Chapter 8 : Have you seen outside?! How are we supposed to sled in that weather?
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Grace stood at the large house in front of her. She was contemplating whether or not she should go inside and the girl next to her seemed to be wondering the same thing.
“I knew we should have gone to the McKinnon’s house” Lily said as she pulled her hat on tighter around her face when the wind picked up. Lily’s parents had gone to spend Christmas with her sister Petunia at her and her husband Vernon’s house in Little Whinging. Lily had told her parents that she did not want to be rude to her sister and bring Grace along that Petunia hadn’t even met. Mr and Mrs Evans understood and let her spend Christmas at her own home. That’s when they received the invitations from both Marlene McKinnon and James Potter to join them at their respective homes. Lily said that they should go to James’ because Grace didn’t know Marlene that well and Grace secretly knew that she wanted her and Remus to be together. After standing in front of the house for at least ten minutes, they were starting to think that they should have stayed home at Lily’s.
“Do you think they’ll come in?” Sirius asked as he watched the two girls from the inside.
“Who Padfoot?” Remus asked as he walked towards the window, holding two cups of cocoa; one for him and one for Sirius.
“Thanks” Sirius said as he grabbed the hot drink from Remus and sipped it. “Grace and Evans, they’ve been standing there for at least 15 minutes; just staring at the house.”
“Do you think we’re supposed to go out there and meet them, maybe they think it’s the wrong house”
“Oh don’t be silly Moony. Lily only lives a couple of blocks away. But don’t tell Prongs. Evans said that there would be nothing between my legs if James finds out”
“Is that why Prongs has been pacing in front of the fire for the last half hour?”
“They’re here! They’re here!” James yelled from the other room. He came rushing into the room that Remus and Sirius happened to be staring out the window from. “Why are they outside, shouldn’t they have come here by floo?”
“You’ll just have to ask them yourself” Sirius said as he opened the front door. “Oi! Ladies! You better come in here before you both catch something nasty” The two girls walked towards the house with their arms wrapped around their torsos and their trunks levitating behind them. They got in the house and Grace sneezed.
“Oh hell no!” Sirius yelled and covered Graces mouth with his hand. “No germs of yours are getting near me!”
“Relax Sirius, take a chill pill” Lily said and rolled her eyes at him.
“Anywho” James said and grabbed both the girl’s trunks to take upstairs. “Why didn’t you use the floo network?”
“Um well you see. . .” Lily started. Grace punched Sirius in the stomach and he fell onto the floor.
“Lily’s parents were on the way to Lily’s sister’s house and this was on the way” Grace said; ignoring Sirius who was now on the ground groaning in pain. “They offered to drive us here; they wanted to see as much as they could since it’s the holidays and all.” James eyed them suspiciously but didn’t say anything. He started walking up the suitcase, Remus followed him and so did Lily. Grace looked down at Sirius.
“Serves you right” she said and stepped over him and headed up the stairs. After Grace finally caught up with the rest of the gang, they were at the room she and Lily would be staying in over Christmas. She looked around the room in awe. It was huge. There were king size beds on each side of the room, another four doors led off from the room. From what Grace could see, it was for one bathroom and two walk in closets. The last door was a double door that lead out to a balcony.
“This is huge” Grace said walking out onto the balcony.
“And beautiful” Lily said as she followed Grace out on the balcony. Looking over the edge Grace and Lily saw a huge garden that looked the size of a Qudditch field; just as Grace had suspected, there were three goals at either end of the grounds. Lily groaned as she noticed this too but below on the field was dozens and dozens of flower bushes. Grace wished it was summer so she could see the different colours of the flowers and their smell.
“I knew you’d both like the grounds so I chose this guest room for you guys to stay in, you’ll get a beautiful view of the sunset from this side.”
“We appreciate it James” Grace said.
“I’m just down the hall and Sirius and Remus are next door”
“Why do you have to be like that?” Sirius whined as he came into the room, clutching his stomach.
“Cause you’re a bloody git, that’s why.” Grace said. Then they started yelling at each other, yelling all the hateful names under the sun.
“Would you two stop it?” James asked. “It’s Christmas tomorrow, there’s no need to fight.”
“I didn’t start it” Both of them said. “No you started it” they said together again “Me?!” “It was you!”
“Shutup!” Remus yelled. Everyone stopped to look at him. “I mean, um, carry on” he stammered and left the room. There was silence until they heard the bedroom door close of Sirius and Remus’ room.
“Okayyyyy” Grace said. “Anyone up for sledding?”
“Grace, it’s like a blizzard out there”
“Correct James, it is a blizzard” Grace said. “And I wasn’t talking about outside.” They all looked at Grace curiously except Sirius who had a smirk on his face.
Twenty minutes later, James, Sirius and Grace were standing at the bottom of the grand stair case in the Potter’s foyer.
“Come on Lily! It’s not scary!” Grace yelled up the stairs.
“How would you know!? You haven’t had your go yet!” Lily shouted back.
