Chapter 1: Story Cover
Here is the cover for the story!
Chapter 2: Prologue: All Aboard the Hogwarts Express
There was a large hustle and bustle about Platform 9 ¾ as parents, both Muggle and magical alike, prepared to send their children off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Most first years were already on the train, eagerly making new acquaintances with whom to speculate about their house placements, but Lyra Malfoy was still on the platform at her brother’s side. Their parents had only just departed, and Lucius seemed in no hurry to get on board and settle in. No, the sixth year Slytherin was far more interested in flashing his prefect’s badge around, as if the other students needed a reminder that he was at least partially in charge of them for the school year.
“Lucius, can I board the train now?” Lyra begged. “I just want to get settled…”
“But of course, my dear sister. I’ll be in the prefect’s car, if you need me,” he replied, though it was obvious that he was distracted, looking for Narcissa Black, no doubt. Rumor had it that he fancied the fifth year girl, but Lyra knew the truth - their parents and the Blacks had arranged for the pair to be married and thus expected them to get to know each other better during Lucius’ final two school years.
The family house elf had already put the Malfoys’ trunks and other things on board, so Lyra quickly scampered towards the train before her brother decided he should escort her. Once on board, she began to search for an empty compartment, or at least one where she could sit. At last, she came upon one with only two people inside: one boy with long, dark hair, and one girl with red hair and green eyes.
“Hello!” the girl said, smiling. “Are you looking for somewhere to sit?”
Lyra only nodded.
“Well then, you can share our compartment. I’m Lily, and this is Severus.”
As she moved to sit, she awkwardly smiled at the pair. “I’m Lyra…”
The boy, Severus, sat up a little and narrowed his eyes at her, not in a suspicious way, but as if he were trying to remember whether he knew her or not.
“So you’re a first year as well, then?” he asked. Once more, she nodded, and he gave her a small smile. “Perhaps we’ll all be put in the same house.”
Lily laughed. “Sev, even if we aren’t, we can all still be friends.”
Lyra couldn’t help but smile at that thought.
Maybe Hogwarts wouldn’t be so bad…
“Excuse me…” a voice piped up from the doorway, “But have you got room for one more?”
A girl with brownish blonde hair stood in the doorway. She had a bright expression, and a few silvery scars on her face.
“Of course we have!” Lily said. “What’s your name?”
“Lovetta Rawly,” the girl proudly announced.
“It’s nice to meet you, Lovetta,” Severus said politely. Lyra had a feeling that he would’ve been happy if he and Lily had had the car to themselves, but he didn’t seem opposed to the idea of making a couple more friends.
Looking around, Lyra was suddenly much more relaxed than she had been earlier. Without the pressure of her older brother looming over her shoulder, she found herself calming down. Maybe - just maybe - she would be brave enough to choose her own path tonight at the Sorting.
Sirius Black knew one thing: He was not getting put in Slytherin, no matter what. If that patchy old hat tried to tell him he was a snake, he’d burn the rotten thing. Who cared what his parents would think? There was no way he’d be like them.
Meeting James Potter had been the best thing to happen to him all day. The kid was dead set on Gryffindor, and took an instant liking to Sirius. After hearing about nothing but the most ancient and noble house of Black all morning, his new friend was a definite relief. Along with James, Sirius was sharing a compartment with two other boys, named Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew. They all hit it off immediately, even with Remus, who was just a bittoo serious, but that could be fixed.
After the trolley had gone by, James got bored and insisted that they all go exploring, so now they were wandering from compartment to compartment. James made sure they avoided the Slytherin compartments, for which Sirius was grateful. The chance of running into one of his cousins was far too high for his tastes. Finally, they came to a compartment that held four kids who looked to be fellow first years. Three girls and one greasy-haired boy looked up when James opened their door. Sirius recognized the silvery-blonde girl - their families were friends - but her name just wouldn’t come to mind. He looked at the others, not recognizing any of them, and wondered why a Pureblood wasn’t hanging around other Purebloods. It was a little unusual, but maybe it just meant she wasn’t as stuck up as her family. The boy in the compartment didn’t look happy at all.
“Who might you be?” James asked, leaning against the door frame.
“Who wants to know?” the redhead girl shot back.
James grinned. “Potter. James Potter.”
When he extended his hand to her, however, she simply looked at him, unimpressed.
“It’s lovely to meet you, Lily-flower.”
“It’s just Lily, thanks,” she said. “And don’t you think it’s a bit rude not to ask about my friends?”
“Right… Well, who are you all, then?”
“Severus Snape,” the boy answered, his tone clearly conveying how he felt at the moment.
“Severus?” Sirius piped up. “A name like that alone will get you landed in Slytherin.”
For some reason that he couldn’t place, Sirius felt a sudden need to show off in front of that Pureblood girl, like he wanted to show her he was nothing like his parents. Finally, her name popped into his head. “Lyra Malfoy, right? Where’s your big, bad, Pureblood brother?”
“You’re a Malfoy?” that Snape boy asked.
“What does that even mean?” the third girl asked. “Words like Pureblood and… Malfoy. Wizards are so strange!”
“Are you a Muggleborn?” Remus finally spoke up. He was looking at the girl’s face for some reason. Sure, she had scars, but even Sirius knew it was rude to stare at stuff like that. Especially on girls.
The girl just looked even more confused. “What’s a Muggle?”
“It just means non-magic folk, Lovetta,” Lily clarified. “And people like you and me - people who have magic but whose families don’t - we’re called Muggleborns. Severus explained it all to me. Purebloods are generally people who don’t believe in mixing with anyone who isn’t descended from a line of all-wizards.” She was now glancing warily at Lyra. “Some of them even hate Muggleborns.”
“I don’t…” Lyra said quietly.
“Yeah, neither do I!” Sirius jumped in, once again trying to get the Malfoy girl’s attention.
“I’m a Pureblood, but who cares what your parents are! As long as you’re good at magic,” James said. “And as long as you’re not a slimy little Slytherin,” he added.
Sirius noticed Lyra shrink a little bit at James’ words.
“What house do you think you’ll get?” he asked her.
“I… I don’t know,” she stuttered. Her porcelain skin was dusted with a light shade of pink when she noticed that all eyes were on her.
After a brief silence, James spoke up again. “Well I know for sure I’ll be a Gryffindor. I think you will too, Sirius. Unless, of course, you turn out like the rest of your family. I’ve heard loads about the Blacks.”
“Oh shut up…” Sirius muttered. “I’m not gonna be in Slytherin. I’d rather be in Hufflepuff, for Merlin’s sake.”
“I don’t want to be a Slytherin…” Lyra said softly.
Then, Sirius could’ve sworn he heard her mutter, “Not like I really have a choice, though…”
“I think you should go now, Potter,” Lily said, looking at Snape. “We’re nearly there, and besides, the houses don’t matter, Slytherin or otherwise.”
James just grinned. “Nah, you’ll see soon enough, Lily-flower.” He didn’t notice the glare she shot him as he strutted off, back towards their compartment, with Peter trailing close behind.
Remus lingered a moment longer, glancing once more at the third girl - whose name Sirius hadn’t bothered to memorize - before following as well.
“Well,” Sirius said, “I guess we’ll see who the rotten ones are soon enough, eh?” And with that, he left, flashing a grin at Lyra and a dirty look at Snivellus. Not Severus, Snivellus. It just seemed to fit him better. What a little greaseball… Those girls would steer clear of him soon, if they knew what was best.
The time had come for Sirius to show his parents what he was really made of.
Chapter 3: The Sorting Hat and the Shrieking Shack
The group of first years filed into the Great Hall, still in a state of awestruck wonder after their brief voyage across the Black Lake. The stunning nighttime view of Hogwarts had left all of them breathless, and now, most of them were entranced by the enchanted ceiling. After what felt like a lifetime, the group finally arrived at the front. On a wooden stool sat an old, brown Hat. The woman who had greeted them, Professor McGonagall, stepped forward with a long list in her hand.
“When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted!” she announced.
The first years all exchanged glances, but before even a whisper could be exchanged, the ceremony began.
Sirius was both nervous and excited. What if the Hat ignored what he wanted and put him in Slytherin anyway? He didn’t have much time to think, however, as his name was the second to be called. James flashed him a grin and a thumbs up, but Sirius could only offer a half smile in return.
Slowly, he walked up to the front and sat down, tensing when the Hat was placed on his head.
Hm, you’re an unusual one, aren’t you? a voice spoke in his mind. A Black who would refuse the house of Salazar Slytherin?
You’re not putting me there! Sirius thought back adamantly.
No? the Hat mused. Then I know just where to put you…
“GRYFFINDOR!” it shouted to the Hall.
There was a stunned silence from the Slytherin table, but slowly, an uncertain round of applause blossomed into loud cheering from the table lined with red and gold. James was grinning from ear to ear, and Sirius was too as he went to sit at the table; the place where he really belonged.
Remus thought he’d get Ravenclaw, he really did. But, then again, he had thought that the Evans girl would be a Ravenclaw, and the Hat had put her in Gryffindor… When McGonagall called his name, he obediently sat down and waited.
Oh, this is an easy one, he heard the Hat say. I think that your courage in the face of what you endure every month adequately warrants this placement.
The Hat knew about his… problem?
As he went to sit beside Sirius, Remus was suddenly very scared. How on earth was he supposed to manage his secret if he couldn’t even hide it from a hat?
This was it… This was the moment. It was time to choose. With wobbly legs, Lyra made her way through the crowd of unsorted first years.
McGonagall hesitated when she went to place the Hat atop the girl’s head, expecting it to have made a decision well before it even touched her hair. The Malfoys rarely had to have a lengthy Sorting process, but the Hat remained silent.
What is it about you, young Malfoy? I sense a great conflict in this mind. There was a brief silence as the Hat hummed thoughtfully.
Lyra couldn’t bring herself to reply.
You want more than the droll, Pureblood’s life? I see… The Hat paused once more. Oh, really? it asked, its tone curious. Very well, then…
Just as the Hat prepared to call out, Lyra caught a glimpse of her brother’s expression. His face was cold and calculating, and he was watching her with something like worry painting his features. Instantly, Lyra was filled with fear and, for some reason, guilt.
“I’m scared…” she whispered, stopping the Hat. “Bad things will happen if I choose Gryffindor, won’t they? My parents… my brother…” She shuddered. “They’ll be so angry.”
Perhaps it was her imagination, but Lyra thought she heard the Hat chuckle.
I’ve known all along where you need to be. I simply had to let you realize for yourself that sometimes, what peoplewant is not always what is best. Trust me, young one, though it may seem unbearable for a while, this is what you need.
Lyra nodded, and the Hat reared back once more.
She didn’t fail to notice the look of betrayal on Sirius Black’s face, nor her brother’s expression of relief and pride. While she didn’t understand what the Hat had meant by saying that this would all work out, Lyra clung to the hope that she might still have some friends left when all was said and done…
Lovetta wasn’t nervous at all. No, she was excited! She could hardly wait for her turn to be sorted, but of courseshe had to have a last name that landed her near the end of the alphabetical queue. As soon as her name had been read off, she darted forward and sat down. A few of the older students laughed at her eagerness. Having seen some of the others muttering softly to the Hat, Lovetta wasted no time before bombarding it with questions at the speed of light.
“Where am I going to be placed? Slytherin seems a little scary, but I’ll go anywhere. Is it going to be Hufflepuff? Ooh, maybe Gryffindor! Or--”
Calm yourself, child, the Hat mused. Interesting… The secret you carry is shared by another in your year.
“Wait…” she began slowly, “ You mean there’s another one? Another were--”
Indeed. No doubt, you’ll make his acquaintance this next full moon. Most unusual to find a Muggleborn with this condition… By any means, I know where you’ll do best.
Grinning, Lovetta hopped down and practically bounced over to the Gryffindor table. How exciting!
Lucius briskly lead the first year Slytherins to their Common Room, which was down in the dungeons, and Lyra tried to get closer to Severus. He was the only other one she was really friends with from their house.
“Listen closely now,” Lyra heard her brother instructing crisply, “For if you forget the password, you’ll be stuck outside until someone else comes along. Don’t forget this: Toujours pur.”
As he spoke the words to the stone, the wall suddenly opened to reveal a grand sort of living room. The atmosphere was calm and quiet, and it smelled like a breeze off of the Black Lake. The large windows revealed that, in fact, they appeared to be under the water. Grindylows darted by, chasing some sort of prey. Lyra thought about how Sirius Black would probably hate that password. For that matter, he would probably hate her now, too…
“Your dormitory assignments are posted. Be sure to find out where you’ll be staying. Your things have already been brought up, so get going, first years!” When Lucius had finished giving instructions, he strolled over to his sister.
“Lyra, I’m quite proud of you,” he said, smiling. “Mother and Father will be as well; I’ll send them an owl first thing in the morning. Can you believe that Sirius Black? Gryffindor, of all places…”
“I had better find my room, Lucius…” she replied quietly. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Her brother nodded and gently patted her shoulder. “Go on, then. You’ll need a good night’s rest before your first class.” He turned away, and Lyra went to see who she would be sharing a room with for the next seven years.
None of the first names sparked any recognition, but the surnames were all well-known Pureblood families. Lyra sighed and looked around the Common Room, in no hurry to greet her new roommates. She spotted Severus off to the side, looking just as lost as she felt. The fear from the Sorting Ceremony returned now. Looking around now, it was hard to trust a dusty, old hat. Lyra just knew she would’ve been happier in Gryffindor… She and Sirius Black could have been there for each other when their parents’ anger inevitably arrived. In Gryffindor, she would have had friends. Lily and Lovetta had gotten Gryffindor. Would they still want to be friends with a snake?
Lovetta and Lily were perfectly happy to find that they would be sharing a room. Excitedly, the two settled in and began to talk about what tomorrow might bring.
“I wish Lyra and Sev were Gryffindors too,” Lovetta said.
“They’re still our friends, Vetta,” Lily replied. “Nearly all of our classes are with Slytherin, so we’re sure to see them a lot.”
Lovetta pulled out her schedule.
“Transfiguration’s first. What’s that about?”
Lily looked at her friend in surprise. “Didn’t you read any of our books?”
The girl shrugged. “I figured I’d find out eventually.”
Rolling her eyes, Lily went to settle into her bed. “Well if you’re that unprepared, you had better get some sleep now.”
“But Lily, I’m too excited to sleep! You’re Muggleborn too, yeah? Tell me about your family,” Lovetta insisted.
“Tomorrow! Now go to sleep!”
Lovetta huffed, but relented, making one last attempt at a joke. “Fine. You’re no fun…”
Sirius was very nearly late to Transfiguration. Really, it had been James’ fault, but that wasn’t important right now. McGonagall looked on disapprovingly as the three Gryffindor boys slid into their seats just before the bell. Remus, of course, was already there, sitting beside that third girl from the compartment. Rawly or something? Sirius still couldn’t recall her name.
“Black, Potter, Pettigrew, the three of you are just in time,” McGonagall said. “Please find an empty seat, and get out your books.”
James and Peter snagged the last available desk for two, right behind Evans and Snivellus. The only spot left for Sirius to take was the one next to Lyra Malfoy. She only barely let her gaze land on him as he sat down, retreating further into the page she was reading from their Transfiguration book. Admittedly, that hurt a bit. Maybe he had been wrong about her not being as stuck up as her family. She did get put in Slytherin, but Sirius had thought that maybe she could turn out alright despite that. Now, he wasn’t so sure.
“Transfiguration is some of the most complex and dangerous magic you will learn at Hogwarts,” McGonagall began.
Sirius wasn’t really listening, but he did manage to pay attention to her warning about not messing around. He was distracted during all the notes she gave, and wound up not writing down half of what he was meant to. Oh well, he could just copy them off Remus later. Finally, it was time to actually try some magic! McGonagall handed out a match to each student. They were supposed to try to turn them into needles, but the Professor warned them that it was rare that first years were able to make any changes at all on their first attempt at Transfiguration.
“It can’t be that hard,” Sirius said, making the Malfoy girl glance over at him. He thought for a second that he saw her smirk, but… No, she couldn’t have been. Her eyes were fixed on the matchstick, her brow lined with concentration.
Once during the class, Sirius saw her matchstick twitch ever so slightly, but nobody made more progress than she did before the bell rang. He thought that maybe he ought to compliment her on her work, but his words didn’t seem to want to cooperate.
“Well, looks like that bit of magic was too difficult for everyone, even a Malfoy.”
At least she finally looked at him… but the wounded expression she wore made Sirius wish that she hadn’t.
“Come on, Sirius! We're up for flying lessons next!” James called, brushing past Remus with the other two Gryffindor boys. “Remus, aren't you coming?”
“Yeah, yeah…” he replied. “I'm right behind you.”
In truth, Remus was more than bit distracted, and it affected him for the rest of the day. He'd sat next to Lovetta Rawly during Transfiguration, and he couldn't help but feel there was more to her than there seemed. The nearly unnoticeable scars on her face were just a bit too similar to Remus’ own for him not to be suspicious.
In addition to that little puzzle, there was another reason for him to be nervous. Tonight was a full moon. The Headmaster had promised Remus that a plan was in place to manage his lycanthropy, but that didn't stop him from getting anxious.
As soon as it began to get dark, he headed towards Dumbledore’s office. Upon arrival, Remus was surprised to find Lovetta Rawly already sitting in one of the chairs in front of the desk. When she looked up at him, she didn't seem surprised that he was there, as if she had been expecting someone, but she did seem interested in the fact that that someone was him.
“You were expecting someone?” Remus asked.
Lovetta shrugged. “The Sorting Hat told me that there was another werewolf here. I just didn't expect it to be you. But I probably should have realized that, I mean--”
“Werewolf?” Remus blurted, cutting her rambling short. It had never been thrown out there so boldly like that before, and he couldn't help but panic a little. After a moment, he realized that there was no point in trying to deny it. If she was like him, she already understood. She wouldn't be disgusted by him.
“Right…” he said, coming back to the subject. “I didn't know there was anyone else. I did wonder about your scars, though.”
“Yeah, that is a bit of a giveaway when you're one of us,” she said, studying his face. “Yours aren't as noticeable as mine. No wonder I didn't suspect you.”
She was very blunt, Remus noticed.
Just then, Dumbledore appeared from out of the back, descending the stairs with a warm smile.
“I see that the two of you have met,” he said. “Very good… Now, you are both, in a way, connected by your condition. I know that there are concerns about managing lycanthropy and school responsibilities, but if you will follow me, I will inform you of the plan we have put in place.”
With that, he began to lead them out of the office, then, out of the school. They walked for a few minutes, past the Gamekeeper’s hut and the gardens, until they reached an oddly shaped tree. The dirt around it appeared to have been freshly placed, like it had only just been planted. It looked, for the most part, like a normal tree, but its branches thickened into heavy clubs at the ends, with wicked, whip-like extensions protruding from them.
“This,” Dumbledore said, “Is a Whomping Willow. It has a rather nasty disposition, and it lives up to its name when anyone gets too close. However, there is a passageway hidden between its roots. When you are more advanced in your spellwork, you can use Immobulus to freeze the tree, but for now, you can make do by simply using a long branch to touch that knot there,” he finished, pointing it out.
Dumbledore froze the tree and beckoned them to follow him into the passage. Remus exchanged a glance with Lovetta, then moved forward. The crooked tunnel eventually led up into what looked to be an old, abandoned house.
“Welcome to the Shrieking Shack,” the Headmaster said. “We’re just outside the wizarding village of Hogsmeade where, I think you’ll find, a few rumors have recently been started about this place being cursed.” There was a mischievous twinkle in his eye. “You won’t have to fear any oblivious bystanders wandering in and stumbling upon the two of you.”
“Thank you, sir,” Remus said.
“No need to thank me,” Dumbledore replied simply. “Now, since we don’t know how the two of you will react to each other when transformed, I’ve enchanted two separate rooms to keep you apart. Mister Lupin, you’ll be right in here, and Miss Rawly, if you’ll come with me…”
Remus nodded and stepped through the doorway. The space was small and bare, and there was a hole in the wall where he could see Lovetta walk into the room next door. She caught sight of him and waved, a bit too enthusiastically, considering the situation, but it made him smile nonetheless. After Dumbledore had bade them farewell, Remus moved over to the small gap to talk to her.
“Are you scared?”
Lovetta looked at him for a moment, like she was debating whether or not to admit it, then admitted, “A bit, yeah… This is only my fifth full moon.”
“What?” Remus was shocked. “You’ve only been a werewolf for five months?”
When she nodded, Remus frowned. Was it wrong of him to be jealous? They both had the short end of the stick, but at least Lovetta hadn’t had to deal with it for as long as she could remember.
“How long have you had it?” she asked.
Remus didn’t answer.
“That long, huh?”
“It’s less painful when you don’t fight it,” he advised her, changing the subject.
Sensing that he wanted to drop it, Lovetta went with it. “I’ll try to keep that in mind…” She wandered away from their shared wall to peek outside through the rotted boards of the wall. “The moon is rising now,” she said, turning back to face him. Her fear was plainly written on her face. “Does it ever get any easier?”
He could have lied to her, but Remus figured it was better to be honest.
“It hasn’t since I was four years old.”
Lovetta actually seemed to go still for a the first time since Remus had met her. “I’m so sorry, Remus…”
That was what made her pause? Not the pain? Well, she was definitely Gryffindor for a reason.
“Good luck tonight, Lovetta.”
“Good luck to you too, Remus…”
Chapter 4: Moonbeams Under the Lake
Lovetta hoped that Lily wouldn’t ask her why she’d missed classes all of yesterday. She might be a lot newer to the whole bit of lycanthropy than Remus, but she understood enough to know that it was a secret better left unspoken. Lily did, however, seem a bit skeptical when Lovetta told her she’d only been homesick, but at least she didn’t press any further.
Maybe it was because of her nerves, but the day seemed to fly by for Lovetta. Every other minute, she wondered if someone would somehow know about her secret and confront her. Her fear proved to be just as irrational as it seemed, and the only eventful thing about the day was that Lovetta discovered that she had a natural aptitude for Charms. Professor Flitwick was very impressed, and even gave her a list of advanced Charms books she might find helpful.
If she was being honest, it was the only subject that Lovetta felt was worth studying for. Defense Against the Dark Arts was too easy, Transfiguration didn’t come naturally, Herbology and Astronomy were too much to memorize, History of Magic was only good for napping, and Potions gave her a headache. For Lily, though, everything was easy, and she was frustrated with her friend’s lack of effort in the other classes.
“Come on, Vetta, it’s almost Christmas break. If you would just do your homework ahead of time…”
“But why, Lils? Why waste my precious free time bothering with homework that I can save till the last minute? Besides, I already got the important stuff out of the way when I finished up my Charms work. Come on, Sev, help me out here! Lyra?”
The other two friends looked up from their books, glancing at each other before shrugging. It was a bright sunny day, oddly warm for the time of year, and the four first years were out on the shore of the Black Lake. Lovetta didn’t understand how the other three could possibly want to waste their time like this. They could be in the Great Hall eating or playing a game, but nooo, Lily and Lyra and Severus wanted to finish all of their homework well before they all went their separate ways for the Christmas holiday.
There was only one more full moon to survive before then, but by now, Lovetta wasn’t worried. If no one had found out this far into the year, then she and Remus were safe.
Speaking of Remus, he and his friends suddenly appeared from the direction of the castle. James Potter was leading the pack, with Sirius Black at his side.
“Well, well, well, look what we have here. Studying hard, are we Snivellus?”
“What do you want, Potter?” Lily snapped.
