Remus sat with Sirius and James around the table in the library where he had been working earlier. The box of chocolates sat in the middle of the table as the three friends surveyed it suspiciously.
Sirius prodded the box with the tip of his finger, “I still say it’s love potion.”
“But Moony explained that Sirius, it can’t be or they would be in love with Esperanza. I wonder what it could be?” James tilted his head frowning.
Sighing heavily Remus ran a hand through his hair. “If you have any ideas let me know, any idea will do so don’t be shy about it.”
Scratching his nose thoughtfully Sirius began, “I once dated this girl…”
“I’m sure that you did, Padfoot, but we don’t need to hear about that right now,” James snapped.
“I’m not in the mood for entertainment right now either,” Remus warned, his face scrunching up in annoyance.
Sirius shrugged, “Fine, if you don’t want to hear the story I won’t tell it. Maybe we should head back to the common room? All these books are depressing me.”
The other two rose from their seats in silent agreement and the three friends headed back up to the Gryffindor common room. Upon entering the spacious room, they discovered that both Peter and Lily were absent and Remus declared he was going to head to the bathroom for a long shower. “Sometimes the peace and quiet helps me to think.”
“We’ll have a think in here while you’re in there,” James assured him.
“Do you think I could pass off a walk to the Quidditch changing rooms as a date?” Sirius asked suddenly.
James sighed, “At least I’ll be having a think while you’re in there,”
Rolling his eyes Remus nodded and hurried up to his room to collect his things. Returning to the common room he smiled slightly at the sight of James leaning his elbows on his knees, his chin in his hands staring moodily at the floor.
“I’m sorry, Prongs,” Remus said quietly.
James gave him a lopsided grin. “It’s not your fault, forget about it.”
Nodding, Remus left the common room and headed for the prefects bathroom. His active mind spun over and over all of the possibilities he could think of, and the only one that seemed to fit was Sirius’ idea of love potion in the chocolates.
He dismissed that idea though. Not even in his wildest dreams did he think that was a real possibility. Unless, Remus paused as he rounded the corner, perhaps it was something along those lines, maybe Esperanza had given him the wrong box of chocolates!
Although, what kind of potion it was that made Peter and Lily act the way they were Remus wasn’t sure. He could ask Esperanza when he saw her couldn’t he? Mind made up, Remus decided that he would seek her out before supper and ask if she knew what could have happened.
“Remus!” Lily’s voice jolted him out of his thoughts.
“Lily,” he exclaimed horrified.
She had seemingly sprung up out of no-where, her arms outstretched she dived at him.
With a loud yell Remus turned his back on her and ran for the bathroom door. He just managed to squeeze himself through the small gap and bolt it on the other side.
“Oh Remus, you little tease!” Lily called through the locked door.
Remus closed his eyes in distress. “Please help me,” he muttered to the empty room.
“Come on, Remus, open the door,” Lily wheedled.
“Not right now, Lily. I need to take a shower, I’ll be a while. I’ll see you in the common room later ok?”
“Well, alright then,” Lily agreed reluctantly.
Remus took a deep breath and sank to the floor his back against the door. He listened carefully for the sound of Lily’s footsteps and he heard her walking away.
What was going on? Remus swore loudly, he definitely needed to sort this out sooner rather than later, he couldn’t worry about asking Esperanza questions, if he did then he would never get anything done. Chewing on his bottom lip as he disrobed Remus reflected that he didn’t really want to make himself look like an idiot by asking Esperanza is she was trying to dose him up with love potion, and he didn’t want to upset her either by making unfounded allegations.
What to do?
An hour later, Remus arrived back at the common room. He crept through the portrait, his brown eyes scanning the room around him, his body poised for flight. After lurking in the shadows for five minutes, Remus declared it safe to venture fully into the room.
Spotting James and Sirius sitting together in a secluded corner, their heads together talking in what appeared to be low voices, Remus crossed the room to them. “Hello, Padfoot, hi Prongs,” he greeted, his voice almost a whisper.
“Why are you whispering?” Sirius asked, raising an eyebrow comically.
Remus shrugged, “I can’t help it, I want to make sure that Lily or Wormtail don’t find me,”
“It’s supper time,” James informed him. “Wormtail will be eating by now,”
Sirius grinned, leaning back in his chair. “You’ve got all the time in the world then, Moony,”
James sniggered and ruffled his hair absently. “I’ve been thinking that we should go to the library after supper, do some research,”
Cocking his head to the side Remus grinned. “Merlin, things must be bad if you’re offering to read a book, Prongs,”
“I think we can all agree that things are bad right now,” James pointed out. Standing up he stretched out his back. “Let’s eat something first though,”
Shifting nervously Remus shook his head. “Um…actually, I think I’ll go straight to the library. I don’t fancy having to deal with Wormtail and Lily over supper. Can you bring me a sandwich or something?”
“Sure I can,” James agreed. “Although, I think we should all stick together. For protection you know?”
Sirius laughed loudly. “Oh please, Prongs. You only want to stick yourself to Moony in case he gets a snog off Lily,”
James coloured immediately and he cleared his throat forcefully. “No, that’s not it….”
“Of course it is,” Sirius dismissed the claim with a flick of his wrist. “Anyway, let’s get on shall we?” He stood up and strolled from the room with James and Remus following him.
