Eliza acted without thinking, without realising what a stupid thing it was to do and how much trouble she would be in, she flicked her wand into the air and stunned Professor Snape.
"Eliza!" Cried Hermione in horror; Eliza looked at her confused by her own actions.
"It was a good idea, we need to sort this out." Said Black who appeared to be struggling not to laugh.
"You shouldn't have done that, Eliza." Said Lupin standing up and going to check on Snape.
"Ahh come on Remus, Eliza's got gumption, just like Lily..."
"Don't talk to her! You don't even know her!" Shouted Harry holding his wand so tight that his knuckles were white, again without thinking Eliza's wand flicked again and Harry's wand came souring out of his hand and towards her waiting grasp.
"What's got into you, Eliza?" Said Ron flabbergasted, Eliza didn't know the answer.
"Let's just get everything cleared up." Said Lupin, casting a furtive glance at Harry, "Ron give me Scabbers." Ron reluctantly handed over the struggling rat.
"Don't hurt him." Said Ron quietly as Crookshanks gave a low hiss.
Lupin pointed his wand at Scabbers and whispered an incantation that Eliza couldn't hear, a blue light sailed towards the rat and wrapped around him, for a moment nothing happened but as the room waited with baited breath, Scabbers squealing stopped and he seem to stretch out with a noise like a zip a balding man appeared before them.
"Hello Peter." Said Lupin with a strangled voice, Black's eyes narrowed.
"Remus ... Sirius ... my old friends..."
"We are NOT your friends!" Said Black with venom.
"James, Lily, how could you Peter? They would have died for you." Said Lupin, his voice cracked with emotion.
"But ... I don't understand..." Said Harry, looking down at Peter who seemed to looking for the quickest exit.
"That rat has been in your family for a while Ron, twelve years, isn't it? Long life for a garden rat." Said Sirius looking over at Ron.
"But, how did you know that Scabbers was- that man?"
"That's a good point Ron. How did you know?" Said Lupin taking his eyes off Peter for the first time and looking at Sirius.
"Brilliant idea, Peter, golden! Doubt even James would have thought of it. Show us your hand!" He ordered.
"Don't know what you..."
"SHOW US!" Roared Lupin, shouting for the first time; Peter jumped and put his hands out stretched.
"He's missing a finger that was..."
"...all that was left." Harry finished looking at Peter with disgust.
Peter cried out and looked around the room in desperation, his eyes found Eliza first.
"Eliza- sweet, clever- so much like your mother!"
"DON'T YOU DARE TALK TO HER!" Screamed Sirius, making Eliza jump, "SHE'S MORE A GRYFFINDOR THAT YOU EVER WILL BE!" Peter laughed in a hollow way.
"She doesn't even talk!" He said in a condescending voice.
"Yes, she does." Said Hermione suddenly, everyone turned to her in shock.
"Wait ... what ... when?" Said Harry, looking amazed.
"The ... the other day ... when I was upset about all my work, she told me not to worry and that everything was going to be fine ... didn't you Eliza?" Said Hermione turning to look at Eliza with a hopeful expression, Eliza nodded slowly, wondering why she was lying.
"That's great, Eliza!" Said Harry, crossing the room in a flash and hugging her tightly, the smile on Harry's face made Eliza instantly guilty, Hermione saw her expression and took the hint to move on.
"Anyway, I still don't understand what happened?"
Harry stayed next to Eliza as Sirius and Remus recounted the story, with occasional outbursts of pleading from Peter. As the night progressed Eliza became even surer of the tale, everything suddenly seemed to make perfect sense; the stray dog, Professor Lupin's reaction to the memory, Neville losing the password...everything added up.
"You should have realised Peter, if Voldemort didn't kill you then we would!" Peter cried out but did not attempt to escape.
"We'll do it together Sirius, for Lily and James." Said Lupin, pointing his wand with precision, Eliza made another split-second decision and moved in front of Peter, she was not alone, Harry was there too.
"Harry, Eliza, this man killed..."
"We know what he did, Professor, but you can't kill him, especially not in our parent's names, take him to the Dementors ... please." Said Harry, looking at Sirius, both Sirius and Remus appeared thoughtful for a moment before they both lowered their wands.
"At least let me tie him up, Harry, he has a way of slipping out from tiny holes." Harry nodded and binds closed around Peter's body preventing him from even talking.
As the group made their way slowly out of the Shack and back along the tunnel Eliza fell back with Lupin,
"How is your head?" He asked, helping her down a slippery step, Eliza nodded with a sad smile.
