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                                             changes.gif picture by KristenBlack

MarauderFan, this is for you. I dedicate my absolute favorite chapter in your honor becuase it contains your favorite character.

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“We could get in serious trouble, not to mention hurt. If this goes wrong, who knows what we’ll turn out like.”

“Now look who’s the chicken!”

“I am not going to turn into a bloody chicken!”

“Then stop acting like one!”

Kristen took a deep, calming breath. “Look, all I’m saying is that maybe we should wait a bit, make sure it came out right before we just take some beyond N.E.W.T. level potion that we just whipped together in our spare time.”

“Remus inspected it and he gave it a thumbs up,” James told her, already ladling some of the innocent looking potion into glasses.

“Remus is also just a fourth year like us,” Kristen reminded him, but she took her glass all the same.

James, Peter, Sirius, and Kristen were all sitting in the room of requirement. The potion was finally done, and Remus had only just left to go through the Whomping Willow. The boys had been hyper the entire day, eagerly awaiting this moment, and Kristen seemed to be the only one to question if they were doing the right thing. At least until the moment that they were all holding their glasses and sitting on that hard stone floor, then everyone seemed to be held in a state of semi-shock.

“You know, maybe Krissie’s right,” James said slowly, looking at his potion with apprehension.

“This could go seriously wrong,” Peter moaned, looking green.

“Oh, you all are a bunch of wimps, honestly!” Sirius protested, quickly abandoning his moment of hesitation. “We’re doing this for Remus. I mean, how much has the poor guy done for us? The least we can do for him is take some incredibly dangerous potion made by a bunch of fourth years.”

“Oh thanks Sirius, that makes me feel loads more comfortable about drinking it,” Kristen snapped at him, sill looking in horror at the dazzling white potion.

“We could all do it together,” James offered, looking as if he was speaking to the potion.

“Great! So if something goes wrong then we’re all incapable of getting help!” Kristen was near hyperventilating. Never had their pranks taken them this far.

“Like we would get help anyways, can you imagine the trouble we would be in?” Sirius told her.

“You really suck at the whole making me feel better thing!”

“It’s not my job sweet heart!” He snapped right back.

“Would you two just shut up!” Peter yelled at them, his green coloring becoming more pronounced.

“We told Remus that we would, we promised,” James said, as if that settled the entire matter for him. “On three, yeah? No questioning, no going back on it, just on three.”

Kristen reluctantly shook her head with the others, simply knowing that this would end badly. She watched as James took a deep breath and began. “One.” Kristen’s eyes darted around, looking for a sign from the others that would give a good enough reason to stop. “Two.” The others looked completely resolute. If they could do it, then so could she. “Three!” Out of panic, Kristen grabbed the closest hand that was next to her before throwing the potion down her throat.

“Well that was extremely anti-climatic,” James decided after a few moments of nothing happening. Everyone was looking at each other curiously, waiting for something, anything really, to happen. Kristen quickly let go of the hand she grabbed when she realized that it was Sirius’s, though he hardly seemed to notice. He was too busy trying to look at himself to spot some sign of difference.

“Maybe we did it wrong,” Peter said slowly.

“Should we take more?” James asked.

“Oh my God!” Kristen suddenly shouted, pointing at James’s head.

“What?” James asked quickly, swinging his head around and nearly hitting Peter with two giant antlers that had sprouted out through his hair.

“Look at your face!” Peter shouted next, turning to Kristen. She attempted trying to look at her own face, having to cross her eyes to do it, but was nevertheless able to see the whiskers that were appearing along her severely elongated and oddly colored nose.

“Get them off! Get them off!” She screeched, her eyes wide in fright.

Sirius, out of pure terror, reached for her face to grab them but suddenly realized that he no longer had hands, but paws instead. He began yelling hysterically and soon the room was filled with cries of horror as everyone began to realize the full extent of their changes. Peter was running in a frantic circle at the feeling of his tale, but was suddenly unable as his legs shrunk unexpectedly and he toppled over. James was having a very hard time as well as his arms were suddenly long and spindly and his torso was becoming very full. Kristen was too busy worrying about her face to even realize that a very bushy tail was quickly growing out of her backside.
* * *
Professor McGonagall was not having a good day, and her best friend was not making it any better, not by a long shot.

