Five Minutes

Chapter 21

Disclaimer; I don't own the wizarding world of Harry Potter or any of the characters in it. I wish I did. But I don't.

Hello reader!

Here's chapter Twenty-One!

Hope you enjoy it!

Chapter Twenty-One

The next morning, Hestia got up quietly, trying not to wake Lily, and left to go to Quidditch practice. She headed down to the common room, expecting to meet James down there ready to head across to the Quidditch pitch, throwing a Quaffle around or trying to catch a snitch. But when she got down stairs, he wasn't there. It was only nine thirty though so maybe he wasn't even up. She decided to go down to the great hall for a bit to eat before going down to the two or more hour long Quidditch practice. She didn't really understand why they had to have a practice this morning. It was only the 31st of January and their match wasn't until the 19th of March. Plus they had been given a rare day off today because Dumbledore needed to talk to all the teachers about the dangers of Voldemort and his death eaters and what they could do to abstain from joining him and protecting themselves.

This was something not all the professors were keen to do. Professor McGonagall for example had taken it as an insult to her common sense. She had mumbled 'only a fool would join Voldemort' and 'of course I know how to protect myself and anyone else for that matter', when she had told the Gryffindor common room about the day off a few evenings ago.

When James had heard this news he immediately set up a Quidditch practice much to the dismay of the team who had hoped for an extra lie in. As a compromise, he had allowed the practice to be pushed back an hour to ten instead of the usual nine o'clock. Still, Hestia didn't mind too much. Until she had gotten the impression that things had gone badly between Lily and James. Now she wasn't too thrilled with the idea of an early morning Quidditch practice.

Still she headed down there anyway, stopping of only to grab some breakfast in the great hall. She grabbed herself some jam and toast quickly, munching it hungrily, and left to head down to the pitch.

When she got outside, she saw that there was some frost on the ground. She shook her head. That meant it was going to snow. Now she didn't mind the snow, but James wouldn't stop Quidditch practices for a bit of bad weather. Then again, by March, when the game actually was, it would be spring and snow wouldn't be a factor.

She arrived at the pitch at exactly ten o'clock but the rest of the team were already doing laps. She sighed. She had no idea how she was meant to act around James. It was a very odd situation she was in. It wasn't her who liked James but had decided to just move on. It was Lily. And Hestia had no idea if Lily was sad about this or angry at James for moving on before she had had a chance to be with him. It was more likely that Lily would be angry just because of her fiery temper, stubbornness and the fact that Lily hated to be sad. But the way Lily was the previous night Hestia just wasn't sure. So when James landed on the ground a few metres in front of her, she had to quickly decide how she would act towards him.

'You're late.' James laughed as he approached her, 'I thought you might be. Don't worry about it. We'll just say that I asked you to fetch my broom wax for me.'

'Fine.' Hestia said stiffly, going with the cold shoulder. This way, which ever mood Lily decided she was in, Hestia would be treating James in the right manner. She was sticking to the lifelong unwritten rule between friends; 'If I don't like someone, you don't either. If I'm mad at someone, so are you and if someone's upset me, they've upset you too.' Hestia liked that saying and constantly used it.

'Are you ok?' James asked, looking at her warily.

'Fine. Why?' she replied in a monotone.

James looked a little confused and looked over his shoulder as Hestia wasn't looking at him directly. 'Because of yesterday?' James said in more of a question then a statement.

Hestia made a point of looking James in the eye before saying, 'What about it?'

'Well,' James started, 'You kind of had a go at me, which, you know, I don't mind…I probably deserve it most of the time to be honest….anyway, I don't mind you having a go at me but I'd like to know what for.'

Hestia just stayed silent.

'Come on. What's up?' James asked.

Now James was one of those people with whom everyone instantly felt comfortable and if you'd known him for longer than a day you would spill your life story to him because of the trusting image he portrayed.

So when he asked Hestia what was wrong, she couldn't help but reply with, 'I don't know how to act around you now. I mean, should I act normally around you?'

