Chapter 1 : Of Love & Chocolate
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But that was nothing compared to what happened in late January of my fourth year. Actually, it happened first to James, but it must have been contagious because it soon spread to me. But now I'm getting ahead of myself… Here's what happened: Sirius came to us—'us' meaning James, Peter and me—saying that none other than Lily Evans had nearly killed a sixth year Slytherin.
Needless to say, that was a slight exaggeration. The Slytherin hadn't even had to stay the night in the hospital wing, and it wasn't, as James liked to imagine, just because he was a member of Gryffindor's rival house. He had been picking on one of Lily's friends and she had retaliated. James, though, didn't seem to care.
He had been talking about Lily nonstop since the incident. And, I admit, I was beginning to see her in a new light. She did have really nice eyes, as James once pointed out, but some of his lewder comments made me blush. I hadn't exactly taken note of her 'arse,' but I suppose it was alright…
Yes, I had developed a crush to rival James's and just in time for Valentine's Day. Unlike me, he seemed completely unaware of the looming date, but I was determined to not let the day slide by as it had every year before. On a Hogsmeade visit a week or so before the big day, I bought a box of chocolates from Honeydukes and smuggled it back into the castle and under my bed without getting caught. So far so good. Now all I had to do was work up the nerve to give the chocolates to her. And that was much easier said than done.
The fourteenth of February fell on a school day that year, so I brought the chocolates around in my book-bag, hoping to find a moment to give them to Lily at some point during the day. I watched her in all the classes that day, but she was always surrounded by friends… not to mention, James was always by my side and I couldn't very well go up to her without him noticing.
And that was how the day passed. Again. Like always. That night in the common room, James, Sirius, Peter and I were sitting on our usual couch.
"You know what I just figured out?" James said suddenly. "It's Valentine's Day!"
I snorted. "You just figured that out?"
"Well, excuse me if I don't mark my calendar," he said indignantly. "But I was wondering why everyone was giving each other flowers and chocolates and everything."
Sirius made a gagging sound in his throat for some reason and James laughed. I looked back to Lily Evans, whom I had been watching before James's announcement. She was so cute, the way she tucked her hair behind her ears and giggled with her friends…
"Y'know, I'm gonna ask her out," James said, and I tore my gaze from Lily.
"Evans, who else?" he answered, rolling his eyes. He messed up his hair, the opposite of what you'd expect a boy to do in order to win favor with a girl. James was always rather tactless… Then he walked across the room with such self-assured swagger that it was almost painful to watch. Sirius sniggered and Peter looked as though he was taking mental notes on James's every move.
"Hey, Evans," James said when he'd reached her.
She glanced up and raised her eyebrows expectantly. "Potter…"
"So, I was wondering…" One hand flew to the back of his head and he rubbed at his nose with the other—Sirius was practically falling down with laughter. "I was wondering if you want to go out with me sometime."
I realized I was holding my breath and quickly let it out. No need to get worked up over this; there's no way she'll say yes, I told myself.
"You're asking me out?" she asked, and it looked as though she was restraining a laugh.
I thought this was probably a good sign, but she hadn't flatly rejected him, either.
James actually rolled his eyes at her. "Well, duh."
Even though I wanted her to turn him down, I felt a pang of embarrassment for my friend.
"But you're always making fun of me," she pointed out.
"Well… yeah," James said, nervously fidgeting with his wand, twirling it between his fingers.
"But now you're asking me out."
"She's a bit slow, isn't she?" Sirius mused quietly. I almost snapped at him, wanting to defend her, but I stopped myself.
"Uh, yeah." James dropped the wand he had been playing with and let it lay on the ground, as if he had meant for it to slip from his fingers. Lily wasn't convinced.
"You dropped your wand," she stated, her tone amused.
"I know." He retrieved it and when he straightened up again his face was almost as red as Lily's hair. "So…"
"Will you give me a bloody answer?"
The common room hushed a little at his sudden outburst. Lily's eyebrows had nearly met her hairline and a smile was cracking on her face.
"I appreciate the offer," she said, "but I'm going to have to decline."
"Good," James snapped. "Bloody wonderful…" He stalked away from her and went up into the dormitories without a backward glance toward Sirius, Peter and me.
