Chapter 1 : Frozen In Time
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Edit: Pesky mistakes. Hope I caught all of 'em
Chapter image was made by SillyBeee @ TDA!!
Even though she is wearing gloves, her hands are stuffed into her pockets from the cold, and her head is bent against the bitter wind. Her feet crunch drearily against the frozen water that blankets the ground as she walks slowly, devoid of any direction or destination, just following the winding path around the school grounds.
Lily looks up; everything is covered in a thin layer of snow. It is like powder, sprinkled on the trees, the ground, and everything that remains outside in the chill. Hogwarts looks like a blemish on a perfectly clean, white slate.
A small gust of wind blows a few snowflakes into her eyes and she lowers her gaze again, wiping it away with the sleeve of her coat. When she looks up again, she can make out a tiny dot that looks like a person, not far from where she stands. She skims through her memory to try to remember the few students that were still at school for the holidays.
Only a handful of sixth years and a couple of seventh’s who wanted to get in as much studying as they could. About five or six third years and smaller children that preferred to stay at school. She shrugs and keeps on walking, ignoring the lonely feeling rising in her chest.
The dot becomes bigger as she gets closer, until she can see the outline of the person clearly now.
He is sitting on what looks like a bench; the old, brown wood in bold contrast to the stark whiteness of the snow. His legs are outstretched, his arms are spread across the back of the bench, and his head is thrown back. He looks about as comfortable and as content as one could get as he stares up at the over-cast sky.
His entire body is sheltered in his cloak but she holds her breath when she sees a trail of brown pigmented skin that leads from his wrist to his pinky finger.
“Remus?” She calls out, feeling both surprised and thrilled when he turns his head and looks at her in confirmation. He instantly sits up straight and scoots across to make room for her. She wastes no time in running and sitting down beside him while placing one hand over her heaving chest and the other on his arm.
He leans over and looks at her curiously. “Are you all right?” He smiles and raises an eyebrow. As soon as she catches her breath, she swats him playfully on the arm that she is grasping.
“Oh, shut up,” she says lightly while breathing slowly to control her still fiercely beating heart. “How long have you been here?”
“Well, I’d say about oh-” he pretends to think hard, “-five minutes.”
“Not here- here. Here, at school. I haven’t seen you at all since the holidays began.” I felt so alone. She feels herself become aggravated. Had he been there the entire time and not once approached her?
He smiles tightly “That’s because I‘ve been cooped up in the library all week.”
Lily laughs even though deep inside, she knows she had rummaged around the library on more than one occasion, and had not once come across him. “And people say I study excessively. Remus, it’s the holidays, time to have a break from studying.”
“I know.” His face flushes with embarrassment. “But you of all people know that I don’t feel like myself unless I’m studying.”
Burying yourself in books you mean. “How could I not. I’ve known you long enough,” she says quickly. Too quietly, and he changes the subject.
“So, how have you been enjoying your holidays? Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you here at school for Christmas?” He puts his index finger on his chin and scans his eyes back and forth as if trying to remember.
He is playing, and she could as well.
“Yes this is my first Christmas here. I decided to stay this year.”
“Any particular reason why?” He clears his throat.
“No. Just felt like it,” she replies simply.
“Yes, really. Can’t I stay for no particular reason?”
“No, no. Of course. I mean yes. Of course you can Lily…I just thought-”
He hesitates. “Nothing.”
“You thought nothing?” She challenges firmly.
He exhales loudly and his mouth twitches upward. “You’re enjoying this aren’t you?”
She carefully slides her hand off his and lets it rest in her lap. She gazes intently at the gently falling snow and not his amber eyes that are now fixed on her.
He slides down back into his comfortable position and lets his arm drape over the bench once more. His hand dangles languidly, separating them, and he too, focuses on the falling snow, instead of the missing warmth from his hand.
“What were you doing out here anyway?”
He breathes in and out deeply. “Just…looking at the sky.”
She looks up and then looks at him confusedly. “But you can’t see the sun, the sky is grey.”