'Well I'm not gonna object if you want to start clucking like a chicken or anything.' James said with a chuckle.

'You know what I mean you idiot.' Hestia said whacking him with her broom several times before calming down enough to say, 'Would it be weird if I acted as I usually do around you?'

'I think it would be weirder if you didn't act as you usually do around me.' James said, still thoroughly confused as to why Hestia would act differently around him.

'Ok then.' Hestia said, 'I wasn't sure. I mean, it's not really between me and you is it? None of my business really but she is my best friend and rejection upsets her, you know? What are we doing anyway?'

'Twenty laps.' James said quickly, brushing it to the side before quickly continuing, 'But Jones what's-' (Hestia hopped on her broom and sped off into the sky, starting the laps.) '-going on…' he finished disappointedly.

What was Hestia talking about. Did something happen at Lily's party? He didn't think so. He didn't speak to Hestia till she started to have a go at him and even then he didn't say much. When he and Lily had talked, it had been a nice light conversation about a book. He thought that he and Lily were getting on better than ever. He looked at it as making progress. Nothing had happened at that party to trigger this behaviour, or so he thought. Now he was totally confused.

Sirius landed next to him with an excited smile on his face. He hadn't flown in ages as Dumbledore had banned him from the team after his stunt with Severus Snape and he was just so exhilarated at flying again. James had allowed him to join in with the teams practice under the reasoning that Dirk Creswell needed help wielding his beaters bat. He wasn't that great and who better to tutor him than James' best beater? So Sirius was ecstatic at flying with his team again. Still, this didn't stop him being a good friend and noticing James' odd expression.

'You're either very confused or you need the toilet.' He said as he placed a friendly arm around his best friend.

'And how do you know that?' James asked.

'You always make this really odd face.' Sirius said thinking and looking into the distance, 'It like a cross between eating something really sour. Eating something really hot. Eating something really cold. And smelling Remus' really smelly feet.'

'You mean your smelly feet.' James said with a laugh.

'Technicality.' Sirius shrugged, 'And that's beside the point.'

'And what was your point?' James asked with a raised eyebrow.

'That your confused face is really odd!' Sirius said taking his arm from round James and patting his shoulder, 'Speaking of, what's confusing you?'

'Jones.' James said.

'Girl trouble hey? I know all about that!' Sirius said with a deep exhale of breath.

'That's cause your usually the cause of it.' James said with a chuckle.

'I only pick up after you.' Sirius said, 'And that's only cause you say you 'have a girl in your heart already'.' he finished, imitating what James had been saying for ages in an over the top romantic way.

James shook his head and just let Sirius' comment go before continuing with, 'Jones had a go at me yesterday after Lily's party.'

'I know.' Sirius said, 'You told us yesterday before we planned for…you know…our furry little problem.'

'Well I've been trying to work out what I'd done but I just can't figure it out.' James said, frustration coming out in his voice, 'It's just so annoying.'

'Well that just sums girls up in one word really!' Sirius laughed, 'But I wouldn't really worry about what you did. You're always doing something to upset someone but it's usually Evans. Who knows? Maybe you upset her. Jones is really into that 'if my friend is mad at you so am I' thing. So you probably upset Evans. It's not like it's the first time though right!' Sirius finished with a nod of his head.

'You're so reassuring.' James said in a monotone, 'Thanks for that.'

'You're welcome.' Sirius smiled, not noticing the sarcasm in James voice, getting on his broom and flying off to join the rest of the team doing laps, excited to fly again.

James shook his head, decided to put the frustrating situation out of his mind and focus on the Quidditch practice he was running. So he followed suit, got on his broom and flew off to join the rest of his team and Sirius

Severus was waiting in his room. It had been Lily's birthday the day before and, even though he now understood that she didn't want to speak to him, see him, be his friend or even have anything to do with him whatsoever, he had still sent her a present. Now Lily was nothing if not polite, so even if she didn't want to talk to Severus, she would at least send a thank you note. It wasn't ideal for Severus, but it was contact with the person he most admired and loved in the world. It would be better than nothing.