“If you don’t do it, James will come up there and kiss you” Grace pushed James towards the stairs and started to climb up them. Lily screamed and jumped onto the mattress. James didn’t see her coming down the stairs on the huge king size mattress. This caused her to hit him on the way down and bowl him over. Grace and Sirius were laughing at the sight before them. James was lying on the floor groaning while Lily was sitting quietly on the mattress grinning up at Grace.
“I did it” she said.
“We can see that” Sirius said who was holding on the Grace for support and laughing.
“What’s going on” They turned around to see Mr and Mrs Potter standing there looking at their only son groaning on the floor in pain.
“Mr Potter, Mrs Potter, welcome home, we were just um, having some fun. Have you noticed the storm out there? Nasty stuff.” Sirius said. Grace elbowed him.
“Hi, I’m Grace Harrison.” She said as she shook both of the adults hands.
“Nice to meet you Grace” Mr Potter said. “Now why is my son on the floor?”
“He got in the way of Lily sir” Sirius said. “He just can’t get away from her.” Lily, who was still sitting on the mattress blushed a crimson red and got off from the mattress.
“It’s nice seeing you again Mr and Mrs Potter, sorry about James, I didn’t realise he was there until I well, hit him.” Grace let out a snort of laughter and Lily turned back to glare at her. Grace tried to look innocent and put her hands up in defence.
“Where’s Remus?” Mrs Potter said changing the subject.
“Um he’s upstairs. He’s not himself today, he got a bit angry” James said as he was getting up off the floor.
“A bit?” Sirius said astonished. “What room were you in?”
“I’ll go check on him” Grace said as she made her way up the stairs.
“Are you going to play nurse?” Sirius said and laughed.
“You wish it was you” she said and ran up the remaining stairs. Sirius jus looked at her retreating figure. What if he did?
There was a knock on Remus’ door. He looked up. “Come in.” Grace walked into the room with a smile on her face.
“You just missed James getting knocked over by Lily with a mattress” she said and sat next to him on the bed.
“Do I want to know why Lily was on a mattress?”
“Have you seen outside?! How are we supposed to sled in that weather?” Grace shivered at the thought and Remus instantly put his arm around her. “Thanks Reemy”
“Yeah Reemy, I’m trying it out, you like?”
“Course you do!” Grace said and laughed. She loved to tease him. Because she had realised, he wasn’t the man she knew in the future. He was smart, funny and full of life. She liked this Remus; the younger Remus. The one that didn’t have to worry about what the world thought because he had his friends, he had his family and most of all, he was at Hogwarts, the safest place for all young wizards and witches.
“What are you thinking?” he asked looked at her curiously.
“When you leave Hogwarts, are you going to be worried about what other people think about you?”
“Where’d this come from . . . oh.” He said as he realised what she was talking about. “I care don’t I? I was afraid of this” he ran his free hand through his hair. “I’m always going to worry, when people find out they look at me differently. They treat me different. I am different.”
“That’s the thing Remus, you’re not. You’re this amazing person and you have to show that to people, you can’t go hiding behind the werewolf inside of you. I know you can do it.” Remus looked at Grace. She was the amazing one. She had been through so much over the past 3 or so months. She was so brave about it to, she didn’t let it get to her, she had accepted what had happened to her and better yet, she had accepted him. She didn’t see him as a monster, she saw him as . . . him. He hugged her tightly, afraid that she was going to leave him, afraid that when she did, he would have to wait for her. But what would happen then, it would be different, she would be younger by many years. What was he thinking? They weren’t together, he didn’t even know if she felt the same as he felt about her. She probably thought of him as just a friend. She probably had her eye on someone else . . . like Sirius. He was always bickering with her, play fighting, torturing. That’s what he did to all the girls, the ones he was actually serious about. As he thought about it, his stomach churned, his heart ached. He just wanted to get out of there, away from her; he didn’t want to feel like this anymore. He got up from the bed. Grace looked at him puzzled. He hurried out of the room and down the hall. He ran down the stairs and past the group that was still standing in the foyer. They called out to him but he just ran out the door, not looking back, because if he did, he would see her, even through the blizzard, he would see her standing on the balcony watching him go.
Sirius ran to his and Remus’ room. He saw that the balcony doors were open and Grace was standing there, in the blizzard, watching Remus’ run away from the house.
“What happened?” Grace jumped at the sudden voice behind her. She walked back into the room.
“I don’t know” she whispered as she shut the door. “We were talking about things that were important and he was hugging me. Then suddenly he just ran away from the room and obviously left the house.”
“He likes you, you know, Remus.” Grace looked up at Sirius. His eyes were full of pain and sorrow. “That kiss, it wasn’t a mistake, he meant every bit that went into that kiss” He sighed and sat on the bed, his head in his hands. “Who cares about the future, care about now; care about what you both have, otherwise it’ll be too late”
“Sirius are you okay?” She sat down next to him and put her arm around him.
“You’re one hell of a girl Grace, but you’re not for me. You’re for Remus. He feels so much more for you than I do.”
“Are you sure?”
