The smell of summer was very distinct in the air; everyone could feel the school year coming to a close. That feeling was certainly evident in the Gryffindor Quidditch team as they whooshed about the pitch, laughing uproariously, the gravity of tomorrow's match against their archrival Slytherin only a vague background thought. They laughed as they scrimmaged, and the few assembled spectators laughed as they watched, breathing in that sweet almost-summer spirit.
Remus Lupin and Wendy Rivers sat in the fourth-highest row of seats, holding hands loosely and shouting at James Potter to distract him from finding the Golden Snitch. They were trying to see if they could get him to fall off his broom.
"It's in Remus's pants!"
"Just keeping it warm for you, mate!"
"Why, Lily, I'd LOVE to mud-wrestle with you on the pitch!"
"And I'd LOVE to help you two out of those T-shirts!"
"WILL THE BOTH OF YOU SHUT UP!" James finally screamed, but he was doubled over with laughter. "Tomorrow is the last match of my seventh year and if you keep at it I won't be able to make it historic!"
Giggling like children, Remus and Wendy acquiesced to James's request. They spent what seemed like half an hour getting their mirth under control, every now and then thinking their laughter had stopped only to lock eyes and burst into a whole new peal of cackles. Finally, however, they achieved a state of relative calm with a simultaneous sigh, and Wendy leaned her head heavily on Remus's shoulder.
"I'm going to miss you all so much next year," she said, and though her tone was sad, she was smiling. Remus leaned his head on top of hers and squeezed her hand. While he and most of his and Wendy's friends were in their 7th year at Hogwarts, Wendy was only in her 6th and therefore would have to face one more year of school, and this one without most of her closest friends.
"We'll miss you, too," Remus assured her. "But we'll write all the time. Send you tasteless gag gifts. Kidnap you on random nights throughout the year - with Dumbledore's permission, of course."
Wendy chuckled at this, sitting up again. "You'd better!" she replied. Then she moved their joined hands into her lap and bit her lip. Should she tell him now? She had no desire to ruin this wonderful moment, but... well, it was either ruin a good moment or worsen a bad one, wasn't it? And she had to tell him soon - something was different now.
She opened her mouth, then closed it, losing her courage. When she opened it again she said, "You should visit over the summer. My brothers, er, miss you. You know... in their way."
Remus snorted laughter. "Yeah, I'm sure they do."
Wendy gave a small chuckle. "They really do like you; they're just not very good at showing it."
Remus grunted noncommittally, looking thoughtfully at their hands in Wendy's lap. How would he say it to her? Surely she already felt like he was abandoning her, what with graduating and all; surely she would see this as a double-betrayal. Kissing and holding hands was lovely, and yet... something had shifted.
"Yeah, well you should come with us to the Potters' some time. Mrs. Potter adores us Marauders, but she absolutely fawns over Marauderettes, just ask Lily," he said with a wink. "Not to mention she is quite possibly the most gifted culinary artist this world has ever seen."
"And yet James somehow manages to keep such a nice figure," Wendy said, shaking her head in mock disbelief. Their eyes caught, and they dissolved into laughter once more. Once they stopped this time, however, both Remus's golden brown eyes and Wendy's impossibly blue ones turned solemn above their smiles.
Right, Wendy, it's now or never...
C'mon, Moony, just get it over with...
It'll help him more than hurt him in the end...
She's safer this way, anyway. You knew it would have to come eventually...
At the exact same moment they turned towards each other, simultaneously speaking one another's names:
And in the shocked moment that ensued, they saw in each other's eyes all they needed to know. They saw that they both felt the same. They saw that while they knew they loved each other, and always would, it was no longer the same type of love as it had been a year ago when they'd met. Something was different, something had shifted, and they were both aware of it. They were both aware that their relationship, or, more accurately, this particular chapter of it, was at an end.
For a moment they merely continued to stare at each other, unable to believe the simplicity of it, unable to believe the ease with which everything they'd both been individually worrying over for the past couple weeks had simply melted away. Then Remus broke their paralysis with a dry, bewildered laugh. Wendy responded with one of her own. And then they were laughing, laughing again, clutching their stomachs and howling with joy as relief flooded through their veins.
"Only we could have managed that!" Wendy giggled breathlessly.
"Only us," Remus agreed, wiping happy tears from his eyes.
When they had, for the third time, regained their composure, Wendy turned so that she was fully facing Remus, her bright blue eyes sparkling up at him as a sweet almost-summer breeze played with her short, light brown hair. "May I ask just one thing before it's official?"
"Of course," Remus replied, turning so that he likewise faced her, grinning down at the pretty little Ravenclaw who'd stolen his heart in his sixth year.
"I'd like just one more kiss," Wendy said, smirking. "To remember you by."
Remus smiled a full, huge smile, then obliged, kissing her softly on the mouth one last time, still relishing the feel of her lips on his. Then they parted, and it was simply over; from a couple to just friends in an instant.
"We're such an anomaly," Remus said, leaning his head on top of Wendy's.
"We are, we are," Wendy agreed, leaning her head on his shoulder. "So, you wanna tickle the squid after the match tomorrow?"
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