Unfortunately, he had had no mail yet. He had even gone down to breakfast earlier that morning, something he never did in the past because he never received mail, just in case something was delivered to him there. He had stayed until the last plate of croissants and toast was cleared magically off of the table. During the whole of breakfast, owls fluttered in and out of breakfast, delivering mail to everyone but him. So at the end of the meal, he had sauntered out of his room and headed back down to his dormitory in the Slytherin dungeons to wait some more.

It was almost lunch time and Severus had decided to get down there early, just like he had at breakfast in case the owl delivering his anticipated thank you note came then. When he went to lunch, he found no letter at his table and, when he looked across, no Lily at hers. He sat down and grabbed some lunch constantly checking the enchanted ceiling for post and the Gryffindor table for Lily. Maybe she'd even come over and politely thank him herself.

Mulciber and Avery sat down next to Severus. They brought with them three other Slytherin students whom Severus knew vaguely but had hardly talked to because they were in different dorm rooms.

'Snape,' Avery yelled, as he swaggered over to the table and sat down, 'You know Rosier, Wilkes and Bellatrix Black.' he said pointing to each individual in person.

Snape scowled at his five fellow Slytherin's. He wasn't fond of any of them. 'Yes.' he sneered.

'They've just been invited into the ranks.' Mulciber whispered to Snape.

'Joy.' Severus muttered, totally unimpressed.

'It is joy!' Bellatrix hissed, 'How dare you define the Dark Lords Ranks so sarcastically! It is an honour beyond belief to be recruited by him personally!'

'I know.' Severus said through gritted teeth.

'Then you might want to show some respect and reverence for the cause.' Bellatrix continued before getting up and leaving.

'She's really dedicated to the Dark Lord and his cause.' Wilkes said.

'Aren't we all.' Rosier asked the group as a whole.

The five remaining Slytherin's, Severus, Mulciber, Avery, Wilkes and Rosier, looked evilly at each other, all united under Voldemort's banner.

They all ate lunch together, discussing the upcoming meeting which they had been invited to in hushed whispers. (They weren't invited to all of them as they were still in school and it would look suspicious if they just got up and left) After they had discussed the topic tirelessly, Severus excused himself and went back down to his dormitory.

When he got there, an owl was waiting for him. He got excited and rushed over to the owl, which was sleek and black, and grabbed the letter it was holding in its beak. He looked at his name written on the front of the envelope and was disappointed to see that it wasn't Lily's handwriting which was on the front.

He sighed and opened the letter, reading it to himself.

Severus Snape,

I require your assistance. Tonight, when the moon is full, you must write and inform where the charge of your last assignment is hidden. This is all you must do. If you attempt to interfere in any way, consequences will be severe.

Lord Voldemort.

Severus took a deep breath and smiled an evil smile. This is just what he needed. He loved the dark arts a great deal, and as Lily Evans wasn't returning his everlasting friendship, the dark arts would. Lord Voldemort's cause was just what he needed to throw himself into to try and forget about Lily. And, if nothing else, perhaps he could get rid of a certain group of Gryffindor's which he despised as well as a few mudbloods and blood traitors.

Severus' eyes turned blacker. This is going to be fun! he thought, lying down on his bed, with his arms folded behind his head. Fun!

Hestia walked up the stairs to her dormitory, cold and wet for it had started to rain during practice. It had been an interesting Quidditch practice to say the least. Hestia had been unable to make up her mind about how Lily would feel about how she, Hestia, should act towards James. So she had spent the entire two and a half hour Quidditch practice swapping and changing the way she was treating James. She started off mad, then went back to treating him as a friend, then just to ignoring him completely. Things kept moving from one extreme to the other, to the point when James had to tell her that she was slowing the practice down and if she wasn't going to cooperate, she had to leave. James never did this unless he was forced to, and as Hestia's treatment of him kept changing drastically making her difficult to work with, it had seemed that he had had no choice.