“I know. You can’t see the moon either,” he replies sadly.
“That’s true. But you and I both know that even though it’s unseen, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still there.”
They sit in silence before Remus speaks again. “Why did you really stay, Lily?” He asks slowly. Lily’s gaze drops from straight ahead to the spot in front of her feet. He notices the movement of her eyelashes.
“I just felt like spending a Christmas here at Hogwarts, that’s all.”
“Are you sure that’s all?” I know you’re lying.
“Of course Remus.”
After a few seconds, she adds deliberately, “What else could it be?”
She turns to look him full in the eyes with a look of indifference.
He looks at her sideways for a few seconds without turning his head before answering. “I really don’t have the slightest idea.”
“None at all?” She laughs. “Then maybe you’re not as smart as you would have everyone believe.”
“Maybe not,” he says with a little smile. “I have been known to be pretty dense when it comes to certain things.”
He stops smiling when she looks away and starts to bite her bottom lip.
“Well, it’s quite fortunate then that this is not one of those certain things isn’t it?”
Remus clears his throat loudly and sits up quickly.
“Are you catching a cold, Remus?” she asks in a sarcastic yet amused tone.
He frantically adjusts his scarlet and gold scarf around his neck before standing. “I think it’d be best if I head back. I have a lot of studying and…things, to do and I’m expecting an owl from James tonight.”
She stares at him but remains silent.
He starts to walk away, slower than usual, puzzled that she hasn’t replied or try to stop him.
“Is that why you’ve been avoiding me?” She asks softly.
He stops and remains completely still. “I haven’t been avoiding you.”
“No? So what exactly would you call it then?” She replies angrily.
He doesn’t reply but starts walking again. Approaching footsteps tell him that she is a following hm. “Answer me!”
“Lily, stop it.”
“No. When will you stop running away from me, Remus?”
He whirls around. “When you realize that I am not the only one who wishes to be caught by you!” His eyes grow wide when he realizes what he had said.
“Y-you-” She is speechless and he takes the opportunity to turn away in order to hide his heated face and walks away quickly.
“Wait! Would you stop that!”
“Sorry Lily, but I have to go.”
She makes an angry noise but she is noticeably flustered. Remus makes sure to walk quickly this time. He has just unconsciously told the girl that his best friend worships, that he fancies her as well, and it is too late to take it back.
He cringes at the thought. Guilt burns his insides. What if Lily tells James? What if James has secret devices hidden to monitor Lily’s conversations? An idea he had actually considered.
Remus thinks frantically until something cold and hard hits him in the back of is head. Spinning around in shock, he sees Lily tossing a fair size snowball in her hand with a do-something-about-it look.
He feels the ice drip down his head and into is neck. He runs his hand through his wet hair. “Did you just hit me with a snowball?”
She raises a lazy eyebrow. “Caught that did you?”
He narrows his eyes but his mouth twitches. “Alright I-”
She stretches her arm behind her and hurls the second one at him with blinding speed, but he easily dodges it too easily. A look of recognition slides across his face but vanishes just as quickly.
“Is everything alright?”
“Uh, yes, except for the fact that you nearly killed me.” He glances up at the sky. “I have a proposal to make.”
“Is that so? I’m afraid I’m too young for you. What would my parents say?”
“Ha-ha. We each get one shot to take the other person out with a snowball. If you loose, I get to leave without questions.”
“And if I win?”
“If you win…you get to ask me what ever you’d like,” he answers in a deflated tone.
“I don’t think so.”
“I beg your pardon? What do you mean no?”
“I mean, that’s not a good enough victory prize. If I win, you have to…teach me how to skate.”
“What?” He laughs and looks at her incredulously. “Are you serious?”
She doesn’t reply and he snorts. “Lily, that’s ridiculous. I don’t know the first thing about skating! Why would you want that?”
“Will you accept or are you too much of a coward?”
His mouth hangs open at her blatant arrogance. He weighs the options in his head. Lily, as wonderfully spontaneous and capricious as she was, definitely has something planned. He can see it on her face.
