly and his eyes snapped open.
"Run," he said raspily. "Get... away!"
"Everyone grab an unconscious person and head for the school! Now!" James shouted suddenly.
The students were confused, but obeyed. A low growl began rising in Remus' throat. Lisa stepped away quickly, realizing what was about to happen.
"What's wrong with him?" Lily shrieked and tried to come closer, but Sirius caught a hold of her
"Go! We'll take care of him!"
"What did they do?!" Lily cried again, as terrifying snapping sounds came from Remus and his whole body was convulsing.
"We can't just leave you here with him!" Lisa shouted and her eyes locked with James. She was sure he knew, and tried to make him understand somehow that she couldn't let the three of them deal with a werewolf alone.
"We've got this! Run!" James yelled.
Playing Quidditch together for years had let her develop a sort of silent understanding with him. Lisa held his intense stare for a couple more seconds, but ultimately knew what that look meant. She nodded, grabbed Lily's hand and pulled her away.
She had to trust that James and the Marauders knew what they were doing. Out there, hesitation in a moment like this could mean the difference between life and death, and her task right now was to take Lily out of there alive. As the two ran through the dark trees, a terrifying howl cut the air and chilled the very blood in their veins.
The common room was empty, though remnants of the party were visible everywhere. Mary and the rest of the muggle-borns hurried to their beds, desperate to wake up tomorrow and think of this whole experience as just a bad dream. Only Lily and Lisa stayed behind, waiting for the Marauders. Lily asked a few questions and Lisa explained what she could and feigned ignorance of what she couldn't.
In the hours to come Lisa tried to get some sleep, knowing it would be long before they could return, but something kept her awake. It was a nagging sense of worry, which she realized was probably pointless. Werewolves could take care of themselves even in the Forbidden Forest, regardless of whatever creatures might be in there. She remembered the rumors that a pack of them lived there and wondered if it was true, and if Remus was a part of it. She still didn't know what the Marauders were planning to do with him, and hoped they wouldn't hurt him.
It was a little before sunrise and the sky was just beginning to brighten, when the four boys climbed through the portrait hole. They all looked exhausted, James was sporting a nasty looking gash on his shoulder, and Remus' clothes were tattered and dirty. Lisa rose from her seat and silently flung herself into his arms.
"Get a room," Sirius snickered.
"How about the dormitory? I could use a bit of help with this." James tried to lift his injured arm, but groaned in pain.
Everyone nodded in agreement and the six of them made their way into the boys' dorm. As much as she didn't want to let go of Remus, Lisa sat on James' bed and healed his wound. He moved it around cautiously.
"Good. I was worried for a second I might lose it. You lot will never win the Cup without me," he quipped. Lily's face became slightly green. "It was just a joke, Evans!" he added quickly, seeing her expression.
Sirius turned to Lisa. "What happened out there?"
"They were..." She looked at everyone in the room in turn, wondering how much of what she knew should be revealed. "They, er... they took hair from different people in order in infiltrate the common rooms, I think. I got into a fight with a girl a few days ago and she took a whole lock of hair... Urg, I was such an idiot! If I hadn't fallen for—" She took a deep breath, then exhaled sharply. "Anyway, Marlene told me 'I' went to the kitchens with Lily, so I knew something dodgy was happening. I followed them into the woods, and tried to—"
"You followed them?" James interrupted angrily. "Why didn't you tell anyone? What would've you two done if we didn't come? You were completely outnumbered!"
"How did you know to come?" Lily asked suspiciously.
"We went to visit Moony in the Hospital Wing and saw you entering the forest out the window," Peter shot quickly.
"There was no time to get help," Lisa continued tiredly. "I barely managed to catch up to them. I only realized how bad the situation was after we got to the clearing and I saw Lily get tied up!"
Remus' eyes snapped to her, burning with emotion. She was there the entire time? Did that mean...?
"But everyone they lured was a muggle-born. What did they want with Remus?" Lily mused, placing a concerned hand on his shoulder. "Are you okay? You were screaming in pain and... What did they do to you?"
The room was quiet, but Lily didn't notice the nervous looks the Marauders exchanged.
"I have a theory!" Lisa called suddenly, though she had no idea where she was going with that. "I think... erm, they probably... they wanted to get rid of the muggle-borns, right, and, and they needed someone to take the blame. Yeah, so, they took Remus, because... because he was alone in the Hospital Wing?" Merlin, she was a bloody awful liar under pressure. "Yes, that must be it, and, er, and they must've hit him with a, a faulty spell or something, right, so it had a delayed effect? Yes, and they did it in the middle of the woods to... hide the bodies! Right, to hide the bodies. So no one would know."
Lily raised an eyebrow skeptically. "No one would know a dozen people went missing?"