So for the rest of the practice, Hestia had simmered down, making a resolution to herself to ask Lily exactly what James had said when the two of them had spoken at her party. How he responded to her feelings for him and how Hestia was to act towards him.

Hestia entered her dormitory and saw that Lily was still in bed. She looked at the clock next to her bed. It was half past twelve. This was a late lie in, even for Lily who never wanted to get up.

Hestia slung her broom onto her bed and walked over to sit down on the side edge of Lily's bed. She shook her awake.

'Lily?' Hestia said as Lily woke up, 'Are you all right?'

Lily sat up in bed. Her nose was red and her eyes were puffy, as if she'd been crying. She sneezed.

'Hestia?' she asked sleepily, 'What time is it?'

'Half twelve. Are you all right?' Hestia repeated, 'Even you would be up by now!'

'I don't feel well.' Lily said, wiping her eyes which were watering slightly, 'I think I have a cold from sitting in that tower for more than two hours.'

'Well it was freezing in there.' Hestia said.

'How was Quidditch practice?' Lily questioned, trying to make herself comfy.

'Odd.' Hestia said, but upon seeing Lily's curious face elaborated, 'I have no idea how to treat Potter now.' she sighed.

'Oh.' Lily said, not expecting to hear his name straight away, 'Treat him as you usually do.'

'Are you sure. I mean, I'm so confused as to what happened between you two. All I got was snippets last night. And this morning, Potter didn't seem to know what I was on about-'

'What did you tell him?' Lily asked anxiously, sitting up straighter that before.

Hestia hesitated, 'Nothing. What about you?'

'What do you mean?' Lily asked.

'You're gonna have to walk me through exactly what you told him and what you two talked about because I am utterly confused.' Hestia demanded

Lily stayed silent and just looked at her hands.

'What did he say when you told him you liked him?' Hestia said pressingly.

'Well,' Lily began, 'I didn't actually get a chance to tell him that-'

'What?!' Hestia said, 'You told me that you told him!'

'Actually,' Lily gulped, 'all I said was that he said that he had a girlfriend.'

'How do you know that if you didn't even talk to him!' Hestia said in disbelief to her friend.

'Because I heard him talk about her!' Lily said, 'Her name is Sophie and he said he loved her!'

'But did he ever refer to her as his girlfriend?' Hestia asked.

'Yes…' Lily replied, unsure.

'He said those exact words?' Hestia asked, now not believing a word she was saying. She now believed that Lily was making this up in her mind as an excuse.

'Well maybe just-'

'Did he say 'my girlfriend Sophie' or 'Sophie my girlfriend' or anything similar?' Hestia asked.

Lily looked down at her hands again, realising that he had never said those exact words. But what else could he have meant. Nothing else made sense.

'I think you should try again-' Hestia began before being cut off abruptly by Lily.

'No.' she said, 'I don't want to. Everyone in the school will talk about it if it ever does happen and we'll be under enormous pressure to try and make it work. And if it doesn't work people will come and tell me that I should have just stuck to my first answer. If we do start going out people are just gonna be telling me that they told me so and that I was wrong. Plus, N.E.W.T's are coming up and I don't want to be distracted by James, or a relationship with him, or everyone watching me. It's just a crush. It'll go away and that's what I want. So just drop it Hestia!' Lily finished, lying back down in her bed and pulling the covers over her head.

'Fine.' Hestia sighed, 'If that's what you want-'

'It is!' Lily said, her voice muffled a little by her quilt, 'And I don't want you to say anything to him or anyone else either. Just let it go. I have.'

'Fine.' Hestia repeated as she shook her head, 'I'll see you later.' she said walking out of the room and leaving Lily on her own in the dormitory where she would stay for the rest of the day.

