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Chapter 13 Secrets, Promises, and Lies Although Claire and Ande had never been forced into a one-on-one battle with a werewolf before, being students at a school dedicated to teaching such people had taught them to be prepared. Thinking quickly, both girls whipped off their cloaks and hurled them at the beast as he leaped. The clothing engulfed the wolf for a brief moment as he fell to the ground and struggled, ripping and snarling. “Transform!” Claire yelled. Remus broke free from his prison of robes and turned to make his second charge, confident that he wouldn’t miss again. But this time, a six-hundred pound horse barred his way. The mare reared and snorted while she stomped her monstrous hooves on the ground as a warning. The wolf stopped, sniffed the neighing mare and the smaller fox and then halted its attack. James’ tail was erect in alarm and Sirius began growling. Lupin, as if sensing the need for his presence to be gone, jogged back down the hole, leaving the grounds once again peaceful, that is, until everyone was able to talk again. Fur, tails, and claws melted away, leaving five angry teenagers to stare each other down. “Would someone like to tell me what the bloody hell you two think you’re doing out here?!” James bellowed at his cousins. “Us?!” screamed Claire, “What about you? And you’re mad at us for keeping our being Animagi from you? Oh, you’ve got some nerve-” “And how come you’ve never told us Remus was a werewolf?” Ande cried, “No wonder he’s been so upset by these attacks! We could have helped!” Sirius was just as furious as the rest of them and leapt into the fray. “You stay out of this! You shouldn’t even be here. We come here to help him through this night, and now you’ve gone and buggered it up!” “I don’t even know what ‘buggered’ means so I’m going to ignore that!” said Ande. “Okay, everyone shut up!” James yelled. They glared at one another and, from all the way in Hogsmead, a piercing howl split the air. Without his animal friends, the werewolf was once again on a rampage throughout the Shrieking Shack. “We don’t have time for this. You two better just sod off before one of us bites you instead of Remus. And if you tell anyone about this, I’ll-” “You’ll do what?” Ande snarled. James scoffed at her. “Just piss off!” “Fine!” The sisters grabbed their slightly damaged cloaks from the cold grass, turned on their heels, and stomped off. In a matter of moments, they disappeared beneath them and made their way back to the castle. The boys were still fuming but the cold air was starting to nip at them and it cooled their tempers only slightly. Peter was the only one who hadn’t said anything and finally spoke up. “Well, this is okay, isn’t it? Don’t they like werewolves?” No one answered. Sirius kicked the ground in anger and then stomped back over to the tree. “Come on,” he muttered, “Moony’s waiting.” The next morning, James, Sirius, and Peter tried to think of every excuse to keep them from going to breakfast, but a full night of running and playing worked up an appetite. In the end, they decided to go down and face the music. They were some of the last to enter the Great Hall, but everyone was too absorbed in food and conversation that they failed to notice the boys’ entrance; that is, except for two sisters. “Why, hello Prongs,” Ande cooed as the boys were seated. “Don’t get smart,” he snapped at his cousin. “You’re the ones that are out of bounds here. You could have gotten us all expelled last night.” “Expelled?!” cried Claire. “You could have gotten us eaten!” Some students turned at the sound of raised voices and the teens huddled together to keep their conversation secret. They continued in whispers. “Why didn’t you ever tell us he was a werewolf?” questioned Ande. “Because you didn’t need to know,” growled Sirius, “He’s our friend, not yours, and you had no right to go sticking your noses in other peoples’ business.” “It’s everyone’s business when a monster is running around.” “So now Moony’s a monster?” James replied angrily, “What happened to werewolf sympathy and werewolf rights?” Ande glared at him. “Don’t turn us into hypocrites. We believe just as strongly in that stuff as our father, and so does Dumbledore.” The boys’ expressions softened at the mention of Dumbledore’s name. “He allowed Remus entry into this school because he believed he could take the necessary precautions to both keep his students safe and provide Remus with a sound education. And you put all that at risk every time you go out and decide to have a little fun." The