"Erm, well... maybe they didn't think too far ahead! Why do you automatically presume they're such great tacticians!?"
"Why don't we just ask one of them?" the redhead suggested. "I can whip up some Veritaserum an—"
"NO!" everyone but Lily and Remus exclaimed, making her eye them suspiciously.
"What is wrong with all of you!?"
"Veritaserum isn't perfect," Sirius said quickly.
"Yeah, you don't want them filling your head with more lies, right? Right. Let's forget about that, then," Lisa blurted out.
Lily shook her head at the nonsense they were spewing, but the Marauders all gave Lisa a pointed look.
"You know... don't you?" Remus muttered, bowing his head low.
"I have no idea what you're talking about!" she shot quickly. Too quickly. Remus groaned and buried his hands in his hair.
"It's a bit stuffy in here," James said, pulling Lily to her feet. "Let's go get some air in the common room. I challenge you to Exploding Snap, Evans!"
And with that, the others left with a confused Lily in tow, shooting last sympathetic looks at Remus.
They stood there in an awkward silence for a while, until she got off James' bed and went to sit next to him.
"How long?" he asked hoarsely, without looking up.
"Erm... since about February, so... a couple of months."
He moaned despairingly and pulled on his hair.
"Stop that," she said gently and tried to touch his hands, but he jumped as if she'd stung him.
"Don't touch me!" he yelled. "Don't you understand what I am!? I almost killed you, twice! You can't come near me!"
She stared at him in astonishment for a second and stood up as well.
"Get a grip," she said, coming closer. "You would never hurt me."
"Are you daft? I was this close to—"
"When you were transformed. When you're conscious, I'm safe with you."
He shook his head in both denial and disbelief and took another step back.
"Stop this," she said, following suit. "I'm not afraid."
"Then you're barking mad! I'm a werewolf, Lisa!"
"One night of the month! The rest of the time you're you!"
His head shook violently side to side again, which only served to piss her off.
"I'm not an idiot, you know! I did my research on this! You are normal most of the time, so why are you still so afraid?!"
"Because I'm in love with you!"
She gawked at him in shock, as his face reflected pure horror. Turning on his heel, he swung the door open and ran down the stairs. She came to her senses and bolted after him, but he was already halfway to the portrait hole.
"Catch him!" she yelled, and James and Sirius immediately sprung from their seats and seized their friend by the forearms.
"What the hell?!" she shouted, making her way over. "What is it with you and running away every time something happens between us?! You can't just drop a bomb like that on me and take off, without even giving me the chance to say it back!"
Remus' eyes snapped to meet hers. She was uncomfortably aware that the Marauders and Lily were watching them, but it was now or never.
"I love you too!"
James and Sirius exchanged astounded glances, then their faces stretched into almost identical grins. Remus, on the other hand, didn't even seem convinced.
"What about Sirius? And Tenley?"
"There was never anything between Fawley and me, mate," Sirius chimed in from the side.
"And there never will be!" she shot quickly. "What would ever make you think I could fall for someone like him? All he ever did was embarrass me with his dirty jokes! He's way too much of a sleaze ball for me! No offense," she added towards Sirius, but he just grinned.
"And Seth..." She took a deep breath. She had to say it. "The only reason I went out with him in the first place, was to try to make you jealous!"
Sirius and James erupted in laughter, as Lisa's face became red as a Quaffle.
"Why are we having this conversation out here?" she grumbled and dragged Remus back to the dorm, the sound of everyone's laughter following them all the way to the door.
He barely waited for her to close it, when he wheeled on her and said,
"You can't be with me."
"I'm too dangerous."
"So you can have friends, but not a girl?!"
"It's different for them!"
"How?! How is it different? You spend most of your time with them already, and they're fine!"
"You don't understand... there's a stigma, if anyone found out..."
"What makes you think I care?"
She grabbed the front of his robes and crashed her lips into his.
She kissed him again, and he whimpered helplessly. Her fingers flew into his hair, and her back hit the door. In spite of everything he wanted to say, Remus' hands found themselves on her hips and roamed the soft skin under her Quidditch jumper. Her hands ran over his chest and shoulders, feeling every curve, every muscle of his upper body, spreading waves of pleasure through him. Her touch was clouding his mind, breaking his barriers, melting his fears. Tearing away from her lips, he trailed kisses down her neck and she sighed softly in his hair and inhaled the intoxicating sent of him, mixed with that of soil, leaves and wind, then her lips returned to his mouth, enjoying the slight scratching of his stubble against her face. His breathing became more ragged and he pressed her harder against the door as her fingers ran over a spot on the back of his neck that made him shiver, before he abruptly pulled away and panted heavily.
"We shouldn't do this."
"Shut up," she whispered, pulling his face down once again.