What had I done? Sweet Merlin, what had I done? Had I really attacked and harmed one of my friends? I already hated what I became once a month; now I just loathed myself. I was a disaster, a true monster.
I couldn’t hear what Sirius was saying to James and Lily as I paced nervously out of sight of the room. I didn’t know what to say to Lily...I had hurt her so badly; the image of her terrified face as I (well, werewolf-me) had lifted her into the air danced before my eyes. How could she ever forgive me? I certainly wouldn’t forgive me.
I had been shocked when Sirius dragged me along to talk to her. I wouldn’t blame her if she never wanted to talk to me again; I just feared her rejection so much it caused my stomach to twist into knots. Would she even want to see me? I wasn’t sure what I feared more, her rejection of me or the horror I would see in her green eyes as she imagined me as an evil creature. I groaned aloud. I hated what I was. I hated it so much.
Sirius’ head popped out around the corner of the doorway. “Come on in Moony.” He wasn’t using a joking tone like he normally would have; I could sense that even he was apprehensive about this. I came forward slowly, feeling as though I was walking towards my own execution.
I shifted from foot to foot as we waited for Remus to enter. I saw how terrified Lily had been before; it made me want to hold her tightly, tell her it would be okay, protect her from all the evil in the world. But that fear had been replaced by a burning determination in those striking emerald eyes and I could tell that she was going to face this with an open mind and heart, as only Lily could. I had to be sure to thank her for it later.
Remus came through the doorway slowly, eyes cast downwards at his shuffling feet. I heard Lily’s small gasp and I guessed as to why she did it; Remus always appeared sick after his transformation, it really sucked the life out of him.
“Is he okay?” she whispered urgently to me, low enough that only I could hear her.
“Fine. Just tired and probably upset.”
She nodded in understanding and faced forwards again, that determined look back in her eyes. She cleared her throat quietly and spoke up uncertainly; “Remus...”
He lifted his eyes slowly from the floorboards to where I was standing with Lily and the expression on his face made it look as though he had seen a ghost. He took her in and I could only imagine what he saw; the bad ankle, the scars that were visible on either side of the strap of her tank top, the obvious fatigue we all suffered from. He winced and turned away.
“Help me forward?” Lily whispered in my ear. I did as she asked, almost carrying her as the two of us made slow progress towards Remus. He could definitely hear us approach but still didn’t look at us again; his eyes were shut tightly as if he couldn’t even believe what he had done.
“I’m so...so...sorry,” his voice cracked and broke, sounding utterly helpless. I had never seen him so upset. Sirius stood awkwardly off to the side of our little scene, and Lily motioned for me to join him. I wasn’t really willing to leave her balancing on one leg by herself, but she encouraged me to go with a nod. I walked over to Sirius and watched Lily as she watched Remus. She leaned forwards to take his hands and he instinctively pulled away. Hurt flashed over her features briefly before understanding took its place.
“Remus,” she started again. “Please...don’t be mad at yourself. I’m not mad at you...”
“How can you say that?” he asked bitterly. “After what I did to you, how can you say that?”
“Remus, I’m fine, please look at me,” she begged. He didn’t at first but she waited him out patiently. He finally opened his eyes and looked at her as if it pained him. She took his hands firmly and this time, he didn’t pull away.
“I’m so sorry Lily...I swear I didn’t mean to...I’m just...such a monster.” His voice broke again and he hung his head in hopeless defeat.
“Never!” Lily cried. “Remus Lupin, you are one of my best friends and I know for a fact that you are no monster. Let me finish,” she added as he went to interrupt her. “You had no choice when it came to becoming a werewolf and you can’t blame yourself for things that are out of your control. This doesn’t change anything; you are still just Remus to me. I swear to you, I’m fine, and I want you to know that this isn’t your fault. At all.”
Remus seemed stunned by her speech and although he looked far from forgiving himself, he certainly looked reassured that she didn’t hate him. Her words, like a guardian angel, had come down and taken away some of his grief.
“So...you still want to be friends?” the words sounded small, as though they came from a child.
“I’d like nothing more,” Lily smiled radiantly. My heart did little flips as I watched her.
She pulled Remus towards her and wrapped her arms around his neck, hugging him to her. He seemed hesitant at first but hugged her back tightly.