Three shadows were moving softly and swiftly across the Hogwarts grounds. It was near one in the morning, the moon was high and full, the ground was lightly spattered with snow from a small fall earlier that evening. The shadows, two tall, one small, moved towards a huge tree which was moving in the wind. As they went, the past a section of small grates in the side wall of the castles. They were in the dungeons and you couldn't see in them due to the darkness. But you could see out if needs be.

They moved closer to the tree which became more alert as the shadows made themselves more present.

'Go ahead Wormy.' James said as he looked around to make sure the coast was clear.

Peter nodded his head preparing to do what was expected of him in this group. Open the passage to the shrieking shack in the whomping willow. He closed his eyes, immense concentration etched all over his face. Suddenly he sighed in relief and opened his eyes happily, but when he saw James and Sirius in front of him with raised eyebrows, his happiness vanished.

'I'm not a rat. Am I?' he asked disappointedly.

'Well-'

'Don't worry about it Wormy.' James said, cutting of Sirius in what was sure to be a sarcastic comment, 'Just try again.'

Peter sighed and closed his eyes again, concentrating even harder than he had before. His nose began to twitch and his teeth protruded from his mouth. The rest of the transformation moved swiftly. Peter shrank in size, becoming his Animagus form a rat. He then quickly scampered under the sweeping branches of the whomping willow and pressed the knot at the base of its trunk with his little foot. Immediately, the whomping willow froze.

Sirius looked and James who nodded. Sirius then closed his eyes and transformed quickly into a scruffy black dog. He shook out his fur, scratched himself behind his ear and bounced forwards into the tunnel, which was now open, at the base of the whomping willow.

James shook his head at Sirius' very dog-like behaviour. He had always said Sirius suited being a dog. Plus, Sirius had always said it was easier in dog form, to itch those hard to reach places. James had always replied with the answer, 'I don't want to know!'.

Still, James couldn't be thinking of past conversation at this precise moment. He needed to concentrate fully. So he followed Padfoot and Wormtail into the whomping willow, still in his usual form. He was unable to transform until the wider part of the tunnel because, as a stag, he was unable to fit through most of the passage.

The three boys, in their various states, travelled through the small and muddy passage, James crouched over so that he didn't hit his head on the roots and branches which were growing out of the top of the tunnel. They travelled for about five minutes through the passage before they were stopped suddenly by the howl in the distance.

James looked into the puppy dog eyes Padfoot was giving him but shook his head.

'I can't yet Padfoot!' James said touching the ceiling above him. 'The tunnels too small. I know what I'm doing.'

Padfoot lowered his head and pawed at the ground in front of James in one last dismal attempt to get his to transform in to his Animagus form at that moment. James shook his head again and gently pushed Padfoot in the direction of the shrieking shack.

They travelled a little further through the tunnel, up an incline an into a wider passage. At this point, Padfoot stopped dead in front of James and turned around to face him. His stare this time was not the puppy dog face as before, but an intense, demanding one.

James rolled his eyes. 'All right! All right!' he said with a laugh, 'I'm changing now!' he finished before instantly transforming into a brilliant stag. He had no need to prepare himself by closing his eyes, taking a deep breath or even concentrating that hard before this change. It was almost like second nature to him. An easy transition.

Padfoot began to wag his tail, showing that he was happy that James had now changed into Prongs. The three animals, stag, dog and rat then climbed the rest of the incline to the end of the tunnel, then up the muddy come wooden stairs and into the shrieking shack.

They swapped around in order at the top of the stairs. Prongs went first. As the largest of the three animals, and the strongest, he would be able to take the brute force of Moonys' first attack, (before he would realise that they were of no harm to him and settle down into their usual full moon antics.), and still survive it. Padfoot came next as an insurance in case Moony managed to get past Prongs. And Wormtail hid until the coast was clear.

Prongs walked up to the door which opened out onto the room where Moony usually was, and pushed it open with his head.

