James Potter was running as though his life depended on it.
It wasn’t only his life he was about to save, it was the life’s of many people, people that were going to be affected by an act of stupidity that Sirius Black had committed.
He raced down the corridor, trying not to trip down the stairs that he was taking two at a time. He glanced out of windows that he passed to check on the moon in the darkening sky, as though it would tell him something different each time he did.
Ten minutes, that’s all he could work out that he had at the most to save Snape’s life. Ten minutes before Remus Lupin would start his transformation process that could end in absolute terror.
He lost Peter on the fourth floor and hoped that he was going to catch up soon, but James knew that he would get there first; he had his long legs on his side.
He made it to the great doors that were the entrance of Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry that he had lived at for the past five years with his friends, not that any of them would be here any longer if James didn’t get across the field soon, and he darted out of them as he looked across the field.
He stumbled as he missed a step and tumbled down the stairs, landing on the gravel and feeling it cutting into his knees and hands which had stopped him from face planting onto the floor. He let out a loud cry of hurt and anger, at himself but even more at Sirius Black. He was going to blame this fall on him if he ever made it back in one piece.
Getting up quickly, James rubbed his hands through his messy raven black hair, feeling gravel falling onto his face, adjusting his glasses that had become askew. He darted off not caring that his knees were stinging and he could feel a warmth trickling down his leg; he ignored the idea that it could be his own blood.
He saw with great delight a figure by the massive tree that was guarding the entrance to where Remus Lupin was hidden. The Whomping Willow was aptly named as it hit anything that came anywhere near it with its long swinging branches, was planted in the school grounds when James had begun school. It was a precautionary measure that ensured that Remus Lupin was able to attend Hogwarts even though he was a werewolf.
Every month he was brought down to this tree that was guarding the entrance to the shrieking shack, situated in Hogsmeade, so he could transform safely away from anyone so he didn’t cause harm. This was meant to be a secret until Sirius started blabbing his mouth off to Severus Snape, who was once again sticking his big nose into things that weren’t his concern.
“Snape!” James yelled as he got closer to the tree, hoping to God that Snape didn’t find the right knot in the trunk of the tree that would make it immobile. The knot was the only way to gain access to the entrance, as the branches of the tree were able to keep anyone in or out of the hidden passageway, ideal for a werewolf that liked to venture around on the other side or nosey gits that equally liked to venture around and try to get to the other side.
Severus Snape ignored James’s call, whether through him not being able to hear him or not paying attention to him, eager to find out where exactly Remus Lupin kept disappearing month after month. They had given most people the story that Remus had a sick mother that he had to go and visit often, which almost everyone had bought, mainly because not everyone noticed that Remus was missing a few days a month. Many thought that he might be at the library studying or doing homework like he quite often was seen doing. But Severus would try and follow them, trying to listen to their conversations, eager to find out anything that could get them into trouble. Right now Severus was going to achieve his dream of getting them all expelled if James didn’t stop him.
He wished that Sirius Black, his best friend which at the moment was a very bold statement considering it was entirely his fault that James was risking his life to save someone else’s, was here fixing his mistake. He didn’t know where he was, he was hoping that either him or Peter was going to get Dumbledore in case James was too late.
No, he didn’t want to think like that. Seeing Severus finally hit the right knot, causing James’s heart to drop, before a dreaded scream that James had never heard his voice make gave James the burst of energy he needed to rush forwards, and slide through the passageway before the branches began waving around trying to stop him, which had begun to wake up once Severus had dropped the stick.
James stood up quickly, stumbling again as he tried to hear Severus in the tunnel, but he couldn’t hear anything. He rushed forwards, ducking a few times to avoid hitting his head on the low ceiling, hoping against hope that Severus wasn’t anywhere near where Remus was, hoping that Remus hadn’t transformed, hoping that Sirius wasn’t a complete jerk and had gotten Dumbledore.
James had made it inside the Shrieking Shack when he ran into Severus Snape; they both fell from the force of James rushing around. James hit his elbow on the bottom step, causing a pain to radiate through it; James grabbed his arm as he got up as fast as he could.
Severus was looking horrified and paler than normal.
“What is going on?” Severus demanded, his voice was shaking and James could only guess why. “What’s happening up there?”
Remus Lupin’s transformation had already begun, his screams were filling the entire house, the sound was giving James goose bumps as his heart lurched, and it sounded like the screams someone might make if they were being tortured. If he was screaming that meant that Severus must not have seen what Remus was transforming into, if he had made it up the stairs then maybe he would have realised what monster Remus was about to become. James needed to get them both out of here.
