Severus, Lily, and I stayed close, but my friendship with them didn't even compare to how close I grew to the marauders. The five of us would spend all of our free time together in the Room of Requirement, on the grounds, they even talked me into joining them in Hogsmeade once. As the full moon approached I watched as Remus grew more restless and somehow sicker. When the moon was farther away Remus almost looked well, but the stress of his fear stole his appetite and kept him up at night. It was painful for me to watch him worry himself half to death about something beyond his control.
When Remus left for… wherever he spent the three nights of the full moon, the boys told me they were going to let me in on how they spend their full moons. Evidently it was some kind of secret that I couldn't tell a soul, even Remus. We were meeting in the Room of Requirement right after dinner with plans to stay there all night.
When I got to the room, the door was propped open slightly with a muggle notebook. I opened the door and went inside, taking the notebook with me so the door would disappear. The boys were all sitting at a rather large table with books and more muggle notebooks strewn everywhere.
"Okay, what's going on here? You guys never study this hard." I asked, taking the only open seat.
"Remember a few years ago when Professor McGonagall talked to us about animagi? How she turned into a cat and back in the middle of class?" James said, not looking up from the book he was pouring over.
"Vaguely, yes." I frowned.
"Well, we've discovered that werewolves aren't dangerous to animals, including an animagus in their animal form." Sirius input. "We've been studying ever since then. It's been difficult to get the books, but we finally found a few in the restricted section and we're going to become animagi so we can join Remus on the full moons. I think it'll be better for him if he's not alone."
"Okay. But that's supposed to be a long, difficult process, not to mention illegal. You guys could go to Azkaban for even attempting it. You guys could die attempting it. Or end up stuck in your animal form forever." I said. I had studied up on the dangers and benefits myself at one point because anyone who didn't think it sounded amazing would be lying.
"That's why we've been studying so much. We want to do it right." Sirius said, finally looking up from the dusty old book on his lap.
"Fine, I'm willing to study with you, but only because animagi fascinate me." I frowned. "I will not, however join you, in all probability."
"It's not actually that dangerous, Dez. Very few people have ever actually died or gotten stuck. It's just a long, difficult process and most people don't bother to try." Sirius argued. "And even the few that did get hurt, most of them tried to skip some steps or rush through things."
"What do you guys have so far?" I sighed.
"First step is preparation of mind." James offered. He smiled when he saw me flip out my notebook to take notes. "It's a lot of meditation, but you have to use a very addictive incense and if it takes you too long to get in touch, you could end up either very addicted or dead. It's one main reason that it's illegal."
"What's the incense?" I asked, almost afraid to know.
"It's a combination of Hazia, a very deadly plant known to give visions of your inner self, Chamalla, which is also a hallucinogen, but that one will help heal some of the deadlier effects of the first, downside is that withdraw is worse, and African dream root which shows visions of the future." James sighed. "You have to be very careful with how much you use and how often. We've been studying accounts and the safest, but still decently effective treatment would be to allow us two hours every full moon so that we can recover a bit in between."
"You haven't started yet though?" I asked carefully.
"No. We can't get our hands on the stuff." Peter squeaked.
"I can get each of them separately. Do we have exact measurements for each?" I asked softly. "Also, how will we know when two hours are up?"
"I do have a recipe here somewhere. Just get the stuff and I'll have it found by next month." James looked through his notes for a few minutes. "And as for the two hour thing, we were thinking maybe we could do one of us the day before the full moon and the other two the day after with whoever's not involved cutting us off."
"Now it can be two and two." I sighed. "We'll also need gas masks so we don't get overexposed while we're taking care of the other two."
"Good thinking." Sirius said distractedly.
"Okay. I've got notes on that part, and am already sceptical." I sighed. "What's next the next part?"
Sirius sighed. "Honestly it's best to only think about one step at a time. Besides, preparation of the Body is going to be less dangerous, but more illegal." Sirius said, consulting his notes briefly. "We need a potion brewed that takes two whole months, but none of us could manage something that complicated."
I took his notes from his hands and found the page about the potion easily. It consisted of Eyebright, Frankincense, Myrrh, Endive, Lilac, Apple, Rosemary, Absinthe, Bay, Elder seeds, Holly, Snakeweed, and three carnations in bloom. I could get ahold of it all easily enough, but between the preparation, brewing, and making sure that the poisonous ingredients didn't kill anyone, it would be a difficult task, even for Mr. White. "Actually, I think I can do it. As long as I'm allowed to recruit some help. I'll lie about what I need things for, but I can't do this without Severus. Once he and I get things prepared, I'll need some help checking on it regularly. We'll have to see if the Room can give us something that won't light fire, just in case."
"Of course." Sirius nodded.
"And it'll take two months of brewing, first with all that stuff and then with… mandrake leaves?" I raised an eyebrow.
"Trust me, you don't want to know beforehand." James warned. The other two nodded violently.
"Okay, after the body, what else do we need?" I sighed. This was turning out to be a bit of a stressing project and we hadn't even really started yet.
"Then we begin on the spells and incantations. You want to spend at least a month perfecting the motions and incantations to perfection, because this is dangerous stuff. James and I have been practicing for months already. We'll help you and Pete when we get there." Sirius promised.
"And after that, all that's left is to transform. Never transform without someone else around, at least for a while so we can keep an eye on each other and help out. We'll also all be learning the spell to force people back into their normal bodies because chances are someone's gonna need that skill at some point." James added.
"You know, you guys literally took the fun out of being an animagus. It's been two hours and you've ruined my dreams." I teased.
"Not supposed to be fun, Dez. We're doing this for Remus, not ourselves." Sirius said sounding more serious than I'd ever heard him.
"What are you guys studying now?" I asked as I started writing my shopping list. Most of the stuff I could get rather easily while in the various apothecaries I frequented. I carefully broke down the list so I wouldn't draw attention to what I was doing. A few of the items I'd have to get from the black market, but as a Malfoy no one would ask too many questions anyways.
"We're reading journals of the past animagi and even the ones who failed. We want to be prepared for anything." James explained. "You don't have to though. You and Sirius will be one group and Pete and I will be another. That way if something goes wrong with you or Sirius, I'll be of right mind enough to help and if something goes wrong with Pete and me, Sirius will be."
I nodded. "Okay, good. I'm glad you guys are taking this seriously. I know where to get all this stuff, but I'll need some help with funds. It's not going to be cheap and I'm not sure I can wiggle my father out of enough money for it all."
"Sirius and I will pitch in with you." James promised. "I'll bring you the gold tomorrow. We've got two more days of studying this month before Remus gets back."
"Why were you in the common room last full moon if you're usually here?" I asked softly.
"We can't all four be gone all three nights of the full moon. Not all the time anyways. Sometimes we study in the dorm for a while so that people see us." Peter shrugged. "We don't get a lot of studying done there though, because if we did too much people would get curious."
"Fair enough." I mumbled, turning back to my planning. It was nearly dawn by the time we all crawled into the beds that were lined up on the edges of the room.