“My dad wrote an article on the dementors yesterday,” Luna said after class one day. “He says they're vile creatures, but fascinating all the same.”
“I agree with him,” Remus said. “They're nasty. Personally, I wish they weren't at the castle this year.”
“Me, too,” Luna said. “I heard one of the seventh years talking about learning how to cast a Patronus the other day.”
Remus smiled, remembering back to his own Patronus lessons so many years ago. “Yes, I'm teaching the seventh years. It's very difficult magic.”
“Dad says everyone should learn how to cast one,” Luna replied.
Remus sighed quietly. He wished he could teach Luna how to cast a Patronus, but it was just too hard for a second year. He wished everyone could learn, especially since dementors were now patrolling just outside the grounds.
“You'll get your chance in a few years,” Remus assured her. “But you'll be fine as long as you don't leave the grounds. And since you're a second year you have no reason to.”
Luna grinned. “I do wish I could go to Hogsmeade. Did you and my mum ever go to Hogsmeade together?”
“Yes,” Remus said, thinking back fondly to their first Hogsmeade trip. “Well, we sort of ran into each other there but wound up spending the day together anyway.”
“I never would have pegged Snape for the type who needs extra dementor lessons,” James said as the four boys sat around a table in the common room, doing homework.
“Me either,” Sirius said with a laugh. “It's downright hilarious.”
“You can't spread it around,” Remus insisted. “If he finds out I told anyone he'll murder me.”
“We'd kill him first,” Sirius assured him.
“Well, we've had two lessons so far and he hasn't made much progress,” Remus told them. “I didn't pass out this time, though.”
“Madam Pomfrey will be happy,” James said. “But seriously, mate, that's great.” Sirius and Peter nodded in agreement.
“Hey,” Lily said as she pulled up a chair next to James's. “What are you lot up to?”
“Hi, Lil,” James said as he leaned over and kissed her cheek. She turned bright red.
“Nothing much,” Sirius said. “Remus here was just telling us how much Snape sucks at producing a patronus.”
Lily's face hardened. Snape was a very sore subject for Lily, even nearly two years after they'd stopped being friends. Remus always tried not to bring up the subject with her, but Sirius didn't really think about things like that.
“Oh, sorry, Lily,” Sirius said after noticing her face. “I didn't mean to-”
“It's okay,” Lily said hurriedly. “So, how about that Transfiguration essay? Have you all finished yours?”
The remainder of the month passed by quickly. Remus continued to go to Hogsmeade every Sunday for dementor lessons and made slow, but steady progress. Alice, Beth, and even Snape did as well. Snape no longer said anything to Remus or Alice during the lessons, but glared at both of them before returning to the castle before everyone else was finished, like he did the first time. Remus saw this as a perfectly acceptable understanding they'd come to.
Remus spent a few nights a week studying in the library with Addy, something his friends still didn't know about since they never asked questions when he went off to study. Lily, however, smiled at him when she told him he was patrolling with Addy again toward the end of the month. Somehow she knew that the two of them had been spending time together. Remus enjoyed patrolling with Addy as he did the first time and wished he could patrol with her every time.
The October full moon came and went and luckily Remus's leg sustained no further damage and this time Sirius neglected to bang his head on a tree, much to Remus's delight. He survived the night with nothing more than a few scratches and bruises, and Madam Pomfrey kept him in the hospital wing for only a day.
The Saturday after the full moon was the first Hogsmeade visit of the year, something Remus and his friends were very much looking forward to. They awoke early and met the girls in the common room before grabbing a quick breakfast in the Great Hall, and then setting down the path to the village.
“Anyone else noticed that it's been strangely quiet the past few weeks?” Remus asked as they drew closer to Hogsmeade.
“What do you mean?” James asked.
“The attacks,” Remus said. “There hasn't been much in the Prophet since Lestrange got out of Azkaban. No attacks, no strange disappearances. Nothing.”
