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Chapter 22: Science of Fear


Friday February 20th, 8:38 pm




My body feels like it's boiling, a searing pain cutting through me. I fall to my knees in response to the pain coursing throughout my body. I want to throw up but my stomach feels like someone is wringing it's hands around it, not allowing me to. After a few more painful moments the pain slowly let's up and I struggle to my knees, my entire body shaking in the process. The pain continues to lesson and I eventually make it back up to my feet, my breaths coming out short and ragged.


I walk over to a mirror and look at my reflection. The face staring back at me is so similar but with a few differences. My gray eyes have been replaced by green ones. And my nose is slightly more crooked and wide. But the same hair and face structure is generally the same.


I look to my right at the lifeless body draped across the couch. Regulus looks peaceful as he sleeps, a peace that never graces his face on any other day. I look to his right arm and see his sleeve falling back, hesitantly I walk over to him and grab his arm, slowly pushing back the sleeve. I sigh in relief when I see that there is no dark mark on his arm. I quickly set his arm down across his stomach and look at my watch. I have exactly forty-two minutes to complete this task, I can't waste anymore time.


I take Regulus's robe and throw it over my shoulders, quickly leaving the Room of Requirements. As I make my way to the Slytherin common rooms I'm starting to wonder how I'm going to get into the room. I looked at my watch and notice it's almost curfew and that I would have to hurry to the Slytherin common room in hopes of catching a Slytherin before they entered.


Luckily for me right as I neared the common room a few first years were entering. When we reached a large wooden door, which I assumed lead to the common room, instead of saying a password one of the first years dug into their shirt. They withdrew their hand and produced a golden charm in the shape of a snake. They held the charm out to the door and I saw a carving in the wood door in the shape of the snake. They placed their charm into the carving and a light emitted from it. The boy withdrew the pendant and the door swung open.


I couldn't help but think how clever that was and how I wished we had something like that for our common room. All we have is a sodding password, a lot less wicked.


I followed behind the first years and into the common room. The room was all black stone with dark green chairs covering the space. An unlit fire sat in the middle of the room and green and blue flicks of light scattered across the room. I looked around and saw a large window which reveled water. I realized that the Slytherin common room must be under the lake.


I looked at my watch and saw I only had thirty five minutes left. I had to find Snivellus.


I quickly scanned the common room and found no trace of him. I then made my way to the boys dormitory and walked up the steps, looking at the signs on the door until I reached seventh year boy dormitory. I sucked in a deep breath and calmed myself. I couldn't be cruel to Snivellus, in fact, I couldn't call him Snivellus. I had to act like he was a friend.


I swung open the door and was surprisingly relieved to see Snape sitting on what I assumed to be his bed. I'd never been glad to see Snape before so this emotion took me by surprise. His face was buried in a Dark Arts book, he was so immersed in it that he didn't even look up when I entered the room. In fact, I'm not even sure he noticed someone had entered the room.


“Severus,” I said loudly to gain his attention. The voice that exited my mouth sounded familiar but foreign on my tongue.


Snape looked up and drew his lips into a sneer which I assumed was his way of acknowledging me. “To what do I owe the pleasure of your company, Regulus?”


“I've stumbled upon some information I think you'll find interesting,” I said conspiratorially, instantly gaining his interest. I neared Snape and realized this is the closet I had ever been to him without hexing him.


“And what is that?”


I smirked and could tell from his enthusiasm that I already had his interest and anything I told him from this point out he would take to, it was like dangling a worm in front of a fish. “I heard of a tunnel that will take you to the Shrieking Shack.”


“Is that so?” Snape said trying to hide the joy in his voice but failing while what I assumed to be a smile crossed his lips. “How did you hear of it?”


“Ja-” I coughed into my hand and tried to hide the fact that I had almost said James. “Potter and Black were talking about it today, they didn't know I was behind them.”


Snape scoffed and rolled his eyes before sitting back in his bed. “Potter and Black? What kind of moron do you take me for Regulus? Potter and Black wouldn't know how to find their way out of a paper bag.”


I took a deep breath to try and calm my nerves, the loathing for Snape that I held wanting to surface. “On any other occasion I would agree with you, but they do seem to know more secrets about this castle than anyone else.”


Snape paused and looked pensive as he mauled over everything. “I've always said that not only would the Shrieking Shack be an excellent exploratory area, but it would be a place to practice my spells.”


I smiled despite myself, I had him exactly where I wanted him. “I think for once we can thank Black and Potter. Come on, grab Potter's invisibility cloak and we can sneak down.”


“What, you want to go now?” Snape asked being slightly caught off guard.


“Of course, how can you not want to go?”


Snape eyed me for a few moments before he got up from his chair and said, “fair enough.” Before rummaging in his trunk and retrieving James' cloak.




What is taking Sirius so bloody long? Remus is going to transform at any moment and he's still not here. We depend on him to keep Remus at bay, I can only do so much. Sirius is much stronger than I am in our animagi form. He's a large dog so it's easy for him to rival against Remus and fight him if the situation calls for it.


