Chapter 14: What Are We Going To Do?
"What the bloody hell was…. Sirius, is that you?"
Remus raised himself enough to look over his bed. James, the one who had spoken, was sitting up in his own bed, staring wide eyed across the room. Remus followed his gaze.
There, framed by the window, crouched Sirius Black, though the name no longer suited him. The pale moonlight illuminated the fact that his famous coal black locks where no longer black. They were bright red, with streaks of a clashing pink mixed in. Cringing, Sirius waited for the humiliation he knew would come.
The noise of his entrance had been caused by Peter's collection of moving Quidditch figures, which Sirius had somehow knocked over. Tiny yelps of pain and indignation issued from their mouths. The initial crash, the following crash of Remus falling out of bed and the miniscule curses coming from the floor had woken the other boys. All eyes lay on the boy in front of the window. After a moment of terrible silence, everyone present (except Sirius, of course) decided they weren't dreaming this comical scene and the room erupted in laughter. James joined Remus on the floor, shaking with delight. Remus' eyes were streaming in his effort to keep in the giggles (a plan which failed miserably). Only Peter showed any sense of restraint (he laughed at half the volume of the others), but this was only because he feared for the safety of his figurines.
Sirius dropped to the floor (he sat on a few Chudley Cannons players) and tried to cover his head, but this only made it worse. Apparently, the streaks in his hair changed color every couple of minutes. Now they were a deep navy blue.
The boys' laughter renewed. This time, James had to shove his fist in his mouth to stop.
"It's really not funny. It's not funny at all," Sirius whispered a hint of wetness in his voice.
Remus tried to sober up. "Of course it's not funny, mate," he managed. "But, if you don't mind me asking, what the bloody hell happened to you?"
Sirius, still on the floor and still refusing to meet the others eyes, told his sad tale. He told them about finding Ella and Regulus in the broom closet and how he and Ella had both frozen the other two and locked the door to talk. Unfortunately, this talk became another argument and the row was so bad that Ella had pulled out her wand and hit him where it hurt: his hair.
"Ella did this?" James asked, a small amount of awe on his face. He lifted a hand to touch the new ginger hair that clashed so badly with his friend's skin tone, but Sirius slapped it away.
"Yes, she did. And before you say it, Remus, I already asked her to undo it. I said I was sorry, I groveled and I begged but she said I deserved what I got." Sirius hung his head in despair.
"Well, mate, I hate to say it," Remus said quietly, "but she's right. You've had this coming for a while. I mean, she did find you cheating on her and you two never really talked about it, so guess she never got over it."
"But I wasn't cheating on her! Sophia just came up and started snogging me and touching me! I was so surprised; I couldn't do a thing about it!" Sirius moaned in exasperation.
"Well," ventured Peter, "did you ever bother to tell Ella that?"
"I tried, but she wouldn't listen! And besides," Sirius got up and sat down on the edge of Peter's bed, his eyes downcast, his new locks falling in his face, "She wouldn't have believed me even if I had told her."
"But I still don't get why you didn't even talk to her about it," Remus said. "I know you're not really into sharing your feelings and everything, but I thought you really cared about her."
"I did! I do!" Sirius exclaimed. "It's just…. She was just so mad, you know? And so was I. I was angry at her for not letting me explain, at myself for not chasing after her… and then it was too late. Sophia was there so I just followed her lead and that just made things worse. And the one time I try to fix it, she turns my hair red!" Sirius flopped back onto the bed, apparently to worn out from the nights events to sit up straight.
"What am I going to do?" He asked quietly.
No one had an answer.
The weeks passed, May turning into June. Sirius hair stayed a brilliant red for many days, the colored streaks changing every few minutes. Needless to say, the Slytherins had a field day. Lily caught Ella with a satisfied smirk on her face more than a few times. Slowly the magic faded and by the last week of school his hair was back to normal, though the occasional lock flickered pink every once in a while. However, both Ella and Sirius quit their revenge relationships. Sophia and Regulus were left out in the cold without any explanation. It seemed a small truce, at least in that respect, had formed.
The moon was rising; Remus could feel it. It pulled at his blood, his whole being like it pulled at the ocean, drawing Remus to follow it into the night. The soft light fell through the dirty window, demanding change. His body complied, his skin rippling as the transformation washed through him, the pain drowning out his screams. Slowly, it faded, leaving behind matted fur and sharpened senses. Remus, now Moony, opened his eyes, his irises changing from bright red to a soft grey as he saw the other creatures in a circle around him. He recognized them as his strange pack.
The night air was warm, inviting the pack outside. The trees streaked past as the creatures ran about, playing tag and hide and seek in the forest as a white bird flitted high in the canopy above. As the wolf howled in delight and the dog barked in response, the bird flew in more complicated patters, her loops and dives bringing her dangerously near to a sharp, spiky branch. In one last swoop, she flew a little too close. A thorn, long and jagged left a bloody cut in its wake. Surprised by the sudden pain, the bird floated slowly towards the earth, landing in front of the wolf. He sniffed, concerned. Leaning in, he licked the wound, trying to help his fallen pack mate.
That one taste of blood was too much.
Grey flashed to red and a hungry howl escaped the wolf's throat. In the next second, the bird in his mouth, her white feathers stained crimson. He shook her, growling.
And then the bird was dropped on the ground, as the stag rammed into the wolf. They grappled together, antlers and hoofs against claws and slashing teeth. The dog joined in and soon he was chasing the wolf into the woods as the stag changed back into a boy and ran to the bird, whose shape was flickering between human and animal.
The rat had disappeared.
James crouched next to the limp body on the ground. She had almost changed back completely; one arm was still morphed into an oversized wing. Blood was everywhere.
"Lily…." The sound came out choked. This couldn't be happening.
Quickly, he felt for a pulse. It was so faint, it almost wasn't there. But James took a small grain of hope from the weak beat of her blood against his fingertips. She wasn't dead.
A/N: Intense, huh? How's that for I'm not leaving you hanging for long. I'm writing the next chapter right now and will post it soon, after everyone reads this. R&R please!