Remus couldn’t help lagging back, his eyes darting around the corridor as he waited for Lily or Peter to turn up. Rubbing a hand over his forehead he sighed heavily, he was a nervous wreck and he’d only had to deal with them for half a day! A glimmer of hope suddenly sparkled in the dark corner of his mind; maybe this was a twenty-four hour thing! Maybe by the time he woke up in the morning everything would be back to normal.
When they reached the library James carried on up to the Great Hall while Sirius and Remus turned into the library. “I think we should start with potions,” Remus said as he made his way to the potions section.
“There could be something in the restriction section?” Sirius suggested. “Is there anything on love potions in the normal books? Isn’t it a bit risky?”
“I don’t know,” Remus said. “I expect that there might be something in one of the text books somewhere. You could be right though, it does seem a bit risky doesn’t it?”
“I’m right a lot of the time if you’d only listen to me,” Sirius complained huffily.
“Sure you are,” he agreed, browsing through the shelf of books on his right. “Where do you think we could find the answer?”
“Are you asking me?” Sirius asked, his eyebrows raising in surprise.
“Yes, Padfoot, I’m asking you,”
“What about her?”
Sirius sighed heavily. “That’s where you will find the answer, Remus, go and ask her what’s going on. I’m telling you that she will know,”
Remus didn’t reply, instead he pulled a book off the shelf and scanned the index. “Let’s get cracking shall we?”
“Alright, we’ll get cracking while you live in denial,” Sirius agreed, picking a book and flopping down in a chair. He flicked the pages idly, humming a light tune under his breath. Presently Sirius spoke again, “Can I ask you something?”
“What is it?”
“Just suppose that I’m right and it is love potion in the chocolates, what will you do then?”
“Get the antidote,” Remus replied looking confused. “I would have thought that was obvious?”
“I meant about Esperanza,”
“Let’s not get into that now, Padfoot. You aren’t going to be right so there’s no point in discussing it,”
Sirius relapsed into silence for a while as he searched through the book. His dark eyes lifted from the page when he sensed someone watching him. Scanning the room over the top of the book he noticed a pretty blonde girl sitting at the table opposite them watching him as she twirled a strand of hair around her finger.
“Hey, Moony,” Sirius hissed under his breath.
“Did you find something?” Remus asked hopefully, his head jerking up excitedly.
“No, but that girl over there is undressing me with her eyes,” Sirius informed him in hushed whisper.
Remus glanced over his shoulder, he figured it was just his friends luck to have pretty girls eyeing him up in the library. He always came to the library and yet he never even managed to engage in a light flirtation with a girl. Although, Remus admitted to himself he would probably get all anxious and start stammering and flushing if he found himself in that kind of situation. Girls made him nervous.
“Do you want to move to another table?”
Sirius looked surprised at this offer. “No, of course not. She’s only half done!”
Clicking his tongue irritable Remus frowned. “You’re supposed to be helping me,”
“I am,” Sirius feigned a hurtful look at his friends snappy reminder.
“How?” Remus demanded. “Exchanging lustful looks with a blonde is not helping me, Padfoot,”
“I’m protecting you, Moony. You know, in case Wormtail and Lily turn up,” Sirius closed the book and placed it carefully on the table. “I’ll be right back,”
“I won’t hold my breath,” Remus said grinning in spite of himself. He watched Sirius as he prowled towards the blonde who was now sitting up straight, her whole attention on the boy advancing on her. Sirius slid into the empty seat next to her and within minutes Remus could here the girl giggling madly. Rolling his eyes he turned his attention back to his book, how nice it would be to have the same confidence that Sirius had.
Sirius still hadn’t returned over ten minutes later and James was nowhere to be seen, Remus figured that James had obviously become detained, maybe he couldn’t slip away from Lily and Wormtail? Remus knew James would appear sooner rather than later though, this whole thing with Lily was driving his friend mad and Remus knew it.
He was so engrossed in his book that he jumped in surprise when a voice whispered in his ear, “I’ve been looking everywhere for you,”
Raising his head Remus froze when his eyes locked with emerald green eyes, there was no mistaking those eyes, only one girl at Hogwarts had eyes that color. “Oh no, Padfoot!”
Where was his bodyguard when he needed him? Hadn’t Sirius said he was there to protect him?
“Remus, darling,” Lily cooed. “You’ve been hiding from me, Remus. You’re such a tease!”
Panic lit up inside him as Remus jumped to his feet, fully intending to run. “Pad…ahhh!”
Lily launched herself at him, her arms coiling around his neck. She knocked him backwards into his seat so forcefully that the chair tilted on to two legs and for one moment they were suspended in mid air, before the chair toppled backwards completely and they landed on the floor with a loud bang.
Remus’ arms flailed wildly, as Lily’s body knocked the air from his lungs and he wheezed pathetically.
“You’re so cute,” Lily declared, closing the gap between them she kissed him.
Remus tried to protest, he tried to pry her away from him but Lily had a strong grip around his neck and he couldn’t move her.
Where the hell was Sirius when you needed him?
Trying unsuccessfully to twist his face from Lily’s, Remus froze when his eyes landed on the horrified face of James Potter who was stood motionless beside the table staring down at him.