Immediately he was knocked by the sheer force of Moony running towards him. Prongs quickly regained balance and ran back at Moony, who was fully transformed into his werewolf state, and pinned him against the wall between his antlers. Padfoot, barked at Moony who had begun to howl and scratch at Prongs' head in an attempt to get free.

Prongs held him in this lock for five minutes whilst Padfoot began to settle down from barking and Wormtail came out of hiding. When Moony gave up, Prongs dropped him to the floor and Padfoot approached him cautiously. He gently moved Moony's paw come claw with his head. He quickly backed off however when Moony began to get up steadily.

Prongs quickly staged himself in front of his two friends, the dog and the rat, facing Moony off. Moony stared at Prongs, sizing him up. He eventually, much like a hippogriff would to a wizard, allowed the three animals to approach without concern for attack.

Padfoot bounded towards the skinny werewolf, enthusiasm seeping out of every pore of his fur covered skin, his tail wagging, and licked the wolf around his snout. Wormtail scurried over to where Padfoot and Moony were holding back a little because he was scared of being hurt. Prongs stayed where he was.

He clapped his hooves on the wooden floor boards, calling the attention of the other three animals, and jerked his head towards the exit of the room. Moony, Padfoot and Wormtail understood and quickly followed Prongs out of the room, away from the tunnel which would lead them out to the Hogwarts grounds and down a wonky corridor towards the back of the shrieking shack. When they reached a wall at the end of the corridor, Prongs carefully manoeuvred a wooden panel with his antlers out of the way, creating an opening to the outside world, the grounds of the shrieking shack, and in turn, Hogsmeade.

The four creatures exited the shrieking shack and, after replacing the wooden panel, got into formation ready to lead Moony up through the caves beyond Hogsmeade and to the woods beyond. Wormtail ran ahead to make sure the coast was clear and, upon finding so, rushed back to Prongs, Padfoot and Moony to lead them onwards. Prongs would be one side of Moony and Padfoot the other to ensure that if, at any point, Moony was to smell a human and attempt to dash off, they would have the best possible chance of stopping him.

They managed to make their way up the mountain of caves beyond Hogsmeade, which was painted white by the winter weather, and over the back to the woods beyond. They walked along the rocky face and down until they reached a thin group of trees which was the entrance to the forest. The ground here was muddy and covered with trees, twigs and rocks, 'the perfect place for a forest entrance. The marauders had discovered this small wood one afternoon when they were trying to sneak out of the school and around Hogsmeade.

The four animals entered the forest, and led Moony deep into its bowels where the ground was dry and there was no sign of snow. They found a small clearing with a creek where they decided to spend the rest of the full moon. Prongs immediately ran through it, soaking Padfoot entirely. Padfoot shook off the water which had covered him and began to chase Prongs around the trees surrounding the area. Moony, who was glad to be out of a tight space, stretched and howled towards the moon. His howl echoed around the forest. He scratched at the ground, squashing spiders and rustling leaves before joining in with the chase with Padfoot and Prongs. Wormtail tried to keep up with the three athletic animals but found it beyond his capabilities so returned to the creek and settled on some leaves.

Prongs galloped in and out of trees through the woods, playing a kind of game with Padfoot and Moony who were still following him. Prongs came to a halt behind a group of bushes and, when he came near, galloped out in front of Padfoot, causing him to halt so suddenly that Moony crashed into the back of him. On impact they rolled down a small slope and began to play fight. Moony pawed at Padfoot's body, almost giving it and extra roll as they carried on down the slope. Padfoot, pawed gently at Moony's face, trying to ensure that Moony's wolf breath didn't go in his eyes. When they came to a stop, Padfoot finished with the higher vantage point and so leapt gently onto Moony's back and playfully tugged at his ear. Moony's turned round in circles attempting to get Padfoot off of his back and in the end, decided to deposit him gently at the base of a tree.

Unable to get up in time and not being able to predict what was going to happen next, Padfoot was startled to find himself suddenly flying through the forest. Prongs had scooped him up with his antlers and ran off with him, leaving Moony to now chase them both down. Prongs trotted off quickly, heading back to the clearing.