"Eliza, I owe you an apology." He said, looking down at the ground, "I should have told you, but it wouldn't have changed anything ... well I doubt it would have ... if ..." Eliza stopped walking, forcing Lupin to stop and turn around to face her.
"I'm your godfather." He said looking completely ashamed, Eliza walked towards him finally understanding his treatment of her at the start of the year, he had felt guilty.
"I know I should have told you, I should have come and taken you and Harry from your relatives, but the law was so tight about werewolf rights, I knew I would have failed, I don't think I could have faced it if I fought and lost, it would be like losing James and Lily all over again. I trained my mind into thinking you all died that night, it was easier to try and ignore the guilt. I left the wizarding world, left everything; I even buried my wand in a wood in the Cotswolds. It took Dumbledore longer than he intended to track me down, he wanted me to teach last year as well but he couldn't find me. Even when he did it took him months to persuade me, I'd abandoned the wizarding world, my friends, you and Harry. I didn't want to hurt people again ... or to get hurt myself, I was a coward."
Lupin had sunk down to the floor of the tunnel and Eliza saw tears falling down his cheeks, she sat down next to him and put her head on his shoulders, he moved slightly and pulling Eliza into a hug. They sat there for what seemed like an age, Lupin crying quietly on Eliza's shoulder.
A rustle broke the air and Eliza and Remus were forced apart.
"ELIZA POTTER! HOW DARE YOU STUN ME! I WILL PERSONALLY MAKE SURE YOU ARE EXPELLED!" Eliza jumped and cringed away from the shouts and stood up quickly, they had completely forgotten about Snape!
"I told Dumbledore you were helping your old friend out Lupin, they'll probably find you a cell next to him, if they have animals in Azkaban that is!" Snape's wand tore through the air and Eliza felt her wand fly away from her, she looked over at Lupin and saw that he too was defenceless.
"Severus..." Began Lupin, but Snape waved his wand again and Lupin was bound tightly by painful looking ropes. Snape grabbed onto Eliza's wrist and pulled her along the tunnel with Lupin being dragged behind them. They arrived at the willow entrance quickly and Snape levitated Lupin out first before pushing Eliza through in front of him, her leg which she had completely forgotten about, was protesting against the movement and she felt Hermione's tie fall away.
"Eliza, what..." Began Harry, pulling his sister towards him and helping her up to the outside of the tree, Sirius ran over to Lupin but Snape's wand greeted him, they began to argue fiercely.
It wasn't until Eliza saw Lupin shaking violently that she looked to the sky and saw the full moon, shining brightly above them.
"RUN!" Screamed Hermione, there was instant confusion and with it Peter had grabbed a dropped wand and was gone in a flash. Snape ran towards Eliza and pulled her away from the tree, she wanted to stay with Ron and Hermione but Snape's grasp was firm.
"I WILL NOT LET YOU GET HURT! YOU WILL BE EXPELLED, NO SYMPATHY THIS TIME!"
It seemed to take only seconds to get up to the castle and into Dumbledore's office. Snape didn't knock the door but threw his weight against it, forcing it open. Professor Dumbledore, who was sat at his desk, looked up in surprise.
"Severus!" He exclaimed getting up quickly and walking towards them, Snape was seething and Eliza knew her face was swollen with tears and her leg was bleeding freely.
"SHE ATTACKED ME!" Roared Snape, letting go of Eliza who staggered away from him towards Fawkes the phoenix.
"I ... Eliza, did you attack Professor Snape?" Dumbledore asked mildly, though a crack in voice betrayed his disbelief, Eliza nodded and Snape opened his mouth but Dumbledore cut across him.
"What has happened, Severus? Why is Eliza injured and covered in dirt?"
"Black! That's what happened!" Dumbledore's wand twitched and something silvery flew out of it.
"The wolf is loose on the grounds too, headmaster, he missed his Potion." Said Snape, clearly expecting to receive praise from the old man.
"What? Is anyone in danger?"
"Well Potter, Weasley and Gr..."
"You are telling me that there is an out of control werewolf on the grounds with students' lives in danger!" Said Dumbledore with a scary look on his face, Snape looked abashed but was saved the trouble of coming up with an acceptable response by the arrival of Professor McGonagall.
"Minerva, take Eliza to the hospital wing and make sure she stays there. Severus, contact the ministry." Eliza wanted to tell Dumbledore that Sirius was innocent but the old man moved with the speed of light and Eliza was left alone with Professor McGonagall, who looked at Eliza and sighed in a resigned sort of way.