“We need to leave. Now!” James growled harshly, grabbing for Severus’s shoulders and pushing him back towards the tunnel they had just come from. The screams were getting louder and filled with more anguish.
“What is happening? That can’t be Lupin, it can’t,” Severus spluttered, his face was still pale and he looked like he might throw up. James knew what that felt like, every time he heard Remus transform it was everything he could do to stop himself from being sick. That much pain in one person wasn’t right, it shouldn’t be allowed. “What is he doing up there?” Snape made to walk up the stairs but James grabbed him and pulled him back, praying that Snape wouldn’t put up much of a fight and would leave the Shrieking Shack, there was no time for them to fight.
“Get out, just get out now. It’s not safe Snape.” James said grabbing still trying to push him, but he wasn’t moving. Why must he be so difficult, they were running out of time. A loud sound reverberated around the house as though long claws were dragging across the flooring above them, a garbled scream sounded again, before a low growl. James felt his stomach drop as he felt the predator above him begin sniffing around; it could smell the blood on James from where he fell.
“Go, go, go,” James hissed, knowing that they didn’t have much time. Severus this time rushed out of the tunnel, hunching over slightly, the sound had obviously terrified him enough to get him to move. James wanted him to hurry up, urging him to rush forwards, knowing that if Remus’s Werewolf form was on their heels then he would have no choice but to turn into a Stag and try to fight him back whilst Severus made a getaway, yet another secret that Severus would be able to use against them all.
Severus and James rushed out of the passageway and onto the field again as quickly as they could, each forgetting in their haste that the Whomping Willow hadn’t been frozen, branches came down swinging, knocking both James and Severus off of their feet and across the field. James landed on his back, knocking the wind and glasses off of him, thankful even through his pain that they had made it to safety.
He struggled to get the air back into him when he heard Severus stirring from across the way, he was struggling to get back on his feet, the tree must have winded him too. James tried to breathe in as deeply as he could, ignoring the pain shooting through him at the stitch in his side. James reached to the side of him and found his glasses lying on the grass near him, he placed them back on and his vision went clear again.
“What is going on?” Severus demanded as James sat up, groaning at the amount of pain he had gone through tonight. “What was happening to Remus in there? What was that thing at the end that sounded like some sort of dog?”
James was struggling to get his breath to calm down enough to talk; he knew it wouldn’t be long before Severus worked out just what was going on in the shrieking shack, not long before Snape thought about all of the accusations he had thrown at Remus and the others when they were ever alone. James hated that Snape had been right all along about Remus being what he was. The look on Severus’s face when he looked up at the sky, his lanky shoulder length hair being pushed out of his face as he seemed to be looking for answers, let James know that he had worked it out, he’s own assumptions that he had had for months were right.
“That’s a full moon,” Severus stuttered, before he looked over at the Whomping Willow that was still swinging its branches around, angry that they weren’t closer for it to hit them. “He’s a fucking werewolf. I knew it! I bloody well knew it, the signs were all there. If he gets out here then he’s going to destroy everything –“
“Snape calm down, it’s not what you think,” James tried to say to get him to calm down. “Remus isn’t like that.”
“Black sent me down here to get me killed by a bloody Werewolf,” Severus’s voice was getting louder, James hoped to god that no one was around to hear them, the dread was building in him at Sirius’s stupid reaction to Severus’s taunts to him, because of him everything was going to be ruined, Remus was going to get expelled, heck they all might be. “And you were in on it.”
“Now hang on a minute,” James said angrily, “I was not in on this; I just saved your fucking life.”
“You didn’t save my life, you felt guilty for what you had planned, had a change of heart when you realised that you’ll go to Azkaban for this.”
“That is not what happened.” James growled angrily, his fist’s balling up without him thinking, “Sirius told me what he said and I came down here to stop you.”
“To save yours, Black’s and Lupin’s skins!” Severus bellowed, his was shaking, whether through the shock of what could have happened catching up to him or through anger James wasn’t sure. It could have been a mix of both. “I’m going to make sure the whole school knows what you’re keeping locked up here and what you plan on doing. Unleashing your ‘monster’ on those you don’t like. You wait until I tell Dumbledore! You’ll be out of this school before your little pet has recovered.”
James was shaking with rage; he was going to punch Severus in the face. He took a few steps towards him. “If I didn’t care so much about what would happen to Remus and what he would have gone through, I would have bloody left you to get attacked.”
“Showing your true colours once again, I’m going to Dumbledore.”
“There’s no need for that,” came a calm cool voice from beside the two arguing teenagers. James and Severus both turned to look at Albus Dumbledore their headmaster looking at the two of them, a serious look on his face that caused both of them to stop fighting immediately.
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