“We just came to enjoy the day by the Black Lake,” he replied. “Hey, Sirius, do you reckon your ancestors had anything to do with naming it?”
Sirius rolled his eyes. Lovetta noticed that Lyra was watching him. She couldn’t fathom why her friend was so fascinated with him, especially since she’d said he seemed to hate her.
“Anyway, we didn’t expect to find anyone studying, of all things,” James continued.
“Yeah, why aren’t you guys doing anything interesting?” Sirius chimed in.
“Oh, it’s no use,” Lovetta sighed. “I’ve been after them all day, they’re not any more likely to listen to you lot.” Finally too bored to bear it any longer, she stood and started to walk away. The only bearable one of that group was Remus, but even he was sometimes annoying when he didn’t try to tell off his friends for being idiots.
As she left the Gryffindor boys to irritate her friends, Lovetta could hear footsteps behind her. It was Remus.
“Ready for tonight?” he asked, once they were out of earshot of the rest.
“Are we ever ready?” she countered.
“Fair enough.” There was a beat of silence as he followed her back up to the castle, then, “I never did ask, after all these months… How is it you got this way? I don’t mean to pry, but… You’re Muggleborn.”
“Well-spotted, Lupin,” she said. “You’re even cleverer than everyone already thinks.”
“Oh come on, Rawly,” he said. “Don’t start with the last names now. All I meant is that it’s uncommon enough for people to be bitten, but Muggles are almost never close enough to the hunting grounds to be attacked.”
Lovetta sighed, deciding to stop joking for the moment. “Fine, fine… It happened right after I’d gotten my letter. I have… had this place where I’d go to think. I don’t go any more. Not since it happened. I was excited, but confused about Hogwarts, and it was a lot to take in, so I went to my place, and everything was normal till I saw it. I don’t even know how I’m alive. I thought I was going to die, but it just bit me and left. Dragged me around a bit, but it still just left.”
Remus looked fascinated in a strange way, like listening to someone describe a car crash. It was horrible to hear, but his attention had been captured.
“So you don’t know who did it? Or why?”
Lovetta shook her head. “Not a clue.” She hesitated for a moment. “What about you? Do you… Can you even remember it? Or were you too young?”
“I… I remember pieces. Flashes. He got in through the window. He did it on purpose because he was mad at my dad. Revenge…”
“Where’s your scar?” Lovetta figured that it wasn’t a great question to ask, but she was just so curious, and really, sometimes, she couldn’t help herself from blurting out the first thing that came to mind.
It was understandable that Remus hesitated. He’d grown up with the secret; it was something he’d been afraid of discussing for over half his life. Lovetta could be more open about it because she was curious.
“My shoulder,” he finally admitted quietly. He glanced at her, then looked away just as quickly. “Yours?”
“My leg,” she replied. “Like I said, it grabbed me and dragged me around.”
They were nearly to the castle when Lovetta looked up at the darkening sky. “Blimey, is it that time already? We’ve got to get to the Whomping Willow soon.”
“Right… Shall we go, then?”
“Lead the way, Remus.”
When they arrived at the tree, he turned to her. “Flitwick said you were good at advanced Charms, yeah?” he asked. When she nodded excitedly, he continued before she could say anything. “Have you mastered the Freezing Charm yet? It’d be handy to be able to freeze this thing.”
“Well,” Lovetta began, “I’ve only tested it once so far, but it was moderately successful… I suppose I could give it a go.” Wand raised, she turned to the tree and said, “Immobulus!”
Trembling slightly, the tree shuddered to a halt. It wasn’t as graceful or clear cut as Dumbledore’s Freezing Charm had been that first full moon, but it had done the trick. Before the semi-effective spell could wear off, the pair quickly scurried down the passageway, ready to face yet another night of their monthly affliction.
Lyra couldn’t understand that Sirius Black. Sometimes when he talked to her, it was almost like he was actually trying to be nice but just didn’t know how. The rest of the time, he was just making snide remarks about her family’s elitist mentality or teasing her about how much she must enjoy being the best at everything. Their parents had been long-time friends, but they had still never really interacted this much before Hogwarts, and Lyra was wondering if it hadn’t been better that way. Then again, maybe he was just acting out at her because he disliked her parents. It was still a rotten thing to do, but she could understand where he was coming from.
Severus, however, had no such hesitations about disliking him. All the way back to the Common Room, Lyra had to listen to him rant about Sirius Black and that arrogant pig, James Potter.
“Where do you suppose Lovetta ran off to?” she asked, trying to change the subject.
“You know how she is,” Severus said. “She got bored and went back to the castle, as usual.”
“But I didn’t see her at dinner… Lovetta’s always hungry. Wasn’t that Remus Lupin following her?”
Severus grew quiet, thinking about it. “You don’t suppose he did something to her, do you? I mean, he does hang around with Black and Potter, and they’re developing a reputation for rather reckless pranks…”
Lyra shook her head. “Lupin is the tamest of that lot. I doubt he’d try anything like that. No, he was probably just asking her for Charms tips. I’m sure it’s nothing.” Despite her words, however, Lyra couldn’t help but feel that there was something she was missing, something obvious. Whatever it was or wasn’t, it would have to wait for tomorrow.
Later, however, Lyra found herself in the Common Room in front of the fire, unable to sleep. The windows to the Black Lake were glowing green from the full moon’s light filtering through the water. Full moon… Lyra’s parents were always ranting about lycanthropes being allowed too much freedom. How had she not seen it before? Lovetta was good at making excuses, but nevertheless, she missed classes once a month. And, always the day after a full moon. Lovetta and Remus Lupin.
What should she do now? Her parents always seemed to talk about how awful werewolves were, but Lovetta was, arguably, her best friend. Was the girl a little too energetic? Maybe, at times, but she’d never knowingly hurt anyone. Remus Lupin may not care to stand up to his friends when they were acting cruelly, but he wasn’t the horrific monster that Lyra’s parents had described.
Before any decision could be made, she would need to talk to Lovetta about it. One thing Lyra did absolve right away, though, was that nothing would make her stop being friends with Lovetta. If her suspicions proved to be true, Lyra intended to assist in any way she could, even if her parents found out and punished her for it. Maybe, just maybe… there was a bit of Gryffindor in her after all.
Chapter 5: The Leaf of the Mandrake
“Are you sure I can’t just copy the last bit, Remus?” Lyra heard James Potter pestering his friend. It was nearly time for the end of year exams, and the Gryffindor show off hadn’t prepared in any way. Now, Lyra was stuck listening to them bicker in the courtyard while she attempted to study.
Christmas had come and gone, yet she still hadn’t worked up the courage to confront Lovetta and Remus. Every time the opportunity arose, she wound up convincing herself that she needed to do more research first. If there were some way to help, Lyra reasoned, wouldn’t it be better not to go to them empty-handed? So far, there was only one option, but it was highly illegal, not to mention dangerous. Still, that Slytherin part of her heart had set its ambitions on helping her friend, so by Merlin’s beard, she was going to get it done. And, that meant proceeding with the only thing she could think to do. First things first: Where could she get ahold of a mandrake leaf?
Suddenly, the answer came to her. Dear Lucius would do anything for his sweet, innocent, baby sister… Lyra snapped her book shut, startling the four Gryffindor boys, and jumped up, practically running off to find her brother.
“What’s her hurry?” she heard Potter muttering as she went, but it didn’t bother her at all. Nothing could distract her right now.
“Lucius? Can I see you for a second?”
Her brother had been easy enough to find, chatting up Narcissa Black in the Great Hall. Lucius actually almost seemed relieved, like he’d just run out of things to talk about and Lyra had just come to his rescue. A small smile crossed his face.
“Of course, Lyra,” he said, standing. He lead her out the doors and onto the grounds, turning to her when they were away from most other students. “Now, what is it you want to talk about?”
“Well…” she began, not even needing to pretend to be hesitant, “You know how much I love my studying.”
Lucius nodded. “Of course. I do hope you’re well prepared for your exams, for that matter…”
“That’s actually part of what I wanted to talk about. I’m done with all of that, and things got boring, so I was reading some of your old second and third year books--”
“Third year?” Her brother quirked an eyebrow. “That’s a bit elementary for you, isn’t it, Lyra?”
“Yes, I know, but I couldn’t help but notice something new this time. I was doing some more thorough research in Herbology when I realized I’ve never actually gotten the chance to see a Mandrake leaf for myself. I know first years aren’t allowed to take anything from the greenhouses, and that nobody is supposed to take any plant samples without permission, but… Lucius, do you think…” Sighing, she pretended to be disappointed in her own idea. “Nevermind, it’s a silly idea. I know none of the teachers would ever allow it, but I just so wish I could study one.”
Lucius made a soft tsking sound. “Come now, my dear sister, you know I’ll make anything happen to keep you happy.” Smirking, he swiftly kissed her forehead and turned to stride away. “I’ll find you later, Lyra. Don’t wait up, now…”
Well… That had gone smoother than expected. It had been a long, long time since Lyra had pulled the helpless little sister card, but she found it more effective when used sparingly anyway. So, once she had that Mandrake leaf, then the next phase of the plan - the most tricky phase - could begin. But, she had only asked Lucius for one leaf, so that meant only one chance… She’d have to get it right on the first try. There was just one last thing Lyra needed to do before she began.
After the bell had rung, Lyra made her way into the classroom. The sixth years paid her no mind as they left for dinner, and soon, the only one left in the room was the Gryffindor Head of House.
“Professor McGonagall?” Lyra spoke up shyly.
The woman peered over her spectacles at the small girl before her. “Miss Malfoy? What are you doing here at this time of the day?”
“I… I came to ask you about Animagi.”
“Animagi?” McGonagall repeated. “That’s rather advanced magic for a first year to be wondering about. You’re not meant to learn about that subject until third year.” There was a hint of a smile on her face as she continued, “What is it you wish to know?”
Lyra gave her a small smile. “Are there any books that detail the exact process of becoming an Animagus? I find it all so fascinating.”
McGonagall hummed in thought. “Yes, such books do indeed exist, but they are in the restricted section of the library.”
“Oh, well that’s alright, Professor… Thank you for your time.” Lyra turned to walk away, but McGonagall stopped her.
“Miss Malfoy… You are a very bright young witch. If you truly wish to learn, I could answer any questions you may have.”
Lyra brightened at that. “Really? Thank you, Professor!” After a moment’s hesitation, she reached into her bag and grabbed a piece of parchment to take notes. “I want to be an Animagus,” she admitted. “When I’m of age, of course…”
McGonagall nodded. “It is no easy task, but I see great potential in you.”
“Thank you…” Lyra knew she was blushing, but she wasn’t used to being thought of so highly by an adult. “I know about needing a Mandrake leaf, but I’m a bit confused about the potion that’s needed afterwards,” she started, ready to write down every word.
Throughout the time spent asking questions, Lyra had a strange feeling that McGonagall could see right through her, but the woman never once confronted her about why she was being so detailed in her research. She did, however, part with a warning.
“Just remember, Miss Malfoy, Animagus transformations are closely monitored for a reason. It is a very dangerous process, and it is all too easy to get it wrong. When you do attempt this, keep in mind all of the details.” Then, she smiled. “I wish the best of luck to you.” Almost as an afterthought, she added, “When you’re of age to complete the process, of course.” Her wise eyes sparkled with a hidden knowledge, but she said nothing more.
“Thank you, Professor McGonagall.”
The door closed behind her, and Lyra looked back over her notes. This plan was stupid, reckless, and dangerous. It was everything she shouldn’t do, yet at the same time, it was everything she needed to do to be able to help her friend. The internal conflict was giving Lyra a headache. There was only one way to reconcile the two warring ideals: by imitating the mindset of someone who was stupid, reckless, and dangerous on a daily basis. With a feeling of great irritation, Lyra realized that she needed to learn how to think more like Sirius Black.
Chapter 6: One Secret, Two Lies
The fire in the Gryffindor Common Room crackled faintly in the background of the chattering students. Everyone was meant to be studying, but Remus’ friends were goofing off, as usual. He himself was trying in vain to memorize the planetary arrangement for the Astronomy exam tomorrow night. Finally, he just gave up and set his books aside.
“So, Remus,” Sirius began, “I’ve been meaning to ask… What’s the deal with you and that Rawly girl?”
“Yeah,” James chimed in, “You’ve gotten awfully cozy with her.”
The group all not-so-subtly turned to stare at the girl in question. She was sitting at a table in the corner with Lily, boredly practicing charms and making comments to her friend. Lily was studying while, based on the two girls’ expressions, simultaneously (and unsuccessfully) attempting to convince Lovetta to do the same.
“I… she’s my friend…” Remus said lamely. Could he really call her a friend? Sure, they had a common secret, but would they have connected without it?
Once again, his thought process was interrupted, this time by Peter. “But she’s friends with Snape!”
James grinned at the smaller boy approvingly. Remus knew that the other two had been reluctant to accept Peter, and he had managed to convince them to let him hang around, but now, it seemed he was doing a fair job of earning his place.
“Good point, Peter. What do you say to that, Remus?”
“Does it matter? It’s not as if I decided to make friends with him…” Remus was hoping that they’d drop the subject. He didn’t want to disagree with them for fear that they wouldn’t want to be his friend anymore, but he also didn’t want them to pressure him into not talking to Lovetta. Even if she was a little weird, she understood him in a way nobody else could.
“Ehh, he’s right, mate,” Sirius said. “If she’s fine by you, Rem, she’s fine by us.”
That was a relief.
“Want to head up to the dorm now?” James suggested. Remus noticed that the Common Room was almost empty now. “We could play a game of Exploding Snap.”
The other two seemed excited by the idea, so Remus agreed. Just as they reached the bottom of the stairs, Lily’s voice called after them.
“Remus, can I talk to you?”
James turned to her, grinning, but before he could get a word out, Lily spoke again.
“Fine…” James sighed. “Don’t be too long, Remus.”
Slowly, the three went up into the dorm, and Remus awkwardly moved closer to the table where Lily and Lovetta were sitting. It was obvious that the latter had just as much idea what was going on as he did.
“Should I go?” Lovetta asked, not sounding like she was very genuine in her offer.
“No,” Lily said. “I actually wanted to talk to both of you.”
Remus had a bad feeling about this. Lily Evans was smart. It was entirely possible that she…
“I know why you miss classes every month.”
That did it. Remus’ blood ran cold, and he noticed that Lovetta had gone completely still. The girl was always fidgeting, unless she was being extremely serious or if she was scared, like now.
Lily, noticing their body language, rushed to reassure them. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell… I just wanted you to know that I’ll help you in any way I can, collecting your homework and stuff like that.”
Lovetta made eye contact with Remus, then warily returned her gaze to Lily. “Just to be clear… You know that we’re--”
“Lovetta…” Remus warned.
“Yes, I know that you’re…” Lily paused, then whispered, “Werewolves.”
“Remus, sit down,” Lovetta said suddenly. “You look like you’re going to faint.”
“I might just,” he muttered, taking a seat anyway.
“So,” Lily started slowly, “When’s the next full moon?”
“Two nights before we go home,” Lovetta answered.
“Well there certainly won’t be any homework that night,” Lily said, “But, this summer, we can write to each other to figure out a plan.”
“Why do you want to help us?”
Remus could have slapped himself. Someone was offering to help and he was questioning it? Still, he needed to know.
Lily gave him a confused look. “Because it’s the right thing to do… And besides, any friend of Lovetta is a friend of mine.”
So he and Lovetta were friends after all... Upon realizing what that meant, a warm feeling spread through his chest. Having Lily know the secret was different than having Lovetta know. Lovetta had no choice but to keep the secret, and she couldn’t be horrified by what he was because it’s what she was too. No, with Lily, it was the ultimate show of trust. This girl who couldn’t stand his friends chose to help him. She chose not to expose him, and she wasn’t disgusted by him or Lovetta.
“Thanks…” Remus said.
“Yeah,” Lovetta said, “Thanks, Lils. I dunno what we would’ve done if you went and blabbed.”
Lily gave her a look. “Come on, Vetta, you know I would never.”
Vetta? Was that her nickname? Remus kind of liked it…
“We should get some rest,” Lily spoke again, pulling Remus from his thoughts. “With the exams and everything tomorrow…”
“Ugh, who cares?” Lovetta groaned. “All anyone ever talks about anymore is those rotten exams!”
Remus actually laughed, flat-out laughed, at the expression on her face. Lovetta was always dramatic, but it was evident that she hated school work more than anything else. When he laughed, she looked up at him in surprise. He understood why. Usually, he was so reserved that he only ever chuckled a bit or maybe snickered under his breath. After a moment, Lovetta started laughing too. Nothing was even particularly funny, but they laughed nonetheless. Lily watched them both like they were crazy, but for once, Remus didn’t care.
“Vetta,” Remus stated in a matter-of-fact tone, “You are definitely not allowed to complain tomorrow when you don’t know any of the test material!”
“Hey!” she said, faking offense, “I know Charms!”
That only set them off laughing even harder.
“Remus, are you ever going to come back to the room?” Sirius demanded from the bottom of the staircase, interrupting the moment.
“Yeah, yeah,” Remus said dismissively, still trying to recover his wits. “I’m coming…”
“Night, Remus,” Lovetta called after him as he climbed the stairs.
“Night, Vetta, and good luck tomorrow.” Then, he smirked mischievously. “You’ll need it.”
Lovetta scoffed, but her eyes sparkled as she wadded up one of Lily’s parchments to throw at his head. Remus dodged it just in time, laughing to himself as he led Sirius back to their dormitory. He could hear Lily scolding Lovetta, even as he shut the door behind him.
“What was all that?” Sirius questioned.
James and Peter looked up.
“What was what?” James asked. “What did dear Remus get up to with Loudmouth and Lily-flower?”
“She’s not a loudmouth…” Remus muttered.
“No, apparently she’s Vetta,” Sirius said. “Since when do you call her Vetta?”
Remus paused. Had he called her that?
“Vetta, you are definitely not allowed to complain tomorrow when you don’t know any of the test material!” his words echoed in his mind.
“Right… It’s just her nickname. It’s not a big deal.”
“Nickname? Hey, maybe we should all have nicknames,” James said. He was laughing as he spoke, but he seemed serious.
Eager to change the subject, Remus jumped on the idea. “Oh yeah? And what would you suggest?”
As the others started debating what the best nicknames would be, Remus let himself tune them out, his thoughts turning back to everything that had happened.
In just one day, he had both made a friend and had his secret revealed. Would it be so bad to tell Sirius, James, and Peter? They might support him, they might… They might tell everyone. They might hate him as much as they hated Snape.
It’s not just my secret to tell either, he reasoned. Maybe he was just making up excuses now, but the point still stood that it had to be Lovetta’s choice too. After all, if his secret was exposed, it would only be a matter of time before someone connected the dots to her as well.
No, Remus decided, it was better not to tell them. It was safer to stay quiet, just like he’d always done.
Chapter 7: Little Miss Malfoy
When Lyra once again found herself on Platform 9 ¾, she suddenly realized what a coward she was. She had put off beginning the Animagus transformation all summer, and she still hadn’t talked to either Lovetta or Remus.
The latter, however, was about to change. Her mind was made up. If she didn’t do it now, Lyra knew she never would. As quickly as she was able, she made some lame excuse to her brother and dashed off to find a compartment. Not much time passed before she spotted Lovetta bouncing down the narrow hall, checking each compartment as she went. The girl had only grown about an inch over the summer, but her golden brown hair was a lot longer now. Other than those few changes, her friend was easily recognizable.
“Over here, Lovetta!” Lyra called.
“Lyra!” the other girl half-shouted excitedly, rushing over. “I’ve missed you!”
“I’ve missed you too,” she replied. They had considered making plans with Lily and Severus so that the four of them could meet up in Diagon Alley, but Lyra quickly cancelled after realizing that her parents weren’t likely to approve of her two Muggleborn friends and their parents.
“I dunno if Lily and Sev are here yet, I was too busy talking to Remus to look for them.”
Lyra peered back down the hall, hoping to see the boy in question. “Is Remus close by, then?”
Lovetta tilted her head and turned around to look. “Oh… Well he was right behind me just a second ago…”
“You lost him, didn’t you?”
Before Lovetta could begin to mount a defense, the two girls spotted the scar-faced boy at the end of the corridor.
“Remus! There you are.”
“Merlin, you’re fast, Vetta,” he said.
Now or never.
“Hey, Lupin, I had a question for you…” Lyra started cautiously. “Something I thought of when I was studying over summer.”
He seemed taken aback by this.
“Me? Are you sure you don’t want to ask Lily?”
Lyra shook her head and motioned for him to come into the compartment. Once both he and Lovetta were inside, she peeked down the hall, then shut the door, much to the confusion of the other two.
“What do you know about Animagi?” she asked, sitting across from the two of them.
“Animagi?” Remus repeated. “I’ve seen them mentioned once, but nothing other than that. Why do you ask?”
Taking a deep breath, Lyra tried to focus on what she wanted to say. She opted to fiddle with the hem of her sleeve rather than facing either of them. “An Animagus is a wizard or witch who has gained the ability to change into an animal at will. I only bring it up because… I’m thinking of becoming one.”
“Don’t you have to be of age?” Remus asked. “I remember at least that much… Why would you want to do something illegally?” Just then, another thought occurred to him. “Why are you telling me all of this anyway?”
“You and Lovetta are the two people who most deserve to know why I want to do this. See, the thing about Animagi… They’re unaffected by the bite of a werewolf.”
To her surprise, Lovetta didn’t freak out or try to pretend that she didn’t understand. No, her friend simply huffed and slumped down in her seat. “First Lily, now you! Next thing you know, Sirius Black and those Gryffindor idiots will be figuring it out. No offence, Remus.”
“None taken,” he managed to choke out, his face paler than usual. After a moment of what appeared to be panic, the boy looked up at Lyra. “I still don’t understand… What does this have to do with you becoming an Animagus?”
“I want to help you. I’ve read about how awful the transformations are, and how you could work yourself into such a frenzy that you hurt yourself. What if there was an animal to chase around? Distract you from… that?”
“That’s the stupidest idea you’ve ever had,” Lovetta stated. “But it’s bloody brilliant all same…” She looked over at Remus. “What do you think, Rem?”
He didn’t reply.
“Look, I just thought I’d let you know as a courtesy,” Lyra explained. “You won’t change my mind.” This bold personality wasn’t like her at all, but Lyra found that she was suddenly very stubborn at the thought that they might try to dissuade her.
“Fine…” Remus muttered. “It’s your funeral if something goes wrong.”
Yep, he was going to take a bit more convincing. Suddenly, someone rapped on the compartment door. The trio looked over to see none other than the usual suspects. James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew were there, large as life, opening the door.
“Remus, I understand hanging ‘round with Loudmouth, but associating with Slytherins? How perfectly despicable.”
At James’ words, Lyra flushed a rosy pink and turned away.
“Ah, leave her be, James.”
Now, she did look up. Did Sirius Black actually just say that?
“This snake has no fangs,” he finished, smirking.
Ah, there it was.
“Alright, that’s it, Potter,” Lovetta snapped uncharacteristically, glancing at Remus as he snuck out of the compartment. Lyra didn’t understand why Lovetta liked someone so infuriatingly impartial. “Get out, and take your little friends with you.”
“And I suppose you’re gonna make me, Rawly?”
“I think I just might,” she said coolly. “Depulso.”
With a wave of her wand, three of the four boys were pushed away and down the hall, towards another compartment. Then, she turned to Remus. “Sorry about that, but it had to be done. See you at the feast?”
Remus almost seemed amused by her antics, nodding before he went to join his friends.