mail arrived, and letters and parcels plopped into people’s waiting hands. An especially large party of owls approached the staff table. Nearly three dozen roses, and twelve boxes of expensive chocolates, and a large, pink envelope. All were addressed to “My Love, Christopher” and were from “Your Lucius.” As soon as the gifts were delivered, the pink letter opened itself and broke into a deafening ballad of sappy lyrics: “Kelpies are cool and Kneazles are neat, but when it comes to my heart you cannot be beat.” Before the card could utter another syllable, Mahadeo set the card on fire with a flick of his wand. The song died away as it sputtered out, “Roses are red and phoenix are too.” The laughter only died down when Dumbledore reminded the students that they had to eat so that they could get to class on time. Mahadeo swept out of the Great Hall and the few people that were still giggling quickly stopped for fear that the Potions master would deduct a billion points from their house if he caught them laughing. “Wait for me my love!” Lucius shouted as he leapt from his seat and raced after his teacher. “I must-” What he must do, they never found out. Horrified by her boyfriend’s behavior, Narcissa had said “Stupefy” and rendered him unconscious. Crabbe and Goyle picked him up by one arm each and the group of seventh-year Slytherins left the hall with their breakfasts unfinished. “You know, we’re the ones who did that to Malfoy,” Claire said proudly, wiping a tear from her eye. “I would have thought the love potion would have worn off by now since it’s been a week but I’m glad it didn’t.” James' eyes darkened and fought hard not to laugh at Lucius and keep his game face on. “You just can’t keep your nose out of anyone’s business, can you? Maybe you should go join Snivellus. He’s always dying to stick his big old beak into our business too,” James spat. Ande looked deeply offended. Loading her plate with more food, she turned her attention away from the boy and started to eat. Claire wasn’t going to simply let such rudeness drop. From the way she saw things, it was her and her sister who had the right to be mad, not the other way around. “Don’t snap at us. You guys are the ones who have been keeping things from us. In one night we find out that you all are Animagus, that you sneak out of the castle every month, and that Remus is a werewolf. How much else would we have found out if we’d hung out any longer last night?” Claire hissed, making sure to keep her voice down so that no one around them would hear. “How can we trust you if you keep such big secrets from us?” “How can we trust you?” Sirius shot back. “How are we supposed to do anything without wondering if you two are snooping around?” This comment brought Ande back into the conversation. “We weren’t ‘snooping.’ We found out by accident.” “Oh, so I suppose you accidentally snuck out late at night and then unintentionally put on your invisibility cloaks to secretly spy on Moony,” Sirius responded, sarcasm dripping from his voice. “It wasn’t like that,” Claire defended. “Then what was it like?” asked James. “Dumbledore gave us permission to use the library late at night for research. We accidentally stayed a bit late and on our way back to our common rooms we heard people coming. When we peeked out to see who it was we saw Remus with Madam Pomfrey. We wanted to know what he was doing so we followed him out to the Whomping Willow,” Ande explained. James, though clearly amused by the whole ordeal, put his game face back on. “Oh please! What would you have done, James, if you saw one of your friends, who was supposed to be sick in the hospital wing, up and about and heading out to the grounds secretly at night?” “I wouldn’t have gone sneaking around, that’s for sure,” James responded. Both girls looked at doubtfully at him. James groaned and ground his teeth. “Oh all right, I would have done precisely what you two did. But I’m still angry. Who’s to say that you won’t go blabbing it around the school?” “That’s ridiculous,” Claire retorted. “What are we going to say? ‘Hey Dumbledore, you know how you were nice enough to give us a pass to stay out late? Oh, well we decided to use it to find out that Remus is a werewolf. You have obviously worked hard to keep this a secret, but we just wanted to show you how blatantly irresponsible and untrustworthy we are. And by the way, I know Sirius and James are our friends but we have some unexplainable urge to get them into trouble so we have loads to tell you about them too.’” “All right already, we get it. Now would you leave us