Chapter 1 : Desolate
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*Remus Lupin* by the amazing HoneyDukesKid01
“We’re supposed to be the best of mates, always putting on a show,” Remus Lupin confessed to me, letting out a shuddering sigh and running his hands across his handsome face. “And I know that they wouldn’t purposely take me for granted, but sometimes I feel like they do, you know?”
“Honestly… not particularly,” I admitted, biting my lip, which had become a bit of a nervous habit after spending so much time struggling with homework. “I don’t exactly have mates, do I?”
“No, Remus,” I told him, running a hand through my thick hair, and then allowing my hands to sit limply on my lap. He was under the impression that we were something we weren’t, and I couldn’t have that. “I am your counselor, and you are my client. You pay me.”
“Obviously,” he sent me one of his infamous smirks, which lit up his warm, butterscotch eyes, and it identified him. “That’s what makes us best mates—you’re an excellent listener.”
I just shook my head, for once choosing not to battle with him. He was clearly stressed about something, and it was my job to make him feel better, or at least know he’s not alone. If he could, I was very certain that Remus Lupin would retreat into his head forever.
“I think we are veering off course,” I said gently, offering him a small smile, which in itself was a large sacrifice for me. I absolutely hated to smile, and he knew this. “Why do you feel trite?”
“Brilliant word choice,” he complimented and I couldn’t help but blush. Even after twelve sessions, he still had the ability to make me uneasy. I blame his caring, gentle nature. It was just too refreshing. “I mean you clearly know who my best mates are?”
Remus didn't have to know that after our second session, I went directly to the library and read a thesaurus until I passed out. The need to impress him was miniscule, but it was there, and I loved a friendly competition.
He just didn't know that it existed, or that I was currently winning.
“I know nothing unless doth tell me otherwise,” I recited, remembering how shocked he was when I told him this after our first meeting. Apparently, he thought that I would run to every girl I know and spill his secrets. Perhaps that’s why he was so uneager to share any information.
“Oh, ’course,” he nodded, recognition lighting up his pale face. “Well, my best mates and I call ourselves ‘The Marauders.’ I don’t know how it came about, but I’m fairly certain that James Potter and Sirius Black made it up. We have on other quarter to the group—Peter Pettigrew.”
“Is that so?” I humored him, sticking out my tongue in a very mature and dignified way. “I think I’ve heard of them before. Arrogant prats who enjoy pranking Slytherins and other undeserving victims??”
“How very right you are,” he agreed with an amused chuckle. Does he find my annoyance some form of entertainment? Er, probably. “By the way, I’m sorry about fourth year…”
“Just fourth?” I asked, raising a thick eyebrow and cocking my head to the side. “Remind me—which incident? Are you sorry about convincing my first, and last, boyfriend that I had a salivary condition? Or are you sorry about dying my hair black and my skin yellow for a week?”
He gulped, and I laughed. I understand that most people in my shoes would have a thirst for revenge, but I brushed those torments into the past. I didn’t want to dwell on it, for it didn’t do well to. Why bother wasting my energy on something that would never change?
“You really didn’t deserve that,” he apologized, but I just shrugged, urging him to continue speaking. We were getting horribly off track. “Fine, I understand. Prongs has always been the ringleader of our group, when he isn’t off in Lily-Land. Padfoot is the charismatic one, who can talk us out of detentions and get all the girls. Wormtail has always sort of been there, for comic relief. And me, well I copy the notes for class and do the homework so that they can rephrase it a little and get good marks.”
“Well I certainly see why,” I told him, and he sent me a glare. I tried to glare back, but most likely ended up squinting my blue eyes instead and not looking intimidating at all. “You happen to be the smartest bloke in our year, you have an excellent sense of humour, I mean you’re extremely attractive, and you are so good-natured. I mean, er… I’d copy off you too?”
A faint blush dusted his cheeks, but that was the only indication that he took what I said as anything other than casually. His smirk grew to an almost disgusting degree, and I knew that even the gentle marauder had an ego. It was about to be displayed—lucky me.
“You think all of that, do you?” he asked in a teasing tone, leaning forward from his chair across from mine, and crossing his long arms. “Well, I never. It appears that Miss Montgomery thinks quite fondly of me. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so flattered—that was quite the appraisal.”
My cheeks were absolutely flaming red, and I couldn’t look at him. I’d never felt anything quite like this—horrific embarrassment. It was foreign, and something I did not enjoy.
“Mr. Lupin, surely you are used to this,” I said, scratching at my ear that suddenly felt very warm. “I am quite aware that you have a fan club,” I left out the insane part, “and must get fawned over hourly.”
