Chapter 16 : Chapter 15
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When I woke up, something felt different. Before I opened my eyes, I took survey of my surroundings, I couldn’t hear anything out of the ordinary, I felt I was still curled up in a ball, but my head felt different and I had a different blanket on me. Somehow, during the night, a pillow had appeared under my head and a new blanket over my body.
When I had crawled onto Remus’ bed, I had assumed I would wake up before him, but this was not the case. Because as I tried to ease off the bed, Remus’ voice stopped me midway, “I didn’t expect you to be the type to try to run off before I’m awake.”
Oh dear. Busted. “Oops?”
“It’s okay, but really, why did you come in here?”
I sat up and looked over at Remus, he was sitting up, reading a book that was leaning on his propped up leg. I really didn’t want to explain, not after all that happened last night, “I got lost?”
“Come on, Holly, you have to have a better excuse than that.”
He seemed slightly ticked off, could I blame him? Last night he had tried to kiss me and I turned away, but he wakes up to me in his bed? I was exhibit A for mixed signals. Well maybe this was exhibit B, and last night was exhibit A. “Honestly?”
“Yes, honestly. And you’re a terrible liar, so you have to be honest anyway.”
I sat up a little more, careful not to look at him while I tried to figure out how to phrase it, I decided my best option was to be vague, hoping he wouldn’t pry. “I couldn’t sleep.”
He was stone-faced, I would have to ask him for advice on keeping a blank expression later. “So you figured my bed would be more comfortable? Or did you exhaust the numerous options of mind numbing books on display in the other room? Those have put you asleep before.”
“No, I didn’t try that, no light switches in the house, remember? And even if I can still see, reading without a light gives me a headache. And it wasn’t that my bed was uncomfortable or that yours is more comfortable.” I was rambling.
“So…” Somehow, Remus managed to say this nonchalantly, turning the page in his book, still reading throughout the entire conversation. How could he possibly multitask reading and talking?
“So the trees seem to make Death Eater shadows all across my room. It’s difficult to sleep when a twig’s shadow appears like a wand on your chest.”
I looked straight down after this, staring directly where my legs ran parallel as I sat indian style. I could still hear enough to tell that he was holding his breath. It was a habit of his I noticed, it was probably common with anyone, but when he was trying to carefully word something or was thinking really hard before speaking he would hold his breath then when he went to answer, he’d exhale a lot then speak really slowly or very rapidly. It depended on what he was saying. This was slow, I think he’s still confused by the situation. Too many things happened last night. “So, you were … afraid?”
“So you came into my room.”
“And instead of waking me up, you decided to curl up at the foot of my bed like a pet dog?”
“Well, I didn’t want to wake you up.”
Thankfully the whole point of this conversation was for him to understand my actions. I definitely knew what I was doing, so it was more exasperating for him and just mildly uncomfortable for me to talk it through.
“Well, if you’re scared, or something, just wake me up, I’ll stay up with you.” Awe, that was sweet. “Don’t just let me wake up to you in bed with me, it’s slightly… uncomfortable.” That was not so sweet.
“Uncomfortable? I tried to not take up much room.” I was evading the point, but I really wanted to avoid talking about the wedding.
“Clearly, Holly. You were cuddled up at the very edge of the bottom, I’m surprised you didn’t fall off.”
I responded with a small smile and tried not to meet his eyes. We sat in silence, me not wanting to talk and Remus probably working out the exact question to ask that would inadvertently make me explain last night. A loud thunk forced me to look over at him, he had let his head lean back and it had smacked the wall. His eyes were squeezed shut, probably a mix of pain and frustration.
I felt horrible. Seriously, why did I pull back last night? I am attracted to him and he has to feel something for me, right? Or else he wouldn’t have been trying to kiss me, right?
“Remus, were you drunk last night?”
Still facing the ceiling, head tilted back against the wall, eyes still shut, Remus answered “Were you drunk last night?”
Ugh. Answer the question! “Remus, seriously, I only had water, I think I was the only sober one there, even Frank’s thirteen year old cousin was drinking.”
Ever so subtlety, I saw Remus barely peek out from beneath his eyelid towards me, gauging the truthfulness of my answer. “You needn’t worry about becoming dependant. You should have an incredibly high tolerance, but maybe that is just me.”
“You weren’t drunk?” Did I sound too eager?
“I had drank, yes, but I don’t believe I was much beyond tipsy.”
There was silence as I processed his answer. So if he was not drunk but instead merely tipsy, does that mean he really did want to kiss me? He wasn’t just a really touchy-feely drunk type that I have seen before? So he clearly remembers the situation and now thinks I am not interested in him. But I am. I really think I am.
He turned his head, I could just see his one eye, finally open and looking at me.
“I’m sorry I turned away.”
He didn’t say anything, instead, letting his actions speak. After he stood up he leant over towards me and pushed a section of my hair out of my face and tucked it behind my ear. I wish I had watched his face as he did this but instead I watched his hand. Unlike my response towards him last night, there was no hesitation in that hand.