Prongs ran back into the clearing and through the creek again, still being followed by Moony. As he passed through the creek he dropped Padfoot, who had just begun to get used to being carried, into the water.

Padfoot barked in protest and Prongs continued to gallop in and out of the trees, again being chased by a very wet Padfoot. At this point, Moony had stopped following his two friends and had settled down for a lie down in the creek. Prongs saw what Moony was doing and had decided it would be a nice refreshing idea to do the same. Then he noticed Moony suddenly sit up in the water. Prongs watched as everything slowed down in his eyes. Moony lifted his snout and sniffed the air as a distant howl echoed all around the forest. Moony breathed deep and let out an almighty howl before streaking off into the forest. Prongs and Padfoot looked at each other, alert and shocked before chasing after Remus in an attempt to retrieve him.

Everything then doubled in speed. Prongs and Padfoot were rushing through the forest trying to catch up to Moony who was following the howl of another werewolf. They followed the sound of his feet thudding along the dirt track and the roots of trees, occasionally catching glimpses of between the tree trunks, his fur reflecting the moonlight.

Padfoot took a detour and disappeared from Prongs' view. Not having time to question this, Prongs carried on in pursuit of Moony. He looked at the path they were taking and straight away noticed that they were heading in the direction where the forest ended. Beyond the boundaries of Hogsmeade and the protection Dumbledore had placed around the village after the January attacks. Prongs was getting desperate now. They were nearing the exit and Prongs was still over ten feet away from Moony. They were getting closer. Closer. Closer. Until Prongs could see what awaited them outside the boundaries of the forest. A werewolf was in a cage, a protective bubble surrounding it, and five death eaters. He momentarily lost his momentum, his eyes widening at the situation. He saw Moony getting closer and closer to the other werewolf, and Prongs' heart beat fast at the thought that he might lose one of his best friends. Thinking this, Prongs sprang back into action, determined to return Moony to the shrieking shack where he couldn't be touched.

Suddenly, Padfoot sprang from the shadows and tackled Moony, who was only feet away from crossing the border, to the ground. The two animals struggled as Moony tried to cross the edge of the forbidden forest and Padfoot tried to edge him further in to the forest. This was no longer the play fighting from before. Moony clawed away at Padfoot's face and body, leaving open gashes and wounds pouring with blood. Padfoot whimpered in pain but still did not give up. He took Moony's ear in his mouth and pulled with all his might to try and deter the werewolf from leaving with the death eaters. Moony, feeling the tug, swiped Padfoot across the face, scratching his nose and sending him flying into a nearby tree where he collapsed at the base with a cry of pain. He still did not give up though. He got up from where he was, hardly able to see which way he was going from the blood in his eyes, and, limping, ran and jumped on Moony's back. The werewolf howled in pain as the dogs claws sank into his back. He stood on his hind legs and staggered backwards, falling over on his back and squashing Padfoot under his weight.

Prongs, after getting over the daze of Padfoot's, what could only be called, heroics, dashed forwards and rolled Moony off of Padfoot with his antlers to make sure he was all right.

The werewolf in the cage howled again to the moon which was now bright and clear in the sky. Moony stumbled up onto his feet in an attempt to reach the other werewolf again. In his path however, lay Padfoot. So to save a friend from a set of broken ribs by being stood on by a fully-grown werewolf, Prongs, with all his might, rammed his antlers into Moony's chest and, running, pinned him against the tree which Padfoot had been flung at before. The werewolf struggled in its prison and scratched at Prongs' antlers before taking both of his hind legs and forcefully kicking them into the chest of the brilliant stag, creating scratch marks down his fur and drawing blood. The stag, winded slightly, couldn't take the sudden pressure, stumbled back and let Moony free.