“Alright Moony, that’s quite enough, let’s leave Lilykins to her Jamesy now...” Sirius laughed. Lily and Remus broke apart laughing as well, and I couldn’t help but join in. Remus looked like the weight of the world had been taken off his shoulders but he still cast Lily an anxious glance.
“How’s your foot?”
“Oh this,” she said flippantly. “It’s nothing. I’m fine, really.”
“Doesn’t it hurt?”
“Not too much anymore,” Lily gave him a little smile. “Don't worry.”
“We are going to bring you to the hospital wing but we can’t until breakfast, otherwise people would get suspicious,” I inputted.
“What’s our cover story?” she asked me with a grin.
“Remus and Sirius are sneaking back into school now, but we stay here until later. We tell people we went for a walk before breakfast but you slipped and fell.”
She nodded in consideration. “Sounds believable.”
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Remus asked Lily worriedly. She nodded and he gave her a grateful half-smile. “Thank you,” he added softly.
Lily hugged him again lightly and smiled back at him; he looked very relieved.
“Well...” he said awkwardly. “We’ll just...go.”
“Leave you to it,” Sirius winked.
“Oh Merlin Sirius, do you really think...?” but Lily’s protest was drowned out by the roaring laughter of my two friends as they left the room. I sauntered over to her and grinned; she punched me in the arm. Again. I swear, our relationship was bordering on abusive.
“If you think that anything is happening Potter, you are sadly mistaken.” She crossed her arms and stared up at me defiantly.
“Come on Evans, don't suck the fun out of this,” I said cheekily. She groaned and pushed me away but lost her balance in the process. I caught her before she fell and pulled her close to me. Her hands rested on my chest and she sighed, rolling her gorgeous green eyes but smiling as well. I bent to kiss her and she didn’t protest, just moved her arms around my neck. The skin her hand touched left a trail of goose bumps on my skin; she certainly didn’t know the effect she had on me. We fit together perfectly, our bodies coming together like two puzzle pieces. I loved the way she pulled herself closer, how she locked her hands in my hair, how warm and utterly perfect she felt in my arms...
She pulled away gently, and I immediately leaned in to bring her back, but she stayed where she was. “James...can I sit down?”
My arms still around her waist, I observed her behaviour. She still looked pale and was wincing as she attempted to put pressure on her foot. She also looked like she was going to pass out at any moment.
Damn, I needed to pay closer attention.
I draped one of her arms over my shoulder and helped her limp towards the bed. She grimaced again as she sat down on it and began gingerly touching her ankle. I sat down beside her, wishing I was able to make her feel better.
“We have some time to kill, do you want to catch some sleep until we have to leave?” I asked her. She gave me a sceptical glance and I sighed, raising one of my hands solemnly like I was making a vow. “No funny business, I swear.”
“I don't know...” Lily tried to say but her words were stifled by a huge yawn.
I smiled and leaned back against one of the pillows, pulling her with me. She allowed herself to lie down next to me, curling up underneath one of my arms and laying her head on my chest.
“How’s your ankle?”
“It hurts,” she said truthfully, followed by another yawn. “I’m hoping sleep will make the pain go away for now.”
“It will,” I told her, rubbing her arm consolingly. “By the way...” I waited until she tilted her head up towards me, “Thank you.”
Confusion crossed her face. “For what?”
“For being so amazing with Remus. You really made him feel better and I wasn’t sure if he was ready to forgive himself at all. You helped so much.”
She smiled through half-open eyes. “It was nothing; he just needed to know that this isn’t his fault.”
I hugged her with the arm that was wrapped around her and smiled. “Thank you so much.”
She cuddled closer so that she was right up against my side, her head resting on my shoulder. I tilted my head so that my cheek was touching her head, my face brushed by her soft red hair. “No problem. And thank you so much for saving me, James.” She yawned hugely again.
“You’re so tired Lily, go to sleep,” I said gently. I took one of her hands with my free one and laced our fingers together. She sighed contently and squeezed my hand before closing her eyes. She fell asleep pretty quickly. Poor girl had dealt with so much in one night, I didn’t blame her. Her hand slackened in mine and I gently pulled mine away but left her arm lying across me. I moved a stray strand of red hair away from her peaceful face; she looked totally at ease. I smiled, content as well, and let my head fall sideways, hoping to catch a quick nap with the girl I loved. I began nodding off too, and the last thing I remember before falling asleep was thinking about how Lily had actually called me James. And I really liked the way that sounded.
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