I followed him into the sitting area and stood by the couch, watching as he moved about in the kitchen, preparing breakfast for the two of us. Loud, successive CRACK!s alerted us that our friends had arrived.
“Hello, hello!” Lily called as she pushed open the door and I could clearly hear Sirius grumbling about knocking and rudeness from the yard. It wasn’t until I turned to greet them all that I realized I was clad only in a t shirt and my undies. I tugged my shirt lower but to no avail for Peter announced that “Holly’s legs have healed up quite nicely, don’t you think?”
Sirius laughed and joined in the playful teasing, “Forgot what constitutes as clothed after all the ruckus last night?”
Saving me for the umpteenth time in so few hours, Remus called from the kitchen that breakfast was on the table. I went to grab a pair of trousers from my room and was surprised that Lily followed me inside.
“So last night was eventful in more ways than one, huh Holly?”
I pulled one leg through and as I hopped to put my other leg in I asked cautiously, “What do you mean?”
In lieu of an answer Lily pointed at my bed, which was missing its top sheet and pillow and then out the door to where you could see my blanket now on the floor by the door of Remus’ room.
“Oh goodness, no! Lily, don’t jump to conclusions!”
“I wouldn’t call it jumping to conclusions, I mean, it’s pretty obvious where you spent the night.” Her voice filled with mischievous glee.
“Oh, shut it! Let’s go eat and I can discuss this with you later.”
As I pushed her out the door towards the kitchen she squealed, “So there is something to discuss!”
I ignored her and sat down at the table. Apparently, the captured death eater was already on his way to jail. Sirius had checked Diagon Alley for the other Death Eater, but had found the narrow alleyway empty. The attack had depended too heavily on the element of surprise, but it was foolish to think that so many wizards gathered in one place who were fighting against them wouldn’t have their wands on them and their wits about them at all times. Peter did an impression of one of their group leaders, shouting, “CONSTANT VIGILANCE!” Which made me drop my fork and fall out of my chair.
They laughed until they realized that I was still shaken up from last night. I sheepishly climbed back into my seat and waved off their worried glances.
“You don’t have to worry about your safety, Holly. Not with us around, nothing can get to you.” James said and the rest of them nodded.
I smiled and continued eating, not feeling too reassured. Sirius teased Peter about dancing with the middle aged woman and the mood went back to usual.
After breakfast we all went to relax on the couches and chairs, but Lily pulled me into my room. Shutting the door and casting what I assumed was a silencing spell on the wall. She hopped onto my bed, “So, tell me what’s going on with you two!”
“Lily! Nothing is going on! I slept in there because I was terrified. I almost got taken away by some psychopath last night and I was freaking out…” I took a deep breath so that I wouldn’t shout, “So I went into Remus’ room.”
“Do you often sleep in Remus’ room?” She asked impishly.
I sat down on the bed, “No! Come on, Lily, I was just-“
She held up a finger to shush me, “Oh so what did I witness at the wedding then?”
Oh my. What did she witness? I didn’t think that she was paying attention to me at all. Oh goodness, I hope she did not see what happened. I’d be mortified. I was sure that panic was written all over my face, but I tried to delay it, “What did you see at the wedding, Lily?”
She rolled her eyes at my avoidance but answered my question all the same, “I saw that you and Remus were absolutely tearing up the dance floor together, completely oblivious to those around you. You two nearly upstaged Frank and Alice, I think that’s why the band stopped playing swing music, to be honest.”
“Seriously?” I burst out before I could fully process what she had said.
“Yes, seriously. Everyone that knew Remus from school was baffled by how different he was acting. Alice even told me that you were good for him, on the way to telling the band to slow down the music, of course.” She laughed a bit. “But my main point was how you two were off in your own little world.”
I didn’t know what to say. So I just kind of shrugged. Lily huffed and grabbed my hand, shaking it, “Tell me what happened between you two last night, please?”
“Not even a little bit of anything?”
I must have paused too long before answering because she hoped up to her knees, practically bouncing, “Holly Clark, you are hiding something from me! Tell me, I’m going to explode if you don’t!”
“Whoa, calm down, drama queen!” She sat her bottom back down on the bed. I didn’t know what happened well enough to explain it, or how to quite go about it. So I settled on mumbling, “hetriedtokissme.”
First Lily asked, “What?” Then her mind unscrambled it and she shouted, “What? and??”
I blushed and started rambling. Lily was my only girl friend here and if I didn’t talk this through with someone I’d burst, and Lily also had insider information on Remus to help me sort everything out. “I don’t know what happened to be honest. One minute we were dancing and then the next he was just leaning down towards me. I leaned in as well, but then panicked for about fifteen stupid reasons.”
I think she ignored the last part of my sentence, because Lily asked, “So how was it?”
I could feel my blush spreading, “Ipulledaway.”
“I pulled away.”
She waved her hands at me, “No, I heard you the first time. I meant ‘what’ as in, nooo or no way, but mostly: why?”