First, she’d already had to fail three different students, and she was only halfway through her daunting stack of tests. Second, she’d had to give detention to four Slytherin boys for trying to hex a couple of her first year students. Thirdly, the former problem led to a meeting with Horace, never a fun time in her books. And fourthly, the marauders had been completely absent from dinner, and surely nothing good could come from that.

Yes, it had been an extremely horrid day, and Albus was not doing a thing to help that.

“This has gone far enough!” She snapped at him, standing up angrily from the chair he had pulled up for her in his office. “She’s going to do something drastic if you don’t tell her soon! You don’t know her as well as I do Albus!”

“She has not mentioned it all term,” Albus told her calmly, his serene eyes gazing at her unnaturally ruffled form.

“Do you think that means she has forgotten?”

“Of course not. I simply believe it is not as much concern to her now as it use to be.”

“That is ridiculous! Kristen St.Claire is not one to let sleeping hippogriffs lie. My guess is that she’s planning something totally irrational to get her answers!”

“I would have seen it Minerva.” Albus reminded her.

“You doubt her ability, Albus, something you should know by now to never do,” Minerva told him harshly.

Albus winced slightly at the events she was implying but brushed it away. “I would know is she was planning on running away to find Tom, don’t worry.”

“Of course I don’t think she’s after you-know-who! My guess is that she’ll look in the completely wrong direction and get herself hurt! You need to tell her before that happens!”

“Do you wish me to strip her of any remaining innocence she has left? You know what I have to do once I tell her Minerva!” Albus suddenly lashed out on her, standing up as well.

“You don’t have to Albus! I just think you should let her know the truth before she finds out from someone else!”

“I will have to! Sacrifices are made in a war Minerva, this will be ours!”

“Sacrifices are not made in the form of fifteen year old girls!”

“Sacrifices are whatever helps the greater good!”

Minerva didn’t respond to that, but instead resolutely turned on her heel and walked out the door, slamming it behind her.

The Headmaster sighed heavily, stroking his beard in thought as he sat back down. Perhaps Minerva was right. Could he really justify sacrificing Kristen’s life for the greater good of this world? She was just a girl after all, still so young and full of life. She was practically a granddaughter to him by now; he spoke with her so often. She had become considerably more open with him, though still not as much as he would like. There were parts of her mind she absolutely refused to let him see, though he never knew if she was consciously aware of it.

But this war needed to be stopped, at absolutely any cost.

* * *
“My lord, you look upset.”

It was a young girl that inquired of him. She was only a year out of Hogwarts, and yet she was already one of his most devoted servants. She was so very beautiful too, and a Black, which only added to her splendor.

“I am not upset, Bellatrix, simply thinking.”

The girl smiled, obviously excited by his attentions. She reminded him so very much of another death eater he once had, but no, Bella would turn out different. He wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. “May I inquire as to what, my Lord?” She sounded hesitant, and flinched openly when he turned to look at her.

“Yes, you may. There is this young girl see, and she has been troubling me more and more as of late. You may know her.”

Bella’s eyes lit up with delight. “Oh my Lord, if you need me to do anything, I could capture her for you, or…or use the imperious…”

“I’m afraid that is quite out of the question. Not only is she at Hogwarts, but she is watched very carefully by that old fool that calls himself Headmaster.”

Bella’s eyebrows crinkled in confusion. “I don’t remember…”

“You were in your fifth year, I believe, when I first encountered her. Such an odd girl, so unlike any other mudbloods.”

“You speak of the filth my cousin Sirius runs around with?”

“Oh that girl is not filth by any means,” Voldermort told her, his fingers steepeling in a very Dumbledore like manner as he sat in his throne of a chair. “Never judge your enemies too quickly Miss Black, it’s a mistake I have made before and intend to never do so again.”

Bellatrix nodded eagerly, sitting by his feet and looking at him with an obvious reverence. “But, as you said my lord, she is a mudblood. What harm could she possibly do?”

“That is precisely what I am trying to figure out. She has become immensely skilled in Ocullemens, though she already had the natural gift when I met her.” Voldermort suddenly stopped his train of thoughts and looked at the girl that was kneeling reverently by his feet. “Go fetch Lucius, Bellatrix, quickly.”

The girl scampered out of the room hastily and left her master in silence that he much appreciated. He had never even considered this train of thought he was currently paying mind to. It was utterly ludicrous, a one in a million chance really. But he needed to figure out her secret. It was an unerring, fanatical wanting, something Tom had only experienced a few times in his life. It made him uneasy at times, yet the feeling of such power and thought made him feel…godly, and that wasn’t unpleasant in the slightest.