That weekend, I decided I was going to give the box of chocolates to Lily and be done with it. Her rejection of James had given me cold feet, but I kept telling myself that she wouldn't do the same to me. I was bringing her chocolate! And girls love that kind of thing... right?
But on Sunday afternoon, when I went into my dormitory, James, Sirius and Peter were sitting on my bed hovered around the very box of chocolates in question.
"Who are these for?" James asked as soon as he saw me.
My face was burning and I tried to snatch them away from him. "No one." He passed the box to Sirius who leapt from my bed to his and held them high over his head.
"Then who are they from?" he asked.
"No one!" I repeated, throwing myself at Sirius. By the time I was able to wrestle the box from him, it was badly dented.
I attended to the ruined box, while Sirius whined that I had kneed him in a particularly sensitive area. I really couldn't care less.
"Merlin, Moony, awfully defensive…" James drawled dropping next to me on the bed. I made to shove him away, but he held up his hands in surrender. "I'd say you either have a really horrible chocolate addiction, or…" he made doe-eyes at me, "…you've got a girlfriend."
"She's not my girlfriend," I muttered, and instantly wished I hadn't.
"So there is someone!" Sirius cried in triumph. "Who is it?"
"Uh…" I tried to think through all the girls I knew to find a suitable candidate, but I couldn't get past Lily. Eventually, I was able to spit out a name. "Mary."
James crinkled his nose. "Mary MacDonald? Really?"
"Really, what?" I don't know why, but I felt offended that he didn't approve of my made-up crush.
"I don't know, she's…" He trailed off.
"Weird?" Sirius offered. "Crazy? Creepy?"
"Creepy? She's not creepy…" I said weakly.
"But you agree that she's weird and crazy?" Sirius smirked. "You should write that to her in a love note. ‘You may be crazy, but I'm crazy about you…'"
"That was beautiful," James said, a hand poised over his heart. "Pure poetry. But really, Moony? What do you like about her? Is it the glasses?"
"You're one to talk," I snapped.
He put a hand to his circular wire-rims. "These glasses are sensible and look totally sexy on me... or so I've been told," he added quickly when Sirius snorted. "At least I don't wear those horrible cat-eyes…"
I almost laughed at that. He had a point: Mary's glasses were not, by any stretch of the imagination, flattering. But I had to keep up pretenses. I was supposed to be in love with her… "I think her glasses are cute," I said, wanting to crawl into a hole. I am never going to live this one down…
The three of them erupted into laughter. Finally, Sirius managed to say, "Now that I think about it, you two are perfect together…"
I stiffened. "What? What does that mean?"
He snickered. "You're apparently smitten with her, but you don't seem to like the idea of actually being together…"
"What did you mean we're perfect together?" I demanded.
"I just meant she probably digs werewolves."
I groaned and dropped my head in my hands as they all laughed at me again. "Why would you think that?"
"It's those creepy books she always reads in the common room at night."
"Yeah, I stole one from her once!" James added. "It was really disturbing about some witch and a werewolf, like, you know…" He wriggled his eyebrows scandalously. "What was it called again?"
"'Bite Me,' wasn't it?" Sirius said. "We had a good laugh reading that one…"
"Shame it didn't have any pictures…"
"That's why you think of them in your mind, duh…"
"I wonder what kinds of things Mary pictures in her mind when she's reading…"
"Probably Moony, but with a hairy chest."
"Shut up!" I called out, feeling very uncomfortable. "The chocolates aren't for Mary!"
The room went quiet, but only for about five seconds. Still, I think it was the longest that room had ever been silent since we'd moved into it years ago. Then James said, "Who are they for?"
I began stammering again and my eyes darted for the door. Maybe I could make a break for it. But then I was pinned down on the bed by Sirius and his wand was to my throat. I gulped.
"Who are the chocolates for?" he asked, looking as though he was thoroughly enjoying interrogating me.
"N-no one," I stuttered, trying to squirm away.
James grabbed my wrists, so Sirius's wand could remain on my throat. The sad thing is this wasn't the first time this had happened to me. Sometimes they go to all this just to get an answer for an assignment…
"Why does it matter so much?" James asked. "Just tell us… We won't care. Not unless they're for McGonagall, or something…"
I let out a strained laugh. "No, not McGonagall…" They looked at me expectantly. I shut my eyes. "They're for Lily."