He was edging closer to the boarder of the forest when, simultaneously, Prongs and Padfoot found the strength to take Moony's hind legs into their mouths and pull him out of the sight of the death eaters. They were almost safe when, yet again in a desperate bid to reach a creature of the same species, Moony broke free of their grip and headed towards the other werewolf, who was still howling, and the death eaters. He was halfway across the edge of the forest, his head and shoulders out of the safety of the forests protection, when a death eater shot a stunning curse at him. His whole body collapsed and three of the death eaters rushed forwards to drag him fully over the border.

Quick as lightning, both Prongs and Padfoot retaliated again in the same action as before and grabbed one of Remus back paws in each of their mouths, dug their hooves, paws and claws into the ground, and pulled with all their might. They knew they were fighting a losing battle. Even though they had the brute strength of their raw animalistic natures, even after their battles, it was no match for what they were up against. Five death eaters with magic on their side and the call of a werewolf which was irresistible to Moony, (even knocked out). It was certain they weren't going to win. Still, they combined all their last remaining efforts and pulled Moony's limp body in their direction.

Suddenly, Prongs lost his grip as he saw a beam of light shoot out of one of the death eaters wands. It shot straight in Padfoots direction, who hadn't noticed anything but a sudden gain of weight to pull, didn't flinch as the curse neared his head. Prongs' eyes got wider and wider as the curse got closer and closer to Padfoot, when, just as quickly as it had been fired, the curse ricocheted off of the invisible barrier which Dumbledore had posted to protect the residents of Hogsmeade from unwanted and uninvited guests. The curse flew back to its sender and sent him reeling backwards, clutching his arm.

After this, Padfoot and Prongs doubled their attempts to drag Moony, in their tug of war, back into their territory. They were against three death eaters dragging Moony's lifeless body and two death eaters firing curses at the protective barrier in an attempt to get through it.

The werewolf in the cage was howling loudly now, miserable at being kept in a bubble and away from a fellow life form. Moony stirred in his unconscious state and so Prongs, not wanting to repeat the damage his best friend and himself had sustained, banged his head forward, his antlers hitting Moony in the back with an affirmed crack, and knocked Moony out again instantly.

Their grip was loosening on Moony's feet, their strength diminishing from fighting for so long. They held on with all their might, determined not to let go when they noticed an arrow flying through the air and hit one of the death eaters in the arm. Moony's werewolf form dropped to the floor as Prongs, Padfoot and the five death eaters stopped and stared at the line of centaurs which had formed on the rising ground behind the stag and the dog.

'You are not welcome here!' the centre most centaur said boldly, stepping out of the curve, 'Leave at once!'

'Not without what we came for.' a death eater said also stepping forward to reassume dominance in the situation.

'You cannot take him.' another centaur said as the rest of the half horse, half man creatures raised their bows, arrows at the ready.

'He is a creature of our forest. He has a right to be here. You do not.' the first centaur said, 'Leave at once.'

'Or what?' said one cocky death eater, 'You can't do anything to us. You're just filthy mules and we are superior to you.'

The centaurs all rose onto their hind legs and kicked their hooves in the air in anger. Through the commotion of them thudding back to the ground, voicing their anger and preparing their weapons, a little brown rat scuttled through their hooves and ran up to where Moony, Prongs and Padfoot were. It was Wormtail. He had summoned the centaurs of the forest.

The centaurs began to fire their arrows at the death eaters and, seizing their opportunity Prongs and Padfoot pulled Moony back to the protection of Hogsmeade's boundaries.

The death eaters, unable to protect themselves from the centaur's arrows with magic due to the restricting magical protection, resorted to throwing whatever they could in their general direction only to find out that whatever they threw turned to dust upon impact.

Taking their leave, Padfoot helped to heave Moony onto Prongs' back, being watched by Wormtail, and made their way back to the shrieking shack for protection.

As they galloped away they heard one death eater say to another, 'The dark lord won't like the fact that you let him get away!' the voice said succinctly before the unmistakable pops of people disapparating were heard throughout the forest.

Thanks for reading!

Galindaba

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