“You called for me master?”

Lucius was another young one, only a year out of Hogwarts as well. Pureblood, handsome, rich, and simply a right thinking young man, Voldermort knew he would do well in his service. “Yes, Lucius, come here. Bellatrix, stay out,” he instructed, the girl looking heart broken as she left the dramatically dark room behind her and shut the door. Lucius’s eyes shone with the lust for power that he could feel so close to him as he knelt beside his master. “Lucius, you knew Kristen St.Claire well, did you not?”

“Why, yes my Lord. In a lapse of judgment I agreed to take her to our Halloween Ball. That was when I believe you…possessed her.” Lucius sounded unsure of himself, not certain if that assumption would insult his master.

“Yes, though it ultimately failed.” Voldermort muttered softly, more to himself than anything. “Did she tell you much about herself?”

“I suppose. Her birthday is in late April; Her parents’ names are Harrold and Vanessa I believe; she has two younger sisters…”

“What about where she lives? Did she say much about that?”

Lucius smiled widely. They’d spoken of that often, usually in moments on planning a romantic way for her to escape from her house to be with him. “She lives just outside of Manchester, about two kilometers, actually, from Castlefield Centre. She lives in a very nice house apparently, surrounded by other muggles.”

Voldermort stroked his chin in slow thought, contemplating these words. “What did you say her parents’ names were again?”

“Harrold and Vanessa, my lord.”

Voldermort nodded, his mind in a strange limbo between relief, and exasperation. He was so ready, following that line of thought would have been easy, and finding out her secret at last would put him at ease when he next saw her. Still, he could not shake it. There was a very great possibility that names had been changed, even faces.

“Oh, wait,” Lucius suddenly interrupted his thinking, causing narrow eyes to glare viciously at him. Lucius did not notice though, as his own eyes were angled down as he contemplated what had suddenly come to mind. “Her mum’s name was Valerie, actually. Yes, Valerie, that was it.”

For what was possibly one of the first times in his life, Voldermort experienced the uncomfortable sense of breathlessness. He’d thought it possible; almost probable for a few moments, but now that it was adding up so well, he firmly wanted to believe it a lie. If it was true…if it was Valerie…why, all Hell would break loose. No, he must not lose control of himself. There were many women in the world named Valerie after all, and it the girl had had any sense she would have changed her name. It couldn’t be true; there was no possible way.
* * *
Bright stars twinkled merrily over the blooming summer grounds of Hogwarts. The moon was a ripe whole, and it shed its extraordinary light on the oddest-looking herd of animals that even a magic school had ever seen.

There was suddenly a great howl, echoing across the grounds. In unison, the animals all looked up, somehow recognizing the cry of pain from their friend. It prompted a tiny rat to scuttle underneath the flailing branches of a great tree and press his paws to a knot in its side, stopping its movement instantly and opening then disappearing through a hole at its base. Following him was a noble stag, looking incredibly awkward, almost as if it wasn’t quite sure how to use his legs yet. He made it through though, his prongs only getting caught once on a rebellious root.

This left only two animals out from under the tree. Of all of them, they were the two that could most easily be associated with each other under normal circumstances. One was a giant, shaggy black dog, his eyes sparkling mischievously as he sniffed the air, becoming accustomed to this new talent he had developed. The animal accompanying him was much smaller, but by no means did she have less hair. Her nose was long and rimmed with white, but her body and tail were red, save for the white underbelly, it purity marred only by seven, thin red lines.

She brushed against the dog, not yet able to communicate in any other way. He looked at the animal that was gazing at him in a way no animal could. That was the sole thing that convinced this was his best friend, as he was having a particularly hard time remembering himself or the others. He brushed off his wariness and began walking towards the hole under the tree, the fox right by his side. 

A/N: Okay, I fudged on some canon details in this one. It is stil their fourth year (and yet I'm at chapter 51) but it's the very, very end. Also, I'm going to warn you against looking too deeply into anything said in the chapter and to not go with your first instinct necessarily. Sorry again for the wait, school is killer this year but thanks so much for your continued support, it's what keeps me going. And here are your next quotes,
"Who cares if I date guys just because they’re cute?”
“Ethics! Morals or maybe a conscience!” Remus informed her.
“Well we don’t have those,” Sirius told him smugly.

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