alone so we can eat our breakfasts,” James said. The two sisters huffed and turned to talk to Lily. James smiled with satisfaction. He was actually curious to know what sort of research was important enough that Dumbledore would give the girls a pass to stay up after the curfew but he had decided to remain stubbornly angry with them. He picked his fork back up off of the table and resumed eating his syrupy pancakes. Peter looked at his watch and then said, “Hey, you guys, Defense Against the Dark Arts is in a few minutes we better get going to class.” James’ grin widened, his thoughts still floating around the possibilities for his friend’s future. “Class... right...” Claire and Ande’s day went from bad to worse. Because of the argument with the boys they hadn’t had the chance to look at the latest copy of the Weekly Watchdog. When they got into Potions class they sat in the back, as they usually did, and unrolled the thick periodical. On the front page was a large picture of their father. He had bags under his eyes and seemed to be under a lot of stress. In his last letter to the girls, he had told them not to worry about him but from everything they had seen in the papers they couldn’t help but do otherwise. The entire article that day was about the controversy surrounding him due to the werewolf crisis in America. They were interrupted from reading by Professor Mahadeo. “Today you need to make mental dexterity potions,” he said, then added, “Except for you two. You need to make me the antidote to that love potion you made.” As he said this he glanced over to Lucius who was currently chained down in his seat. The students decided to listen to Mahadeo because he had been very testy for the past week. They searched around the room for the proper ingredients but found their professor’s store to be lacking. “Professor, er, you don’t have any Runespoor eggs,” Melissa said. “Then go find some,” Mahadeo said. “Where?” the confused Ravenclaw asked. “Don’t be like that,” Mahadeo replied, obviously under the impression that the seventh-year was feigning ignorance just to be difficult. “Go find a Runespoor and collect its eggs. It’s all straight forward.” “No it’s not! What are you talking about?” an annoyed Slytherin demanded. Melissa furthered the argument saying, “Runespoors are almost solely found in Burkina Faso in unplottable forests. How are we supposed to find any?” “Don’t ask me. It’s not part of my job to know that,” the daft professor said. The students decided it was better to just do whatever they wanted and forget about making the potion. Claire and Ande did the same; they decided to write another letter to their father. They pushed their cauldron out of the way and pulled out some parchment. Ande wetted the tip of her quill and began the epistle. The two girls conversed quietly, trying to decide what they wanted to say to their father. They resolved to keep the tone of the letter light to try to cheer him up. They laughed at the disaster of the first and only Quodpot game, told him how well Quidditch practices were going, and mentioned that they were making progress in Transfiguration (on Wednesday the picture frames they were changing into frogs actually started hopping around and croaking though they hadn’t changed much in appearance). Just then, Mahedeo ambled over. “And just what do you think you’re doing? Doing other people’s work in my class, I see.” “What?” questioned Claire, “We’re doing our work in your class.” “Fine then. And since you are so clever at love potions, begin working on an antidote the remainder of this period to cure your classmate. Begin!” They glared at their retreating professor but could not help being amused as they looked at Lucius. He had been tied to his chair and instead of doing his work, was trying to shift his chair closer to Mahadeo’s desk. In the end, the twins sighed, cleared away their things, and started on their antidote. The minuscule task took a matter of minutes to concoct. Lucius was cured instantly, and he almost had to be restrained once more so that he didn’t curse Claire and Ande for their joke. The bell rang, and everyone hurried to leave the dungeons as quickly as possible since Mahedeo had a habit of forgetting to give them homework at the end of class, but he did get the last word in. “Oh yes, and girls, do you need any more ingredients for that secret potion you’re working on?” Claire and Ande froze then looked up at their teacher in a mixture of horror and disbelief. Their faces reddened as all eyes turned to them. How could he have mentioned that in front of