“I’ll get over it . . . eventually.” Grace hugged him and ran from the room. She ran down the hall, down the stairs and out the door. Lily and James just stared out the now open door. Their friends were crazy. Grace kept running and running, she couldn’t see over one metre in front of her. And then everything went black.
“Stop lying to us!” Ron yelled. Harry just stared at him.
“I don’t think you should yell that at him” Harry said as he grabbed another sprout to peel. “That would be like me yelling that at Snape.” Harry and Ron were staying at the Burrow during the Christmas break. Hermione was spending Christmas with her parents. Harry didn’t like the thought of talking to Remus without her but it was their only chance to speak to him otherwise it would be at the end of the year. He did have Ginny with him though. That somewhat comforted him even though every time he saw her, his heart would beat fast against his chest and butterflies whirled around in his stomach. This was going to be an interesting conversation with Lupin.
They sat in the living room and Harry was talking to Mr Weasley about what happened between Malfoy and Snape during Slughorn’s Christmas party. Remus had arrived and was sitting in a small armchair, trying not to listen to Harry’s conversation with Mr Weasley.
“I’d try not to worry about it Harry, if Dumbledore trusts Snape then so should we.” Mr Weasley said and clapped Harry on the back. He then got up and walked in the kitchen to help Molly get ready for the Christmas feast that was happening the next day. Remus had turned his attention towards Harry and Ron walked into the room and noticed that it was just Remus and Harry sitting there.
“Stop lying to us!” Ron yelled for the second time that day. Harry slapped his forehead with his hand. Ron never had any self control.
“I beg your pardon?” Remus asked looking up at Ron. Ginny walked into the room and noticed the tension. Ron was red in the face, Harry was glaring at Ron and Remus was looking at Ron confused.
“Already started have we?” she said and flopped herself onto the couch next to Harry. Harry edged further away from her who she took no noticed to; she was too busy laughing at Ron whose cheeks still weren’t back to a normal colour.
“Started what Ginny?” Remus said who had now drawn his attention to her.
“This.” She gave the parchment to Remus. He didn’t have to read it; he knew what it was from the moment he read the heading.
“Where’d you get this?” Remus asked staring at the children from across the room, fear in his eyes.
“Professor McGonagall gave it to Hermione. How could you lie to us Lupin?” Harry asked looking at him with anger and sadness.
“I didn’t lie; I just didn’t tell you everything. What I told you was what happened when she first came. Then Professor McGonagall gave us those rules. I didn’t want to tell you anything because it’s not my place. Yes, I was involved with her but I can’t tell you anything. I want her to explain when she gets back . . . If she ever gets back.”
“She came back when she was supposed to right, can you tell us that?”
“Yes. She did.” Ginny sighed with relief.
“But that would mean. . .” Harry started then stopped. “It was the day before her birthday?”
“She might not be here for the end of the war” Harry whispered, he got up and left the room.
“Is there a chance of that?” Ginny asked. “Harry needs her. He confined in her because she was going through the same things, her parents . . . his parents.”
“There is a chance the timeturner will take her anywhere in the future or . . . exactly nineteen years like how she went back.” Ron didn’t like what he was hearing. Grace had only been friends with them for such a short time but she had made a huge impact on them, together, she and Hermione could conquer the world; that including helping Harry in defeating You-Know-Who.
“Now, as for the four of you lot, I’m not saying anymore.”
“But . . .” Ginny started. Remus put his hand up to stop her talking.
“It ends now.”
Grace opened her eyes to the sunset streaming in through the windows. She stiffened when she felt someone move next to her. She looked over to se Remus sleeping. He looked so handsome with the pink, orange and purple colours from the sunset reflecting on his face. She tried to move but her head was hurting so much, she groaned and touched her head. Remus awoke to the sound of groaning, he opened his eyes to see Grace awake.
“Oh thank Merlin, you’re awake” he said softly.
“It’s my entire fault, if you hadn’t chased after to me in the blizzard . . . you wouldn’t have seen the tree, you wouldn’t have hit it with such force that . . . you missed Christmas.”
“It’s Christmas?!” Grace exclaimed.
“Yes, I’m so sorry, everyone else has been waiting for you to wake, and they haven’t opened presents or anything yet.”
“Oh. Can we go down stairs and open them now?”
“Sure” Remus smiled at her and helped her off the bed.
“Oh, I have your Christmas present.” Remus looked down at her in confusion. He swore he saw it under the tree earlier that day.
“But . . . there’s one under the tree from you to me.”
“I have a second present” Grace smiled and grabbed the back of his neck, pulling him down to her height. Then, she kissed him, softly and sweetly. Remus looked at her with confusion.
“I have decided to live now and not care about the later. You’re the one I want. You’re the one I need.”
“What about Sirius?”
“Ah what about Sirius?”
“I thought you’d prefer him”
“He’s the one that made me realise that it was you all along and no nothing happened between us, we just talked.” Remus smiled at her and leant down to kiss her, just as the sun was setting behind the trees.
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