“It’s true,” he admitted.
“Sadly, I know.”
“Is this you acknowledging the fact that you are the president of said fan club?” he asked, grinning so large that he rivaled a Cheshire Cat.
“Because I was kidnapped to a meeting, and I recall seeing your face.”
“It was probably on a dart board,” I laughed softly, remembering how one of my roommates took a picture purposely for it. “They have a qualm with me, you see. Apparently, publically admitting that I am not in love with a Marauder is the biggest slap to the face.”
“If it’s any consolation, they really have horrible aim.”
I giggled for a good few minutes, wondering if this was what it felt like to feel accepted—or at least wanted. It was our seventh year, and this was the first time I had actually joked around with a male other than James Potter.
“Instead of feeling taken for granted exactly, are you actually feeling left out?” I asked, nibbling my lip because I knew that this was a touchy subject. Blokes don’t particularly like talking about things, James Potter again excluded. “Just because ‘Prongs’ and ‘Padfoot’ act like brothers, does not mean that they view you as any less. You are just the mature older brother they look up to, while they are your younger twins.”
“I’ve missed your lame metaphors.”
“They are not lame!” I exclaimed, extremely shocked. My metaphors are not lame, they are positively perfect. “My metaphors are relatable and easy to understand! One day I will write a book listing all of them and become famous!”
“Oh, sure they are,” he teased, giving me a look that clearly showed he did not agree with me whatsoever. I crossed my arms and pouted, refusing to look anywhere near him. I’m so childish sometimes.
“I hate you,” I sulked.
“No, you don’t,” he countered.
“Yes, I do.”
“No, you love me.”
“Yes, I do… bugger!”
“It’s okay,” he mocked, reaching over to pat my shoulder with a condescending smirk on his face, once again. If he continues to do that, I will punch it off. “Most girls do. But what can I say? I’m bloody irresistible.”
He sent me another heart-stopping smile, before glancing down at his large watch and cursing. I watched with amusement as he hastily gathered up his books and stuffed them into a messenger bag, before outstretching a hand and pulling me up from my seat.
What. A. Gentleman.
“I would love to continue this engaging conversation,” he sent me another smirk as I scowled. “But I really should be going. I have a… thing, and, well, I can't exactly say what it is…”
“I understand,” I laughed, reaching up to ruffle his shaggy hair. For once, I actually felt blessed with my vertical abilities, rather than feeling like a giant. He was only a few inches taller than me. “Marauders call.”
“Yeah,” he admitted sheepishly, before regarding me curiously. My cheeks grew red once again as I watched his eyes travel up my body, and for a moment I pathetically hoped that he liked what he saw. “I never realized how tall you were, Miss Montgomery.”
“Well, Mr. Lupin, I never realized how short you are.”
“Interesting,” he mused, draping an arm over my shoulder and looking down at me pointedly. “I give you a semi-compliment, and you retaliate by insulting my vertical challenges.”
“You’re over six feet tall,” I pointed out dryly. “I would hardly call that vertically challenged.”
“It’s something I’ve had to struggle with my whole life,” he sniffled, drying a fake tear and fluttering his surprisingly long eyelashes. “And here you are, shutting me down once more.”
“I never knew you were so dramatic,” I told him, smirking my full lips and crossing my arms loosely. He was acting different, much less tired, much more animated. I couldn’t help but wonder if this had anything to due with the full moon, and how he should have just recovered.
“I never knew you were so entertaining,” he countered, suddenly looking far too serious for my liking. I glanced down at my feet, ignoring the way I almost slipped every other step. Someone had stolen my shoes, again. “You’re a good person Beatrice, and you’ve really helped me out. Look, I’ve got to go, but I’ll see you next session—okay?”
Before I could even respond, he was dashing down the corridor and around a corridor, leaving me completely and utterly alone, as per usual. Our lessons always ended like this.
I would think that we had made progress—maybe he was smiling more, or he wasn’t looking nearly as pale as normal. But then Marauder mischief would come around, duty would call, and he would be back to the same paranoid Remus, constantly wondering if he fit in.
I can't lie and say that I wasn’t pleased with how my evening passed, but I knew that I had to turn in for the night. I had completed my homework directly after classes ended, read for a bit in the library, and then ‘counseled.’
Today it was Remus, but tomorrow I was sure it would be James Potter.
And yet as I changed into my pajamas later that night and thought about my remotely boring day, I couldn’t help but realize that this was the first time I realized that I was truly, completely, depressingly lonely.
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