Chapter 7 : Don't Even Know What We're Fighting For
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Don't Even Know What We're Fighting For
The thick smell of sanitizing solution and healing paste hung in the air of the Hospital Wing. Remus sat quietly on the end of one of the hospital beds, twisting his hands with anxiousness for the coming hours. All was quiet on that night as the young boy awaited the return of Madame Pomfrey so that she could walk him down to the Whomping Willow for his transformation.
Feeling a bit tired, Remus laid back on the bed, his feet still hanging off, and closed his eyes. He wasn't sure how long he had been resting his eyes when he heard footsteps. Assuming that the Nurse had returned for him, he sat up and opened his eyes; only to find his girlfriend staring back at him.
“Remus?” Alice gave the boy a quizzical look and walked over to where he sat.
“Hey, what are you doing here?” Remus asked, trying to sound casual as he reached out and put his arms around the girl's waist.
“I was getting some...female...things – It isn't important. What are you doing here?” Alice asked, turning the tables on her uncomfortable answer.
“Oh, I have a headache. Came to get some potion for it, but she isn't here yet, so I'm waiting.” Remus gave the girl a small smile and tilted his head. “You'd probably be better off coming back in the morning, she could take a while.
Alice narrowed her eyes and looked over at Remus with skepticism. “Headache?”
“You don't believe me,” Remus sighed. He hated every word that he was about to say, but the situation was only going to get worse if he didn't nip it in the bud. “You never believe me. You constantly question me and never trust the answers I give you.” Guilt lunged in Remus' chest and made him want to become truly sick.
“It's not that I don't believe you. It's just that.... I know that you're keeping something from me and I can't stand it. I don't know what I have to do to prove myself to you,” Alice pleaded, tears quickly filling her eyes and running down over her cheeks.
Remus pulled the girl into his arms and frowned at his own stubbornness. “Please, don't cry,” he whispered. “I'm sorry if you think that I'm hid-”
“Alright, Mister Lupin,” Madame Pomfrey began as she walked into the Hospital Wing with her head down. “Are you rea- Miss Wood?” The woman gathered her composure and gave Alice a forced smile. “C-can I help you with something?” she asked, cutting her eyes towards Remus.
Alice shifted on her place and let out a nervous laugh. “I just...um, the other girls and I...we needed some....” The girl held out her hand waved it, hoping that the woman would catch on.
“Oh! Right,” the Nurse said with a smirk. She dashed off and was back with a brown paper bag for Alice in a matter of moments.
Alice smiled and looked up at Remus expectantly. “Well, are you going to ask?”
“Ask what?” Remus raised his eyebrows in confusion, unsure of what the girl was wanting from him.
“Remus has a headache,” Alice answered, turning her attention to the Nurse.
“Right,” Remus snapped. “A headache. I have a...headache...need a potion.” He looked up at Madame Pomfrey and gave her an awkward smile.
The woman nodded in understanding. “Alright then, I'll get Mister Lupin a potion, you head on back to your common room before curfew, Miss Wood.”
“I'll wait,” Alice chimed, giving Remus a cute smile.
From behind the blonde, Madame Pomfrey held up her wrist and tapped on her watch. She raised her eyebrows at Remus and stepped into her office.
“You don't have to wait. Go on back and I'll see you later.” Remus looked up at Alice and gave her the most innocent smile he could manage.
“I wanna walk with you,” Alice argued. “The common room can wait until we're together.”
“That's just it though,” Remus began, trying to think on the fly. “I'm...not going back to the common room right away. I need to go to the library,” he said slowly. “No telling how long it'll take me to find what I need.”
“Then I'll go with you. Two sets of eyes work faster anyways. Then we can get back sooner.” Alice flashed a smile and laced her fingers into Remus'. “You're starting to sound like you wanna get rid of me,” she said with a laugh. Her amused features faded away as Remus refused to share in her laughter or object to her words. “You are trying to get rid of me!”
Remus dropped his eyes to the floor and rubbed at his face. “Alice, could you just go please? I'll see you in the morning.”
“Morning? Remus, why do you want me to leave?” Alice took a step back away from the boy and stared at him with fire in her eyes. “I knew it, you're sick. You are, aren't you? Remus, just talk to me! Tell me what's wrong with you!”
Remus looked down at his watch and grimaced. He didn't have time to play games with Alice, he had to get outside and into the shack before the moon got too high. His temper was getting on edge from the anticipation of the change. “Look, for the last time, I am not sick,” the boy snapped, narrowing his eyes at Alice. “I am sick of telling you to stop asking that. Now get out of here.”
Alice let out a sharp cry of surprise at the tone in which Remus had just used with her. “No! Remus Lupin, you tell me what the hell is wrong with you, right now. Tell me or...or...we're through!”
Remus looked up into the blonde's watery eyes. “You don't mean that,” he whispered coldly.
“Yes I do.” Alice stamped her foot and held firm. “You tell me or I'm gone.”
