Chapter 97. The Longest Night, Part 2
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Just as Hermione was about to shift into an animal, she had held back in fear of what might happen to the Ron or Lucas if Lupin's main target was suddenly gone in his eyes, throwing both of them under the bus. However, before she could, she was thrust back from Lupin’s clawed hand. Her face now buried amongst black fur she was pressed up against, she sputtered the hair from her mouth as she looked up at Lucas, the base of her neck cradled, and held tightly against his chest. She could see his fangs bared, growling in warning for what was left of Lupin.

 

The beast, ignoring Lucas’ warning, now with its pride wounded, slowly began circling him, looking for a hint of weakness and vulnerability to attack, not bothering with the injured Ron sitting just a few feet away. Lucas kept a tight grip on Hermione, even in this situation, she felt at ease with his strong yet comforting embrace. She felt safe in Lucas’ arms. Just as the beast leapt at them, Lucas holding out his arm to defend them both, a silver streak of pure moonlight appeared, wrestling with Lupin’s beast. It was Chiara.

 

After seeing Chiara wrestle with the werewolf, I knew she couldn’t hold him for long. I let go of Hermione and leapt towards him, helping Chiara keep a hold on him, but even with our strength’s combined, his older physic was a challenge in pure strength. “We’ve got to move Lupin!” Chiara howled, to my surprise, now knowing what Lupin’s beastial side looked and acted like. While Chiara grabbed at his arms from behind stopping them from swinging the way Lupin desired, I went to his front, grabbing his kicking legs as I used my shoulder to push into his chest. “Get him in the forest.” I directed, holding him with all my strength as we began pushing and dragging him to the forest’s edge.

 

“Bloody hell Hermione… You know more Werewolves? Anything else you wanna reveal? You a friend of Vampire’s next?” Ron asked, his jaw slacked in disbelief at Hermione, but she didn’t have time to explain or lie. “Not now Ron!” She yelled, rushing out for Harry just as Professor Snape stumbled out of the whomping willow. “Granger!” He yelled, but she was gone over the ridge before he could force her back with magic.

 

As she rushed down the bank of the water, barely keeping her balance, the underbrush grew larger and thicker the closer she was to the forbidden forest’s edge. She could see Harry already making a glowing white shield, protecting himself and the unconscious Sirius Black from the swarming voids of despair above them. 

She wanted to rush and help, seeing Harry’s strength wane, his protective shield shrinking after each blow from the hungering Dementors. But she couldn’t help, any closer and she herself would be under attack before she could shift into her animagus. ‘What to do, what to do, how do I solve this?’ Her brain hurt under the pressure she was putting herself in, but she forced herself to push on. The image of Lucas staring up at one he managed to feed and tame came to mind. As a last resort, with nothing else to think of, she yelled skyward. “Nyx!!”

 

Her head kept snapping back and forth, looking for any sign of her last resort. Minutes passed, until a sudden movement from the corner of her eye caught her attention. The black mass emerged from the giant trees of the forbidden forest, with parts of white that seemed to reflect the moon. As it descended to her, she could now see on closer inspection that this was indeed Nyx, her glowing white skin and dainty limbs just as Hermione remembered them. Nyx held the same facsimile as the others of her kind, a sort of unnerving presence, but one that Hermione could tolerate compared to the one on the train at the beginning of the year, or those just over the lake.

 

Nyx hovered before her, waiting for Hermione to say anything else. Hermione glanced at Harry and Sirius, now seeing Harry’s patronus charm flicker in weakness, his happiness now being eaten away as it faltered. “Save them! Please!” She begged, hoping that this creature in which Lucas had come to know and name, held some portion of his caring nature. To her relief, Nyx immediately flew off towards Harry, just as he passed out, and began screeching like a banshee to the others, warding them off back into the forest before following them, making sure they wouldn’t come back.

 

Hermione couldn’t help but smile in thanks for Nyx, seeing her as something similar to Lucas himself. An exterior that went against everything that truly laid inside. As she stumbled down to the lake's edge she instantly held her hand over Harry's face, sighing in relief after feeling his warm breath against her fingertips. Just as she checked on Sirius she heard her name called once again. "Ms. Granger!" She snapped her head back to see Professor Snape glaring deeply at her while McGonagall helped the still injured Ron stand.

***

After what felt like hours of fighting Lupin’s beast, Chiara and I were injured and tired. Once we had locked him in another stable, one Dumbledore and Hagrid had repaired to keep Chiara locked away if she felt the need, he banged and hollerd at us from behind the enchanted wood, biting and scratching at his own wounds we had accidentally given him in the fuss. Right now, both of us laid together, each licking the other’s wounds to help the healing process. “Ow!” I winced in pain, my shoulder having a large bite taken out of it as I held Lupin down from the front.

 

Chiara paused, her tongue still out a bit as she studied my body. “You should have let me help more.” She whimpered, taking one last lick on my most damaged area, no doubt tasting the almost invisible blood running all down my chest through my fur. “And sully your fur?” I asked with a snort, scoffing at the idea of ruining such a magnanimous mane. Chiara nipped my nose, breaking away my laughter, her gaze no longer shy, or unsure. “This isn’t a laughing matter.” She reprimanded, her silver eyes like miniature moons, never faltering in their gaze from my own, perhaps the only time she had the courage to speak her mind.

 

I let out a sigh, slightly shaking my head. “What do you want me to say? One of us had to hold down his front… Why should it have been you?” Chiara then suddenly pounced on top of me, my mind blank from her sudden aggression. “Instincts play a large part of what we are. A basic emotion that goes beyond reason. A primal reaction.” She started, her gaze darkening as she continued to speak. “Do you know how hard it was to hold back my rage at seeing you injured like this? Many of his injuries are of my own claws digging into his arms to hold myself back in mauling him.” 

 

She shook her head, but her unblinking eyes remained focused on me. “I don’t even know why. I’m not aggressive, not really. Even my own beast is more…” She paused, her body slowly descending over me, laying her head over my uninjured shoulder before getting back on track, her sweet scent fogging my mind with hunger as she whispered into my ear. “Why are you so okay with being injured like this? Do you hate your own body?” She asked, licking her dry lips, waiting for an answer.

 

I pondered for a moment where all this was coming from. Chiara was a shy girl that helped me come to terms and understand my own self, the self my parents had hidden from me and even themselves to some extent. There was no part of me that wanted self inflicting pain, but it was something that needed to be done. Just like my training with blood runes, I didn’t enjoy or feel that I deserved to be in pain, but it was something that I needed to do for the best. 

 

‘Just like how I want what’s best for Chiara.’ I thought with a groan, hating myself for caring enough about her, that I instinctively let myself get hurt this much just so she wouldn’t have to. Without a single thought, my beast had pointed me towards a decision I never once second guessed. It never even occurred to me for us to switch positions with one another for me to rest. ‘This is why you all are such a disease to me…’ Images of Hermione, Luna, and Chiara came to my mind, each tainted fruit. Pansy was okay to be close to, as she was Slytherin, but my other closest acquaintances, they all pushed me out from my safety, threatening to ruin my life with their mere existence. An existence I wanted to be a part of.

‘I want us to be close too…’ On instinct, I wrapped my arms around Chiara, and gently pulled her closer, enjoying her warmth as she stifled a squeal, her shyness now back to its full brightness. “I really just wanted you to not get hurt. As simple as that.” I muttered, relenting myself to my own desire if not for just a moment, enjoying the strange feeling of comfort as Chiara slowly wrapped her own arms gently around me, before it would no doubt soon end.

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