No one said anything and I felt my wrists released and Sirius's wand leave my throat as his weight shifted off of me. I opened my eyes slowly. James was smirking like there was no tomorrow and Sirius's face was a mirror image of his.
"You fancy Evans?" James said slowly.
I nodded once, sat up and straightened out my rumpled clothes. Now I really wanted to crawl into a hole…
"Good luck to you, mate," he said, clapping me on the back, harder than what could ever be considered friendly. In fact, it hurt a bit. "I've been there, and let me tell you; I'm never going back. Well, me and Sirius have a detention to go to, so I'll see you later."
The two of them left the room rather quickly after that, and it was just Peter and me. I risked a glance at him, and he was smirking, too.
"Oh, can you just cut it out?" I said in exasperation.
"They don't have a detention," he said quietly.
"What?" I turned to him in surprise.
"They would've said something before now if they did. And they've already done their time for everything they've been caught for."
"What, you've been keeping tabs on them?" I scoffed.
"No, I'm just perceptive," he said aloofly. "Like, I knew there were chocolates under your bed since last week."
"Sure you did…"
"No, really. I ate four of them. They're not very good."
I tore open the box and saw that there were indeed four chocolates missing. "Gee, thanks, Peter. It's really classy to give a girl a half-eaten box of chocolates."
"Sorry," he muttered, but it didn't sound like he really cared. "We could just eat the rest of them…"
"No," I snapped. "I'm gonna give them to Lily."
He smirked again.
"So, if they don't really have a detention, what do you reckon they're doing?" I asked tiredly.
I raised an eyebrow at him. "Scheming what?"
He shrugged. "How should I know?"
I groaned. "You're so helpful…" The room was quiet for several seconds, but not as long as after I'd confessed my feelings for Lily Evans.
"Can I have another chocolate?" Peter asked.
"No! You said they weren't very good!"
"They aren't… Can I have just one?"
"Fine." I threw one at him. "Enjoy."
He threw it in his mouth and made a face. "How old are these? They're gross."
"Chocolate doesn't get old, does it?" I muttered, curiously nibbling on a piece. I spit it out. "What is this?"
"Dark chocolate, I think."
"Well. Do you think girls like dark chocolate?"
"Probably," Peter said, reaching over and grabbing another piece.
"Remus?" said a soft voice. I nearly dropped my book. When I saw the figure hovering around me, I'd assumed it was James or Sirius or Peter, so I'd ignored its presence entirely. But, upon hearing her voice, I realized who it was.
Lily Evans smiled shyly at me, and I gulped a greeting. I literally gulped. It was dreadfully embarrassing. Merlin, Remus, you are hopeless.
"I heard you have something you want to give me," she said, twirling a strand of her hair around her finger. I realized this probably meant she felt awkward… I mean, I was kind of gawking at her.
"Oh!" I heard the infuriating sounds of snickering from behind me. James and Sirius were sitting on our usual couch, watching Lily and me and they apparently found it very amusing.
"They said you've been wanting to give it to me for a long time," she added and Sirius let out a sudden howl of laughter, undoubtedly interpreting the 'it' as something entirely less innocent than a box of chocolates.
"Right, er…" I looked around frantically for something I could give her… Not a quill… not a book…
"Is it in your dormitory?" she prompted.
"Er, yeah," I said, standing up and leading her upstairs on shaky legs. She was following me… to the dormitory… where there're beds… I shook the thought from my mind. Once inside my room, I went straight to my trunk, trying to find something… Not my robes… or my boxers… Oh, Merlin, she saw them and she's blushing, okay enough with the trunk. I closed it hastily.
Simultaneously, our eyes fell on something on my bed. The box of chocolates. Just as dented and dilapidated as ever.
"Is this what you wanted to give me?" she said, a smile breaking across her face.
I nodded in defeat.
"Oh, Remus, you're so sweet."
"I'm sorry, I—" I stopped talking when what she had said fully sunk it. Wait… I'm sweet? Is that a good thing?
She opened up the box and didn't even comment that about half of the chocolates were missing. A little sheet of paper fluttered out and fell onto the bed. She unfolded it and my stomach clenched.
Lily giggled. "You think my eyes light up the world?"