“Was that a Banishing Charm?” came a voice from behind. Lovetta and Lyra turned around, brightening when they saw Lily and Severus.
“There you two are!” Lovetta declared. “We thought you’d never join us. Now, what do you think we’ll be having for dinner tonight? I’m starved.”
“Lovetta, we haven’t even left yet,” Lily reminded her.
With a hint of a smile on her face, Lyra settled in and listened to her friends talk. There was a strange, new feeling that she couldn’t quite identify, and though it wasn’t unpleasant, she couldn’t say that she enjoyed it. It sort of felt like… being brave.
“You have to hold that leaf in your mouth? For a month?”
“Yes, Lovetta. That’s the first step in the transformation.”
“And why do you have to start it tonight?”
“Because, like I told you, the next step can only happen on a full moon. Do the math!”
“No, thank you, I’ll take your word for it.”
The two girls were in the abandoned girls’ lavatory discussing Lyra’s plan and setting up everything that she’d need for the next step. Moaning Myrtle was sulking in the corner, watching them silently. The ghost girl had agreed not to tell on them, since they informed her that they would be visiting often during Lyra’s process. She was happy enough to have company that she let it slide.
“How are you going to hide the fact that you’ve got a Mandrake leaf in your mouth from the teachers? Old McGonagall will see right through you,” Lovetta told her friend.
“You know I don’t ever speak up in class anyway, and you can just convince Lily and Severus of something,” Lyra said dismissively.
“Right, because I’m so good at keeping secrets!”
“You are, you know.”
“I couldn’t hide it from Lily or you, Lyra!”
“Oh, you’ll be okay.”
“You two had better run along!” Myrtle warned. “It’ll be dark soon…”
“She’s right,” Lovetta said. “I’m meant to be meeting Remus at the Whomping Willow in ten minutes. Good luck with your Mandrake leaf, Ly.”
“I’ll visit you in the hospital wing tomorrow!” Lyra called as they parted ways.
Right… Lyra returned her attention to the Mandrake leaf. Time for the longest month of her life.
“Miss Malfoy, could you please tell the class which of the ingredients present on my desk can be used to make a Swelling Solution?”
Lyra’s eyes went wide. She turned to look for Lovetta, but instead, she found Remus’ gaze. For nearly the whole of the month, no one had called her out or questioned her, except for Lily and Severus, but now, she couldn’t avoid the spotlight. Remus shook his head, but she wasn’t sure what in Merlin’s name that was supposed to mean. Don’t say anything, maybe?
Trust me, that’s definitely not happening.
“Miss Malfoy, is there a problem?” Professor Slughorn pressed.
“She doesn’t know!” Sirius said loudly, laughing. “Look at that, Little Miss Malfoy doesn’t know the answer for once!”
“Shut up, Sirius,” Remus snapped, to the surprise of everyone. “Professor, I think Malfoy’s going to be sick, she doesn’t look well.”
“Oh, well, take her to Madame Pomfrey, then. Thank you, Mister Lupin,” Slughorn said, waving dismissively.
Lyra leaned forward a little, pretending as though she were lightheaded. It was amazing how quickly everyone got out of the way. Remus grabbed her arm and pulled her out the door.
“That was way too close, Lyra…” he said. “Listen, maybe you should just give it up. It’s too dangerous, and it’s not worth it!”
Lyra shook her head stubbornly and pulled out a quill and parchment. Lovetta had charmed the quill to write for her until this whole business with the leaf was done.
“Remus, you were brilliant back there, and I understand your concern, but I’ve already come too far just to quit. Now, you should get back to Potions or Slughorn and your friends will get suspicious. I’m going to hide out in the Astronomy tower until this class is over. I need some time to work on my History of Magic essay anyway.”
Remus sighed, but he didn’t try to argue anymore.
“Fine, but… At least try to keep to the background till the full moon, alright? You’ve only got two more days to go.”
“If the moon isn’t covered by clouds, that is…” she wrote.
“Don’t think like that. Now, go on. You’ve got a History of Magic essay to get done, as I recall,” Remus nearly-joked.
Lyra gave him a small smile and a wave before walking away. Two more days to go…
Chapter 8: Loudmouth Lovetta
“I bet you’re quite pleased to have that business with the leaf all over now,” Moaning Myrtle said to Lyra as she floated around. Lyra was leaning over a cauldron, preparing the potion which would be needed for the next step. She never replied, but the ghost didn’t seem to mind.
“I’ve heard those things taste awful… I’ve no idea how you managed it.”
Myrtle was right, that leaf had been bloody awful to manage. It tasted… foul to say the least. Getting the ingredients for the potion had been hell, but Lyra had done it. One moon-struck, spit-soaked leaf, one of her hairs, a silver teaspoon of dew that had not seen sunlight or been touched by human feet for seven days, and the chrysalis of a Death's-head Hawk Moth - another thing she’d innocently manipulated Lucius for - and she was good to go. Now, she was preparing to take it to her dormitory and keep the small bottle out of the sunlight, an easy feat in the dungeons.
This next step was tricky, and it could wind up taking ages, because it required an electrical storm. That, and everyday at sunrise and sunset, she needed to be sure to repeat the incantation until the storm arrived, with the tip of her wand over her heart. Lyra was going to have to be careful to work around her roommates for that bit.
Waving goodbye to Moaning Myrtle, Lyra headed down to the dungeons. Just as she was about to cross the threshold into her dormitory, she heard her brother calling to her.
“Lyra, come here.”
Her heart nearly stopped. The first thought that came to mind was that, somehow, he knew. He knew, and now he was going to expose everything. Desperately, she hid the vial behind her back, leaning back against the door. Lucius rolled his eyes and walked over to her.
“We need to talk.”
This is it. I’m going to be expelled from Hogwarts and disowned by my parents.
Maybe she could go to live with Lily or Lovetta?
“I caught wind of some rather serious news concerning those two friends of yours, Evans and Rawly… Did you know what they are?” His tone was controlled, and his gaze was dangerous. “I have tolerated their being Gryffindors, but I will not stand for you associating with Mudbloods! And, neither will mother and father. I’ve owled them all the details, and they agree that you’re not to see them any more.”
This was almost worse than what she had expected.
“What? Lucius, I--”
“It’s not open for debate, Lyra,” he cut her off. Normally, he would use his term of endearment with her, but there was none of that now. It was less like he was angry, and more like he was disappointed or upset with her. “Stay away from those Mudbloods, or there will be consequences…” That nearly sounded like he was worried about what might happen, but any hint of the expression vanished just as quickly as it had come.
Lucius walked away, and Lyra let out the breath she had been holding. While her brother’s announcement had sent her mind reeling, that problem would have to wait until later. The potion needed to be hidden as soon as possible, and left undisturbed until the time of the electrical storm, whenever - if ever - that came. Lyra quickly went into the room and dropped down beneath her bed. With a quick spell, she loosened a brick in the wall and carefully hid the vial in the space. Just in case one of her roommates happened to drop something, she added a few, basic charms to keep the spot unnoticeable.
Right… Now it all came crashing in on her. Lucius had essentially just told her that two of her best and only friends were supposedly unworthy of her, and her parents expected her to abide by that? But, the more Lyra thought about it, the more she realized that she had no choice. The consequences were too grave to think about. She needed to talk to Severus.
“She’s been avoiding me, Remus! Me and Lily. I don’t know what I did…”
It wasn’t often that Remus actually heard Lovetta worry over something, so he could tell that this was really bothering her.
“I dunno, Vetta. Maybe it’s the transformation making her all moody,” he offered.
“No, Rem. It’s something else, something to do with that brother of hers. She doesn’t talk to us, and she won’t even look at me when he’s in the room!”
Remus sighed. “I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to help. Listen, I’ve got to meet James and the others now, but I’ll see you later.”
Lovetta rolled her eyes. “I would tell you not to do anything stupid, but that’s impossible with James Potter around.”
Now, it was Remus’ turn to throw an eye roll, walking away with a small smile. When he finally found his friends in a secluded corridor, their uncharacteristically serious expressions alarmed him.
“What’s with you guys? Sirius?” Something wasn’t right.
“Remus,” Sirius started, “The three of us have been talking and we’ve come to a certain conclusion.”
“You see, Remus,” James picked up, “Every month, you miss a day of class. The day after a full moon.”
This was the third time Remus had had to experience the freezing pit in his stomach. He was done for now. He knew how James and Sirius were, and there was no way they’d want to stick around now. In fact, they’d probably tell the whole school, too.
“We think, as a group, that you shouldn’t have to deal with it alone. Your… furry little problem, that is.”
That wasn’t what he was expecting at all.
“No need to thank us,” Sirius interrupted.
“Especially since we probably won’t get as good of marks on the work we make up for you as you would if you’d done it, but I reckon it’ll be worth not having double homework the next day,” James continued, with his signature smirk still plastered all over his face.
“You… You want to help me?”
“Well of course,” James said. “Why wouldn’t we? You’re our friend.”
Remus gave a sigh of relief. “I… I don’t know what to say.”
“Just thank you will do,” said Sirius.
“At least now we know the real reason why you hang around with Loudmouth Lovetta,” James said offhandedly.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Remus asked warily.
“Well it’s obvious that she’s one too.”
Almost immediately, Remus shook his head. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, James.”
“Oh, give it up, Remus!” Sirius said, rolling his eyes. “It’s plain as day.”
It was evident that there was nothing he could do to deny it. Remus felt bad that Lovetta had been exposed too, but it couldn’t have been helped.
“Alright, fine,” he sighed. “Lovetta is a werewolf.”
He had never heard Lovetta Rawly whisper before, and it was a terrible thing to witness. As fast as he could, Remus turned to face her.
“How could you, Remus?” Her face was painted with hurt and confusion. “I thought… I thought you would understand, I thought you wouldn’t-- I guess I was wrong.”
“Lovetta, let me explain--”
But she was already gone.
James gave him a look of pity. “Look, mate, she may be a bit loony, but I know she’s your friend, so… Sirius and I can explain everything to her if you want.”
Remus just nodded absently, his mind too full of thoughts to really process what he’d said. He may have just secured the loyalty of three friends, but was that really worth losing the trust of one Muggleborn witch?
Chapter 9: Madame Mau
“Remus, James was saying that he found a bit of magic that might help you,” Sirius said as they walked out of Charms. He knew that his friend had been down ever since Rawly had overheard the conversation a few months ago. She hadn’t spoken to the poor boy since, and the ever-darkening sky seemed to fit his mood today.
Remus barely responded to what he had said, so Sirius tried again. “It’s called an Animagus transformation.”
Finally, finally, Remus looked at him. There was something odd about his expression, but Sirius couldn’t place what.
“They’re immune to werewolves, I know…” he said flatly. Then, after a moment, he seemed to put the pieces together. He sighed in a resigned way, and said, “If you three are thinking about doing it, you might ask Lyra Malfoy for tips. She’s just about completed the process already.”
Sirius’ confusion must have been evident on his face, because Remus went on to spill about how the Malfoy girl had found out the secret and had had the same idea to become an Animagus. According to Remus, she only had one last step to go. Merlin, that girl was good. As much as Sirius mocked her for being a snake, he did admire her extraordinary magical abilities.
“Well… I think I’ll just have to have a chat with Little Miss Malfoy.”
“Sirius…” Remus warned.
Sirius waved him off. “You go on ahead, Rem, I’ll see you later.”
The wheels in his head were turning. How could he get Malfoy to help him? Hm…
There she was, standing in front of the Black Lake, staring thoughtfully at something in her hands. Her silvery-blonde hair was dull in the ever-darkening light. Clouds roiled and rumbled overhead. It seemed like it was going to be one hell of a storm.
“Thinking of taking a swim, Malfoy?”
That was a terrible way to start out asking for her help. Malfoy jumped slightly and immediately avoided eye contact when she saw him.
“Can’t swim, so no…” she muttered.
Come to think of it, had she ever actually spoken directly to him before?
“You can’t swim?”
Sirius hadn’t meant to sound so incredulous about asking, but it just sort of slipped.
“What do you want, Black?”
“Teach me and my friends how to become Animagi so we can help Remus and your pal Rawly.” Her gaze snapped to him, her eyes wide. “Yes, I know about it, Malfoy. Don’t get your wand in a knot.”
A bolt of lightning lit up the sky, and thunder crashed so loudly that Sirius jumped. Malfoy sighed.
“This is the last step in the process…” she said softly. “Then I just have to learn to transform at will.” She glanced at him, then looked down at whatever was in her hands. “During this bit, it’s important that I not panic, so I’d really rather not have an audience, please…”
Sirius didn’t know what to do, so he just nodded and turned around. Though it was only sprinkling, the electrical storm was intensifying. After a few moments, Sirius felt someone’s small, cold hand grab his and pull him towards the castle. Once they were inside, an awkward silence fell between them.
“So… Did you do it?” he asked, his usual teasing tone gone.
Malfoy merely nodded in response.
“Well, what are you?”
She gave him half a smile, but didn’t answer his question. “I’ll help you do it. For Remus and Lovetta, not for you, understand?”
“Yeah.” Sirius normally would have said more, but he was at a loss for the moment. “Where should we meet you?”
“Do you know of Moaning Myrtle?” she asked. When he nodded, she continued. “Then you know where to meet me.”
She started to walk away, but Sirius called out to her, “Malfoy… Lyra.” Her gray eyes met his for what felt like the first time. “Thank you.”
Lyra didn’t reply but he knew she understood. As she walked away, Sirius couldn’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, this one snake wasn’t so bad after all.
“Hey, whose cat is that?” Lily asked, pointing to the white feline at their feet. It had snuck in with the two Gryffindor girls as they’d climbed through the portrait hole, but now that Lily had remarked on it, Lovetta realized that she’d never seen it before. It had curious gray eyes… Unusual for a cat.
“Maybe Remus would know?”
Lovetta knew that Lily was just trying to get her to talk to him again, but it was starting to get on her nerves. “Stop.”
“No,” she snapped. “He told, Lily. James Potter and his crew all know my secret because of him.”
The cat meowed, and Lovetta looked down. There was something about those eyes… Hang on, hadn’t Lyra said something about an electrical storm in the Animagus process?
“Oh,” she said suddenly.
“What is it?” Lily asked.
“I uh, I just remembered that my parents bought me a new cat! This one is mine.”
It was pathetic, and Lovetta knew it. Lily knew it too, but she just raised an eyebrow. “What’s its name?”
“Uh… Mau! Her name is… Madame Mau,” she said, fumbling for something to say.
“Lovetta, that’s the Egyptian word for cat.”
“I never claimed to be creative, Lils.”
Lily rolled her eyes, but didn’t question it any further. “I’m going to bed, Vetta. I still think you should talk to Remus.”
Lovetta was in no mood to argue. “Goodnight, Lily.”
“Madame Mau?” came the voice of Sirius Black once Lily had gone. “You’re so very convincing, Rawly.”
“What do you want?” she growled.
“I want to explain to you about Remus.”
“There’s nothing to explain. He’s a dirty rotten liar and no friend of mine.”
Sirius rolled his eyes and looked down at the cat. “Malfoy, will you help me talk some sense into her?”
Lovetta’s eyes went wide. How did he know? Suddenly, where there had been a cat just moments ago, there stood her Slytherin friend.
“Ly, you did it!” she yelped.
“Shh, Vetta, keep it down! You know I’m not supposed to be here…” Lyra hissed.
“Yeah, that’s another thing! Why have you been avoiding me?”
Lyra looked away guiltily. “Lucius and my parents have forbidden me to associate with… Mudbloods.”
Sirius made a noise rather like a growl at that last term, but Lovetta didn’t know what it meant.
“Don’t say that word…” Sirius snarled.
“Sorry…” Lyra murmured meekly. “Muggleborns.”
“Oh, I get it,” Lovetta said, rolling her eyes. “It’s some crazy Pureblood thing, right?”
Lyra nodded. “They won’t let me see you… So the Animagus transformation became that much more important.”
Lovetta nearly tackled her friend in a hug. “It’s okay, I understand… But what about Lily?”
“I… I can’t tell her about this. Not yet. But will you let her know about my family? Make sure she knows I’m not avoiding you both.”
“Of course,” Lovetta said, nodding earnestly.
“Alright, Mau, I think you should go before we get caught,” Sirius said.
“Is that my new nickname?” Lyra asked.
If not for the nearly imperceptible smile tugging at the corner of the girl’s mouth, her tone could have been mistaken for genuine confusion rather than a joke. Sirius himself looked slightly taken aback by the change in her attitude towards him, but only for a second. Grinning he nodded and moved to open the portrait hole for her. Moments later, a silvery-white cat was running out into the corridor, and Lovetta was left alone with Sirius Black.
“Now, like I was saying earlier, Moony just wanted to--”
“Moony?” she demanded incredulously.
Sirius sighed as if he were explaining things to a child. “Remus, of course. It’s his nickname, codename, whatever you want to call it. James thought it up. Brilliant, innit? But anyways, he didn’t tell us a thing. We figured it out and pressured him to admit it, and that’s when you overheard. We just thought you oughta know…”
Having said his piece, the boy quickly climbed the stairs, leaving Lovetta alone to think over everything that had just happened.
“Come on, James, you can leave Lily alone for one second!”
“You should listen to Remus, Potter. I’m one more taunt away from hexing you!” Lily threatened.
“But I’d never taunt you, Lily-flower!” he defended.
“Don’t play dumb, though I know it’s not all that much pretending for you,” Lily said. “I mean it, leave Severus alone.”
“Come on, mate,” Sirius said, “Let’s go. We’re meant to be meeting L-- Madame Mau right now.”
Sirius had told the others about the little incident from last night, so he figured that it would be a good cover instead of flat out spilling to Evans that they were about to rendez-vous with one of her best friends. Plus, who knew what could happen to Lyra if her brother caught wind that she was associating with the infamous Gryffindor troublemakers?
“Madame Mau?” Lily asked. “Isn’t that Lovetta’s cat?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Sirius shot back, dragging James away as he headed off.
Lovetta rolled her eyes at him, but gave Sirius a nod to say that she’d distract Lily. As the three Gryffindor boys walked away, he could hear her telling Lily that she should come study with her and Remus, and Lily’s approval that she had stopped being stubborn.
Quickly, to avoid being seen, the boys ducked into the lavatory.
“Lyra?” Sirius called.
“Since when do you call her anything but Malfoy?” he heard James mutter.
“Over here, Sirius…” came her soft voice.
“And she calls you Sirius now?” James hissed.
Sirius ignored him and walked over to Lyra.
“Ooh, Lyra Malfoy, bringing boys to my toilet?” came a whiny voice.
That must be Moaning Myrtle.
“It’s okay, Myrtle,” Lyra said, “They’re here to perform the Animagus change, same as me. I’m going to help them.”
“Is this that Sirius Black you kept talking to dear Lovetta about, then?”
Sirius raised an eyebrow, noticing Lyra turn pink.
“Right,” Lyra said quickly, trying to change the subject, “First things first: You boys need to figure out how to get ahold of Mandrake leaves, one for each of you. You have to hold it in your mouth for an entire month, from full moon to full moon.”
“A Mandrake leaf?” James repeated, his tone doubtful. “Don’t they taste awful?”
The look on Lyra’s face said it all. “Worse than a troll smells…”
“Do you want to help Remus or not?”
“Fine, fine…” James relented. “Where would you suggest we get these leaves, then, Malfoy?”
“Weren’t you paying attention in Herbology?” she asked. “We re-potted Mandrakes in Greenhouse Three at the start of term.”
“That’ll be no problem for us, James,” Sirius boasted. “We’ll have the leaves by the next full moon, Mau.”
She turned pink again, he noticed, when he used her new nickname.
“Once the rest of us see what we turn out to be, we’ll have to come up with nicknames, too,” James said thoughtfully. “Remus is Moony, obviously, Malfoy is--”
“For Godric’s sake, James, just call her by her name,” Sirius interrupted. “I think we’ve established that she’s a trustworthy snake.”
Lyra ducked her head.
“Fine, Lyra is Mau…”
“What about Lovetta?” Lyra spoke up shyly. “Moony is already taken.”
James looked at her with something like a newfound admiration. “Huh, you’re right, Mau… We’ll ask her opinion later. Now then, gentleman, we’ve got some Mandrake leaves to fetch.”
“After Transfiguration, of course,” Lyra warned. “Professor McGonagall will have your heads if you skip again.”
Chapter 10: Goddess of the Moon
“They told her they’d have the leaves by tonight? Ha!” Lovetta snorted as she walked beside Remus. “Lyra said that it took her brother ages to smuggle her one. I bet it’ll take them till third year.”
“I’ve tried telling them that they need to be smarter about it,” Remus agreed. “Say, is Mau meeting us for tonight?”
Lovetta found it slightly amusing how Remus and his friends had resorted to discussing Lyra by using the awful nickname she had come up with on the spot. It hadn’t been meant as anything that would last, but it turned out to be a convenient way to make plans without any Slytherins - particularly Lucius Malfoy - finding out who they were talking about. In the end, it had turned out as something good, but it was still funny how it came about.
“Yeah, she’s going to see if the plan even really works. It’d be a shame if she did all that just for us to not even notice her and continue on as normal…”
“I guess we’ll find out,” Remus said. “Dumbledore mentioned that we should be extra careful tonight. He said that the enchantments to keep us in our own rooms have worn off for some reason, but there’s no time to redo everything.”
That was concerning. “But what if we hurt each other?” she wondered worriedly. “Or do you reckon that we’ll be alright? I mean, we might be used to one another after spending every full moon the next room over.”
Remus looked anxious, but he was doing a better job of controlling it than Lovetta was. “I’m not sure. I guess that just means that we had better hope Mau’s plan works.”
Out of nowhere, Lovetta was sent tumbling to the ground. Evidently, she’d just run into an older student, and from the look on the boy’s face, he didn’t care. Neither did any of his friends. Lovetta recognized them; Lyra had pointed out a bunch of blood purist family students. Lattimore was this one’s name. Fifth year.
“Mind watching where you’re going?” she demanded.
“Vetta…” Remus warned.
Lattimore - a Ravenclaw, Lovetta noticed - sneered. “Watch where you’re going, Mudblood!”
The very moment the insult had hurled from his mouth, he was thrown backwards across the courtyard. Lovetta and Remus jumped, and Lattimore’s friends whirled to look for the attacker. Everything had happened too fast for anyone to hear what spell had been used, but the Ravenclaw boy was lying on his back on the ground, hands covering his face. There was blood dripping down onto the grass.
“Miss Malfoy!” came the sharp voice of McGonagall. Everyone in the courtyard was now focused on the girl, and Lovetta couldn’t help but be concerned for her friend as the Head of Gryffindor House marched over to her.
“What in Merlin’s name would make you think it permissible to attack another student?” she demanded. “What manner of spell was that?”
“I’m sorry, Professor,” Lyra whispered.
Lovetta didn’t think she looked very sorry at all.
“Answer me, now. What was that spell? What incantation?”
Lyra’s face was unreadable.
“He called Lovetta Mudblood.”
McGonagall’s expression softened, but she was still as stern as ever. “Was it a Severing Charm, perhaps?” It almost seemed as though that was what she hoped it was.
Anyone who didn’t know her well enough would have believed Lyra when she nodded her affirmation, but Lovetta knew better. Something was up.
“Very well,” McGonagall sighed. “That will be three weeks’ detention, Miss Malfoy, and fifty points from Slytherin, as well.”
Lyra nodded silently, and McGonagall strode away.
Lovetta rushed towards her friend, ignoring the snippets and whispers that she heard along the way.
“Did you see--?”
“--nearly took his face off!”