But even if she wins, he can’t skate so it would be a waste of time and she would give up sooner or later. And the fact remains that he full moon is tonight. He can feel it in his aching body but his senses are heightened. He will definitely win.
“All right. I accept. But it’s a waste of time because I told you already that I’m no good at skating.”
“Well then, you’d better win.” She cocks an eyebrow at him.
And she talks about James’ ego, he thinks with a smile.
They bend down and scoop up balls of snow into their hands without taking their eyes off each other. Lily tries to make hers the bigger one but her hands are too small and the snow falls though her fingers. Remus stifles a laugh and she shoots him a death glare.
“Okay. How do we do this?” She asks, rising and brushes of her coat.”
“Like a duel, five paces, turn and fire. Ready?”
“To beat you? You bet,” she replies confidently.
The both turn and start to walk in opposite directions while counting to five. Remus smiles to himself. He has the obvious advantage and she isn’t even aware. It’s not really sportsman like but he must not allow her to win. He knows her well enough to know that she will not keep her word if she does.
“One, two, three, four, five!”
He turns quickly and pelts his missile to where Lily should be standing, but isn’t. If she were there, he would have been victorious, but she is not, so he is not. He eyes grow wide as he realizes he has been tricked.
He looks around frantically. Had his brain been functioning properly, he would have hid.
The idea hits him too late. He turns to take cover but finds himself face to face with his opponent.
“Looking for someone?” She asks saccharinely. Before he can make a move, she shoves a handful of snow into his face, making him stumble backwards and fall.
He shakes his head and wipes his face. “You cheated. I can’t believe it.” He points an accusatory finger at her accompanied by a look that might have implied she just announced that she was an alien in disguise. She pouts.
“No I didn’t. I just ensured that I won.”
He stares at her amused face and finds himself smiling as well. She always had that effect on him.
“How’d you do it?” He asks half bewildered half impressed. He can’t help but imagine James’ awed expression if he’d seen.
She merely smiles at him and withdraws her wand. In a few movements of her hand, the snow surrounding them is transformed into a circular sheet of ice and a thin layer on the bottom of their shoes.
“Well...” She stares down at him with an expectant expression on her face. “I’m waiting Remus Lupin.”
She extends a small, gloved hand. He stares at it nervously.
What would James say? What might James think if he were to see them? A strictly platonic relationship? Two friends having fun in the snow? Two lonely souls seeking companionship? Betrayal?
No. It will only be betrayal if he does something…un-called for. He can control himself right? Yes, he is renowned for his self-control.
He smiles weakly and reaches out to accept her invitation. She pulls him up with surprising force. So much force that he stumbles forward, briefly wondering when he had turned into a rag doll. He balances himself and looks down at Lily. She is still holding his hand.
She is looking at him curiously and he is glancing from their entwined hands for her face at almost in-human speed. Is she testing him? Waiting to see what he will do? He struggles for something to say in the increasing awkwardness.
“Uh…w-we need skates r-right?” It is the best he can think of and it will have to do. His tongue feels swollen and he is becoming a little warm despite the miles of snow.
“No. I charmed our shoes so they are all we will need.” With that, she led him, by hand, to where the ice began, leaving only their foot prints behind.
“I think we should put this off till another time L-Lily.” He is already finding it hard to catch his breath, and the stiffness in his legs is getting worse.
“Remus, come off it. You won’t get away from me that easily.” Bravely, she steps onto the ice and drags him behind her.
She is gliding and he is forced to follow. There is no way he can stop himself without falling on his face and looking like a complete dunce in front of her. Again. So he tries to stand up straighter, more dignified. Okay you can do this.
He jerks his body up suddenly, causing the balance to shift and Lily is no longer pulling him. Their hands come apart. He flails his arms in the air uselessly, trying not to fall. He bends backwards then forward then backwards again, in a futile attempt to fight gravity, before giving in and falling hard.
Lily quickly- and so easily- glides over to him looking apologetic.