"Come on, Miss Potter."
The walk to the hospital wing was slow, Eliza's mind was full of worry and Professor McGonagall seemed to sense her mood, halfway there the Transfiguration teacher noticed the blood staining the path behind them so fired a spell at Eliza's leg which bound it tightly in a bandage and they continued on their way.
When they arrived Madam Pomfrey indicated to the bed which Eliza usually slept in.
"Did you lose consciousness, Miss Potter?" Asked Madam Pomfrey without preamble, Eliza nodded her mind still fraught with worry, Madam Pomfrey began to wave her wand above Eliza's head and Eliza felt her eyelids droop.
"OUT WITH IT POTTER! WHAT DID YOU DO?" Eliza's eyes fluttered open and she wondered vaguely if Snape was addressing her, her brother's reply eased her mind.
As the argument progressed Eliza's mind did not allow her to focus on details, after the voices had stopped Eliza slowly pushed herself up the bed, a familiar smell drifted towards her and she looked down at her chest and saw her Moonstone blanket.
"Ahh, Miss Potter, how are you feeling?" Asked Madam Pomfrey plumping Eliza's pillows, Eliza nodded and Madam Pomfrey forced chocolate into Eliza's hands.
"Eat it all, no arguments!" She ordered, Eliza furrowed her brow in confusion.
"Madam Pomfrey, Eliza wasn't near any Dementors." Said Harry, his voice indicating that his own mouth was full of chocolate.
"I said, no arguments!" Madam Pomfrey snapped retreating into her office and slamming the door.
"She's annoyed because Snape was shouting at her." Said Harry, looking at his sister.
"I still can't believe we pulled it off!" Said Ron.
"We?" Hermione replied from across the hospital wing, her eyebrows raised.
"Well, you and Harry then. Tell Eliza, she won't believe it!" Said Ron in apparent awe.
"The time-turner came in quite handy, Eliza, Peters escaped but Sirius and Buckbeak are on the run. That's all I'm awake enough to say, I think Madam Pomfrey spiked my hot chocolate." Eliza nodded looking forward to the rest of the tale and quickly the four friends drifted off to a heavy slumber.
"Don't look so sad, Harry, I'm used to it." Said Professor Lupin sadly, pulling down a poster on the correct ways to defend yourself against various dark creatures.
"That doesn't mean it's fair!" Harry replied in obvious defiance.
"Could you give Eliza and me a moment alone, Harry?" Asked Lupin politely.
"Oh, of course. I'll be on the Quidditch pitch, Eliza, bye Professor, thanks for everything." Harry left the room quickly no doubt the Firebolt was calling. Lupin sat down and indicated to Eliza to do the same.
"I'm sorry I haven't been a very good godfather, Eliza, I hope I will be able to make it up to you. Would ... would it be ok if I wrote to you every so often? Find out how much trouble you're managing to avoid?" He looked suddenly nervous but Eliza nodded with a wide smile.
She stood up and bent down to her bag, pulling out the sketch of the full moon that had taken her six lunar cycles to complete and passed it to him.
"Thank you, Eliza. It's beautiful, your mother was quite an artist as well, but she preferred to create Potions than pictures, we could never understand why. I shall treasure this." Eliza smiled.
"I'm sure I'll see you and Harry again soon. Oh, and before I forget, give this back to Harry for you, I'm sure it will help him avoid detention, it certainly did for us when we were students. You are so like your mother, Eliza, I don't need to hear you talk to know that." Eliza nodded sadly.
"Remus, your carriage is here." Professor Dumbledore said from the doorway, he did not seem surprised to see Eliza there.
"Goodbye, Eliza." Said Lupin pulling her into a hug, when they broke apart a tear made its way down Eliza's face thankfully Lupin didn't notice, he bade farewell to Dumbledore and made his way to his carriage.
Eliza sat down again and tried to gather her thoughts.
"Now Miss Potter, I have been told by the Professor Snape to expel you." Said Dumbledore sitting opposite her and sounding serious, Eliza looked up at him in horror.
"However, I have informed him that failing to take an injured pupil straight to the hospital wing is an action worthy of suspension. He has called a truce. Have a good day, Miss Potter." Professor Dumbledore left Eliza alone in Professor Lupin's office to mull over what had been a very strange year at Hogwarts, pretty normal then.
A/N The sequel is called Courage to Words and is available on my profile (I am also in the processing of editing that).