Chapter 12 : Animal Instinct
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Lily woke from a fitful sleep the next morning with a feeling like lead in her stomach. She forced herself out of her bed and into the bathroom. She grabbed her brush and ran it through her hair, while walking into Brigid's room.
"I was hoping you'd wake up soon," said Brigid, looking up from the Binding Charm. "Remus didn't go to bed last night. He's asleep in the living room."
"How're we going to get James in there?" asked Lily wearily.
"I don't know," said Brigid. "I suppose he'll go check on Remus in the
"And if he doesn't?"
"I'll think of something," snapped Brigid. "Now go."
Lily headed towards the door, but before she left, she turned and said, "Take care of Elle when she wakes up."
Brigid nodded sadly. "This is all my fault," she said, her voice drained and guilt ridden.
And Lily could not bring herself to tell her different.
Lily had just stepped cautiously into the Potter's living room. A slight snore from the couch told her that Remus was still sleeping.
And as she walked around the couch, she saw that she had been right.
Remus was laying, almost curled up, on one side of the couch. One of his hands dangled limply off the edge. Lily reached out to brush away the hair that had fallen in front of his face.
With catlike agility, his eyes snapped open and he grabbed her wrist, causing Lily to gasp. "Sorry, Lily," said Remus, breathing normally again when he realized who it was. "Bad dream."
"That's alright," said Lily, rubbing her wrist. "Quite a grip you've got there."
Remus smiled weakly. "I just came to make sure you were alright," said Lily quietly, placing her hand delicately on his knee.
"No, I'm not," said Remus, shaking his head.
He buried his head in his hands and sighed heavily. Lily moved to sit beside him and put her arm around him comfortingly. "James went to make me some coffee," he muttered. "Said I looked like hell."
"I feel like hell," he said looking up.
Lily made a mental note of the fact that James would be coming back soon. That meant that whatever she was going to do, she needed to time it exactly. She shifted so that she was facing Remus directly.
Remus felt slightly uncomfortable with the fact that Lily's face was so close to his own. His eyes met hers and he found that they bore a look of concern. Do something, Lily ordered herself.
"Don't blame yourself, Remus," she heard herself say. "It's not you at all. It couldn't be."
Mentally urging herself, Lily continued, "You're really, well, handsome and all. And I'm sure it's not your kissing..." Lily moved closer to him. "Though I can't say I know."
She watched as Remus's eyes flickered from her eyes to her lips.
This is wrong, Remus told himself. Stop!
But it was too late.
As soon as their lips touched, it was like setting off a match. Lily forced her hands forward and grabbed the front of his shirt, pulling him even closer to her.
"Coffee!" called a cheery voice behind them.
Remus and Lily, both startled, whirled around to face the door.
James was standing, a cup of coffee in hand, in the doorway. He was staring at the pair with a mixture of confusion and anger on his face. His gaze met Lily's, and she felt like crying, so hurt was the look in his eyes.
There was a moment of silence, before James turned and left without saying a word.
Remus turned back to her, but found he could not make eye contact. "I need to go after him," he said. "Lily, whatever just happened, I'm sorry."
Lily watched as he left her sitting on the couch. She waited a moment, before bolting upstairs to Brigid's room.
Remus pushed open James's bedroom door to find his friend by the open window, setting fire to the leaves on the tree outside.
"James?" he asked cautiously.
James looked up at him and his lip curled nastily. "Oh, look who it is," he sneered. "The werewolf."
Remus, who had intended to keep calm, felt anger boil up inside of him. "This has nothing to do with that," he growled. "Don't bring it up."
"Oh, doesn't it?" said James, almost hysterically. "I figured it was animal instinct for you to be coming on to my girlfriend. Lucky I got there before you could sha-"
"You're one to talk about being an animal!" hollered Remus. "You go out with a girl, tell her you love her, just so she'll sleep with you!"
"So now I'm the bad one, am I?" yelled James. "Just 'cause I take what a girl offers?"
"Which is exactly what I did," roared Remus. "Your girlfriend was sitting there, telling me how handsome I was and how good a kisser I must be."
James, his hands clenched and his knuckles white, mouthed wordlessly at him for a moment, before turning and saying in a considerably lowered voice, "Just get out."
Remus, with one last angry look, stormed out and slammed the door behind him.
"Brigid, look!" cried Lily, jabbing her finger at the paper. "The words have faded even more."
And she was right. The words that held their horrible promise were now barely readable.
"I'm tomorrow," muttered Brigid, staring at the paper miserably. "Tomorrow it's over."
When Mr. and Mrs. Potter returned later that afternoon, if they didn't feel the tension right away, they sure felt it at dinner. If someone would so much as ask to pass the butter, the person would bristle and dirty looks would be exchanged.
Feeling as though it was none of their business, Mr. Potter kept his wife out of it.
They were leaving in two days and whether or not they would all make it to Hogwarts in one piece was the question on everyone's mind.
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