“That was no Severing Charm, mark my words…”
“--dark magic, I reckon--”
“--wonder what set her off?”
“Are you sure she’s a second year?”
Before Lovetta could reach her, Lyra was swept away by her older brother.
“Let it go, Vetta…” Remus said, catching her by the arm. “She’ll talk to us when she can.”
“You two had better get out of here,” said Sirius, appearing from behind them. “People are staring.”
Though she wasn’t very happy about it at all, Lovetta let Sirius and Remus drag her back to Gryffindor Tower. All of the paintings whispered and shot them concerned glances until Lovetta fixed them with a glare. The Fat Lady pestered them for news about what had happened, but the boys only refused to answer and repeated the password until she let them in.
“James wants us to meet him and Peter up in the room,” Sirius said.
“I’ll just go, then,” Lovetta said flatly. Her thoughts were all over the place, yes, but she would have like to have had a chance to talk them out, at least…
“No, no,” Sirius said, shaking his head, “He meant you, too, Lovetta.”
Now she was confused. “I can’t be seen going up to the boys’ dormitory!” she hissed. “I’ll be sat in detention right beside Lyra faster than you can say Quidditch.”
“That’s why you won’t be seen.”
Just then, something was thrown over her head, almost like a fabric, but it was see-through and watery, and it was extremely light.
“What is this?” she asked in wonder.
“It’s James’ invisibility cloak,” Remus replied.
“All you have to do is follow us,” Sirius said, turning to go up the stairs. “Oh, and don’t make any noise.”
Rolling her eyes even though she knew they wouldn’t see it, Lovetta walked up the stairs and into the boy’s dormitory.
“Is she with you?” James asked.
“I’m right here,” Lovetta announced, tossing the cloak at him.
“Perfect! Now, down to business.” He rubbed his hands together in a way that just screamed of up to no good.
“Is this about Lyra? I don’t know what happened with her in the courtyard, I--”
“Nah,” James said, waving dismissively. “Lattimore had it coming. Hell, even if it was dark magic she used, I’d pay her to do it again.”
Lovetta knew he was joking, but she still couldn’t resist rolling her eyes. “Well, what is it, then?”
“Why, the matter of your nickname of course!” Sirius jumped in.
“It’s got to be something good,” Peter said. Lovetta thought it was a bit endearing how hard he tried to make himself useful, but it could get annoying sometimes.
“I know Remus is Moony, he told me all about that,” she said. “You know mine doesn’t have to be moon-related, right?”
“Oh, please, Vetta,” Remus said, rolling his eyes, “If I have to have the most obvious moon-related nickname in the world, you have to suffer with me. It’s only fair…”
“We could make it something Muggle-related too, if you’d like,” suggested Sirius.
“Well… There’s the obvious of Luna.”
“Nope,” said James dismissively. “Got any other more Egyptian words like with Mau?”
“Actually, I just got the idea because that was the name of one of the Egyptian gods who took the form of a cat. Oh, maybe Artemis? She’s a Greek goddess associated with the moon.”
“Hm… Getting closer, I think.”
“Diana?” she tried again. “That’s the Roman moon goddess.”
“Must you be named after a goddess?” Sirius asked in exasperation.
“Yep. Is that a problem?”
“Best leave it, Sirius,” Remus said.
“I like Diana,” said James, actively ignoring the rabbit trail that the others had gotten off to, “But it’s too long for a nickname. How bout Di?”
“Di…” Lovetta said, testing it out. “Sounds good to me. What do you think, Moony?” she asked, teasingly using Remus’ nickname.
“I think we’re all agreed,” Remus said.
“Alright, then, Di, you and Moony had better head to the Whomping Willow before dark,” said James.
“And since we can’t count on Mau for your homework tomorrow, Di,” Sirius added, “I can cover it for just one day.”
“Thanks, Sir!” Lovetta replied, shortening his name automatically, “You’re the best. Now, Rem, let’s go.”
“Here,” said James, “You can take the invisibility cloak to get you out there, just don’t forget to bring it back with you.”
Lovetta nodded, and with a wave goodbye, she and Remus slipped under the cloak and left.
“I’ve told you already, Severus, I don’t want to talk about it,” Lyra said.
“But Ly, you could at least tell me what that spell was…”
“No. It’s dangerous, I created it, and that’s all you need to know.”
“Lyra,” Severus said, moving in front of her to stop her from leaving the Common Room, “Why are you messing with dark magic?” He was extremely solemn now.
Lyra had always felt that Severus was closer to Lily than he was to her or Lovetta, and she attributed that to the fact that they had met each other before Hogwarts. Right now, however, she could see it in his eyes. He really did care about her. Should she tell him?
“Because…” she started, “I figure that if I have to defend myself against dark magic… I need to use similar stuff.”
Severus went still, his eyes searching her face as he worked out her meaning. “Lyra…”
“Don’t, Severus. Just… don’t. Now, please move, or I’ll be late for detention.”
He didn’t look happy about it, but he did as she asked. Lyra left as quickly as possible, trying not to think about what she’d just admitted. Lucius had given her a stern talking-to earlier, and it had only confirmed her feelings about needing those types of spells around her parents. Sure, she had lied her way through it all, but she was still terrified by what she had seen in his eyes. Lucius loved her, but he was too far gone into their parents’ ideals to forgive her if she stepped too far out of line.
Lyra was going to have to be much, much more careful, or keeping her Animagus secret would become the least of her worries.
Chapter 11: Blood Grudge
The rumors were still flying around the school, even after Lyra’s detentions had concluded. They were saying that Madame Pomfrey had been having trouble healing the wound. Lyra, however, knew that Madame Pomfrey wouldn’t have been able to help at all if she hadn’t intervened. It wasn't as if she pitied that idiot or anything, she just didn't want the truth about what she'd done to get out. So, using her Animagus form, Lyra had snuck into the hospital wing and healed his face while he slept. She didn't bother trying to erase the scar, though. In fact, she rather thought Lattimore deserved to keep that little reminder.
Ignoring the hushed whispers and accusing stares, Lyra hurried to the Whomping Willow. Tonight, she would finally be able to test her theory about Animagi. She had very nearly thought that it wouldn’t happen this term, what with having to wait until after the Christmas holiday for the electrical storm and then being kept away by detentions.
When Lyra got to the tree, her two friends were already waiting for her.
“Ready for your first night out with the wolves, Ly?” Lovetta quipped.
Lyra smiled slightly and nodded. Truthfully, she was a bit nervous, but she pushed it aside.
“Care to do the honors, Di?” Remus asked. Lyra must have looked confused because he went on to explain, “It’s her nickname, courtesy of James and Sirius.”
Meanwhile, Lovetta raised her wand and applied a Freezing Charm to the Whomping Willow, then disappeared between its roots. Lyra glanced at Remus, who gestured for her to go ahead, and followed.
“So… I remember you two mentioned that the enchantments had worn off last time.” Lyra said, trying to make conversation as they walked down the passageway. “How did that go?”
Remus and Lovetta exchanged a look.
“I’m not sure,” Remus said. “I mean, we can’t really remember, and neither of us had any more or less injuries than usual.”
“Maybe you can tell us how it goes,” Lovetta suggested. “Here we are…”
They climbed up into a dusty old house that seemed to shift and creak with every move they made. Lovetta and Remus knew exactly where they were headed when they took off walking. After a moment of winding through the curious mansion, the group came to two rooms right next door to each other.
“Do you think we should just stay in the main room?” Lovetta asked. “I mean, the enchantments have worn off anyway, and Lyra’s here for both of us.”
“I don’t know, Di…” Remus said uncertainly.
“Come on, Moony, please?”
Finally, he sighed and relented. “Fine.” He started walking again, and the girls followed him past the two rooms and down a few sets of stairs.
The main room was just as eerie as the rest of the place. Furniture was scattered around, tipped over and torn apart by who-knew-what, and dust coated every surface.
“You’d better shift now, Mau,” Remus advised. “You won’t want to be a sitting duck when the moon comes up.”
Lyra nodded and quickly transformed into the white cat. It was a little strange to be like this, but it was hard to describe. She could still think clearly and like herself, but there were all of these extra instincts and senses there as well. Emotions were a bit… different. Not gone or enhanced, but just different. Jumping up onto a half-tipped dresser, she curled up to stay out of Remus and Lovetta’s way for the change.
They had warned her that it might be hard to watch, and they were right. Lyra hid her face under her paws as soon as they started screaming. She stayed that way until the only sounds could be heard were that of snuffling and curious whining. When she finally dared to glance up, two wolves were eying each other warily, sniffing the space between them. They were both larger than normal pre-adolescent wolves, but one was slightly smaller with a duller color coat. Lyra figured that must be Lovetta.
The wolves seemed curious about each other, as if they’d still only ever seen each other through that hole in the wall, despite the enchantments having worn off. Lyra carefully dropped down to the floor, drawing the attention of the two of them. The larger wolf, Remus, growled lowly, stepping in front of Lovetta. Lyra knew it was best to proceed with caution right now, especially since she remembered that her friends would have completely lost any and all sense of self during this change.
Remus snuffled at her, and Lyra held still, keeping low to the ground. After a moment, it seemed that she was deemed worthy, and he nearly knocked her over when he nudged her with his nose.
Yep, this was definitely one of the strangest things Lyra had ever done.
“So we just… What, played? Like puppies or something?” Lovetta asked incredulously. After fearing this other side of herself for so long, it was hard to believe that it could be capable of something so innocent, but Lyra had told that Remus that the two of them hadn’t tried to attack each other at all. Just the opposite, in fact.
“I’m telling you, that’s what Lyra said,” Remus insisted. The two of them were in the hospital wing, as usual, but they were much better off than usual, even if still fairly battered. “And, he continued, “The only injuries we’ve got are just some light scratches and a couple out of place joints, but those are unavoidable. It matches with her story.”
Lovetta sighed. “Well, at least we know Mau’s Animagus theory worked.” Just then, she noticed Remus was grinning. “What?”
“You called her Mau.”
To say the least, Madame Pomfrey wasn’t happy with Lovetta when she threw her pillow at him.
Sirius was in a bad mood. Getting ahold of Mandrake leaves was nowhere near as easy as they had figured. It was nearly the end of the term, and the only thing they had managed to get for their troubles was a detention from Professor Sprout that one time she’d caught them in Greenhouse Three. Lyra’s brother had been even more of a tyrant since the incident, so even with her Animagus abilities, it was difficult for her to meet up with the group as often as they’d like.
Another matter Sirius was struggling with was having to go back home to his family over the summer. He knew his parents would be making a fuss over Regulus’ imminent Hogwarts letter, probably encouraging him not to be like his rebellious older brother. If they were all so determined to think that he wouldn’t amount to anything as a Gryffindor, he was going to show them how wrong they were by being the most Gryffindor he could be.
Lost in his thoughts, Sirius hadn’t even noticed how near he had wandered to the Black Lake. What pulled him from his reverie was the sound of an icy voice. It was that idiot Ravenclaw, Lattimore. He and two of his buddies had cornered a student - no, not just a student, it was Lyra!
“That’s right, Malfoy, take a good, long look at what you did to me,” Lattimore snarled. “You and your Dark Arts… And another thing! Do you know how many detentions your no-good prefect brother has saddled me with this year? Somebody ought to teach your family some manners!”
“How about a dip in the lake?” the girl on his left suggested giddily. “That might clear her head!”
Sirius’ mind flashed back to that night of the electrical storm.
“Thinking of taking a swim, Malfoy?”
“Can’t swim, so no…”
“You can’t swim?”
“Say, that’s not a bad idea…” Lattimore said wickedly.
There was a short, panicked scream and a splash, and before he knew what he was doing, Sirius had shoved the three fifth years out of the way and jumped into the water after Lyra. He couldn’t see well at all under the dark waves, but he managed to grab ahold of her and pull them both to the surface. For a moment, Lyra didn’t move, and Sirius’ heart nearly stopped, but then she was there, flailing and coughing up water, and he had never felt more relieved in his life.
“Are you okay, Lyra? I--”
“What is all of this?” came the voice of Lucius Malfoy. “That’s my sister, Lattimore. Get out of my way!” The few students who had been wandering about outside had all gathered around, but they were urgently shoved aside by the elder Malfoy. “Black?” he demanded, audibly worried for his sister, and confused by Sirius’ soaking wet appearance. “You saved her?”
Sirius couldn’t find his voice, so he nodded. Lyra had hugged Sirius so tightly that he nearly couldn;t breathe. She was shaking, and her small form was positively radiating cold. Malfoy swiftly moved forward and pried Lyra away from Sirius, sweeping her up into his arms, eying Sirius with an expression that he couldn’t quite place.
“I’m taking her to Madame Pomfrey,” the Slytherin prefect announced. “Lattimore, you can go straight to Dumbledore for all I care. Find somebody to give you a proper detention. I can’t be bothered with the likes of you,” he sneered. With that, he hurried away to the hospital wing.
Sirius was left standing there sopping wet, with a bunch of people staring at him.
Maybe Lovetta knew a good Charm to dry him off. Then, hopefully, he might be able to sneak into the hospital wing later to see Lyra…
Chapter 12: Dear Brother
“So what happened then?” Lovetta demanded. Sirius had just come bursting into Gryffindor Tower, looking like a drenched rat and shouting about how Lyra had nearly just died. Well of course, that got Remus and Lovetta’s attention, but Sirius had refused to talk about it until Lovetta had dried him off and Remus had gotten James and Peter. Obviously, it wasn’t terribly serious, or he would’ve spoken up immediately. The four of them were sat on the couch while Sirius paced the floor in front of the fireplace.
“I dunno exactly. It happened so fast…” he explained. “But Lattimore pushed her in, I guess.”
“How did you know she can’t swim?” Lovetta asked curiously.
“She told me,” Sirius said, “That night of the electrical storm, when she finished the Animagus spell. I jumped in after her and got her out of the water, but now her ruddy git of a brother won’t let me see her!”
“The real git is that Lattimore bloke,” said James.
“He nearly killed Mau!” Peter chimed in.
“You know what this means,” James said seriously. “We’re not letting him get away with it so easily.”
Lovetta nodded in agreement, wholeheartedly in support of avenging their friend, but Remus was eyeing them warily.
“Listen, whatever you’ve got in mind, James, I’m sure th--”
“That dear Madame Mau will appreciate it?” he interrupted. “How right you are, Moony. Now, here’s what I’ve got in mind…”
“Lucius, I’m fine, I swear…”
Lyra loved her brother, but right now, she wanted to strangle him. He was trying to be helpful and endearing, but he was mostly just smothering.
“Nonsense, my dear sister,” he replied. “You still need to rest.”
“But Lucius, can’t I at least see my friends?”
“No.” His reply was just as firm as it had been the first hundred times Lyra had asked, but she was very persistent.
“And why not? Sirius Black saved my life.”
“He’s thrown his lot in with that blood traitor, Potter. And you, Lyra Ophelia Malfoy,” - she cringed when he used her full name - “I thought I told you to stay away from those Gryffindor Mudbloods! That Evans girl was here asking about you.”
Lyra flinched at the word Mudblood, and only just managed to keep herself from hexing him.
“That doesn’t mean I’ve been talking to her, Lucius,” she replied quietly.
Lucius sighed and affectionately smoothed her hair. “I know… I’m sorry, Lyra, I’m simply on edge right now… worried about you.”
“Well you don’t have to be. I’m not going to have you here next year, Lucius, but I’ll manage.”
“Don’t remind me…” he sighed. “I’ll miss you terribly, little sister.”
Lyra couldn’t help but smile when he called her that. “I love you, Lucius. That’s not going to change just because you start working for the Ministry.”
Lucius smiled sadly. “I love you too, Lyra.” Then, he sighed reluctantly. “I suppose I could allow your friendship with Sirius Black… I imagine mother and father will too, once I owl them about what he did today. He is a Pureblood, you know…”
Lyra simply nodded, keeping quiet.
“I suppose I should leave you to rest now,” Lucius said, standing up. “Goodnight, Lyra.”
The Hogwarts Express was boarding now. It seemed impossible to think that their second year was over already, but the time had come for everyone to return home. Lyra wasn’t entirely happy about that, and, going by the look in his face, neither was Sirius. The two of them were awkwardly standing near each other while they waited until after they were out of Lucius’ field of vision to meet their other friends. Neither was sure what to say, or even if they should say anything at all.
Finally, Lucius escorted Narcissa Black inside a compartment, and Sirius and Lyra shared a grin. Quickly, Lyra rushed to find the compartment where Lily was. She had hardly seen her friend all year, and it was torture. They had passed notes, but it just wasn’t the same. The train ride back was going to be great for reconnecting. Waving goodbye to Sirius, Lyra went towards the usual compartment. Sirius, however, didn’t move away.
“Hey, Mau… Lyra,” he started, “If you want to pop down to our compartment later, I reckon Remus and James and Peter wouldn’t mind.”
It was clear that he didn’t know quite how to say what he wanted, but Lyra understood that he was trying to build something of a friendship. She gave him a small smile.
“I might just,” she replied. “If Di doesn’t drag me there anyway…”
Sirius’ face brightened up a bit, and they parted ways.
Lily, Lovetta, and Severus were in their same compartment, just like always. All of them were happy to see her, and while she returned the sentiment, she was a little anxious about the fact that they were only truly reuniting because they were returning home. Lyra had mixed feelings about it, and she wasn’t even quite sure what she was feeling. For now, all she wanted to focus on was her friends.
Chapter 13: Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
Third year was well underway, and Lattimore, it seemed, was out to ensure that Lyra was miserable throughout it. It was in the little things, like tripping her in the corridors or knocking her books from her hands. She managed to maintain enough self-control not to curse or jinx him, but that didn’t mean she had to stop the four boys from doing anything retributive… Needless to say, it was almost amusing when Lattimore blamed her for whatever mysterious misfortune befell him, only to find out she had a flawless alibi.
On a slightly brighter note, Lyra had managed to befriend Peeves the Poltergeist. Well, maybe befriend was the wrong word to use. It was doubtful that anyone could ever really have any sort of positive relationship with him, but Lyra managed to stay under the radar. That, and, if she played her cards right, she might be able to manipulate him enough to set him on Lattimore’s tail. He enjoyed it, and so did she, so they developed a mutual respect.
With Lucius gone, Lyra was free to hang around Lily and Lovetta without having to be looking over her shoulder for scrutinizing eyes. Of course, this meant that Slytherins were less inclined to be as tolerant of her, but she could care less. Besides, she had Severus to keep her company, so who needed the rest of them anyway? As long as she didn’t receive any angry letters from her parents or her brother, Lyra would be fine.
The only one who might send word back was Sirius’ younger brother, Regulus. Lyra knew that Sirius was angry with him for letting himself get put in Slytherin, but she felt bad for the kid. Despite the dangers of him revealing her forbidden associations, she couldn’t help but try to befriend him, much to the dismay of Sirius. Whatever the case, the younger boy seemed too happy to have a mentor-slash-friend to go snitching.
Speaking of snitches, James had made the Quidditch team as a Chaser, though everyone knew he had the skills for a Seeker. Lily often complained to Lyra, Severus, and Lovetta that James was twice as unbearable now.
In Defense Against the Dark Arts this year, they’d had to face a Boggart. Lyra had been so afraid of what she’d see that she’d convinced the professor to allow her to face it in private, after class. Only Sirius was insensitive enough to ask what hers had been, but she didn’t answer, opting to let Remus elbow him into silence.
Every full moon, Lyra would help distract her two werewolf friends. Sirius, James, and Peter finally managed to get Mandrake leaves. They were happy that all of the Marauders, as they (mostly James) had taken to calling the little full-moon group, would finally be able to run together, but things weren’t going smoothly at all. Peter had swallowed his leaf with his breakfast, and James’ had slipped out of his mouth while he was training for Quidditch, forcing both of them to start over. Sirius was doing the best of all of them, but he had had to spit his out when Severus had gotten a little too suspicious.
Now, it looked like they were going to have to wait until next term to try again. They had collectively agreed that it was too dangerous to attempt to continue the process on their own, so it was necessary to perform the rituals while they were at school, where Lyra could guide them. The Marauders all promised to write to each other, and another summer flew by.
Lovetta was feeling better about the whole full moon business because of Lyra and Remus, but being back home was another matter. Her parents did their best, but they were still only Muggles. Thankfully, they were farmers, and they had strong, concrete cellar where she could change. The injuries were much worse without Remus or Lyra to distract her, but at least she wasn’t hurting anyone. That, and there were no neighbors to ask about the blood-chilling howls, and no visitors to ask about the deep scratches in the cellar walls.
Remus had been writing her as often as possible, but especially right before a full moon. They both tried to encourage each other while they couldn’t be there for the other in person. It made a difference, if even only a small one.
Today was a day-after and she was laid up in bed attempting to recover. The process would take at least two days longer without magic, so it looked like time to pull out some more advanced Charms books to study. After a few moments, a small, tawny owl tapped at the window. Her room was quite tiny, and the bed was placed right against the window, so she was able to open it with minimal pain.
The letter was from Remus.
I hope you’re alright after last night. My dad helped with healing me, but I’m worried about you, since you’re parents are Muggles. Maybe we could talk to Dumbledore this next term about sending someone to your home for the summer full moons.
The other “Marauders” have been keeping in touch, except Mau, but that’s to be expected with the way her parents are. You know, I was thinking, maybe we should meet in Diagon Alley sometime next week before we go back to school. Write me back about it.
Lovetta quickly snatched up a quill and parchment, wincing slightly as she scribbled a reply.
My parents and I will be in Diagon Alley next Thursday. Have you seen the list of what we need? I swear, it gets longer every year! If I at least have a friend with me, maybe all that shopping won’t be such a drag. Can’t wait to see you!
She gave the letter to the owl, and settled down once more, in a much better mood now that she had something to look forward to. Diagon Alley, next Thursday.
This was bad. Very bad. It was nearly the start of fourth year, and so far, Lyra had managed to prevent her parents from running into her friends. But, now? Now, she just-so-happened to show up in Diagon Alley on the same day as Lovetta and Remus, and she had, quite literally, bumped into them While in Flourish and Blotts.
Lyra’s father took one look at Lovetta and scoffed, “Mudbloods in Diagon Alley… What has the world come to?”
Lovetta tried to make eye contact with her, but Lyra turned away. She just couldn’t risk it.
“She’s just as magical as you are,” Remus said bravely.
Lyra’s eyes went wide, and she lifted her head to look at him.
Her father sneered. “You should be ashamed of yourself, boy. What are you, a Half-Blood? Even the likes of you should choose better associates. Come, Lyra, we have supplies to buy.”
And with that, her parents pulled her away. This was not how she wanted to start her fourth year…
James Potter was waving to her from an empty classroom. Lyra rolled her eyes at his overdramatic secrecy, but quickly ducked out of the corridor.
“What is it, James? You better not make me late for Potions…”
“I just wanted to let you know that we’ve got new leaves, and we’re ready to start tomorrow night.”
Lyra nodded. “Okay… Okay, that’s good. Just don’t screw it up this time, alright?”
James smirked. “Me? Never.”
“Lily is right… You are an arrogant toerag.”
“Now that you’ve made your potions, it’s extremely important that you keep in a safe, dark space where it won’t be unexpectedly jostled or anything like that. And you cannot, I repeat, cannot forget to say the incantation. Are you listening, Sirius?” Lyra demanded.
“Yeah, yeah, the incantation,” he replied. “What is it, again?”
Lyra huffed in frustration. “Amato Animo Animato Animagus. Sunrise and sunset, Sirius.”
“Because I know you’ll all forget, I’ve already enlisted Remus to help remind you.”