I look over at Remus who is huddled in the corner of the room. His arms are clutching his knees, bringing them up to his chest as he shudders, his transformation starting already. He's trying to keep his moans at bay, to detract from the pain that he's feeling. It seems no matter how many times hes transformed he feels guilty for who he becomes.


I'm already in my stag form, sometimes Remus transforms within seconds and when there's so much pressure to transform into my animagi form it's hard for the task to be accomplished quickly. Remus isn't looking around the room, but I know he can sense Sirius's missing presence and it's making the transformation more difficult. I want to swear out loud but can't in my animagi form, instead I angrily stomp on the wooden floorboards, pacing the Shack, the sound of my hooves echoing in the small space. I can feel the time slipping away and the moments to Remus's transformation continue to mount.


A sound echoes from the hallway and my ears perk at the slight movement. There are two sets of feet walking towards the Shrieking Shack. I wait in the room quietly, wondering who the other person could be. The footsteps come closer and the doorknob starts to rattle. I stand protectively in front of Remus, careful to block him from view. The door swings open and I can hear footsteps but cannot see anyone. Suddenly a head emerges from thin air and two people are standing in the previously vacant space. I'm frozen in my spot when Snape and Regulus are revealed. From behind me Remus lets out a loud cry and I know that he's going to transform at any moment.


Snape is looking around the room in confusion and hesitancy, he can sense that something is wrong and he's becoming defensive. “What's going on Regulus?”


Regulus smirks and the expression on his face is so familiar, but I'm sure I've never seen it on his face before. “What's going on Snivellus is that you're finally getting what you deserve.”


Snape stares at Regulus in horror, not understanding what's going on. All of a sudden Regulus starts changing, his skin is morphing as if wanting to jump off of his body. A small groan leaves Regulus's lips and Sirius is standing where Regulus had only moments ago.


“Black,” Snape whispers in horror and pure hatred. He's so preoccupied by the fact he'd been tricked that he doesn't notice Sirius take my invisibility cloak back and put it in his backpack.


I hear a loud cry and the sound of clothes tearing could be heard. I look at Sirius and all the color has drained from his face as the consequence of his actions finally dawns on him. Remus's cries continue to grow as he transforms.


I move towards Snape and he draws back against the wall, his eyes flicking from the transforming Remus to me, the stag, standing in front of him. Snape is fumbling for his wand and I know I have to get him out of here. I quickly change back into my human form knowing that's the only way I can persuade him to leave.


“Potter,” Snape declares once he takes in my human form. “How the bloody hell-”


“We have no time to talk. I need you to get on my back when I'm back in my stag form, we need to get you out of here now, do you understand?” I say firmly. Snape's eyes divert back to Remus who was standing up and fur was spreading throughout his body. Snape nods and I waste no time in transforming back to my stag form. Snape quickly hops onto my back and I run down the narrow hallway. I can hear howling from behind me and a dog growling.


I can see the end of the tunnel and exert my last bits of energy as I burst through the exit and out into the night air. I come to a stop and Snape quickly gets off of me. I transform back into my human form and waste no time in retrieving my wand while Snape already has his drawn.


“You lot are bloody insane,” Snape declares as he raises a shaking hand at me. “Remus is a werewolf, and you're an animagi? I cannot wait to tell Dumbledore about this, you'll finally get expelled and get the punishment you deserve. And you can thank your mate Black for this.”


“I wouldn't get so ahead of yourself Snivellus, in case you just missed the last five minutes, I don't know if you happened to notice the fact that I just saved your life.”


“You saved my life after your friend put me in the situation, something I'm sure you took part in.”


I shook my head vigorously and kept my wand pointed at him. “I had no idea Sirius was going to do this. You might have noticed the past month or so I haven't laid one hand on you.”


“That's only because you were planning this stint, the prank of all pranks.”


“Then why the bloody hell did I just save your life!” I shouted, my voice shaking from anger, not only anger towards Snape but anger towards Sirius. Snape didn't say anything as he stared at me but I could tell he was finally realizing I took no part in the events that occurred tonight. “Before you do anything rash let's talk to Dumbledore.”


Snape looked at me for a long time before he dropped his hand containing his wand, “fine,” he resigned.




Stupid bloody Peeves. I don't know why Dumbledore hasn't gotten rid of him, he's nothing but a nuisance.


My wet feet hit the stone floors creating a sloshing sound as I walked. My soaked clothes leave a wet trail behind me. Who the bloody hell dumps water on people nowadays?


I eventually make it back to the common room, grateful I hadn't run into anyone on my way back, not only was I after curfew but I was a bit sour from getting a bucket of water dumped on me. And this was all for Sirius. I was making sure he was okay after a full moon but no one was in the hospital wing.


Once in the common room I heard controlled yelling and was surprised to find people still awake at this hour. I looked around and in the corner I saw James yelling at Sirius. Sirius was backed into a corner, all color drained from his face as he ran a hand through his hair and kept opening his mouth to say something but James would quickly be cut off by James before any words had the chance to leave his mouth.


Remus was sitting on the couch with his head in his hands, rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet muttering something under his breath. Peter was standing nearby Sirius and James looking nervous and not quite sure what to do with himself. No one seemed to realize I had entered the room and as I neared James and Sirius I started making out what James was saying.


