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Lily and Peter hurried through the heavy oak doors and out into the gardens. Flitwick had conjured huge rosebushes there, and real, fluttering fairies shone like little jewels from the branches. The whole setting would have been quite romantic, with the trellises, the snow reflecting the fairy light, and the full moon, had there not been a massive dog with a freely bleeding head sprawled unconscious by one of the garden walls. Peter rushed over to Sirius (Lily was assuming Sirius was the dog, she could see how his eating habits would resemble those of a canine), and Lily conquered her immediate instinct to hurl at the sight of the crimson blood spreading across the white, snowy ground and joined Peter at the dog’s side. Peter mumbled a spell and tapped the dog’s head with his wand. Immediately the dog began to change, morphing in front of Lily’s own eyes to Sirius. The change was not comforting at all, seeing instead Sirius with a pool of blood around his head. Just then a rustling came from the bushes behind them, and Crystal, Tracy, and Erica emerged, Crystal’s robes having a large rip at the hem. “Lily? Peter? What’s going on? Where is… OH MY GOD!” Tracy pointed, seeing Sirius on the ground. “OH MY GOD!” she screamed again. Peter was trembling, Sirius definitely did not look good, and what’s more Tracy, Crystal and Erica would find out about their secret. Lily stood up and faced the girls. “Go quickly and fetch Madame Pomfrey! He’s losing a lot of blood!” She commanded them, and Erica and Crystal set off. Tracy, however, knelt at Sirius’s side. “What happened to him? Crystal and Remus were talking in the rosebushes, and Sirius, Erica, Peter, and I were eavesdropping. Then Crystal tripped over one of the bushes because her hem was caught. Erica and I were trying to get her untangled, and it was really hard to see because the fairy lights in these bushes had gone out. Then someone let out a howl, it sounded like, and then Sirius was shouting. Then we could here this big struggle, but we couldn’t see anything! Then Peter dashed out, then what sounded like James also started shouting. Then it was quiet. We were too scared, we were afraid to come out! What happened to Sirius??” Tracy asked again, after explaining the situation from her point of view. Lily paused for a moment, unsure of what to tell her as she held a wad of her dress robes against the wound on Sirius’s head. “Well, um, Peter was telling me that he thought it might have been, well,” She began to say, wanting to tell Tracy the truth, but deciding against it. “Well, we think it was some kind of animal who attacked Sirius, then dragged Remus and James off.” She lied quickly, and Peter nodded in agreement to support the first story that had popped into her head. Tracy’s eyes widened in horror. “Where do you think it took them?” she asked them in an awed, hushed voice as she held onto Sirius’s hand, which was very cold because of the snow. Lily thought hard, where would an animal take two of its prey?? “Forbidden Forest, most likely.” Peter answered for her, and Lily was surprised that Peter came up with such a good fib so quickly. Just then the sound of hurried footsteps reached their ears, and turning around the three of them saw Erica, Crystal, Madame Pomfrey, Professor McGonagall, and Dumbledore coming. The three adults looked very shocked by the sight that greeted them. Tracy was looking very distraught indeed, her eye makeup streaking her face from her tears. Peter was very white and had blood on his hands from trying to clean the number of cuts on Sirius’s arms and face. And Lily was covered in blood, using her robes to sop up blood still flowing from the deep gash along the side of Sirius’s head. “Where is our friend Mr. Lupin?” Dumbledore asked, his blue eyes very alert and serious. Lily and Peter could not come up with an answer for that, but Dumbledore had not been addressing them. Lily turned around and saw James limping towards them hurriedly, also covered in scratches. “He’s still in the forest.” James replied hoarsely as he held onto one of the trellises for support, his right leg shaking violently under his weight. Through his ripped robes Lily could see a long cut, oozing blood. James looked at the group around Sirius with apprehension, wondering how much Crystal, Tracy, and Erica had witnessed, and how much they knew. Lily answered the question for him, explaining what had happened to Dumbledore in the garden, involving a large animal attacking Sirius, Peter getting James for help, the large animal carrying James and Remus away, and Lily and Peter finding Sirius here. She did not mention Remus being a werewolf, nor the Marauders being Animagi. Dumbledore kept his penetrating stare on her as she spoke, and Lily knew he could see right through her story, but he simply shot a quick look at the moon before turned to McGonagall and Madame Pomfrey without any questions about the tale. “Poppy, Minerva, first take Mr. Black up to the hospital wing. Mr. Potter, Mr. Pettigrew, and Ms. Evans will come with me to my office. Mr. Lupin is safe now, and will return on schedule.” McGonagall and Madame Pomfrey looked surprised that Dumbledore was accepting Lily’s story, but both nodded and began to conjure stretchers and the like. “Ms. Turner, Ms. Aibee, and Ms. Roberts, you are free to return to the dance, or you may wish to proceed to your dormitories. I cannot allow you to accompany Mr. Black to the hospital wing, however, nor can I let you go into the forest to look for Mr. Lupin.” Dumbledore told them, as Tracy and Crystal’s mouths had begun to open in protest. “See you in the dormitory, Lils.” Erica told her as the other girls set off, Tracy still teary eyed and Crystal trying to walk in her ripped robes. Lily nodded to acknowledge she had heard, but felt too tired or too overwhelmed to say anything in reply. Professor McGonagall and Madame Pomfrey floated the stretcher carrying Sirius up towards the castle, leaving Dumbledore, James, Peter, and Lily alone in the garden. “Shall we step