“Do you really have that little faith in us, Mau?”
“Do you really want me to answer that, Potter?”
“Look, I’m just saying, we’re on board the train for home, and there’s still not been any electrical storm!” James fumed. “We’ll be saying Amato Animo Animato Animagus till the day we graduate!”
“Calm down,” Lovetta said. “It’ll come eventually.”
“You’re too impatient, James,” Remus agreed.
“You’re not the one getting up before sunrise every day, Moony,” Sirius countered.
“Mau’s here!” Peter suddenly announced.
Sirius quickly opened the door for her.
“Hi, everyone…” she said, sitting right next to Sirius so she could face Lovetta.
“Hi, Mau,” said James. “Ready to go home?”
“I hope you’ll be able to find an electrical storm over summer,” she said, not answering his question. “Otherwise, you’re going to have to be extra cautious when you’re transporting the potion from home back to school.”
“I’ve got it covered,” Lovetta said. “I used Stabilizing and Darkness Charms, so even with their clumsiness,” she teased, “They’ll be fine.”
The three boys groaned in protest but the laughter from Lyra cut them off. It was only a small snicker, but the Marauders suddenly realized that none of them, not even Lovetta, had seen her laugh before. It was gone just as suddenly as it had come, however, when she realized they were all staring.
“We’re nearly there,” she murmured, “So I thought I’d come say my goodbyes here.”
Lovetta quickly hugged her friend. She didn’t know all of what went on when Lyra was home, but she knew that Lyra hated it there - even more so now that her brother was gone.
“I’ll miss you, Ly…” she whispered.
“I’ll miss you too, Vetta.” Lyra pulled away and waved to the boys. “See you in September,” she said. Then, she was gone.
Sirius, Lovetta noticed, had a strange sort of look on his face. It was almost as if… No, it couldn’t be. There was no way that Sirius Black fancied Lyra Malfoy. It must have just been her imagination…
Chapter 14: Toujours Pur
Lyra was numb. Completely and utterly… Well, she didn’t even really know if what she was feeling was numbness. It could just be that so many emotions were rushing through her at once that she didn’t know what to think. There were hints of rebellion and indignancy and rage, but there was also relief and embarrassment. It had all been dumped on her so fast, she’d barely had any time to process what she’d just been told…
After she graduated Hogwarts, her parents wanted to marry her off to Sirius Black.
“Sirius, mate, what’s wrong with you?” James asked, fiddling with the latch on the window of the compartment. “You’ve been dead quiet since I got on board.”
Sirius couldn’t deny that his friend was right, but that didn’t mean he wanted to talk about why.
“Come on, then,” Lovetta pressed. “Out with it.”
Lovetta and James were the only other ones in the compartment for now, waiting on Peter and Remus. Sirius glared out the window instead of answering right away.
“It’s my parents,” he said at last.
“What’d they do this time?” Lovetta asked.
Sirius sighed heavily, trying to keep his anger in check. “It’s some stupid Pureblood obsession. Toujours pur, and all that nonsense. They want me to marry a girl from another Pureblood family and have lots of little Pureblood babies to carry on their stupid traditions.” He knew he was on the brink of raising his voice, but he couldn’t care less right now. “And you know the worst bit? Lyra’s the one they want to pair me with.”
James snorted. “Would that really be such a bad thing, though? I mean, haven’t you fancied her since third year?”
Maybe it was his anger at his parents, but for once, Sirius was suddenly irritated with James’ joking tone on the matter. He was irritated with his bloody parents and their bloody stupid arranged marriages and the whole bloody Malfoy family. Some small part of him was even irritated with Lyra. Why did she have to be a Pureblood? Why did she have to be such a perfect little Slytherin? All of these little things crashed down at once, and something inside him snapped.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” he spat, “Why would I ever fancy a snake?”
“Sirius!” Lovetta said sharply.
“What?” he growled back.
Lovetta nodded at something behind him, and Sirius went cold inside. He turned just in time to see long, silvery-blonde locks disappearing from the doorway.
“Now you’ve done it,” Lovetta snapped, brushing past him to chase her friend.
Great. What else was his big mouth going to ruin this year?
A fire crackled in the hearth of the Slytherin Common Room, but Lyra felt no warmth. Everything had gone so wrong so quickly. Sirius obviously still despised her, and he had probably only ever tolerated her in the first place. He hated Slytherins, so why had she thought that the same rule wouldn’t apply to her? The only reason he would have wanted to get near to her was to find out how to become an Animagus, and now that the three boys were capable of finishing it themselves, he had no reason to keep pretending.
Why hadn’t she seen this coming? It had been stupid to think that he might actually care about her, and now, she was paying the price for letting herself be vulnerable. Trying to distract herself, Lyra looked down at her small pocketbook. This was where she wrote each spell that she made up, along with a description of what it did and what it should be used for.
“Lyra?” came a voice. It was Severus. Lyra, along with Lily and Lovetta, were becoming a bit concerned as he was increasingly seen in the company of some calling themselves Death Eaters, but he was still their friend. “What happened? Why are you crying?”
Was she crying? She swiped the back of her hand across her face, confirming his statement.
“It’s nothing, Sev…” she muttered. Unfortunately for Lyra, her friend wasn’t about to let this go.
“Don’t lie to me, Lyra,” he said, sitting on the couch beside her. “It’s that Sirius Black, isn’t it? I--”
“Please, Severus,” Lyra begged, “Don’t say I told you so. I couldn’t bear it, not right now.” She only barely managed to avoid breaking down completely.
“I wasn’t… All I was going to say is that I saw the way you were looking at him during the Feast. What did he do to you? He and those idiot friends of his--”
He sighed, but relented and didn’t say anything else.
“I just… I’m not sure how to explain,” she said.
Severus studied her carefully for a moment before his eyes went wise. “Lyra… Don’t tell me you fancy him? Black?”
Lyra looked away, and he took that as her answer.
“I know what you’re going to say, but I’ve already been telling myself all of it. He can’t stand me. How do I know, you ask? James flat out asked him if he fancied me and he said Why would I ever fancy a snake? It’s no friendship, it’s a joke. One that I’m no longer inclined to be the victim of.”
“There’s more to it than that,” Severus prompted.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
A silence fell between them for a while, before Severus sighed.
“Go to bed, Ly. You need to sleep this off.”
Lyra didn’t like the look on his face.
“What are you going to do?” she asked tentatively.
And so, she did. But she couldn’t help feeling that she had missed something.
The next day, in Transfiguration, Sirius, James, and Peter were actually on time for once. Lyra held her breath as he walked nearer to the desk where she sat, hoping he wouldn’t try to take the empty seat beside her. Every day since that class in first year, they had somehow wound up sitting next to each other in this class, but Lyra didn’t think she could bear it today. Just as Sirius neared the row, Severus suddenly swooped in out of nowhere and sat beside her.
“What are you doing?” she whispered.
“You can thank me later,” he replied in the same tone.
Sirius’ expression seemed as if the universal laws had suddenly changed without anybody bothering to notice him. James, of course, immediately seized the opportunity to sit by Lily, but for once, Severus didn’t seem to mind. Remus and Lovetta exchanged glances and whispered to each other as Sirius was forced to take a seat next to a random Slytherin girl who eyed him in disgust.
It was so strange not to be sitting next to him. As much as he had irritated her during first and second year, Lyra had gotten used to having Sirius around. Truthfully, his absence was even a bit distracting, but he had made it perfectly clear how he felt.
After Transfiguration, she assumed that Severus would want to walk with her to the courtyard for the free period to study, but he told her to go on without him.
“I’ll be along in a second,” he said, eyeing Sirius, James, Peter, and Remus as they headed towards the Black Lake.
Lyra didn’t quite trust the tone of his voice, but she went ahead anyway. It wasn’t until she had opened her Potions Book that she realized what she had been subconsciously searching for last night. Her notebook was gone.
He must have taken it… Lyra jumped up from the stone bench, leaving her books and everything behind. Second year, she had confessed to Severus the kind of spells she invented, spells he knew she kept in that book. If he used one of the less pleasant ones on Sirius, the results could be disastrous. Running as fast as her feet could carry her, Lyra headed for the Black Lake.
When Lyra arrived, Severus was standing in front of the group of Marauders. Lovetta stood off to the side, trying to get him to calm down, and Remus was sat against a tree with a book in his lap, observing the scene.
Nice to see that he’s making use of that new Prefect’s badge, Lyra thought bitterly.
“Expelliarmus!” Lyra quickly deflected the spell before it could take hold.
“Mau!” James exclaimed.
She allowed herself to smile shyly at him. After all, he wasn’t upset with her. James was still her friend, and so were Remus and Peter.
“Lyra, what--” Severus began to protest, but Lyra cut him off.
“No, Severus! How could you? You know what could happen if--” She stopped short, glancing at the others. “It’s supposed to be a non-verbal spell anyway. If you’re going to use my magic, the least you could do is use it correctly.”
Trying not to cry from the stress of everything crashing down, Lyra turned and hurried back towards the castle.
Sirius watched as Snivellus took off after Lyra, wondering what all that was about. Before he could turn to ask Lovetta, Remus beat him to it.
“My magic?” he repeated. “Do you know what she meant by that, Di?”
Maybe it was his imagination, but Sirius thought that Lovetta suddenly looked reluctant to talk.
“I…” She sighed, then admitted, “Mau invents spells. And before you say anything, yes, I know it’s illegal, and so does she, but she told me last year that she doesn’t feel safe at home. She’s afraid of her parents, Moony…”
Sirius tried to ignore the awful feeling that was forming in his stomach.
“Isn’t there anything we can do?” James asked.
Lovetta shook her head. “There’s nothing… And that’s why she makes those spells. If worst comes to worst, she wants to have an advantage.”
“She’s felt this way since second year…” Remus realized. “When she cursed Lattimore, that was no Severing Charm.”
“Listen, I don’t see the problem with Mau wanting to make up a few bits of extra precaution,” Sirius said. He realized he sounded a little bit callous, but he was still too confused over the whole deal with his parents to care. Right now, all of his feelings were jumbled up, and he was having trouble separating his disdain for Purebloods from his positive feelings for Lyra. Maybe it was just better to stay away from her for a while until he knew his head was clear enough not to accidentally hurt her.
Before the others could reply to his remark, Sirius had a sudden thought. “Say, I think I’ll go talk to that Marlene McKinnon. You know, fourth year Gryffindor?”
None of them had a chance to ask what in Merlin’s name he was thinking, because he was already headed up to the castle. “I’ll catch up with you later!” he called.
He’d show his parents. Maybe, finally, his perfect little Slytherin brother could make himself useful. Once Regulus wrote back about all the non-Slytherin, non-Pureblood girls he was hanging around, maybe they’d call off the arrangement. Then, things could go back to normal with Lyra.
Chapter 15: Firewhiskey
Why on earth did Sirius Black have to be so… so… What was the best way to say it? Infuriating was one word. He’d been ignoring Lyra since the beginning of the year, and had recently begun flirting with every girl in the school. Every girl, that is, except for her. Sirius was now the most attractive guy at Hogwarts, and she had been left in the dust. Even the full moon was no reprieve, since the electrical storm had hit on the third day of term. It was less appealing to run with the Marauders when she knew he was one of them.
James had nearly got himself stuck with antlers once or twice in a half-transformation, but Lyra had intervened before he was desperate enough to go to McGonagall. Peter was actually rather good at making the change. Lyra had no idea how Sirius was doing. Nicknames had quickly been assigned to each of them via James: Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail. She didn’t really care to ask his reasoning on any of those.
Lyra had intended to stay at Hogwarts over the Christmas holidays, but that hope had quickly flown out the window with the arrival of her parents’ owl saying that she must attend the party they would be hosting. There would be no getting out of this one. What she hadn’t expected - or been informed of until the day of the party - was that Sirius Black was being forced to attend as well.
Suffice it to say that Sirius was not having a good time. He was shut up in the Malfoy mansion, surrounded by stuffy, grouchy, old blood purists and his slimy little brother, when he should have been running the full moon with Remus and the other Marauders. Instead of actually having an enjoyable holiday, this was shaping up to be the most miserable one yet. Finally, after what felt like hours of being dragged around like a horse in one of those Muggle contests Lovetta had once talked about, Sirius managed to duck outside, hasty to escape any more forcible introductions.
Outside, gardens sprawled as far as the eye could see. Tangles of hedges and magical plants swayed in the biting winter air, and large, glaring statues of Malfoys passed gazed proudly upon it all. Sirius thought it to be a rather gaudy, ridiculous show of wealth, but it still held more appeal than the cramped cage that was Number 12 Grimmauld Place. He wandered down the pathway, enjoying the silence of the night and he clear, crisp breeze of the night, until his walk was interrupted. When he rounded the corner to see a rather secluded gazebo amongst the trees, he found, to his surprise, that he had not been the only one to have the idea to escape the party.
Lyra, dear Lyra Malfoy faced away from him, gazing at the stars. Sirius sauntered up next to her and mimicked her posture, leaning against the perfect, polished railing to her left. Her dress looked lovely under the night sky, he thought to himself. He wholeheartedly expected her to walk away, to notice him and give him a look of disgust before flouncing off to hide away in her room, but she did no such thing. In fact, she didn’t even look at him. Sirius wondered for a moment if she had even noticed him at all, until she spoke.
“Well, well, well… Sirius Black. Padfoot.” Her voice was like honey, and it didn’t sound like her.
“Mau?” he asked, a frown painting his features.
“Ah, he speaks!” she said, turning to face him at last. “I was afraid you’d forgotten how, after all this time. I mean, since you haven’t bothered to say a word to me all year.”
It was then that Sirius noticed the bottle in her hand.
“Lyra, is that Firewhiskey?” he asked seriously.
She waved off his concern in a lazy manner. “Swiped it from my father’s stores… Go back to the party, Black.”
Sirius shook his head. “Not until you hand that over. You shouldn’t be getting drunk, you’re not of age for another two years.”
“Ha!” she scoffed, leaning towards him in a rather graceless fashion that betrayed her inebriation. “Listen to this… The Sirius Black, telling me to follow the rules, of all people! Meanwhile, he’s throwing himself at every girl in the school and losing his house a hundred points a day for his Marauding.”
“You’re drunk, Lyra,” he said softly, her words cutting deeper than she probably realized.
“I am not drunk,” she said, poking him sharply in the chest. “Just maybe… had a bit too much. But it’s just to deal with them. Them and all their… their…” The poor girl trailed off and made a frustrated noise, her silvery-white hair falling into her face as she slumped back against the rail, facing him this time. Somehow, Sirius understood what she meant.
“Yeah, I get it…” he said, trying to appease her.
“Why don’t you ever chase me?” she asked suddenly. The randomness of the question caught Sirius off guard.
“What’s so bad about me being a snake?” she demanded, her tone becoming increasingly more upset. “You’ll even go after that Slytherin flirt of a girl… whatever her name is. But not me… I only ever wanted… Why, Sirius? Why do you hate me so much?”
And then, she was crying. Sirius didn’t know what to do, so he tried for a hug. He pulled her into his arms, and awkwardly patted her back. When she returned the hug, suddenly, something clicked. This felt natural, it felt… right. Sirius found himself running his fingers through her hair. Moments passed like this, silent and calm, when he finally found a voice to respond.
“I dunno, Ly… I just wanted to get back at our parents, you know? I don’t like being told what to do…”
Lyra finally looked up at him, and he was relieved to see that she had stopped crying. Maybe he could get that bottle away from her, and they could talk this all out. He’d been an idiot to not have just done that in the first place…
However, Sirius was, admittedly, caught off guard by what happened next. One minute, he was attempting to comfort his not-drunk, just-maybe-had-a-bit-too-much friend, and the next thing he knew, Lyra Malfoy was kissing him so forcefully that he nearly fell over. At first, Sirius instinctively kissed her back. Habits are hard to break, and he’d been routinely snogging girl after girl since September. His senses honed in on Firewhiskey and wintry mint and… No. He just as quickly pulled away when he realized why it didn’t feel right. No, it wasn’t because he didn’t care about her like that. Quite the opposite, in fact. He cared about her too much to let her make such a decision while in the state she was currently in.
“Lyra--” he said, intending to talk some sense into her, but he was cut off when she kissed him again. Why did she have to make this so difficult? This was everything he could have hoped for, but it really was the worst timing.
Suddenly, there came the sound of someone clearing their throat, and Lyra finally leaned away.
“Ugh, what do you want, Lucius?” she sighed.
Sure enough, to Sirius’ chagrin, there stood the elder Malfoy sibling, large as bloody life. The Hogwarts alumni merely quirked an eyebrow at her behavior, as if he weren’t surprised in the least.
“I see you’ve been into father’s supply again, dear sister,” he drawled slowly.
“And what’s it to you?” she challenged. “At least I’m not inside, dragging down the mood, as mother likes to put it. Unless that’s what you’d prefer…”
“Lyra, my dear, I assure you that what you get up to with Sirius Black is of no interest to me… Though I must say that you’re lucky that it was I, and not father, who stumbled upon this… rendez-vous.”
Sirius cleared his throat awkwardly when he realized that Lyra was still halfway draped over him. In any other situation, he would’ve been confident or arrogant about being caught like this, but not now, not when it involved a girl who really mattered. The only girl who really mattered…
Lucius looked him over with a disinterested expression.
“What does it matter?” Lyra huffed. “We’re essentially engaged anyways…”
“But of course,” Lucius said with a rather fake-looking half-smile. “If you hand over the bottle, I’ll walk away, and we can all forget this little encounter.”
Sirius thought Lyra was about to protest, when Lucius spoke again..
“Lyra, dear sister, either you give it up and return to… whatever it was you were doing before… or I go to father and tell him exactly where you are and what you have in your possession.”
The girl huffed, looking more irritated than Sirius had ever seen her, but held out the expensive, crystalline flask nonetheless. Her brother quickly snagged it, then nodded to Sirius. It seemed that an understanding passed between the two of them, a sort of momentary truce for her sake, and then, he was gone.
“Mm…” Lyra hummed, “Now, what was that about getting back to where we were before?”
Sirius shook his head and gently took her by the shoulders before she could act any further on that thought. “No, Lyra. Not right now, and not like this. I promise, I’ll explain everything back at school… but you have to be careful and take care of yourself until the holidays are over, alright?”
She frowned at him.
“Deal?” he asked, trying again.
“Fine…” she reluctantly relented.
He sighed in relief, allowing himself a quick kiss to her forehead. “Good… Now, it’s time for you to get to bed.”
Chapter 16: The Marauder's Map
With Lyra and Sirius gone for the holidays, the Marauders couldn’t get up to quite as much trouble as they would’ve liked. Well, all of them except for Remus. Lovetta could tell that, while he had missed their two friends, he had also needed the holiday to take a breather and relax. But, that time was over, and classes were in full swing once more.
It was strange, though, how Sirius and Lyra suddenly began acting as if nothing had ever happened. None of the Marauders knew why, and none of them could get a straight answer if they asked the pair. Eventually, they just decided that whatever had happened had been for the best and that it was best not to question it.
There did seem to be one drawback to the arrangement, however. Where they couldn’t get the two to say a word to each other before, now they wouldn’t shut up about each other. And by they, Lovetta meant Sirius. He was beginning to drive them all mad with Lyra this and Lyra that, nonstop! But if that was the price they had to pay for things to go back to normal, so be it.
“Anyway,” Lovetta said, coming out of the Charms room, “I think that we should have a more reliable means of getting around the school, you know?”
“Like what?” Peter asked.
“A map?” James suggested. “We could make a map of the school so we can get around, and so we can remember all the secret passages… And Di, you and Mau can put your heads together to find a spell that’ll show us where everyone is so we can be sure to avoid Filch.”
Lovetta nodded in agreement. James had a good point. There was no way that all six of them could fit under the Cloak. When they were eleven, maybe they could’ve made it work, but certainly not now. Hm… A Homonculus Charm with a little bit of Lyra’s inventive tinkering would provide the visible members with the perfect advantage.
“Sounds good to me!” she said. “What do you think, Mau? I’ve got a couple ideas…”
Lyra hummed in a distracted way, tearing her gaze away from whatever stupid antic Sirius had been in the middle of. “Yeah, yeah… I’m working on some potions stuff tonight, though. Lily’s agreed to help me.”
“Is that the Jelly Brain Jinx thing you were talking about?” Sirius chimed in.
Lyra nodded, and of course, James just couldn’t help himself from being nosy.
“Inventing things again, are we, Madame Mau?”
Lovetta was about to tell him off when, surprisingly, Sirius beat him to it.
“Oh for Merlin’s sake, Prongs, can’t you keep your nose out of it? Besides, she’s got approval from McGonagall and the Ministry and everyone this time.”
When she made eye contact with Remus, his expression just about summed up how she felt. But, if they thought Sirius was behaving oddly, Lyra’s next actions could be considered shocking. She actually blushed and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear like some lovestruck Muggle in a soap opera! Something fishy was going on here, and Lovetta was determined to find out exactly what.
“Oh. My. Merlin!”
When Lovetta had followed Sirius and Lyra down to the Black Lake, she had thought she might overhear a bit of gossip from their study session. Maybe they’d talk about why they were being so weird while Lyra gave Sirius a bit of help with his Potions work. That’s what they’d said they were going to do, anyway. But no, instead, she stumbled upon the pair of them snogging. Snogging. Two of her best friends, and they didn’t even bother to inform her that they were together! Lyra had her back against a tree, and Sirius was kissing her, one hand tangled in her hair, and the other resting on her waist.
At Lovetta’s exclamation, the pair quickly broke apart, both of their faces flushing with color.
“Vetta…” Sirius said, running a hand through his hair with a smirk, as if trying to put on a confident demeanor. “I thought you were with Moony?”
Lovetta huffed. “Don’t be ridiculous, I wanted to see what you two were up to. You’ve been acting so strange, but… Oh!” she squealed happily. “Prongs will never let you alone when he hears…”
“You can’t tell anyone!” Lyra said quickly. “Not yet, anyway…”
“Why not?” Lovetta demanded.
“Marauders’ Code,” Sirius said solemnly.
“Do you really expect me to fall for that, Sirius Black? My name’s not Lucius Malfoy.”
“Oi!” Lyra protested.
“I don’t get why,” Lovetta continued, “But I’ll keep your secret…” A wicked smirk spread across her face. “For blackmail purposes, of course. Ta-ta, you lovebirds!”
And with that, she flounced away with a grin on her face, ignoring the protests of the two behind her.
The Marauders Study Sessions never seemed to turn out with all that much studying having been accomplished. Today was one of those days. They were all in the Room of Requirement, which had been discovered courtesy of Peter in fourth year as an alternative to Myrtle’s lavatory for a secret meeting place. The Room had set itself up in a sort of combination of both the Slytherin and Gryffindor Common rooms, with two couches - one of red cloth and the other, black leather - and a darkly polished coffee table between them. A pair of arm chairs completed the U shaped area. Since it wasn’t quite spring, the Room had seen fit to supply them with a cozy fireplace nearby.
Peter and James occupied the arm chairs. Poor Wormtail was nearly swallowed by his, while Prongs lazily draped himself sideways on the other, his legs hanging off of one armrest. Lyra and Sirius shared the leather couch, seated at a respectable distance from each other, which increased every time Lovetta shot them a knowing look or a sly smirk accompanied by a wink. As for herself, she shared the comfy cloth couch with Remus. Her hair was in a strange sort of messy bun, held up only by her wand, which she had used in lieu of a large hair pin. She sat sideways, resting her back against the armrest while her legs draped over Remus’ lap. This never bothered him, though, and as usual, he simply rested his book on her calves and continued to read.
