Chapter 8

To an innocent bystander, Remus' behavior the past month could pass as only a mere sickness. To someone a bit closer, they'd be a bit more aware of his health as he was sick seemingly every month without fail. To his friends, he was constantly sick and it was best to not to ask in fear of getting pummeled. His closest friends guarded his secret with their lives, as well as risking it. The boys had become animagus for Remus the year before, after finding out about his lycanthropy in the second year. Ines had found out about it all in their third year. She had been asked on her very first date by a fourth year Ravenclaw named Edward Carmichael. They had gone to the astronomy tower after curfew, a place Ines and Sirius frequented often. He had kissed her in the moonlight, her very first kiss.

The moment was cut short by an unintelligible sound. Edward had gotten frightened, and decided to cut their night short and walked Ines back to Gryffindor house. She waited until he had been long gone and decided to investigate. She made her way to the front entrance and through the front doors which strangely enough had been left open. Walking through the grounds the sound became clearer and clearer until she was able to distinguish it as a howl. Before she could investigate any further, she spotted the four boys emerging from the whomping willow. She scurried back to the castle, in utter shock due to all of them being covered in bloody scratches and bruises, and hid behind the statue of the architect of Hogwarts.

He was riding a horse with a miniature model of the castle in his hands. She was able to hide between the end of his pedestal and the wall. Hidden from any onlookers by the shadow of both the statue and the wall. When the boys entered, not seeing her, the spoke of Remus' lycanthropy. Ines emerged from the shadows and embraced Remus and all the boys, assuring Remus that she would love him no matter what. From that, they told her everything and kept her clued in on Remus' happenings.

The statue had become a common theme, every night since then. Ines dropped every date she had with whatever meaningless boy on the night of the full moon and spent it hiding in the space by the statue. Ever since that night, the boys could trust that they would have a caring and kind face to greet them after a hard night. This came with numerous detentions, missed Hogsmeade trips, and scoldings from teachers but she hasn't cared. The letters sent home to her parents due to the fact increased their dislike of her, but as it was with good intentions she didn't care.

This night wasn't any different, Ines had turned down a study date from a kind Hufflepuff boy named Owen Caudwell who thankfully took his rejection gracefully. As Ines and the boys made their way down, they spoke almost casually, as nights like these - despite being high intensity - were a regular occurrence now. Remus had already been brought to the shrieking shack by Madame Pomfrey. Peter was struggling to keep pace with the rest of them, but made conversation all the same "Ines, have you by any chance done the transfiguration essay?". "Nope!" she said, popping her 'p'. She turned to Sirius and smirked, neither of them had done it. They had set aside time last week to do their essays, but instead sat in the astronomy tower charming branches to fall off trees and hit the people underneath them. "Damn" Peter muttered, "I haven't done it either, and I still don't understand Inanimatus Conjurus spell at all.". They walked in silence for a few more minutes. Nobody really wanting to step up and help Peter. As much as they care for him, he wasn't a top priority when it came to their friends. Once in the entrance hall, the light of the full moon shone in from the open door, and the seriousness of the situation fell upon them. At this point, all their jokes and playfulness stopped. Ines turned to the boys, clasping her hands together and looked at them lovingly. The immense amount of pride she held for her friends for risking so much for Remus every month was insane. "Well, good luck, please be safe." She said, with a solemn smile. They walked to the door, Ines with them to walk them out. Before they all slipped out Ines gave a quick hug to Sirius and whisper to 'be safe'.

She parked herself in her usual spot, having only her wand and a pack of sugar quills, leaving her with not much to do. Over the past two years, the level of anxiety regarding the situation had decreased, so she was able to relax somewhat. She ate the entire pack of sugar quills and charmed a loose frog to dance for a bit, she was doing anything to take her mind away from the fact that her friends were outside risking their lives. She was passed by a few house elves, cleaning the school, as well as Severus Snape. He had become a prefect this past year, meaning he was now subject to midnight patrols. Ines, despite thinking it would earn her a grain of respect from her parents, was glad she wasn't tasked with someone as daunting. He didn't notice her as he walked, and Ines barely noticed him. His greasy hair was the color of the night, and his dark robes didn't make it any easier.

After that, she waited yet another hour before she heard anything. It was a bunch of scurrying, heels clicking and muttering. She peeked out from behind the statue to find McGonagall dragging a girl down the hall. It was Cynthia Goodwin, a chaser in their year on the Ravenclaw team. She was quite spirited and usually well manicured. As they passed, she was able to hear McGonagall's words. "Absolutely despicable! What means do you have wandering the halls of Gryffindor tower? Professor Flitwick will hear if this!". Cynthia was quite annoyed by these words and mumbled things such as 'take it easy' and 'alright, alright'. At the last moment before they turned the corner McGonagall turned and peered at Ines. She gave what looked like a nod of approval and kept walking. Ines stared at the spot where she had just stood, in shock at the unexpected sentiment.

Another hour passed until the boys came back in, covered in their usual marks. James had a bleeding gash across his cheek that he was already mending to. Peter had a similar looking one on his calf. Sirius had marks all across his arm, not as deep as the rest of the boys but so populated they seemed to take over his arm. Ines took in a breath, deciding not to speak until they reached Gryffindor tower. Crossing through the common room to get to their dormitory always presented a risk, if some student was unable to sleep or something and decided to spend time down there, it was usually up to Ines to deter them. She had once gone as far to snog a 5th year the year before in order to get him to face the other way while the boys crept up the staircase. Luckily, it was empty and they made their way upstairs with ease. Once in the room Ines lighted all their lamps and sat on Remus' bed. "How was it?" She asked softly, knowing the answer wouldn't be positive. "Fine," James murmured "Could have been worse.". She pulled out a kit from Remus' bedside table containing some bruise healing paste, Skele Gro, Pepperup potion, and a small booklet of spells. He sat down beside her and she dabbed at his wound with a clear liquid. She handed Peter something similar as well. Once his wound was healed and she tended to make sure that Peter did it correctly they decided to head off to bed.

Sirius sat next to her before she was ready to tend to him. She was searching for the spell that would clear him of all the marks these scars would doubtedly leave. Finding the situation quite awkward she spoke to break the silence. "I saw McGonagall in the entrance hall, I think she saw me too.". His head snapped up to look at her now. "Detention I'm guessing.". "No, she just, well." She was unsure how to say it as it sounded like a bald-faced lie. "She just nodded at me and walked off. She was taking Brocklehurst girl to Flitwick no doubt.". Sirius paused, taking it all in, as had now Ines found the spell and began clearing his scars. "I bet she knows, obviously she knows about Remus but maybe that we try and help out.". Ines contemplated it for a moment, seeing some logic in his words. "Yeah, she's always a bit kinder the day after a full moon now that I think about it.". They sat in silence for only a few more seconds, not wishing to wake the boys. Ines stood, admiring her work and packed up Remus' kit. She made her way to the door, turning back to say "Sleep well" to a smiling Sirius and out she went.