Remus closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He dug his fingers into the edge of the bed and huffed in frustration. “Fine,” he answered in a whisper. “I guess we're through then.”
Alice let out a ragged breath and didn't bother to hold back her tears. She covered her mouth and turned on her heel before tearing out of the Hospital Wing.
A full week passed before Remus saw Alice again. She had been taking great care to not cross the boy's path, even forcing herself to be late for Charms on three occasions as her class directly followed Remus'. It was a Thursday when Remus stepped out of Potions to find Alice waiting for him. The girl grabbed onto his arm and led him aside to the wall.
“Can we talk for a minute?” Alice asked, throwing a glance back towards the other three Marauders who were now lingering in wait for their fourth.
Remus gave a hesitant nod before waving at the other boys. “I'll see you guys later, okay?” He waited as James, Peter and Sirius took their sweet time getting out of sight before turning his attention back to Alice. “What?”
“I'm sorry about what happened. I was upset and I said something really stupid. This week has been killing me and I want to make it okay.” Alice tried to meet the boy's eyes and frowned as he avoided it. “I wanna take it back. What I said. Can I take it back?”
“Why bother? It'll just keep happening.” Remus shifted his bag higher on his shoulder and stared off down the hallway.
“No it won't, I promise. I can wait until you're ready. I can wait until you trust me enough to tell me whatever it is that's going on.” Alice reached up and put her hand on Remus' cheek. “I love you.”
Remus immediately pulled the girl's hand away from his face. “It isn't a matter of waiting, Alice. This isn't about trust or waiting.” He took a step away from the girl only to have his path cut off.
“Remus, don't. I think we have a really good thing going here. I'm so happy when I'm with you and you're happy too, I can tell. Don't you like me?” Alice laid her hands on the boy's chest and stared into his eyes.
“Of course I like you. I wouldn't have stayed with you if I didn't. You're smart and beautiful and hilarious and.... I do have fun with you.”
“But,” Alice prompted.
“But nothing.” Remus put his hands up and shook his head. “I like you a lot.”
“But...you don't love me.” Alice took a small step backwards, her own words clearly sinking in.
“I wish I did,” Remus whispered. He leaned back against the wall and folded his arms across his chest. “I've tried, but...I'm not there. I don't feel it.”
“Could you ever?”
Remus bit his bottom lip and shrugged.
Alice nodded slowly and laid her hand on the boy's folded arms. “I can chance it...if....” She took a deep breath and stared at the floor while she considered her words. “I can be with you if you can tell me one thing.”
“What? What do you wanna hear?” Remus asked, letting his arms drop.
Alice looked up into Remus light blue eyes and took another deep breath. “I need you to look me in the eyes and tell me.... I need you to tell me that you don't...that you don't love him either.”
Remus' entire body ran cold and rigid. His first instinct was to ask Alice who she meant, but he knew that to be foolish. Playing stupid was something Alice could see through in an instant. He tightened his jaw and looked back into Alice's eyes. He opened his mouth and silence came out. He wasn't even sure how long he stood in that position before he finally dropped his gaze and whispered, “I can't tell you that.”
Alice pulled her hands back through her dirty blonde curls and took a few steps back from Remus. “I knew it,” she whispered. “I've been deluding myself and acting like a complete idiot. I-I shoulda trusted my feelings and walked away when I first th- I'm sorry.” She wiped her fingers across the bottom of her eyes to pull away the tears and shook her head. “I'm sorry that I can't be him.”
Remus didn't look up from the floor until the sound of Alice's footsteps were long past faded. He tipped his head back against the wall and slid to the floor, hugging his knees to his chest. He watched in silence as the halls emptied of students heading into their classrooms. The urge to go to class was nowhere inside of the boy as he stayed seated on the floor. He put his face down against his knees and let the conversation with Alice run over in his mind repeatedly.
He wasn't sure what was worse at the moment; having told Alice how he felt or having finally told himself. He knew Alice well enough to be certain that she wouldn't tell anyone. The ironic part of everything was that he did trust her; just not enough. The sound of approaching footsteps made Remus curl in on himself in a rather feeble effort to be unseen by whoever was coming his way. A hand swept through the boy's hair and he looked up to find Sirius squatted in front of him.
“When you didn't turn up in class, I got kinda worried.” Sirius stood up and held his hand out to Remus to help him from the floor. “You wanna go get some ice cream?”
Remus snorted a laugh and rolled his eyes. “Ice cream for a break up? Padfoot, I'm not a chick.” He let the boy help him up and straightened out his robes.
“I know you aren't,” Sirius laughed, pulling the boy's bag from his shoulder and taking it onto his own. “So that means you don't want any ice cream then?”
“Hey, I never said that,” Remus argued with a laugh.
A Note From the Author: Thank you so much for reading! Would love to hear what you think of the story so far and any predictions that you may have for how this all plays out. :D --Jenna
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