the whole class? “No, we’re fine,” Claire said hastily, hoping he would drop it there; no such luck. Their interest peaked, the girls’ classmates voiced questions about the mysterious potion the girls were working on. When asked what the potion was supposed to do, the half-witted professor unwisely answered. “It’s some sort of potion to control werewolves,” he answered, bungling the details. A gasp of shock rippled like a wave through the class. With eyes widened in terror, Ande said, “That’s not what it does!” Her words went unheeded. Rumor flew through the class before the girls could do anything to stop it or correct it. Claire and Ande composed themselves and brushed passed their classmates into the hall, trying to ignore the prickling whispers that were all ready spreading. As they wound through the dungeon corridors on their way to lunch they ran into someone. Both girls were yanked aside out of the passing students. “I wonder if I might have a word?” said a overly sophisticated voice. Before them stood a woman of average height dressed in black, and who had a bright red scarf tied over her raven-black hair. Her narrow eyes were extremely pronounced since the mascara had been piled on in several layers, and she was very tan. Ande was still a little startled but responded, “And you are?” The woman swooned with a hand to her forehead as if about to faint from sorrow. “How silly of me. My name is Jackie Sparrow, and I am one of the most prestigious journalists of the Daily Prophet.” The girls mumbled in recognition. After what had been happening with their father the last thing they wanted to do was talk to a reporter. Their attempt to escape was foiled, however, when Jackie grabbed them each by the arm again. The twins turned and the Prophet reporter smiled at them. Claire and Ande hoped desperately that they hadn’t been recognized as the daughters of Henry Moon. “I’m sorry to keep you, but I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a few questions,” Sparrow said. “We really have to get to lunch,” Ande said, trying to politely excuse herself. “It will only take a moment,” the reporter replied. She pulled a quill from her hair where it had been placed as a pretty ornament. The girls resigned to Jackie’s will and the three of them went into an empty classroom at the left side of the corridor. “Okay,” continued Sparrow, “I hear it’s been very strange here recently.” Claire looked at her nervously, “How do you mean?” “With the message from Death Eaters, and the curfew, and Aurors patrolling the hallways,” Jackie explained. “Well, it was a little odd at first but-” “Wait just a moment,” interrupted the reporter, “You have an accent. You two wouldn’t happen to be the exchange students from America would you?” Ande turned a shade paler as she quietly said, “Yes.” “You’re father is the Minister of Magic in America,” Jackie exclaimed excitedly. “Do you believe the rumors that he has been aiding the werewolves behind the attacks instead of arresting them?” Claire’s face turned scarlet, this time in anger not embarrassment. Now that she and Ande knew that Remus was a werewolf, they felt stronger than ever about treating werewolves fairly. “Of course I believe that he would be helping those people. It’s not their fault that they’ve been attacking people. Someone is making them do it,” she said through gritted teeth. “I quite agree,” said Jackie, “But there aren’t many other people out there who would.” “There are plenty of people at our old school,” Ande said, letting her temper get the better of her. Sparrow gripped her quill more tightly and she said, “Can you tell me where you’re school is? I would like to get their opinion on this subject as well. The Daily Prophet hasn’t been reporting widely on these events so readers in England don’t know much about the subject, except for what they might catch from foreign newspapers.” “We have to go to lunch now,” Ande said flatly to end the discussion. She and Claire left their seats and quickly walked out of the classroom. Sparrow didn’t follow after them but they saw her again when they got to lunch. She was in the cafeteria taking interviews with other students. They were quite relieved when Dumbledore told her to leave. She didn’t object because apparently she had already gotten all the information she wanted. Saturday morning was filled with tense silence. James had been planning Gryffindor’s practice for that morning, but when he heard the news of his cousins, he couldn’t concentrate anymore. “Blasted Mahedeo,” James growled and his grip on his utensils tightened. “If