“I suppose you're right,” James said. “That is odd.”
“That doesn't mean anything,” Sirius said darkly. “They're probably laying low. Have you noticed how Snape, Bulstrode, and Crabbe always talk in low whispers during meals?”
“Yeah,” Remus said. He'd also noticed that Regulus was always a part of these little meetings, but didn't bother to tell Sirius. He figured Sirius knew and was just trying to deny it. “Something's definitely up.”
“I just wish we could do something,” Sirius said. “I feel so useless.”
“You are doing something,” Peter assured him. “You're going to become an Auror. That's all you can do right now.”
“But even if I don't get in I still want to do something,” Sirius explained. “I can hardly sit here and do nothing now, but what if I don't get in and have to do nothing next year? Does that make sense?”
Remus nodded. It made a lot of sense. He wished he could do something next year, but being an Auror was out of the question and there weren't many other fields that involved fighting dark wizards.
“We'll do something,” James said. “No matter what happens.”
The rest of the group nodded in agreement and remained quiet until they reached the village. Remus suspected everyone, like himself, were lost in their own thoughts. The lack of attacks and disappearances lately was unsettling, especially since being shut in Hogwarts made him not very aware of the outside world. All their information came from the Prophet, but what if the Ministry was just keeping the attacks quiet? What if things had happened, but just hadn't been reported?
Zonko's was their first stop, as it always was, because James and Sirius needed to stock up on pranking supplies. Whatever supplies they'd brought from home had long since been used. The two led the way into the store and Remus followed.
The place was packed to capacity. James and Sirius immediately took off into the crowd, leaving the rest of the group behind. Alice and Lily left after a minute or two, deciding to go to Scrivenshaft's instead. Remus had a difficult time maneuvering through the crowd and soon lost Peter as well. Groaning, he decided to wait for them outside where he could at least sit down. He wasn't a fan of crowds, although he would brave Honeyduke's in order to get a few bars of their best chocolate.
Remus found a bench nearby and sat down, waiting for his friends to return. The weather could not have been better for a Hogsmeade visit, with blue skies, very few clouds, and only a slight breeze. It being October, the weather could have easily gone either way.
“Hello, Remus Lupin.”
Remus turned to see Addy coming from the direction of the Three Broomsticks. She smiled at him and sat down, wrapping her scarf around her neck. They'd known each other for over a month now and she still always called Remus Lupin instead of just Remus, but Remus didn't mind.
“Hi, Addy,” Remus greeted her. “Enjoying the day?”
“Very much,” Addy said. “How about you?”
“Just got here,” Remus said. “James, Sirius, and Peter are in Zonko's but it was a bit crowded for my liking. Lily and Alice went to Scrivenshaft's. Are you here with anyone?”
Addy shook her head. “Just on my own. Do you want to go get a Butterbeer while you wait?”
“Sure,” Remus said, without really thinking about it. “I mean, if you want. Didn't you just come from the Three Broomsticks?”
Addy laughed. “I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want to. I'm a bit addicted to Butterbeer so I won't mind another.”
Addy stood up and Remus followed, joining her at her side as they walked to the Three Broomsticks. Halfway there he was suddenly struck with the thought that this was a date. Was it? Technically she'd asked him, but since it was just the two of them it must be a date, right? Or was it just two friends going for a Butterbeer? Remus hadn't ever been on a date before so he didn't quite know the distinction. Suddenly he was nervous.
Deciding that it was in fact sort of a date Remus held the door open for Addy when they arrived and went to the bar for their Butterbeers, paying for both, while she found a table. His heart slowed a bit as he carried their drinks over to the table and managed not to spill them, despite having to carry both with one hand while he maneuvered his cane with the other. You can do this, he thought. A date. An actual, spur of the moment date.
“Thanks,” Addy said as he set a Butterbeer down in front of her. She took a large sip which left foam all over her upper lift. “Delicious.”