inside?” Dumbledore asked them, looking polite but very wary at the same time. They too began the walk towards the castle, Lily feeling very nervous about going to the headmaster’s office. Her nervousness was temporarily abandoned and replaced by curiosity and interest upon entering the truly magnificent circular room. She was intrigued by the sparkling, whirring silver objects on the desk, and the many snoozing portraits of old heads. Dumbledore’s voice brought her back to the present situation, and her nerves. “It seems like there is a very odd coincidence that Mr. Black is attacked by an animal, an animal that then drags Mr. Potter and Mr. Lupin into the Forbidden Forest when there is a full moon out, meaning Mr. Lupin would have become a werewolf.” Dumbledore addressed them, smiling very mildly, still looking a little wary. The penetrating look swept over them, one by one. When it passed to Lily, she knew that it was useless to lie to the Headmaster when he probably knew the truth already. “That’s not exactly what happened, Professor.” Lily spoke up, and James buried his head in his robes, fearing that she would spill all. Dumbledore’s eyes widened slightly as if surprised by this news, although Lily reminded herself he had known all along she had been lying. “There was no animal that carried James and Remus off. Remus just turned into a werewolf. Sirius tried to hold him back to prevent him from biting anyone, and he was thrown aside, hitting his head. Peter ran into the Great Hall to tell James, and James went and got him into the forest where he wouldn’t bite anyone. Peter and I followed, and we found Sirius in the garden. Crystal, Erica, and Tracy didn’t see anything, as the fairy lights had been extinguished.” She told him truthfully, although leaving out the part that Sirius was a dog and James had probably transformed into the stag in order to get Remus to the woods without getting bitten. “Is this what happened?” He said, turning his stare to James and Peter. Both boys nodded enthusiastically. Dumbledore walked rather unconcernedly around to the other side of his desk, where he stopped and peered out of the window. “If you say so, then you may go…” he said to them without turning around. Lily exhaled slowly with relief and had begun to slide her chair out when he spoke again. “Lucky thing Mr. Lupin did not bite you or Mr. Black. It usually takes another animal to get a werewolf from biting others…” Dumbledore said as if simply speaking what he was thinking. James went very white at these words. “Just lucky, I guess, Professor.” He said, as Dumbledore continued to look outside, in the direction of the forest. “Very well, Mr. Potter, very well.” Dumbledore replied, turning around to give them one last penetrating look. But this time, he smiled at them. “You might as well return to your dormitories now. I do believe, however, that you owe the still lovely Ms. Evans a few more dances out there.” with this he smiled more broadly, and Lily felt herself blush. “It would be a shame if you couldn’t enjoy a night with such a pretty date, even though she is covered in blood!” James nodded and took Lily’s hand again. It was a rather gross matter more than anything, as both hands were flecked with blood and dirt. Lily smiled nevertheless, enjoying the feel of his warm palm against her own. Peter followed them down before turning off and heading for the common room. If the pair had gotten stares before while dancing in the unique way they had been, it was nothing to what they got upon reentering the Great Hall looking the way they were. Lily’s hair had fallen from it’s elegant bun, and draped down on her shoulders. Her turquoise robes were rather wrinkled and there was a very large spot of blood near the bottom where she had tried to slow Sirius’s bleeding. James looked like even more of a mess. There were several leaves and twigs caught in his hair from the forest, and several scratches on his face. The gash on his leg was still bleeding a little, and his robes were torn in several places. But they could care less with their appearances right now as they stepped onto the dance floor once more. The band struck up a slow song, and this time, instead of the rambunctious dancing of before, James held Lily close, and they revolved slowly around their spot. He could smell her shampoo, delicious like peaches. Lily rested her chin on his shoulder. James whispered in her ear, “Thanks for not telling Dumbledore about us Marauders being animagi… you really stuck up for me.” Lily smiled at his words, remembering something that had happened at the beginning of the year. “Just like you did for me…” she whispered back, and he too remembered that day on the train, the letter she had received, that first smile they had shared. Lily turned her face so they were looking eye to eye. Those green eyes. James looked into those green, emerald, sparkling eyes. He just wanted to look into those green eyes, for as long as he could… Lily looked into James’s own gray and hazel eyes. She really looked deep into them this time. Her dream, looking into those cauldrons of gray… she had been curious what was in there, but too afraid to look to deep for she might have fallen in. There was no mistake now, she could see deep into James’s gray eyes, see past her reflection on the surface, past the gray themselves. She could see James, who he really was. Not the Quidditch star James, not the prank-pulling James that got her covered in yellow paint. Just James… Lily had fallen into the cauldron of gray by finding what was in the bottom, and she had fallen in love.
Ok, I know this must be getting annoying but... ADVERTISING TIME! To make it very simple, I am providing you with this link to my other story, Only Time Will Tell. It would mean a lot to me if you, my faithful fic readers, would check it out and tell me what you think. Thanks a bunch!!! never mind about the whole link thing, I can't get that to come up... but don't let that stop you, please read Only Time Will Tell anyways!!!

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