he hadn’t opened his gob-” “Yeah, well he’s not our only concern,” muttered Ande as she pushed her eggs around on her plate. “We’ll have the entire Ministry breathing down our necks once that Sparrow woman prints her interview.” Sirius shook his head, “Come on now. There’s no proof that she’ll act on what she heard yesterday. I mean, the Daily Prophet is the most dominant paper in England. It won’t have one of its reporters basing its knowledge on a rumor going around a school.” Lupin had revived himself earlier that morning and had wandered down to eat in time to hear the bad news. In light of yesterday’s events, Claire and Ande were on the receiving end of some hideous glares and some less than courteous practical jokes. Before breakfast, Claire had discovered the head of a toy wolf draped over her bed, the fluffy contents strewn across her dorm. And Ande too, had awoken to a banner hanging across the Ravenclaw bulletin board with a depiction of a crude werewolf gnawing on her stick-figure’s head. Now the girls were silent, and picked at their breakfast as if it were their last meal. Their friends could do little to cheer their mood, and so they left them to their own thoughts. Mostly, however, they did not want to be caught in the crossfire and go down with the sinking ship. Suddenly, the air was alive with the fluttering of wings. It didn’t take long for the twins’ moods to sink lower, however. In bold type on the front page was: “Student Ties to Werewolf Terror.” Their eyes all sank lower to the article below which read: “At the start of school term, our own Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry welcomed two American exchange stu- dents through its doors. I had the privilege of speaking with these bright young girls, Claire and Andrea, who are none other than the only daughters of America’s Minister of Magic, Henry Moon. Upon inquiring about the most recent events occurring at their school, the students were more than courteous to enlighten me. In partnership with Albus Dumbledore, the girls have made it known that they are currently working on a potion to affect were- wolves during the full moon. “Albus allows my students to run amuck whenever they please. He even works with Claire and Andrea on their secret experiments,” says Christopher Mahedeo, Potions Master at Hogwarts. Lucius Malfoy, current Head Boy, also added, “They get special privileges that even the Prefects aren’t allowed, and they spend hours in the restricted section in the library, researching the Dark Arts.” Could Claire and Andrea Moon have some part in the recent Dark Arts schemes that have been baffling our Ministry? Before I departed for the day, the sisters left me with this comment: “There are plenty of people at our old school...attacking people.” The girls sat open-mouthed, shaking with rage and grief. “How dare she!” Claire exclaimed, “Those weren’t our words at all! That lousy-” “Wait until I get my hands around Malfoy’s neck,” growled James maliciously. “Forget Grease-Head,” Sirius snarled, “I can’t believe Mahedeo went on the record and dragged Dumbledore’s name through the mud.” They weren’t the only ones to read the article. Loud gasps were echoing around the hall, and students at the Gryffindor table who weren’t close to the girls scooted away nervously. The Slytherins, however, sniggered dryly as they read Jackie Sparrow’s article, basking in the harsh glow of every word. The worst attention came from the staff table though. Dumbledore’s cheeks were hollow and livid was a shallow emotion compared to the rage they saw boiling in his cool blue eyes. The Aurors, a few feet away, were congregating quietly and then suddenly rose after receiving a late letter. Much to the horror of James’ cousins, they marched down the steps, made their way down the aisle between the Ravenclaw and Gryffindor tables, and then halted directly before them. Dumbledore rose angrily and said, “Whatever your intentions, gentlemen, I can assure you that they are not only unnecessary, but dishonorable.” “You will let us decide that, Mr. Dumbledore,” said the first Auror thinly. He had the Daily Prophet clutched tightly in his fist and he glared at the girls before him who had stood as the men approached. “Claire and Andrea Moon, come with us. By order of Owen Riggs, Minister of Magic, you are under arrest.” Authors' notes: Thank you for your support! This chapter almost was never meant to be but your wonderful reviews have kept us going! So if you want to keep us alive... you know what to do...

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