"No," I said quickly, grabbing the note away from her. She raised her eyebrows and made a small sound of disappointment. I groaned. "I mean, they do, but… I didn't write that." I grimaced at the note, which was written in a horrible imitation of my handwriting… I definitely do not dot my I's with hearts…
She was biting her lip as if she was trying to not laugh. Where's James's Cloak when you need it? What I wouldn't have given to turn Invisible for a good two, three days… or years…
Lily examined the box and the remaining chocolates in it. "What kind are these?" she inquired.
"Er, they're all the same I think. They're not very good."
She let out a breath of laughter this time that she apparently couldn't hold in. I guess I'm just that damn amusing…
"Well, someone must have liked them."
I blushed deeply. "It was Peter, he found them under my bed."
She grinned. "How long have they been under your bed?"
If my face got any warmer, I'd probably overheat. "Just for a couple weeks…"
"Were you going to give them to me for Valentine's Day?"
"Er, yeah, but I didn't see you, so… I didn't… get the chance to…"
"I saw you," she said quietly, a smile playing on her lips. We looked at each other for a long time, working on a new record of how-long-the-Marauders'-dorm-can-be-silent, but I ruined it.
"Here, try one." I shoved her hand that was already holding a chocolate toward her mouth.
"I thought you said they weren't very good," Lily said.
"Well, yeah, but… I got them for you, so…"
"Don't worry, I'll try one." She put the chocolate in her mouth and chewed it slowly. "Mm. It's okay…"
Suddenly, a dreamy, glazed-over look came about her green eyes.
"You like 'em?" I asked, laughing nervously.
She swallowed and looked to me, smiling blissfully. "Do you know James?"
"James?" I asked, feeling crestfallen. "James Potter?"
"Of course, James Potter, silly…" She swatted my arm playfully and tossed another chocolate into her mouth. "These are delicious, where did you get them?"
"Are you friends with him?"
"Lily, are you feeling alright?"
"I've never felt better…" She ate another chocolate and sighed. "What does he think of me?"
"James? He… well, I think he still fancies you…"
Her eyes lit up. "He does? Really?" She reached for another chocolate and I snatched the box away from her.
"You shouldn't eat anymore of these." I sniffed at one of them. Sure enough. That son of a bitch…
"Which bed does James sleep in?" Lily asked.
"Uh, that one…" I said warily, pointing it out. She immediately got up and laid down on it, stretching out.
"It smells like him…" she whispered into his pillow.
I felt kind of sick to my stomach. If James were here to see this… I could just picture the smug look on his face… But he'd probably be here any moment, after all, to see Lily in this state.
Just then the door opened. I sighed heavily. But it wasn't James at the door. It was a short girl with spiky blond hair and pink cat-eye glasses. Mary MacDonald.
She looked between Lily (sprawled out on the bed and breathing in James's scent) and me, a smile stretching across her face.
"I saw you two go up here, and I didn't see you come back down, and Lily was supposed to help me with the Charms essay, but I see she's a little… busy. What did you do to her, Lupin?"
"Nothing!" I said defensively. "It was James."
"James?" Lily said, sitting up. "Is he here?"
"No!" I yelled. "He's dead."
Her lower lip began to quiver and Mary's hand flew to her mouth as she doubled over in silent laughter.
"I'm kidding, I'm kidding, James isn't dead," I said hurriedly.
"That's not funny at all! You're mean!" Lily said, crossing her arms and turning her nose up to me.
"Yeah, yeah, cry about it," I muttered.
Mary sat down next to me, a questioning look on her face.
"You don't even want to know," I told her.
She shrugged and looked down at the box of chocolates between us. "Can I have one?"
"Not unless you want to be in love with James Potter."
"Gross!" she teased, closing the box and shoving it to the floor. Then she looked to me, smiling. "Love potion?"
"Probably," I grumbled.
The room was quiet, except for Lily who sounded like she was snogging James's pillow.
"Well," Mary said, standing up. "You'll just have to get me chocolates some other time."
My mouth fell open a bit and I snapped it shut. "Uh, yeah, sure… sometime… yeah, sounds good."
She giggled. "Just make sure James doesn't find them this time."
A/N: This was inspired by a very simple sentence from one of my geek-out text-message-convos between a friend and me: “What if Lupin gave Lily chocolate…”
For now, this is a one-shot, though it may soon evolve into a short-story… or, knowing me, something even longer… -_- Because what I really need is another novel to be writing…
Anyway, please leave a review! -Jenni