Remus grinned as he sat down and took a sip of his own. There was something endearing about her obvious love of Butterbeer, which she made no move to hide. In fact, she drank half the mug before they even began to talk.
“James always sneaks out and buys cases of Butterbeer after Gryffindor wins a Quidditch match,” Remus said as he set his own mug down.
Addy's eyes grew large. “That almost makes me wish I were a Gryffindor. Almost.”
Remus laughed. “So is it true the Ravenclaws have to answer a riddle to get into their common room?”
Addy nodded. “It's fun. Sometimes we'll get a really hard one and it'll take ten of us to solve it.”
“That just sounds annoying,” Remus said. “What if you just need to go in and grab something you forgot for class?”
“Then you're out of luck,” Addy said with a shrug. “We all learn as first years not to forget things.”
“I guess that's why I'm not a Ravenclaw,” Remus said.
Addy giggled. “Guess so. One of the seventh years told me that Banks is letting you face real dementors. What's that like?”
Remus was quiet for a moment. Dementors seemed so personal to him, considering what he heard when he was faced with them, but he had to tell her something. “Scary,” he said. “I'm getting better. There's four of us who practice every Sunday since we were the worst at it.”
“I bet I'd be bad at it, too,” Addy said. “I'm not very good at defense.”
“It's not so much magical skill as what a person's faced in their past,” Remus said, and he immediately regretted that he'd said it. Now she was going to ask about his past.
“Oh,” Addy said and took another gulp of Butterbeer. She didn't say a word about Remus's past.
Remus took a sip of his own drink and enjoyed the moment of silence. He was surprised she didn't ask him about why he was so bad at facing dementors, but happy at the same time. That was the one thing he'd noticed about Addy. She never pried.
Their discussion soon moved on to other things like Quidditch and O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s and then to darker subjects such as the attacks, disappearances, and Death Eaters. It was different talking about the attacks with Addy than his friends. When his friends talked about them, they focused on how they wanted to fight and what they could do to stop whatever it was that was happening. He and Addy merely discussed what was going on and how scary it was. Addy didn't seem to have any desire to fight whatever it was that was out there, which was simultaneously strange and refreshing to Remus.
Before Remus knew it an hour had passed, and then two hours. Their table was now littered with four empty mugs and an empty plate, which had held a pile of chips, long since devoured. He suddenly felt guilty about leaving his friends and not telling them where he was going, but not too guilty. After all, they had each other. It wasn't like he just abandoned one of them.
“I have to get back to the castle,” Addy said as she glanced at her watch. “Chocolate Frog card club meeting.”
“You collect Chocolate Frog cards?” Remus asked, neglecting to mention that he and his friends often make fun of the Chocolate Frog card club.
“Oh yes!” Addy exclaimed. “I've been collecting since I was three. My brother and I do it together.”
“Wow, you must have a lot,” Remus said.
“I do. But not nearly as many as my brother since he's four years older than me,” Addy explained.
“Want me to walk you back to the castle?” Remus asked, thinking that if this was a date the proper thing would be to walk her back.
Addy smiled. “That would be lovely. But won't your friends miss you?”
“They'll be fine,” Remus said as he stood up.
Remus spent the entirety of the walk back to Hogwarts wondering if he was supposed to hold Addy's hand. He still hadn't actually decided whether it was a real date or not since nothing date-like had happened since he paid for Addy's Butterbeers. Other than that it had just been two friends hanging out, but now that they were walking back to the castle, Remus wasn't so sure.
Addy didn't seem to notice Remus's anguish over whether to grab her hand. She was still talking about Chocolate Frog cards with her arms hanging normally by her sides. Her right hand was a mere three inches away from Remus's left, and there was nothing stopping him from reaching out and taking it, except those three inches may as well have been three feet. His heart was pounding again and he could feel a thin layer of sweat forming on his palms. Now he definitely couldn't hold her hand.