“Thanks a lot. I thought I was the one who was supposed to be teaching you, but something tells me that that may be a little bit redundant,” he says with mock sarcasm.
She stoops down to be leveled with his face and ruffles his hair. “I’m sorry; I guess I have had a few lessons before.” Her eyes sparkle with withheld laughter. “I should have told you, but look on the bright side, now I can teach you a thing or two.”
Pulling him to his feet and swiftly behind her, she takes him to the middle of the ice before he can protest, but she only stands still and steadies him as well.
“Okay, the trick is to take it slow.”
“Well, there’s an idea. Glad we thought of it before rupturing my vertebrae.”
She rolls her eyes and takes his hands, in which he replies by sputtering. She places one on the small of her back and holds the other hand in hers. Her other hand goes on his shoulder and she steps closer to him.
He feels extremely uncomfortable with their closeness. “What are-”
“You can dance right?”
She continues before he can answer. “Well this is just like dancing. I’ll be your support and just take tiny steps back and forth. Got it?”
He sighs loudly. He looks tired. Lily can see it on his face and feel it in his lax grip on her. She feels a pang of guilt for putting him through so much, especially since she can’t deny that she’s not having fun. Somehow he always manages to make her smile without really trying.
His eyes are closed. She takes a step closer to him, noting how he is willing himself to breath. She watches him with a look of understanding. He opens his eyes and looks directly over her shoulder, his expression distant. She squeezes his hand without taking her eyes off him.
When he finally looks at her, she feels her heart skip a beat. It is strange. There is something different in his look.
“So, just step forward and backward like dancing you say?”
She merely nods when his fingers tighten around her.
“Sounds simple enough.”
“Remus, I’m not forcing you to do anything. We can go back to the castle if you’d like, I can be a bit demanding at times,” she says quickly.
“A bit?” He asks with a grin.
It is unexpected, and it catches her off-guard when he pulls her close and leads her in a slow dance. She would never have expected him to be so…well, confident. She was practically leading him for the entire day but now, he is in control.
Eventually, his strides become bigger and wider, as he gets the basic idea of it. He now pulls Lily along with the ridiculous ease of someone who has years of experience.
Her mind is left in wonder at this amazing feat. They swirl and glide on the ice for what feels like a lifetime. As their movements become more wild and erratic, Lily finds herself giggling like a child when he tries to lift her up.
She fends him off playfully and he laughs; an infectious sound that seems to give his entire face a faint glow. The sight of him smiling happily at her makes her stomach flutter. His hair is flying with the wind, streaming across his face and into his eyes.
She feels a sudden need to brush it away so she can see his face, a sudden need to be close to him, so she steadies her weight to slow herself down and him as well. They are close together again, their frantic laughter dying down to breathless noises as they swirl in small circles.
He looks happier than she has ever seen him and she feels herself becoming happy as well. The elated feeling warms her from the inside and she rests her head in the crook of his neck and tightens her hands around his waist.
She expects him to withdraw as he always does. To push her away or remind her of the numerous reasons why they shouldn’t be at such proximity, but he doesn’t.
He tenses up. The line that dictates how close they are to be has been erased completely. He looses all senses feeling her body on his and he does the unthinkable. He wraps his arms around her, trailing his fingers along her back.
He feels at peace, completely undisturbed in a glistening snow globe with a beautiful angel, suspended in time. They stay like this for a long time, their cloaks and hair swaying in the gentle wind that their movements create.
Blissfully close and ignorant of their surroundings, Remus feels Lily breathing against his neck and he holds his breath. Testing his control was not a good idea in his state and so, the line returns.
His eyes feel heavy and his throat is dry. A strange sensation tingles his feet. The spell is wearing off and the ice is disappearing. Their feet are once again planted firmly in the snow.
She releases him and looks around dreamily before looking directly into his eyes, which flutter and struggle to remain open. She smiles warmly.
“Come on, let’s go back now,” she says quietly. “You look terrible. My eyes practically hurt looking at you.”