Today, the aim was not to study for an exam or to help each other spin up some wild guesses for a Divination essay, but rather, to solve the crisis of the Marauder’s Map. They had long since perfected the Homonculus Charm, but mapping the castle onto the final parchment had been quite the difficult task. Now, they were trying to figure out a way to guard the map against any unwanted visitors, and that was proving to be their toughest challenge yet.
“If only we could create a lock made of pure wit and sarcasm alone,” James sighed dramatically, “Then we’d be all set.”
At that, Remus perked up. “Hang on a minute, mate, you might be onto something…” He turned several pages in the book he was reading until he found whatever it was he had been searching for. “Aha! I thought so. We can set up a password system, and then the girls can modify the Charms used to enchant portraits to be used as a defense curse triggered by the wrong password.”
Lyra sat forward, seeming interested. “Do you really think that’ll work?”
“Of course it will,” Remus said dismissively. “Where there’s a Charm, Lovetta’s got a way.”
Wow, that was rather sweet of him to say… Lovetta hoped she wasn’t blushing. Really, her partner in crime, as she liked to refer to her fellow werewolf, could be so obliviously sweet sometimes.
“Well, no promises, Rem, but I’ll give it a whirl,” she joked. Swiftly, she plucked her wand from her hair, sending her brown-blonde locks tumbling across her shoulders, and then recited the incantation over their map.
“What should our password be?” Lyra asked.
“Well,” said Peter, “It had better be something clever. And there should be something to close up the map too, so that nobody else can read it.”
Everyone nodded along with his reasoning.
“It needs to be something that makes you worthy of opening the map,” James thought aloud. “Something like…”
“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”
“Brilliant, Mau!” Sirius grinned.
“I was thinking of you, Padfoot,” she admitted, blushing a delicate pink. “You and your rebellious streak…”
“And you’d know all about that, wouldn’t you, Mau?” Lovetta snorted, grinning at the wide eyed look that her friend shot her. The others were too distracted by the new password to notice.
“And what about Mischief Managed for the closer?” Peter suggested.
“There we have it!” Lovetta decided. “Thank you, Wormtail. Now, let me just…”
And so, she went to work. It was grueling, really, but only because she was being forced to combine Charms with other, more useless branches of magic. At first, she managed well enough. But the spell slowly fizzled out after she added the codes, and it seemed that their backup defense wasn’t going to work. All that time, wasted…
“I don’t understand,” she huffed. “I did everything right…”
“Let me have a look…” Remus offered.
Grumpily, Lovetta handed him the parchment. Remus wore a frown for the first few moments, but slowly, he nodded thoughtfully.
“Ah, here we are, Vetta,” he said. “What if you try switching up the incantation where it would normally mention paint? Try ink instead.”
He handed the map back to her, and she reluctantly tried the spell, not really expecting much to happen. On the contrary, however, the ink began to appear from nowhere, swirling all around until it formed the words:
PRONGS, & WORMTAIL
MAU & DI
are proud to present
“You’re brilliant, Rem!” Lovetta exclaimed and, in her excitement, kissed him right on the mouth.
It was over before it had really begun, but there was no denying what she had just done. Remus was blushing a deep red, and had suddenly taken an interest in that particular page from his book.
“Sorry, Moony…” she said quickly. “I didn’t mean to--”
“Wait a minute,” James suddenly interrupted, “What do you mean, Di? I thought you and Moony were together.”
That caught her off guard.
“You thought what?”
Lyra looked a bit confused as she slowly spoke up. “We… we all did, Vetta. Like… Since the end of fourth year.”
“You certainly act familiar enough with each other,” Sirius snorted. “It’s an honest mistake.”
Lovetta could only blink in surprise. “I… we…” Finally, her brain kicked back in. “Rem and I are familiar, are we? We’re not the ones snogging down by the Black Lake and casually forgetting to inform our friends!”
Lyra went pink again.
“Oh no you don’t,” Sirius laughed. “You’re not turning this around on us.”
“Hang on a second--” James started.
“You know, I really thought I was being obvious, Lovetta,” Remus said softly, just a hint of a smirk on his face. “I kept dropping hints.”
“Wait…” she said, “You mean that… Merlin, I’m so thick!”
“Just a bit,” he mused.
She hit him in the arm.
“Ow! Vetta, what the--”
“I’m the most oblivious person in the world, Remus John Lupin! You can’t try to be subtle with me!”
“Yeah, Moony,” Sirius chimed in with a snicker, “Di doesn’t know the meaning of the word.”
“Langlock,” Lovetta said simply, casting Lyra’s rather useful variation of the Tongue-Tying Curse, trusting that Mau would be able to get her boyfriend out of it soon enough. “Now, where was I? Oh, yeah. Anyway, Moony, now that I’ve realized what a thickhead I am, would you want to go to Hogsmeade with me next weekend?”
“Aren’t I supposed to ask you?” he asked with a small smile.
“You know me better than that, Rem. I’ve never been one for doing things traditionally…”
Remus laughed softly. "Fair enough." Suddenly, a look of realization passed over his face. “Now that that’s settled… Padfoot, Mau… You two’ve got some explaining to do.”
Chapter 17: Who Cares About Purebloods?
Lyra sort of liked that she and Sirius were sneaking around. It felt like she was disobeying her parents (even though it was more like they were falling right into their parents’ wishes). Still, if Sirius continued on acting out the way he did, it was likely that Lyra’s parents were going to call off the arrangement. Maybe that was why it she found it so exciting - because she knew that even if their parents tried to keep them apart, they couldn’t control what they didn’t know about. Sure, they’d had a rough start, but that bit was all over now.
The Christmas holiday was over, and Lyra wasn’t sure how to feel about having to face Sirius. She remembered that night rather clearly, thought part of her wished she didn’t. Why had she thought it was a good idea to kiss him? Oh, right. Firewhiskey. Sirius had promised to explain everything, but that thought only made her more nervous.
As she rounded the corner, Lyra suddenly found herself pulled into an empty classroom. It was Sirius. She didn’t know what to do. Did he want her to speak first? Maybe--
Well, that answered that.
“Sirius,” she replied uncertainly.
Sirius shifted. “I promised you an explanation.”
“So you did.”
There was silence for a bit before he spoke again.
“I never meant things to get so far. I didn’t… I didn’t mean to ignore you.”
“So why did you?”
Lyra couldn’t keep the venom out of her voice, though she regretted it when a look of hurt flashed across his face.
“I’ve always fancied you, I really did,” he said earnestly. “But when my parents told me I had to, it was like… I couldn’t. I couldn’t be allowed to feel that way anymore because it would be letting them win. So to spite them, I pushed you away.” He looked away, and Lyra could tell he was genuinely ashamed. “I figured that if they saw how reckless I was being, the engagement would get called off, and then we could go back to normal.”
“Sirius… I… I don’t know what to say,” she murmured.
“Just say that you don’t hate me,” he pleaded. “I know I screwed up, but if you let me have another chance, I promise, no more secrets.”
Lyra lifted her head to look him in the eye. “I don’t hate you,” she said softly.
Sirius’ trademark grin immediately returned. “Well then, I--”
“Sirius…” she interrupted, “What about all those girls? Do you expect me to believe you’re just going to stop… you know?”
“I will,” he answered immediately. “I’ll do anything to earn your trust back. Lyra, I lo… I care about you. A lot.”
Lyra couldn’t help but let out a small laugh at that. After a moment of consideration, she leaned forward and kissed his cheek.
He grinned down at her. “I take it that means we’re alright, then?”
“Yeah,” she said. “We’re alright, Sir.”
Remus was still in shock that Lovetta had agreed to go on a date with him all those weeks ago. It was a bit strange to realize that everyone had assumed they were already together, but with how close they were, it was an understandable mistake. He was just glad that the assumptions had now been made true.
Lovetta was sitting on the couch in the Common Room, scribbling away at a Charms Essay, the only subject she ever tried in. Remus knew it was because it was the only class in which she didn’t really have to try. It came so naturally that even Lily Evans would be jealous, if it were in her nature to be so petty.
Full moons were going rather smoothly, what with the combination of the Marauders and Lovetta. Occasionally, their wolf sides would get a little too rough in their horseplay, according to the others, and injuries would arise from that.
Remus found it ironic - and Lovetta agreed - that Sirius’ Animagus was a black dog while Lyra’s was a white cat. Still, it was not uncommon to find the two of them curled up like that in front of the fireplace in the Room of Requirement. They were always embarrassed to be caught, but the rest of the Marauders thought it was amusing.
“Rem, can you help me on my Divination journal later?” Lovetta asked absently.
He chuckled. “I’m not going to write it for you, Vetta.”
She looked up at him and pretended to pout. “Don’t you love me, Moony?”
Remus grinned, and threw an arm around her shoulders, kissing her cheek. “Of course I do. I’m just not going to do something that you’re perfectly capable of doing yourself.”
Lovetta sighed and flopped onto her back, resting her head in his lap. “Fine…”
“Moony, Di, can’t you take your disgusting little displays of affection elsewhere? Like maybe anywhere other than the Common Room?”
“You’re one to talk, Sirius,” Lovetta shot back, raising an eyebrow at the dark-haired boy as he leaned over the back of the couch. “With you and Mau, snogging in every empty corridor between classes, it’s a wonder you haven’t been discovered by now.”
“Maybe we don’t care about keeping it a secret anymore,” he replied with a grin. “Ever think about that?”
“Mm, that’s a lie if I ever heard one, Padfoot,” Remus replied without even looking up from his Potions book.
Sirius huffed. “Maybe, maybe not…”
“Just go to bed Sirius,” Lovetta said with a smirk. “You won’t win this one.”
Had Remus mentioned that he loved this girl?
“I think I might leave Grimmauld Place this summer.”
Lyra didn’t know what to think of what Sirius had just said. He had taken her to a secluded corridor to talk to her before the end of year feast, but this wasn’t what she had expected to hear.
“Wh… Where would you go?”
Sirius didn’t answer.
“Sirius… tell me you have a plan? That you’re going to think things through before you just run away from…”
Lyra couldn’t say home. She knew that, for her and Sirius, Malfoy Manor and Number Twelve Grimmauld Place were just the roofs over their heads. Hogwarts was their home, and their family was the Marauders.
“I don’t know,” he finally answered. “James is worried. I know he is. He gave me a mirror so we can communicate…”
“Good,” Lovetta said. “Please use it.”
“What about you?” he asked, finally making eye contact. “How much longer can you stand to stay in that place?”
It was Lyra’s turn to look away now. “I’ll manage. Come on, we’re going to be late for the Feast…”
Sirius could probably tell that she was hiding something, but he didn’t press the matter. The two headed to the Great Hall in silence, each lost in the thoughts of what awaited them in the summer.
Chapter 18: Blood Traitor
This was not good. Lyra had just gotten a letter from James explaining what Sirius had done. The two boys had been keeping in touch through James’ charmed mirrors when Sirius had finally admitted that it happened. Honestly, it made sweet, innocent Lyra’s blood boil to know that Orion Black had hit his eldest son. Luckily, James had had the same reaction, insisting that Sirius leave and come live with him.
Sirius sent a letter of his own, no doubt in an attempt to calm her, but it only angered her further. In fact, at one point, Lyra even considered leaving her own house in a rare flash of defiance, but she knew Sirius would want her to keep pretending as long as she was safe. A new problem arose, however, when her parents caught wind of the news. Now, they were determined to find someone else to pair her with, and they forbade her to associate with the blood traitor.
She carried on, though, for Sirius. He wanted her to fly under the radar as long as she could, so that was what she’d do. For now.
Sirius knew that Lyra had meant to keep cool. She had promised him she’d let more things slide than normal, so he could tell she really, truly intended to. But all hell broke loose when Snivellus said that word.
See, Lyra, his dear Lyra, had a special contempt for that word. Two of their best friends supposedly had dirty blood, but they were still better witches than half of the so-called Purebloods. Since meeting Lovetta and Lily, she had told Sirius, she had come to hate that word more than anything. Using it in front of her was one surefire, guaranteed way to make Lyra snap.
As a close friend of hers, Sirius was sure that Snape knew all of this, but he he had said it anyway. The worst part? He had said it to Lily.
Lyra had beaten both James and Sirius to any form of retaliation, resorting to the Muggle way of dueling.
“How dare you, Severus Snape?” she shouted at her fellow Slytherin. He had been thoroughly laid out by her, and was currently flat on his back, clutching his bleeding nose. Despite his frustration that she lost her cool, Sirius couldn’t help but allow a small grin of pride at her good shot.
“If anyone has dirty blood, it’s you! You’re no better than anyone else, you pathetic slimeball!”
Any onlookers were both astounded and frightened, even somewhat uncomfortable. Lyra never had outbursts like this, and Severus Snape had never looked so terrified.
“I hate you!” she continued, drawing gasps and discontented mutters from a few Purebloods. “Go and follow those Death Eaters around, why don’t you? Maybe they’ll be your friends, because I sure as hell won’t be, Snivellus.”
That last bit left even Sirius and James in a stunned silence. Lyra had never called him anything but Severusbefore. Even so, Sirius suspected that it was only due to their (now nonexistent) friendship that she didn’t curse Snivellus’ face off like she had on Lattimore.
Snape was stammering an excuse to Lily, but she wasn’t having it.
Sirius was left a bit blindsided by it all, but one thing, he knew for sure. Once word reached her parents, things were about to get a lot worse for Lyra.
The red envelope dropped onto the Gryffindor table in front of the silver-haired Slytherin, courtesy of the Malfoy family owl. Lyra knew exactly what it was, and for the first time since she’d retaliated against Severus, she was a bit afraid. Glaring down her former friend when he’d tried to speak to her was easy in comparison to the prospect of opening this Howler, but even if she grabbed it and made a run for it, odds were, it would still explode where half the school could hear it. Glaring at the offending letter, Lyra snatched it up. She had felt a bit more daring today and had decided to sit beside Sirius at breakfast, but now, the Howler might draw even more attention to the relationship that her parents had forbidden.
“Ly, are you sure you want to do this?” Sirius asked.
“I don’t have much of a choice,” she muttered, opening the red paper.
“LYRA MALFOY!” came the horrid screech of her mother’s voice. The Great Hall fell silent. “WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING, DEFENDING A MUDBLOOD? HANGING AROUND WITH THE LIKES OF SIRIUS BLACK AFTER YOUR FATHER FORBADE IT! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED, YOU WRETCH! IF YOU SO MUCH AS LOOK AT THAT BLOOD TRAITOR AGAIN, WE WILL DISINHERIT YOU WITHOUT A SECOND THOUGHT!”
Finally, mercifully, the vile thing burst into flames. Lyra couldn’t tell where the smoke ended and Sirius’ rage began.
“How dare they threaten you like that?” he fumed. “I’ll tell them what they can do with their inheritance--”
“Sirius,” Lyra interrupted, “I think it’s time.”
“Wait, you mean?”
“Yeah… I’m leaving Malfoy Manor. But… if I’m going to get disinherited, I’d rather like to do it on my terms…” she said with a smirk.
Sirius nodded thoughtfully. “I have an idea…”
“Great!” Lyra said. “So--”
“Not so fast,” he interrupted. “Before we do this, I need to know that you’ve got somewhere to go. I got lucky with James’ parents taking me in, but I was stupid not to plan ahead.”
Lyra was surprised that he was admitting to any sort of personal failing, but figured that his concern for her outweighed his joking personality at the moment.
“Not to interrupt,” came Lovetta’s voice suddenly.
“Not to eavesdrop, you mean…” Remus muttered, snickering as he dodged the parchment his girlfriend tossed at his head.
“Anyway…” Lovetta continued, as if she hadn’t heard him, “I’m sure my parents wouldn’t mind if you came to live with us. They keep saying about how nice you sound and how they’d love to have you over.”
Lyra rolled her eyes. “That doesn’t mean they’ll want me to stay indefinitely.”
“Well it won’t be indefinitely, will it?” Lovetta countered. “We’ve only got one year left after this. You two go make your plan.”
That made her pause. Lyra looked over at Sirius, who shrugged.
“It’s up to you, Ly.”
After a moment’s hesitation, she nodded.
“Tell me what you’ve got in mind.”
“It’s rather childish, and it implies… certain things…”
Lyra rolled her eyes.
“So? What else is new? Just get on with explaining things.”
“I’m gonna need your tie.”
“Miss Malfoy, where is your tie?” McGonagall’s crisp voice rang out in the silence of the classroom.
Immediately, all Slytherin and Gryffindor sixth years turned their eyes to Lyra. The seat beside her was empty, but the only missing thing they noticed was the strip of fabric that should have been around her neck. Her silver-blonde hair was slightly more disarrayed than normal. The only ones who knew that it was staged - aka the Marauders - were doing their best not to snicker.
“I’m afraid I don’t know, Minnie,” Lyra drawled casually. She never used the Marauders’ nickname for the Transfiguration professor, but Sirius had insisted. Personally, she thought it was overdramatic. “It must have gotten lost between classes…”
McGonagall narrowed her eyes, suddenly seeming highly suspicious.
“Miss Malfoy, if you are unable to appear for your education in full uniform, I’m afraid I will have to take points from Slytherin for your being out of dress code…”
Just then, a voice came from the door.
“I’m afraid that’s my fault, Minnie.”
Sirius Black swaggered into the room a full fifteen minutes late, the green and silver striped tie dangling loosely from his hand. He strode forward and slapped it down on the desk in front of Lyra before sliding into the seat beside her.
McGonagall, whose eyebrows already looked as if they might fly up and off of her face in shock, managed to raise them even further.
“Mister Black… You and Miss Malfoy will address me as Professor McGonagall. Five points from each of your houses, and an additional point from Gryffindor for your tardiness, Mister Black.”
Promptly, she returned to her lesson, a quick glare only barely managing to silence the furious whispers from the other students.
Sirius looked at Lyra and grinned.
Maybe this would get the message across.
Chapter 19: Secrets Revealed
“Lyra, please!” Severus begged for what felt like the thousandth time. This time, however, he’d managed to corner her in the Common Room as she was sneaking back in after a late night rendezvous with Sirius.
This time, she couldn’t stay silent.
“What?” she snapped. “What could you possibly have to say to me, Severus? I know you stole my potions book with all my notes and you’ve been using all of my recipes and spells as your own. You’re only digging yourself a deeper hole.”
There was a brief pause, accompanied by a bewildered expression flashing across his face before Severus mustered a reply.
“I-I… I just wanted to say sorry.”
“So you’ll be returning my textbook and my notebook, then?”
He didn’t reply, and she scoffed.
“That’s what I thought.”
“I will,” he said suddenly. “I’ll give you back your things…”
“Keep it,” Lyra snapped. “I don’t want anything you’ve touched. Besides, I’ve got everything all memorized. Burn them for all I care.”
“Lyra, I’d do anything to make this up to you…” he insisted.
“No, you wouldn’t! You’re only doing it so Lily will talk to you again. I know you fancy her… That’s why it bothers you so much that she’s started going out with James.”
“She’s not the only one I fancy…” Severus muttered.
That shocked Lyra into silence.
Then, his face twisted in an uncomfortable expression. He had evidently said more than he meant to.
“Sorry, I thought I was Snivellus,” he snapped irritably.
“Oh, stop that,” Lyra snapped right back. “You don’t get to drop news like that and then try to play it off. Severus, you know I’m with Sirius. You know how I feel about that term… And if you hate Muggleborns, you can’t expect Lovetta and Lily to be okay with that. Sure, they’re people you care about, but do you really think your Death Eater pals will spare them on account of your bias?”
She could tell that her words were at least having some impact, but Lyra rather thought that she’d said all that needed to be said.
“Goodbye, Severus. Let me know if you figure yourself out…”
And there she left him, standing in the silent Common Room alone.
Sirius was still furious with that Snivellus for taking Lyra’s things, but to make matters worse, the greasy little git was now poking about in Remus and Lovetta’s monthly disappearances. Sirius was trying to think of the perfect way to teach him a lesson when it hit him. Why not use that curiosity against the slippery snake? Time to give a certain someone a little tip about the Whomping Willow.
“Sirius, you did what?” Lyra yelped. “How could you be so stupid! You didn’t think this through at all!”
“I know, I know… and James is already headed out to stop him.”
“You think that makes it better?” she said.
“No,” Sirius said miserably. “I was just angry, and I… I’m so sorry.”
Lyra sighed. “We’ll talk about this later. I’m going to help Prongs fix this…”
As he watched her go, Sirius found himself wondering what he had been thinking.
Lyra reached the Whomping Willow just in time to see James dragging Severus out of the tunnel. Quickly, she rushed forward to help the both of them away from the murderous tree. Severus was struggling the whole way, shouting at the top of his lungs about how Sirius had tried to kill him.
“That Lupin should be expelled! Creatures like that don’t belong at Hogwarts!”
“So you mean Lovetta should be kicked out too?” Lyra asked coldly.
Severus seemed to notice her for the first time. “Wha-- Vetta? She…”
“I told you before, Severus. You can’t have it both ways. Either all of them are scum or none of them are. You can’t only make exceptions for your friends, because the Death Eaters won’t.”
James was standing a ways back, watching the tense standoff. Severus looked like he wanted to say something, but Lyra had no desire to hear it.
“Don’t. Just go to the hospital wing and keep your mouth shut…”
Looking like a scolded dog, Severus sent one last glare at James and stalked towards the castle.
“Something tells me Padfoot’s gonna get an earful from Moony and Di in the morning,” James said.
Lyra couldn’t help but agree.
“How could you?” Remus shouted. None of the Marauders had ever seen him lose his cool. Even though he was stuck in a hospital bed, he still managed to be intimidating.
Lovetta, on the other hand, was uncharacteristically quiet. She kept her gaze fixed on the ceiling of the hospital wing, refusing to look at any of them, or perhaps avoiding having to notice Severus’ curtained off bed at the other end of the room. It was torture having to listen to everything they were saying; she didn’t feel like watching it as well.
“Save it!” he snapped. “It’s not your secret to tell, Sirius. It’s not a prank, it’s my life! Mine and Vetta’s.”
“I’m sorry…” Sirius said quietly.
Remus sighed heavily. “I’m likely going to have to change schools.”
“No!” Sirius said fiercely. “I won’t let this happen.”
“Sirius, once Severus spills it, I’m done for.”
Lovetta couldn’t take it anymore. She sat up and, despite Lyra and Lily’s protests, made her way over to Severus. He seemed almost bored rather than surprised upon seeing her.
“So that’s why you’ve been disappearing every month…” he said dully. “How unfortunate. Don’t worry, I won’t spill it. At least, not about you…”
Ignoring his digs, Lovetta spoke lowly, attempting to keep her voice calm.
“If you tell a soul about Remus… If you even hint about his condition, I go right up to those Death Eaters and tell them what I am.”
At the look on his face, she painfully stood straight and tall, speaking more quickly at the sound of Madam Pomfrey’s indignant scolding. “That’s right… I love Remus, and if he’s going to be a target for You-Know-Who, then you can be certain that I will be too. So… if you’re still under the delusion that you’re my friend, you’ll stay quiet.”
Taking his silence as an answer, Lovetta turned to face the approaching Madam Pomfrey, allowing herself to be prodded back to her bed. The others were staring, but she didn’t say a word. Remus reached over the gap between their beds, taking her hand in his.
Faintly, Lovetta heard the others being ushered out. As Madam Pomfrey closed the screens around the two beds, she smiled shyly at Remus, slightly embarrassed that he’d heard her.