“What the hell were you thinking Padfoot! Do you know how many people you put in danger, what could've happened, the secrets that could've come out. We could've been expelled, worse, Moony would've been banned from our world altogether if people knew!”


James was waving his arms around in the air looking like a lunatic but I could sense his anger and his gestures fit his current demeanor. Sirius kept his eyes casted towards the ground but he seemed to have sensed me and he looked over James' shoulder and locked eyes with me.


“Avery,” he said in a whisper.


James whirled around and stared at me. At first he looked mad that I was there but eventually his face softened. “What's going on?” I asked looking at everyone whose expression were a mix of anger and fear.


“Do you want to tell her, or should I?” James said as he looked at Sirius.


Sirius looked at James for a few moments, refusing to meet my eyes. He eventually sighed and said, “I will.” He pushed away from the wall and walked towards me. He stopped in front of me and took my hands in his. “Avery,” he said slowly.


Sirius was hardly able to meet my eyes and the guilt was radiating from him. I could feel my heartbeat quicken and the blood rush to my face as I panicked. He cheated on me, this is it, he's going to break up with me. “Sirius, you're scaring me,” I admitted, unable to deal with his silence.


Sirius didn't respond and he looked around the room as if the space would provide an answer. “I messed up Avery,” he finally spit out.


“Who is it?” I asked, dread coursing through my body.


“Snape,” he responded.


“What, you cheated on me with Snape?” I asked thoroughly confused.


Sirius looked at me oddly and the corner of his lip twitched as if he wanted to smile but his frown quickly took place. “No,” he shook his head. “I didn't cheat on you, I never would, I love you.”


“Then what did you do?” I asked trying to not react when he said I love you.


Sirius breathed deeply and was finally able to meet my eyes. “I tricked Snape, I used a Polyjuice Potion and pretended to be my brother. I then went to Snape and told him how to get into the Shrieking Shack. When we got there Remus started transforming,” Sirius swallowed loudly and shook his head as he collected his thoughts. “Snape saw Remus transform. James saved him, Snape got onto James's back in his stag form and I held off Remus so that they could escape.” Sirius hung his head in shame not able to meet my eyes. After a few moments he raised his eyes and looked at me through his bangs.


His grey eyes had no effect on me as I stared into them and felt numb. Suddenly his touch seemed to be burning me and I ripped my hands from his, ignoring the hurt look on his face.


“Avery,” Sirius said stepping towards me. I put my hands on his chest and pushed him away. I didn't want to be anywhere near him. When he was next to me I felt like I was suffocating, I grabbed at my chest as I looked at him.


“How could you,” I finally managed to whisper. “How could you jeopardize your friends futures? How could you put them in a position where they could get expelled?” I looked at him and I could feel tears forming, whether they were from sadness or pure anger I couldn't decide. “Snape could've died,” I finally managed to choke out. The impact of my words seemed to hit all the Marauders, as if the idea of Snape dying hadn't really crossed their minds until I said it out loud.


“I know, I was so stupid Avery.”


“I thought you were different than the boy I always saw galavanting around the hallway acting like he owned the place, but you're worse than what I originally thought. You're selfish and immature. You put your ego above everyone else. You can't stand loosing, always wanting to have the last say. Well congratulations Sirius, you won.”


“Avery I realize how dumb I was, believe me. My intention wasn't to hurt him, just to scare him.” Sirius said reaching out and touching my arm.


I quickly pulled my arm away from his grasp, “don't touch me!” I yelled, surprising everyone with my outburst.


Sirius froze in midair after I yelled, the only sound that could be heard was my ragged breathing. I looked at everyone who looked just as caught off guard as Sirius. “We're over,” I managed to squeak out.


“What,” Sirius said in a voice barely above a whisper. His eyes were panicked as they looked into mine.


I couldn't hold his eyes in fear that I would break down and forgive him. My cheeks burned red from anger and my vision was swimming. I tried to swallow the sadness but found it useless as tears trailed down my cheeks, spilling onto my blouse and staining it. “I don't want to be your girlfriend anymore, we're over.”


“Avery, you don't mean that,” Sirius pleaded.


“I do,” I said firmly. “You think of no one but yourself and you're reckless, this is not someone I want in my life. Who knows if the next prank you pull will be at my expense.”


“Avery, I love you,” Sirius's voice was cracking and he sounded so desperate that the longer I stood there the harder it became to stick to what I was saying.


“I don't care,” I said with finality. I stepped to side of Sirius and brushed past him as I headed towards the dormitory. I felt his reach out and grab me but I quickened my speed and didn't look back as I tried in vein to stop the tears falling from my eyes.


A/N: Alright so love it, hate it? Was it what you expected to happen? I know a lot of you thought Sirius was cheating on Avery but he clearly loves her and I feel that's a cliché thing to add in a story so I thought that I don't read enough about when Sirius gets Snape to the shrieking Shack. Sad Avery and Sirius are over? But this isn't the end of the story! There are 33 chapters and an epilogue total for Duck and Cover and I've already started on the sequel which will be called Thin Ice. Review :)

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