He manages a feeble smile before tuning around and trying to walk, but he’s reached his limit and he stumbles. Lily tries to catch him but she’s too slow. She only manages to support his torso somewhat, making him fall on his back instead of flat on his face.
She lays him down in the snow and leans over him; he is practically panting. Removing one of her gloves, she gently brushes her fingers across his cheeks that are rubbed raw from the cold, and smoothes wet strands of hair from his face.
She traces the curvature of his lips with her thumb as they tremble slightly, and looks into his half-opened eyes. The redness of his face and lips along with his golden eyes and sandy hair look brighter against his bed of white.
“I lied…” she whispers, “I think you’re the most wonderful thing I’ve ever seen.”
He wonders if she knows his eyes had been open the entire time. She brings her head closer to his. Her cascading hair tickles him and hides her face. Something wet rolls down his face and when she raises her head, he see’s why.
“Lily…nothing good can come from this, please. G-Give James a chance. I know when you grow to know him, you will see the real him and… you may also grow to love him,” he whispers hoarsely.
The words sting far more than the cold seeping through his wet clothes. “I love James like a brother, and your words hurt him more than he cares to show.”
He looks away. “He needs you.”
“And what about me, Remus? What about who I need?”
“Someone who can truly make you happy. Consider it for me, please.”
She hesitates. “Is that what you really want?”
He looks at her for a long time before replying truthfully. “No.”
The tears assemble on her lashes and it breaks his heart to see them.
She presses her lips against his cheek.
She kisses his nose and beneath his eye.
She hovers over him, staring lovingly at his face, and for an unrestrained moment, Remus’ eyes betray him. He can no longer hide; the mask he wears slips off, leaving him exposed.
He feels vulnerable without it, transparent, when their eyes meet.
He can feel it in his heart, that this will be the last time that they will be this close. The final time that he might be able to feel her gentle touch on his face, unbridled and unashamed. The final time that he would be this close to see the placement of every freckle on her face and the varying shades of green in her eyes.
She sees it in his eyes; the fear, the pain, the hesitation, the doubt, the loss. A light tug on her hair brings her mind back. She could never have him. He is too much of a good person, and she loved him for it. The rapid beating of her heart in her ears and the quickening of her pulse when she is around him confirms itwithout words.
Slowly, she lowers her mouth to his, savoring their closeness, the look in his eyes, his feel of his chest rising and falling...
The snow falls gently, shrouding then in its icy mist, two dots, frozen in time.
She sits quietly, but the ancient bench creaks under her weight; a year of hard weather has not been kind. The cracked pine hooks the threads in her sweater and she swears quietly. She huffily rips it away and makes herself comfortable. The boy beside her doesn’t move.
“I heard the extremely wonderful news,” he says in a flat voice
“Isn’t ‘extremely wonderful’ a bit much.”
“I certainly don’t think so. I expected you to be wrapped up with him by the fire with hot chocolate or something of the sort.”
“Hot chocolate on a freezing day is completely over-rated.”
He laughs quietly. “Isn’t it though?”
His hand rests in the space between them and the other is thrown carelessly across his eyes.
“You have horrible posture, do you know that?” Her eyes travel across his face and the new scars and scratches. She feels a stab of pity for him and runs a finger across the rough skin.
“Sorry,” she mutters.
After a moment in silence, she speaks. “What are you doing out here anyway?”
“Just looking at the sky.”
She reaches to caress his cheek.
“But you can’t see the sun, the sky is grey.” She smiles.
“I know-” he looks at her from between his overly long hair, “-but you can’t see the moon either.”
His eyes look tired, almost forlorn, as he looks at her. He seems so much more lonely, so much more helpless and vulnerable. I’m so sorry. She brushes away the corner of his eye and tires to contain the tears forming in hers.
“That’s true-” she sniffs and rests her head on his chest, “- but you and I both know that even though it’s unseen…it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still there…”
A/N: Yeah, youve reached the end of my first Remily! Thank you so much for reading (and if you do) reviewing! *hands out brownies*