The last thing she heard before she drifted off to sleep was the soft-spoken “I love you too…” of her fellow werewolf.
Chapter 20: What Next?
After the whole incident with Snape, Sirius tried to tone down his pranks for the month. He really couldn’t afford to make Lyra mad at him again… She had jinxed his quill to grow teeth and bite his fingers when he tried to write, refusing to undo it for an entire week. Finally, though, she’d calmed down enough to accept his apology, and was now sitting beside him during lunch.
The Christmas holidays were approaching, but the Malfoy family had yet to send any indication that news of Sirius’ little stunt in transfiguration class had even reached them. Not a Howler, not even an ordinary scrap of parchment to express disapproval. So, warily, the two of them had begun to relax. They no longer limited themselves to midnight meetings and stolen kisses in abandoned corridors.
Sirius wrapped his arm around Lyra, and was just about to offer her piece of his turkey, when the doors to the Great Hall burst open. Standing there, in all their rich, Pureblood glory were Mister and Missus Malfoy themselves. Everyone stared. Parents might show up at Hogwarts on occasion, but never without some preceding disaster such as physical harm to the student, and never would they interrupt a meal.
Sirius saw Lyra go pale. Once glance at the teachers’ table told him that Dumbledore didn’t appear to be too concerned. The Headmaster merely rose, calmly and headed to greet the unhappy couple.
Before he could reach them, however, Lyra’s mother had locked her silver eyes onto her daughter. A sneer curled upon the woman’s face, and she marched over, Abraxas Malfoy close behind. Lyra stood to face them, but Sirius could tell she was terrified. When her mother grabbed her sharply by the arm, he stood beside his girlfriend. The husband (Sirius refused to acknowledge that these people were Lyra’s parents anymore) glared at him, but Sirius stood his ground.
“You’re coming straight home, young lady!” the woman somehow managed to shriek through her clenched teeth.
“Mark my words, you’ll be sent off to Durmstrang next term,” Abraxas drawled lazily, glancing around the Great Hall with disdain. “You’ll learn how to represent the family there.”
To Sirius’ surprise, Lyra yanked away defiantly. She was trembling. This was probably the first time she’d ever disobeyed them to their faces.
“I am home,” she all but whispered. “And the only family I have is at this table beside me.”
Sirius reached for her hand. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Remus, Lovetta, Lily, Peter, and James all rising to stand behind them. For a moment, the Malfoys almost looked frightened, as if this small group were threatening them by this small act.
Before anyone else could say a word, the woman reached out and struck Lyra across the face, prompting a gasp from her and sending indignant murmurs rippling across the room, even from some of the more elitist students. Sirius nearly growled, even without his Animagus form.
Suddenly, Dumbledore was standing right next to the couple.
“That’s quite enough,” he said calmly. His voice was kind, but his eyes were not. “I believe it has been established that you no longer have a student at this school, therefore, I must ask you to leave the Hogwarts grounds… permanently.”
Abraxas Malfoy watched him coldly, but evidently decided not to challenge him.
“Come, dear… we’re leaving.”
Sirius didn’t bother to watch them go. Instead, he focused on Lyra. Her gaze was fixed on the retreating figures of the ones she had once considered family. The doors closed with a dull thud, and the students slowly returned to their gossip. The Marauders all sat back down in silence as Dumbledore nodded to Lyra before returning to the teachers’ table. Soon, an angry red mark on Lyra’s otherwise fair skin remained the only proof that there’d been any incident at all.
“So how does it feel to be disowned?” Lovetta asked.
Lyra knew her friend was just trying to make her feel better, but to be honest, she really didn’t know how to answer.
“Lovetta!” Lily hissed, scribbling a few more notes.
“What? I’m just trying to diffuse the tension…”
“It’s okay, Lily,” Lyra murmured. “Everything is just taking a bit to sink in.”
Lily still seemed concerned, setting the library book aside to get a closer look at her. “Did Madame Pomfrey get that bruise taken care of?”
Lyra nodded, tilting her head to show the now flawless skin.
“I told her I could’ve done it myself…”
Lovetta snorted. “Trust me, I’ve tried that before. It never makes a dent with old Pomfrey.”
The corner of Lyra’s mouth twitched into a smile, despite the seriousness of everything. “Yeah…”
“So what are you going to do now?” Lily asked.
“Honestly… I can focus completely on school now that I’m not looking over my shoulder.”
A noise of disgust came from Lovetta. “Are you joking? That’s what you want to do with your newfound freedom? I can’t believe you!”
Lyra laughed as Madam Pince shushed her friend. “Come on, Vetta, let me have this moment…”
“Fine, I suppose,” she sighed. Then, suddenly, a devilish grin spread over her face. “So… I guess that means you and Sirius can get married without interference now?”
The statement caught Lyra off guard, and she made a small noise of surprise. “Lovetta! We’re only sixteen!”
Lovetta rolled her eyes, still smirking. “Well obviously, I meant after we graduate.”
Lyra could feel her face flushing. To be honest, she hadn’t really thought about what would happen after. That is, there was the general assumption that she and Sirius would still be together after everything they’d been through, but anything beyond that hadn’t crossed her mind until now. Clearing her throat, she quickly stood, trying to hide her face before Lovetta could see her embarrassment.
“I’ll catch up with you later. Gotta go, bye!”
As Lyra left, she heard Lily berating Lovetta quietly. If she hadn’t been so deep in thought, she might have found it amusing.
Chapter 21: Love and War
I'm so sorry it took so long to update this, but what I had written seemed way too short and I wanted to wait until I could come up with just a little bit more! Enjoy.
“Remus, what do you think about getting married right after Hogwarts?”
Lovetta’s question caught him off guard, and he didn’t answer right away. That was alright, because she continued on regardless.
“Because I’ve been trying to convince Lyra and Sirius that it’s a good idea - not the both of them at once, obviously, I’m working on them individually - since sixth year, but they’re just both too bloody insecure!”
Oh. Maybe he was a little disappointed, in truth, that she hadn’t been talking about the two of them as he had first thought.
“Remus? Any advice?”
He blinked suddenly. “Hm? Well… Did you point out that we might not have much time with the oncoming war and all?”
Lovetta poked him in the ribs from where she was laying, sprawled across his lap on the couch in the Room of Requirement. “Rem, that’s not the way to convince them!”
“So it didn’t work, then?”
She sighed, relenting. “Ly said that Sirius would probably insist on waiting until we inevitably win the war if that really is the case… but Sirius looked like he might be thinking about it. Besides, I don’t see what their problem is. That’s what Lily and James are planning to do.”
Remus hummed thoughtfully. “Yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for everyone to do.”
Lovetta huffed and sat up. “Yes, but this is Mau and Padfoot. The two most impulsive Marauders, need I remind you?”
“And you know as well as I do that their rash decisions often lead to trouble,” he countered. “Lyra cursing Lattimore, Sirius snogging every girl in the school…”
“Only in those little things, when you think about it. Not in the big decisions like this! Like when Sirius ran away from home, when Lyra became an Animagus, or--”
“Alright, I see your point,” he conceded. “But why’s this so important to you anyway, hm?”
She looked at him in confusion. “Why wouldn’t it be? They’re our friends…”
Remus took a deep breath.
“Are you sure that… Maybe… you might just be trying to push them to do… what you want us to do?”
Lovetta went still, then opened and closed her mouth a couple times, clearly not having thought of this possibility.
“I… I don’t… I’m not…” She sighed. “Oh Merlin, I think you’re right.”
Nodding slowly, he put an arm around her and pulled her close.
“You’re not saying anything,” she half whispered. “I would really like it if you said something…”
Remus looked down at her. “It’s not that I don’t want to, Lovetta… I…”
She started to pull away, avoiding his gaze, but he stopped her.
Now, she was visibly confused.
He continued on, “I’m scared because of what we are… because of our condition. I don’t know if we could ever have… normal kids. I couldn’t live with myself if I… if I did that to a child.”
“Oh Remus…” she whispered, “Remus, I don’t care if we never have kids at all, I just… I just want to be with you. You’re all I need.” Then, returning to her lighthearted nature, she smiled. “Besides, I heard they’re working on a cure for our furry little problem. It won’t be an issue by the time we get around to wanting kids.”
Remus smiled softly. “How is it you always know just what to say?” he mused softly.
Lovetta grinned. “It’s a gift.”
“It’s something alright…”
“What’s the use of studying?” Sirius muttered. “According to the radio, You-Know-Who’s going to kill us all anyway.”
“Sirius,” Lyra said sternly. “The war will end eventually, then what? If we don’t study now, we’ll be jobless.”
Sirius only stared at her adoringly, completely smitten with the girl who hadn’t even scolded him for his morbid joke, just his resistance to studying. They were in the Gryffindor Common Room
Lyra gave him a look. “Did you even hear what I said?”
He sighed. “Yes, I did… but still, what would I even do?”
“You could be an Auror,” she suggested. “Wouldn’t it be fun to put tons of your and my rotten family members in Azkaban?”
Sirius barked out a laugh. He had to admit, Lyra always knew what to say to get him interested in something.
“Alright then… An Auror. And what about you?”
Lyra shrugged. “I don’t know… Being an Auror sounds nice, but I don’t know if I’d actually be good at it in reality. I don’t have the temperament for a MediWitch.”
“You could go for Minister of Magic,” Sirius suggested. Or you could come back and teach potions here. I heard Old Sluggy’s set to retire.”
There was a pause as she mulled it over, then Lyra’s face seemed to brighten. “You’re a genius sometimes, Sir.”
Sirius faked offense. “Ly, I’m a genius all the time!”
Lyra laughed and rolled her eyes. “Uhuh…”
Sirius chuckled. “I’m wounded…”
“What about this whole Order of the Phoenix thing Dumbledore asked us about?”
Lyra looked up at him. “What about it?”
“Well are you going to join?” Sirius asked.
She shrugged. “I’ve thought about it… What about you?”
Sirius sighed. He wasn’t sure how she would react, but he needed to be honest with her.
“I’m going to join.”
He didn’t look at her when he spoke, expecting the worst. Maybe she would get upset with him, tell him it was too dangerous…
“Me too,” Lyra sighed in relief.
Sirius looked up at her. “What?”
Lyra nodded. “I made up my mind a week ago… I just thought you might not like it.”
He couldn’t help but laugh.
“I thought you might not like it!”
She laughed too, both of them obviously relieved.
“Well then… shall we go tell Dumbledore together?”
Sirius grinned and hopped up from the couch.
Moving in together might have seemed mundane during any other time. Maybe even boring or tedious. But in the midst of these dark days, Sirius found the mundane task an odd comfort. With a flick of his wand, he sent the contents of the next box flying about the house, perfectly zooming into their proper places. Just as he turned to open up the next one, Lyra bounced around the corner, looking ever-so-slightly worn out from hauling so many boxes, but happy nonetheless. A few stray strands of her silvery blonde hair fell loose from where she’d hastily pinned her messy updo in place with her wand, perfectly framing her face in the most adorable way. Sirius grinned at her disheveled appearance.
“You know, Ly, ‘domestic Muggle’ is a good look on you,” he teased.
Lyra rolled her eyes, but Sirius noticed she couldn’t hide a small smile as she came over to him, wrapping her arms around his middle.
“I’m just happy to be with you,” she murmured, resting her head on his shoulder. “I love you, Padfoot…”
Sirius held her close, pressing a small kiss to the top of her head before pulling away.
“I love you too, Madame Mau, but you’re slacking on the unpacking there.”
“Uh huh…” she said, unconvinced. “I think you’re just eager to get to what happens after we unpack the bedsheets.”
That cute little smirk of hers got a chuckle out of him.
“Maaaybe…” he said playfully, leaning close to kiss her.
But Lyra leaned away and playfully booped the tip of his nose with her finger.
“Nuh uh, mister. You’re not starting anything until every last box has been properly unpacked.”
Sirius dropped his expression into the most pleading pout he could muster, but Lyra wasn’t fazed.
“Come on, Sir, the faster we get it done, the faster we can enjoy our new home…”
He gave a disappointed huff, but turned to the next box in the pile.
“I bet Prongs and Lily are having more fun than us right about now…” he grumbled.
A small auguamenti spell hit him in the back of the head.
“Point taken, Mau… point taken.”
Remus sat near the window, watching as the sun set. The house had been settled for two weeks now, and the others in the Marauders group had settled into their own homes as well, but none of them found any peace of mind in gaining their independence while the threat of the Dark Lord still loomed over them all. The Order of the Phoenix had begun preparing in earnest to fight back, and meanwhile, it seemed couples all over the wizarding world were rushing to get married.
Of course, he and Lovetta were no exception. Everyone had expected James and Lily to be the first ones to ‘get hitched’, as Sirius put it, but, as it turned out, they were making plans slightly further in the future.
Remus was still nervous about it all, but he was certain of one thing: he loved Lovetta. And neither wanted to lose the other without first having the chance to declare their love to the world, so they quickly set a wedding date - two and a half weeks from now. Despite their eagerness to become husband and wife, they'd had to time it perfectly so that they would be able to have a nice ceremony, and at least a week to enjoy the newlywed bliss before the full moon came in to disrupt everything. Though, who knew how long they would actually wind up having, what with all of the Death Eater activity picking up the way that it was.
Lovetta had not-so-subtly hinted about having hidden her dress somewhere around the house. Remus figured she wanted him to search for it or beg her to let him take a peek at it, but he found it far more entertaining to simply accept that it was hidden and pay no further mind to it in order to watch her pout adorably when she realized he hadn’t fallen for her scheme. She had eventually calmed down from all of that nervous, mischievous energy.
Speaking of Lovetta, Remus was pulled from his thoughts when he felt her familiar form curl up on the couch next to him, resting her head on his shoulder.
“What’s on your mind, Moony?” she murmured.
“Oh, you know,” he replied softly, trying to keep his tone light, “The usual.”
A beat of silence.
“The moon? Or the wedding?”
“Both,” he said honestly. “Just… the future in general.”
“Rem… we’re going to be alright.”
Remus loved how certain she seemed. He wished he could have the same optimism, but the joy and excitement of the good things to come couldn’t quite outweigh the bad in his mind on bad days like these. Luckily, Lovetta, his dear Lovetta, always knew just what to do or say when he felt himself getting down.
There was a small nudge at his arm, and when he looked down, he saw her grinning brightly, offering a small square of chocolate to him.
“So… would you be interested in sharing this with me, Mr. Lupin?”
A small smile tugged at the corner of his mouth.
“I think I just might be, Miss Rawly.”
Lovetta grinned cheekily at him.
“It won’t be ‘Miss Rawly’ for much longer…”
Now that brought up a little bubble of hope… a small flicker of warmth in the cold depths that put a smile on his face.
Hey everyone! I figured that I'd post this today, in honor of the day after the Hogwarts Express leaves King's Cross Station lol. As always, thanks for reading, and I would love to hear feedback from you! Did you like it? Was there something you wished the characters had had a chat about? What kinds of things would you like to see in the next part at Remus and Lovetta's wedding? Let me know in the comments below!
Chapter 23: Not an update
I already posted this on my Quotev so I figured I may as well slap it down over here too.
Edit: I'm feeling a little better now but I'm gonna leave this up because I'm too lazy to take it down.
Sorry, not an update. It's a bit of a personal vent/rant so feel free to ignore it if you want.
I cannot describe how disheartening it is to work on something, to pour effort into a new chapter or part only for it to get zero comments across two posting platforms. And not just this series, literally anything I post. This just happens to be the most recent thing to fall flat with readers. over 140 people have read the newest chapter. 310 people have saved this story to their library. That in and of itself should speak to the way the story has been ignored recently.
Everyone says "update plz" but nobody says why they want the next part so much. Demands for updates are so, so draining when they aren't accompanied by at least some sort of thing that you liked about the chapter. How long does it take to type out a comment with at least one thing you like about it? I even try to make it easy for people who have a hard time thinking of things to say! I ask questions in the note at the end of each chapter! On the last update, I literally said "Did you like it? Was there something you wished the characters had had a chat about? What kinds of things would you like to see in the next part at Remus and Lovetta's wedding?" Apparently nobody even wants to see what happens at the wedding. I may as well skip it for all the nonexistent feedback. I may as well just quit the series.
And I know that this is too far fetched for a small fry writer like me - I don't have devoted, consistent fans like some of the bigger names, but at least once, it would be a dream come true for someone to go through and talk about each chapter, their reactions to each bit of it as they read along.
Maybe you think I'm being dramatic. I kind of feel dramatic. But college is hard. College sucks. And doing this is what makes that easier. But when I don't get feedback, then this, a thing I love, starts to also become a drag. I lose motivation because it seems like nobody cares, so I don't update for six months. So if I have to stop posting and keep my writings private in order to keep my way of escape or distraction from becoming just another thing to hate, then that's what I'll do.
Sorry for getting your hopes up with an update notification or whatever. I might wind up deleting this. It really is just a vent. Kudos to you if you actually read this far. That's all.
Chapter 24: The First Wedding of the War
Sirius stared at the ring. It was sitting there in its stupid, black velvet box, mocking him, with its unblinking eye of clear crystal sparkling brilliantly, even in the dim light of the evening.
“If you propose at my wedding, Lovetta will never forgive you,” a voice from behind startled him.
When he turned, Remus was leaning against the door frame, smirking.
Sirius scoffed. “Yeah, right, Moony… more like she’d celebrate. Hasn’t she been wanting this for ages?”
Remus rolled his eyes. “Not on her wedding day. Merlin, Sirius.”
He laughed. “I’m kidding, Remus. It’s my job as best man to lighten your nerves.”
“Maybe the best man ought to tell the groom his tie is crooked,” James said, rounding the corner. He was in the midst of straightening his own tie, with Peter right behind him.
Remus frowned and looked down at his tie, quickly fixing it.
“Moony, mate, you’ll be fine!” James said, clapping him on the shoulder. “There’s no way Di would leave you standing at the altar.”
Sirius barked a laugh, and Remus glared at him.
“If none of you are going to help… I don’t technically need groomsmen, you know.”
“Hey now, let’s not get carried away,” James said. “Come on, mate, you know we’re teasing. Now let’s go and get married.”
Remus rolled his eyes. “It’s not as if it’s your wedding day, James.”
James faked a serious look. “Don’t you know, Remus? When one of the Marauders makes a lifetime commitment, the rest of us do too.”
It was Sirius’ turn for an eye roll.
“Alright, alright, let’s go…”
Remus huffed as Sirius pushed him out the door.
“Don’t think you’ve gotten out of talking about that ring, Padfoot.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Sirius said, “But there’ll be time for my engagement later… Right now, it’s time to put an end to yours - in the good way.”
Lyra kept trying to get Lovetta to hold still. She was currently attempting - and failing - to touch up her makeup while Lily put the finishing touches on her hair, but the poor girl was practically vibrating with excitement. After all, she would be walking down the aisle in about five minutes! She rather thought she had every right to be jittery.
Today was the day. Lovetta finally got to marry the man she loved! She was going to kiss him on his stupid mouth in front of all their friends! Not that she hadn’t done that before, but it was all about what kissing him would mean this time.
“Alright, that’s as good as it’s going to get,” huffed an exasperated Lyra, packing away the makeup.
Lily merely laughed. “Oh come on, Ly, unwind for a single day, would you?”
Lovetta smirked as she hopped to her feet. “There won’t be any unwinding from Lyra until her own wedding night…”
Lyra gave her a flat look, but didn’t say anything to combat her words.
“You know I’m ri-ight!” Lovetta sing-songed. “Now, who’s ready to walk down the aisle?”
Her two bridesmaids exchanged a glance, then smiled at her.
“Come on, Vetta,” Lily said. Let’s get you married.”
Remus stood at the altar feeling like his heart was going to leap out of his throat. Sirius and James and Peter and Lyra and Lily and were all in their places as bridesmaids and groomsmen. All that was left was for his bride to come bouncing down the aisle. His nerves were just about to send him over the edge, then he saw her. His heart leapt at her bright smile.
Lovetta made her way up to him, grinning all the way.
“Wow…” he whispered.
“You like it?” she asked him.
Remus smiled. “Yeah… Yeah, I do.”
The officiator’s words passed by in a blur, and it was suddenly time for them to say their vows, but Remus found his mouth was suddenly as dry as an old bone in the sun. He tried to speak, but his throat closed up. How could what he had written possibly convey how much he loved her?
“Why don’t I go first, Rem?” Lovetta said softly, with a warm smile and a comforting touch to his elbow.
“Yeah,” he croaked out. “Okay.”
Lovetta took a deep breath. Remus had never seen her look nervous before, but it wasn’t the terrified fear he was experiencing. Rather, Lovetta had an excited anticipation about her.
“Right then,” she began. “Remus John Lupin. Moony. I adore you. I have since we met, really. The few people we have gathered here today know what we are, so I’m just going to come out and say it. When we met the night of that first full moon, I was so relieved to know that I wasn’t alone. You taught me how to make the change easier, and you helped me through the most terrifying year of my life.
Looking back on it, I loved you right away. I was just too thick to realize it until our friends pointed it out to me. And I’m so glad they did, Remus. I couldn’t imagine life without you. And no matter what happens with the war, I’m telling you, right now, today, and forever, I love you.”
Remus fought back tears. He knew when he started, he’d never be able to say his part. Speaking of which…
He cleared his throat.
“I had something written,” he began. “But it doesn’t seem like enough now. It can’t possibly say everything I want to to you. So forgive me if I ramble, but I’m making this up as I go.”
Lovetta laughed softly and squeezed his hand. Remus smiled back, glad for the reassurance.
“When we met, I couldn’t believe how happy you were, even with our condition. At first, I was even jealous. Jealous that you hadn’t suffered as long as I had, jealous that you could be so positive. But then, your happiness began to influence me. You taught me how to look on the bright side, and you showed me how to love life. You put up with my immature friends-” (Here, James and Sirius and Peter made to protest, but were quickly silenced by a glare from Lovetta.)
“And you gave me hope. Lovetta, I love you so much. I tried to deny it early on. I was terrified of what loving you would mean. I knew you’d never care about what I am… What we are. But the thought of trying to build a family with what we have… I worried. But there you were, once again, reminding me that things aren’t as bad as my mind likes to think.
Now I know I’m still going to have those stormy, dark days… But as long as I have you to tell me how much of a big idiot I’m being, I know we’re going to weather anything. I promise to love you forever. And I’m gonna do my best to look at the positive side of life. That bit should be easy. You’re my ray of sunshine, Lovetta, and I’m proud to finally call you my wife.”
Now, he was crying. He couldn’t help it. Lovetta was too, and Remus thought he even saw Sirius and James wiping at their eyes.
“Get over here, Moony,” Lovetta said.
Remus took her in his arms and pulled her close. She, however, seemed rather more impatient. Grinning, she grabbed him by the face and kissed him passionately.
Someone was whistling. Probably James, but Remus didn’t care one bit. Everything faded into the background for one blissful moment.
The reception was in full swing. Not that it was a big reception, what with the war and all that, but the small group of friends they had gathered seemed to be having a good time.
Sirius, however, found himself too distracted. He stood in the corner, off by himself as Lyra danced with Remus.
“What’s on your mind, Padfoot?” came a voice.
He looked over.
“Well, if it isn’t the blushing bride,” he said, weakly attempting his normal, teasing humor. Lovetta, however, saw right through him.
“Has it got anything to do with that ring of yours?”
Sirius snapped his attention to her, eyes wide. “Wh-”
“Remus may or may not have mentioned it…” she said. “And… Well, I am the bride, so what I say goes here tonight… and I say, you can ask a certain Madame Mau any question you like, and I won’t be upset.”