Remus barely noticed that they were back inside the castle and really couldn't say what they'd talked about for the last half of the walk. He'd been too focused on what to do about holding her hand, but now it was too late anyway. She slowed in the Entrance Hall and turned to face him when they reached the staircase.
“This was really fun, Remus Lupin,” Addy said.
“It was,” Remus agreed. Suddenly he realized that this was the point in a date when the bloke would kiss the girl. But was it a date? This was worse than the hand holding thing.
“See you in the library soon,” Addy said. “Goodbye, Remus.”
“Bye, Addy,” Remus said with a smile.
Addy turned and ran up the stairs, only stopping to look at him once, and then continuing on her way. Remus watched her the entire time, glad that he hadn't tried to kiss her, and thought about how for the first time, she'd called him just Remus.
“Where'd you disappear off to?”
Remus glanced up from the book he was reading. After saying goodbye to Addy, Remus returned to the Gryffindor common room and spent the rest of the day reading a novel he'd been working on since the beginning of term. The common room had been quite quiet and thus the perfect environment for reading. Now, Sirius and Peter had returned and sat down in the armchairs on either side of him.
Remus turned to Sirius. He hadn't told anyone about Addy yet. “I...er...well...”
“We looked for you everywhere, mate,” Sirius continued. “Then James disappeared off with Lily and we had to fend for ourselves.”
“Yeah, where'd you go?” Peter added. “Hogsmeade's not nearly as fun with just Sirius-”
Sirius interrupted him by throwing a crumpled up piece of parchment at him. “Hey!”
“Fine,” Remus said with a sigh. “I was with a girl-”
“A girl?!” Sirius exclaimed. “Remus, you had a date and you didn't tell us?”
“It was kind of a spur of the moment thing,” Remus said. “When you were in Zonko's I waited on the bench outside and this girl, Addy, she came over to say hi and we wound up going to the Three Broomsticks and then I walked her back to the castle.”
“So it was a date!” Sirius exclaimed.
“Was it?” Remus asked.
Sirius shrugged. “I mean I think so, but you should probably ask Lily.”
“Ask me what?”
Remus turned and saw James and Lily walking toward them. They took seats on the floor since all the chairs were now occupied. Alice followed them.
“Remus here had a date,” Sirius said pompously.
“It wasn't a date,” Remus muttered.
“What happened?” Lily asked.
Remus explained the whole situation once more, only this time adding in the fact that he and Addy had been studying together a few days a week for the past month. Lily got very giggly upon hearing this and Sirius laughed even harder.
“I think it was a date,” Lily said. “You know I hate agreeing with Sirius-”
“I'm always right,” Sirius said.
“You're rarely right,” Lily shot back, “but in this case you are. Remus, she definitely asked you out and she clearly likes you.”
Remus felt his cheeks turn red. He'd never had a girl like him before, let alone one ask him out, and he wasn't sure what to think about it. He never really thought of himself as particularly “dateable” given his lycanthropy, but until now it hadn't been a problem.
“Did you kiss her?” Sirius asked.
“No,” Remus said.
“Good,” Lily replied. “Don't kiss her until it feels right.”
Remus nodded. He'd never kissed a girl before so how was he supposed to know when it felt right? This was all so complicated. And why did Sirius have to laugh so much about it?
“Are you going to see her again?” Lily asked.
Remus shrugged. “At the library, like usual.”
“Well, ask her to the next Hogsmeade visit,” Lily told him. “She'll be expecting you to.”
“Then she should ask me,” Remus said.
Lily laughed. “She already asked you once. She won't ask again and she'll expect you to do the asking next time.”
“Girls are complicated,” Remus said.
James, Sirius, and Peter nodded in agreement while Lily and Alice shared a knowing look. Remus was relieved when James changed the topic to Quidditch and no one mentioned Addy again. Part of him was happy that his friends now knew about her, but the other half wasn't since now they'd hound him constantly about the state of his and Addy's relationship. Relationship. Now he was really getting ahead of himself. Thanks for the lovely reviews!