He paused. “You mean it?”
She gave him a look. “Would I have offered if I didn’t?
Sirius grinned brightly and kissed her on the forehead. “Thank you, Lovetta.” Then, his smile dropped. “But I have no idea how I want to do it, or what I want to say…”
Lyra hummed thoughtfully. “Maybe that’s okay, Sirius. Maybe… take a page from Remus’ book this once. Throw your notes out the window and just speak from the heart. Now, there’s a rather beautiful garden out back… Well within the boundaries of the protective charms… private, and secluded. If I know Lyra, she’ll appreciate the lack of an audience.”
He thought it over for a second, then he smiled. “It’s perfect, Di.”
She grinned back. “Now go get her, Padfoot.”
With that, she turned to cut in with Lyra and Remus.
Sirius straightened his tie and ran a hand through his hair. Now or never.
Lyra smiled softly as she looked around at the small garden. It felt nice to get away from the reception for a while. Even though there weren’t a large amount of people, it was a little much for her after a while.
“Thank you, Sirius… for bringing me out here.”
Sirius smiled softly at her. There was a tenderness there that she hadn’t quite seen before. It bordered on shyness, really.
“You’re welcome. Though… I would be lying if I tried to pretend I didn’t have selfish reasons for having you all to myself…”
Lyra giggled softly, tugging him closer by the front of his suit jacket.
“I would expect nothing less from you, Mister Black…”
But, oddly enough, he didn’t flirt back this time. Where he normally would have taken the opportunity to kiss her, instead he brushed a stray strand of hair behind her ear.
Sirius took a deep breath. “You know I love you.”
This seemed a bit odd, but…
“Of course I do, Sirius. What are you-”
“Because I know I haven’t always been the best at showing it,” he rushed on.
Maybe he was feeling guilty about that time he went out with Marlene McKinnon?
“I was an idiot not to just tell you how I felt back then.”
“Sirius, it’s okay,” Lyra assured. “We’re together now…”
“I know,” he said, with another one of those shy smiles. “And I want us to stay that way. Moony and Di’s wedding… well, it’s just the push I need.”
No. He couldn’t be… could he?
But he was. He reached into his pocket and brought out a small, velvet box.
“Sirius…” Lyra gasped.
He opened the box to reveal a silver band with a small emerald set into the metal. Slytherin colors.
“Marry me, Lyra.”
It was a statement, but it was most definitely a request, a tentative plea.
“Maybe it’s just the war, but I never want to lose you. I--” He stopped, suddenly. “What did you say?”
Lyra started to laugh.
“Yes, Sirius. My answer will always be yes. I love you, don’t you know?”
He swiftly leapt to his feet and kissed her dizzyingly.
“I love you too, Lyra Malfoy. I love you so much…”
“Then put that ring on my finger, Sirius Black, and kiss me again…”
And that’s exactly what he did.
As the war grew more dangerous, it seemed impossible that there could be another safe wedding. James and Lily had managed theirs, but with a smaller gathering than even Remus and Lovetta had dared. With the increasing turmoil, Sirius and Lyra wrestled with the idea of having an elopement with only the closest of their friends as witnesses. It wasn’t as if either of their parents would be clamouring to attend. In the end, they decided that would be the best and safest plan.
And that was what brought them here. An Order member stood in as an officiant. Lyra wore the nicest dress she had, color charmed (courtesy of Lovetta) to be white, and Sirius had even combed his hair. All of the Marauders were there, of course.
“I hope you’re not thinking your vows can outshine mine, Mau,” Lovetta teased.
Lyra laughed. “To each their own, Vetta… But I know better than to argue with a pregnant woman.”
There was a brief pause, then…
“Speaking of which,” she added with a grin, “Sirius and I have some news to share after the ceremony.”
“Well I think you just shared it, love,” Sirius chuckled.
Lyra rolled her eyes good naturedly. “I suppose I did…”
Lily hugged her tightly.
“Oh Lyra! I’m so happy for you both…”
“That means you and Lily had better get busy,” Sirius said to James, feigning solemnity. “Otherwise all our firstborn kids won’t be the same year at Hogwarts! The Marauders’ next generation must stick together.”
Lily laughed and smacked his shoulder. “Oh hush, you. I don’t want to hear another word out of you unless it’s your wedding vows.”
“Alright, alright,” he grumbled, still grinning at his own joke as he turned to Lyra. “Ready?”
“Do you even have to ask?”
Four Months Later
The parchment seemed to wither under her hands. She had used an erasing charm on the ink so many times that it felt like the spell had started to erase layers of the paper as well. The words simply weren’t flowing. As many paragraphs as she wrote, as many explanations as she tried to give, none of it seemed right.
After long hours of deliberation, she settled on something far simpler and shorter than anything else before. One single line.
I’ve had a vision.
He would know what it meant. All that was left was to see if he would care.
Hey everyone! I know this is a super super short bit, but it's the second update in two days so I think that makes up for it. This is just filler, with a dash of foreshadowing. And I know, I didn't let you see Sirius and Lyra's vows... I'm saving those for a flashback later on. Stick around and you will see them eventually, I swear! SO... theories? Questions? General comments? Let me know what you think! Please!
It seemed like everything was falling to pieces. Order members were being murdered, hunted down and killed off by Death Eaters. Lily, upon discovering she was pregnant, had joined the other Marauders ladies on the sidelines of the fighting. James, Remus, and Sirius were rather pleased that their wives would be out of harm’s way, and the three wives were likewise pleased, because the realization of fatherhood had scared the three men into taking more care with their lives.
Even so, Sirius noticed that Lyra seemed no less distressed. In some ways, she seemed even more so. He couldn’t figure it out. Maybe it was some strange pregnancy thing.
That was his theory, anyway.
Until the day that Lyra disappeared.
Sirius paced the floor. He thought the carpet might catch fire. All he had was a stupid note, this stupid piece of parchment that said she’d be back later. That she had to go. It didn’t say where. It didn’t say when, or why. This wasn’t like her.
But all he could do was wait.
And that’s what he did.
And then a day.
There was no one he could go to.
Except… maybe James and Lily.
Sirius grabbed a quill and a scrap of parchment. The ink smeared in his hurry to scrawl out a message. He practically tossed the poor owl out the window. It squawked at him in protest, but flew away nonetheless.
What was Lyra thinking?
It’s funny, how different a house can look, even after just a few years. A childhood home is filled with memories, whether good or bad, and the taste of the past lingers. To return to such a place years later feels both foreign and familiar.
For Lyra, this was no different. This place, which she knew so well, the place which held so much darkness… It was where she had been born, and more and more she began to feel that it would be where she died as well.
Death Eaters came and went. It was such a strange sight to see. People she had thought she’d known growing up sneering and spitting at her. Well, that bit was nothing new. Lyra had always known of their prejudices. Their hatred had simply never been directed at her in person before. She knew deep down that she was only alive because of Lucius. Some small part of him still loved her, just as she still loved him, in spite of everything.
Lyra thanked everything there was that she had yet to encounter the Dark Lord himself. She just wished she could tell Sirius she was sorry. No one had touched her yet, and she suspected it had something to do with the fact that she was carrying Lucius’ niece or nephew.
But once she gave birth… Lyra knew that would change.
The door to her small room opened. That’s right - a room, not the dungeons. Another thing to thank Lucius for, she imagined.
Speaking of Lucius, he was the one who walked in, swiftly closing the door behind him.
“Are you finally ready to listen to me, Lucius?” Lyra asked.
“Why did you come here?” he asked, ignoring her question. “Have you finally come to your senses?”
“If you’re asking if I’ve come to join the Death Eaters, my answer is and always will be no, Lucius. I’m trying to-”
“Then why are you here?” he snapped. Lucius never yelled. That would mean something was truly wrong. No, right now, he was frustrated… and worried.
“Lyra Ophelia Malfoy-”
Lyra squared her shoulders and set her jaw, glaring her brother down. That took him by surprise. He still remembered her as a meek little girl, an adoring sister who looked to her brother for guidance and advice.
“My name is Black, and that doesn’t work on me anymore. I wrote you a letter, Lucius, didn’t you read it? I know that bird I sent didn’t eat it.”
Lucius held her gaze for a moment, a deep sadness washing over his features, then he sighed.
“I read it. But Lyra, this was reckless… If you aren’t here to join us, you’ve endangered yourself and that child you’re carrying. I can’t keep them away from you forever.”
Lyra sighed, hanging her head. “Lucius… Don’t you think I know that?”
He held her gaze, his eyes questioning, trying to read her the way he used to.
“What did you foresee? It must be important, then.”
Lyra carefully sat on the bed, choosing her words carefully.
“Lucius… my vision… I’m having twins.”
His expression flitted between confusion and concern.
“And if you don’t help me, my son is going to die.”
It had been months. Sirius wanted to have hope. He wanted to believe that Lyra wasn’t dead. But if that were the case… How could it be that his wife and child had both been snatched for him in one fell swoop?
There was nothing left for him.
We named our daughter Ophelia, Lovetta had written to him, For Lyra…
Sirius wondered if she knew Remus was a spy. That’s what he suspected, anyway. He couldn’t imagine that Lovetta was in on it. But he also didn’t have the heart to tell her he thought so.
Sirius wondered if his baby would have been a boy or a girl. They would have been born by now…
Sirius wondered what to do. He had nothing left, and You Know Who was coming for his godson. James and Lily needed a Secret Keeper. Everyone expected him to do it. All eyes would be searching for him. Some might even try to kill him. At least then he would see his family. It seemed the perfect setup for a distraction.
Sirius knew exactly what to do.
Whew! Another short part, but that makes three in three days. It seems I'm on a roll... This is what happens when I have a paper I should be writing and two classes that have been cancelled for the week. Anyway, as usual, please, PLEASE leave a comment if you liked this part. Radio silence is extremely discouraging. Anyhoo, what do you think? We're entering angst territory now... Theories? Questions? Remarks? Let me know!
Chapter 27: Avada Kedavra
One Year Ago
Sirius was missing the birth of his children. That was the only thing Lyra could focus on through the pain. To save their son, she had to put Sirius through a world of hurt. But this was what he would want… wasn’t it?
Lucius was smoothing her hair, like he used to do when she was ill as a child.
“Lyra, what do you want to name your children?” he asked softly. It was as if they both knew things were about to head downhill from here. Lucius could no longer use his niece and nephew as an excuse to keep her safe. The Death Eaters wouldn’t care that she was his sister. She was a Blood Traitor and an Order member first and foremost.
Lyra grabbed Lucius’ wrist. “My son…”
He didn’t react.
“What do you want to name them, Lyra?”
She closed her eyes tightly. “When your precious Dark Lord is defeated… Sirius will name them. Tell him… tell him Remus and Lovetta are their godparents…”
Lucius seemed displeased with this. “Lyra-”
“I don’t want to follow that stupid Pureblood tradition, Lucius…” She laughed dryly. “If you can’t stop yourself from naming them, at least don’t give the girl my name as her middle name.”
He couldn’t hide a small smile, though it was shrouded in sadness.
“The Dark Lord is on his way.”
Lyra should have been scared, but she was merely resigned.
“I knew this would happen eventually,” she said. “My son, Lucius… please… Don’t let him near my son…”
Lucius said nothing. There was a small crack, and a house-elf Lyra didn’t recognize appeared.
“What is it?” Lucius snarled.
“The Dark Lord, Master Lucius, he is here…”
His message delivered, the elf disappeared once more.
“Lucius, please,” Lyra begged, her composure dissolving. “Anything you have to do… please…”
But her brother said nothing. He merely stood, and left the room, carrying her children away with him.
The dungeon floor was as cold and damp as ever. An ever-present chill clung to her bones, sending shivers along her spine. When she was a child, this place was off limits. Now, she understood well why that had been.
Pain was a familiar companion, these days. The Death Eaters loved their Cruciatus curse. Voldemort loved to try to break her mind. And Lucius… well, Lyra thought he still loved her. She didn’t know what he had done about her son. No one seemed to know about him, in fact, to Lucius’ credit. It seemed congratulations were in order not long after, however, when someone told her of his child. Bellatrix, probably. The loveable cousin-in-law was terribly fond of gloating about how Draco would turn out much better than her rotten-apple, Blood Traitor spawn of a daughter. Lyra knew she was all bluff. Bella would be more than happy to raise the girl because her blood was “pure”, so long as she was able to fill her little mind with Blood Purist ideals.
Rare was the day when Lucius visited. He didn’t want to see what the others did to her. How sweet. But Lyra looked forward to those visits. She wanted to ask how her daughter was doing… if Lucius has gone ahead and named her something hideous. She never asked about her son. The less she knew, the better, and if Lucius was hiding him, it wouldn’t do to be overheard.
Today, she had a different question. Something far worse to ask. She didn’t know if Lucius would be able to do it, or willing, for that matter.
The dungeon door creaked open. Lyra knew by the soft light that her brother who had arrived. The others didn’t care about slowly inching her senses from darkness to light, but he did. Keeping his wand down, Lucius slowly came over to her.
“Lucius,” she whispered.
Lyra weakly sat up, the remnants of throbbing pain echoing through her body.
“Lucius… I know that Voldemort-” Lucius hissed softly, reprimanding her like he did when she said something out of line as a child. It was both endearing and annoying. “Voldemort is going to come to torture me himself. I can’t… I know I’m not strong enough to resist him…”
His face, normally unreadable, was written with grief.
“Lucius, please… you have to kill me.”
Her brother recoiled at the suggestion. He made to argue, but she cut him off.
“Please… I know you won’t help me escape. This is the only way to protect my family…”
“I am your family!” Lucius said firmly.
Lyra gave him a long, sad look. “Oh Lucius…”
“Do you know how it felt when you left?” he snapped, his composure beginning to slip. “I loved you! You were my sister, and you betrayed me!”
“What, by refusing to treat other magical people as lesser because they weren’t born to magical parents?” Lyra countered. “That’s a betrayal of faulty ideals, not of you.”
“I couldn’t even mourn that you had gone,” Lucius said. “I was supposed to hate you. Mother expected it. Father expected it. And I wanted to hate you.”
They looked into each other’s eyes for a long moment before Lucius whispered, “I wanted to hate you, Lyra… but I couldn’t. You may be a Blood Traitor, but still, I could only see you as my dear little sister…”
Lyra found herself reaching out to him, reaching out to the brother she had once adored, wondering if that person was still in there somewhere. She rested her hand on his arm.
“Lucius… I am both. I am what you would call a Blood Traitor, and I am also your sister. And as your sister… I am begging you… let me die on my terms. I will not be made an example of by your Dark Lord.”
His eyes were so full of pain and anger - anger that she was asking him to do this.
“I’m no Gryffindor, Lucius,” Lyra whispered. “I’m terrified… but I am a Slytherin. And I will do anything for those I love.”
“Do you no longer love me?” he asked, his voice faint. “That you would ask me to do this speaks to your hatred…”
“No, Lucius… I don’t hate you. I pity you.”
Silence hung between them like a curtain of lead, heavy and stifling. The two siblings’ gaze fell to Lucius’ wand, before meeting once more.
“I’m a coward too, Lyra,” he whispered. “I cannot do what you ask. The Dark Lord would know…”
Lyra felt tears falling, tears she hadn’t even known were there.
“Tell him I attacked you. That I gave you no choice… Please… For me.”
“It has to be you.”
Lucius cupped her face tenderly, his normally collected facade beginning to crumble.
“For you… dear sister…”
Lyra breathed a soft sigh of relief, steeling herself for what was to come.
It seemed like an eternity before she heard her brother’s trembling breath.
Chapter 28: A Traitor in Our Midst
Remus held his daughter in his arms. She was so tiny… Her sweet face, full of innocence, she was completely oblivious to what he’d done to her. Simply by being her father, he’d condemned her to a terrible fate. It had been a heartbreaking realization for Remus and Lovetta, that their condition had passed down to their daughter.
“I’m so sorry, Ophelia…” he murmured to her. The little baby simple giggled and grinned at him, not a care in the world.
“You don’t have to apologize to her, you know…” came his wife’s soft voice from the doorway.
Remus looked up to see her standing there in her pjs, messy hair and sleepy eyes. Lovetta walked over to him and rested her head on his shoulder, looking down at their child together.
“When did you get home?” she murmured. His spy work for the Order had been keeping him away for longer periods of time as of late.
“Just a moment ago,” he replied. “I wanted to see her face… I thought I’d just peek in, but she was awake.”
“She always knows when you get home,” Lovetta said. “I dunno how… some sort of weird daughter’s sense, I suppose.”
Remus chuckled slightly at that, but he still felt too somber to engage in the banter, and Lovetta noticed.
“Rem, what’s wrong?” she asked. “I know there’s something bothering you.”
He sighed and set Ophelia back in her crib when she yawned. He never talked about Order matters in front of her, no matter how young she was. Lovetta took his hand and led him into their little living room. She sat him down on the couch and curled up in his lap, just the way she used to do when they studied in the Room of Requirement back at Hogwarts.
“What’s up?” she asked softly, running her fingers through his hair. “You look tired, Moony… and not in the lack of sleep way.”
Remus put his hand over hers. “It’s this spying business… It’s wearing me down, Di…”
Lovetta rested her head on his shoulder. “I know…”
There was still something bothering him, but he didn’t dare say.
He looked down at her.
She knew him too well.
“It’s… Sirius. I think… I think he’s betrayed us, Lovetta.” Even saying it out loud made him feel sick.
Lovetta sat up to look at him her voice hushed, but urgent.
“Remus, are you certain?”
He felt himself tearing up.
“They know things on the other side, Vetta, that’s why James and Lily are marked by You Know Who… The people there have begun to trust me less and less, like somebody had told them I’m not who I claim to be… and I’ve just heard someone told him they can find out the location. Sirius asked to be their Secret Keeper.”
“We have to tell someone, Remus!”
“But I don’t know for certain! And Dumbledore is difficult to find these days. We can’t trust anyone but him.”
Lovetta suddenly looked weak and pale, as if she’d just had a horrible thought.
“You don’t think that…”
“You don’t think that he… did something to Lyra?”
Remus felt the blood drain from his face. “If she found out about his betrayal…”
Lovetta covered her mouth. “She didn’t just ‘go missing’, did she? He turned her over to the Death Eaters…”
Remus wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly.
“We have to assume they know I’m a spy… They’ll be after our family…”
Lovetta nodded quickly, holding him just as tightly.
“We have to write Dumbledore at once.”
Lovetta pored over her books. Nowadays, there were several subjects she wished she had paid more attention to at Hogwarts. Still, the best she could do now was study spells and practice. Remus told her she was becoming more reckless, especially in light of the circumstances. Begged her to think of their daughter. She reminded him that one of their best friends was missing, likely dead, two others were in hiding, marked by He Who Must Not Be Named himself, and the final one, suspected of being a traitor, was their Secret Keeper. He couldn’t expect her to sit idly by.
Remus was out, on some Order business. He hadn’t bothered to specify. Lovetta always missed him when he was gone. It wasn’t that she was afraid to be alone, though it did make her uneasy. When Ophelia began to cry from the other room, Lovetta sighed and stood, setting her books aside. It was times like these that she couldn’t help but feel hopeless. What kind of world was this for her daughter to grow up in, filled with war and darkness? It seemed like the temperature had dropped ten degrees just from her bitter thoughts.
Wait. No. The temperature really had dropped. Ice was spreading over the windows. These horrible feelings weren’t her own.
“Ophelia…” Lovetta breathed. She took off running to the nursery.
When she opened the door, sure enough, that horrible hooded figure hovered over her daughter’s crib.
Its head (Did these things technically have heads?) snapped towards the sound the sound of her voice. Instantly, the feelings of dread amplified tenfold. Ophelia cried louder. Lovetta’s hand was shaking as she raised her wand. There was a spell… that important spell… but the dementor’s power seemed to have drained it from her, along with her happiness.
The dementor hovered closer.
A weak sliver of silver shoved at the dark form. It seemed rather unimpressed.
The sound of the front door slamming open drew its attention.
“Lovetta!” It was Remus. He must have figured out that something was wrong.
“Remus, it’s in the nursery!” she shouted, trying not to take her attention off of her spell.
But it was no use. The silver shield sputtered out, and the creature turned back to the crib.
Lovetta threw herself between the dementor and her daughter.
“Lovetta!” Remus shouted, throwing the door to his home open so forcefully that it hit the wall. As soon as he realized a dementor had been set after his family, he Apparated home as fast as he could. He could sense the protective charms had been undone, no easy feat with Lovetta’s skill.
“Remus, it’s in the nursery!” he heard her cry back.
He ran to the stairs as fast as he could.
“Lovetta!” he called desperately.
Remus was stopped cold in the doorway by what he saw.
It’s true what they say. A Dementor’s kiss is unbearable to watch.
The charm that he somehow managed to produce drove the creature away, but it was too late. He had been too late.
November 1st, 1981
The Boy Who Lived. It was on every newspaper. Last night, The last two people Remus trusted and loved had died. But not their children. That’s right, children. It seemed everyone had forgotten about Harry Potter’s twin, Rachel. She had survived too, Dumbledore had told the Order, but there was no mention of her anywhere in the papers. He supposed it would be for the best. Magical folk everywhere would be hounding that poor boy. At least the girl would be spared.
The war was over, but it was too late. Too late to save Lovetta. Too late to save Lily and James. Too late to save Peter. Lyra’s body had been found last night as well. It seemed she had died just two nights ago. Lucius Malfoy had been quick to claim he’d been Imperiused. He told everyone how Lyra had died protecting the Potters. She had refused to tell the Dark Lord where she suspected they might hide, or where her husband, the Secret Keeper, might run. Her efforts, however noble, Lucius mourned, were all rendered useless when Sirius Black betrayed her and gave up James and Lily.
Lucius had appeared on Remus’ doorstep earlier in the morning with a baby in his arms, unable to hide his disdain.
“Malfoy.” Remus didn’t buy the Imperius claim.
“Lupin,” he said in return. It seemed he was struggling to hide his disdain. “It was Lyra’s wish… that you be named godfather to her child.”
Now that caught Remus by surprise.
“Her child… Her child survived?”
Lucius nodded. “She begged me to save her.”
“And I’m the godfather?”
The other man nodded again. There was a pause, then, he handed the baby over.
“Her name is Elara. Elara Lyra… Black.” He spat the last word.
“No,” Remus shook his head. “She can’t grow up with a traitor’s name… Until she’s old enough to understand, she’ll have my name.”
Lucius nearly sneered, but managed to stamp it down.
“If you insist…”
Remus met his eye, not backing down.
“I insist. Good day, Lucius.”
With that, the man Disapparated.
Remus looked down at the child in his arms. Elara. Lucius had definitely named her.
“I’m so sorry, my dear…” he murmured. “You’re a child of war, you and Ophelia… It isn’t fair.”
He would protect his children from the world. He would protect them from the truth.
So... What did we think? That's it for our Marauders! Next up will be our intro to the Lightning Gen... Which leads me to my next question... Should I make it a separate book or continue on this story? Let me know what you think!
Also, I feel it's important to mention, this last chapter may seem abrupt and leave you with questions - that's because it's meant to! I promise, these questions will be answered in the sequel and some things that seem out of the blue now will be elaborated on in flashbacks. This is not the last you will see of Lovetta!
Chapter 30: The End!
That's the end of this Story! To find out what happens, read the sequel Time Will Tell here! Thank you all so much for reading, double thanks to those who gave kudos or bookmarked, and a million, million thank yous to everyone who commented and encouraged me! I hope you'll enjoy the next story just as much, and will give it just as much love as this one! That's all, folks.