I was exasperated, “I don’t even know. It’s so silly of me. I just got super self-conscious and convinced that he was just drunk. So I turned my head.”
Lily shifted her position, looked as if she was going to speak thoughtfully from the heart but then shook her head a bit, “Wait- you pulled away or you turned your head?”
“What’s the difference?”
She laughed, “One says ‘no’ and the other one says ‘embarrassing!’”
“Oh it was embarrassing all right, his lips hit my nose.” I laid back, unable to maintain eye contact anymore.
Lily laughed hysterically. “Really, Holly?” more laughter, “Oh merlin, poor Remus.”
“Stop, Lily, I already feel bad enough.”
She composed herself and went back to what I had said before, “Why were you convince he was drunk? He didn’t seem drunk at all last night.”
“Because he wanted to kiss me.”
She stared at me for a long time before answering, “Holly. Holly, do not think that way. Are you seriously telling me that you believe a man would have to be inebriated to find you attractive?”
She took my silence as a yes and continued, “You do realize that these boys make a constant fuss about you to do more than tease you, right?”
“I thought they just liked annoying me.”
Lily huffed out air, blowing her fringe upwards, “You are so dense, Holly.”
“Lily, you can’t tell me that boys don’t tease and feign attraction to some girls just as jokes, right?”
“And I repeat: you are so dense, Holly. Do you really think that they’d do that? Maybe a few years ago, but come on! Not anymore.”
I shrugged, I wasn’t sure if she was pep talking me or lecturing me. Probably both. “Holly, you know I told you the second time I met you that Remus never flirted with any girls at school?” I nodded. “I don’t think I told you how much Remus over thinks everything. How cautious he is about his words and actions, even around his friends that know his secret. So, take it from me, if he tried to kiss you last night, then he’s been thinking about it for a while.”
I continued laying there. Taking that in. I propped myself up onto my elbows to look at Lily better, “So you think he likes me?”
“I’m not going to answer that question for you, Holly. I think the better question is do you fancy him?”
I laid back, thinking until Lily interrupted my thoughts by kicking at my leg with her foot, “Talk it out, I have a feeling your picking your words too carefully.”
“Fine, I’m thinking about how I prefer Remus’ company over all the others. Sirius is fun but just obnoxious. James is clearly smitten by you. And Peter is what I imagine an annoying little brother would be like, really nice and trying to make me happy but also joining in with the patter from his bad influences – Sirius and James – which drives me insane.”
Lily laughed, “Peter is quite the tag a long, but he’s so sweet. He tries so hard, doesn’t he?”
“Too hard. But the thing with Remus is, I don’t feel like either of us tries. We’re just companions.”
“Just?” Lily arched her eyebrow.
“I hate that you can do that! I have tried so hard because Remus always shows off and I just want to show him –“
“Remus shows off what?” Lily she asked, generally surprised at my statement.
“The raising one eyebrow thing! He knows it drives me nuts that I can’t, so when we’re talking, he’ll always wiggle and arch them. It’s maddening!”
Lily laughed out loud, “Enough, I get it. I just didn’t expect it.”
We sat there for a while, Lily chewing on her bottom lip while she decided what to say next. “So, do you think he’s fit?”
“Holly. It’s a simple question, do you?”
I could feel my blush returning, probably turning my cheeks bright pink as I nodded. Lily laughed at my expense. “Lily, can we please just talk about something else, I’m still mortified.”
“Well, fine. But you better fill me in on the advances in Remus and yours’ relationship.” She leaned back against the wall and we chatted about the wedding. I thought that Alice’s dress was gorgeous, but Lily felt it was ‘too white’ and needed something more. We mused on what would have happened with Peter and Sirius had the wedding not been interrupted, settling that Peter would have gone home with the middle aged witch but would have been too drunk to function and that Sirius would have charmed at least one of the witches into a kiss or more, but only after one of her friends had slapped him.
“Do you think it’ll be weird living with a married couple?”
Lily hopped off the bed at my question, a mixture of perplexed and shocked on her face. I continued, “Wait, Lily, you have discussed your living situation with Frank and Alice, right?”
In lieu of an answer, Lily hustled out of my bedroom and into the sitting room. She looked back and forth amongst the four guys. And back and forth again, then thrusting her arms out towards the one lounging sideways across the overstuffed chair, “Sirius! Can I move in with you?”
The reactions were hilarious. Peter’s mouth dropped open in a gape. Sirius immediately sat up straight. Remus dropped the newspaper and looked immediately at James. James shouted, “No!” Sirius said, “Me?” Peter asked, “What?” and Remus pulled the newspaper back up in front of his face.
Lily put her hands on her hips, “Yes, you, Sirius. I can’t afford my rent when Alice leaves, so it’s either you move in with me or I move in with you.”
“Wait. Stop, what I don’t understand is why are you trying to live with Sirius?” James blurted out before Sirius could respond.
Lily pointed at each of us as she spoke, “Because James, I can’t live with you, Pete’s still with his mother, and Remus already has a roommate.”
“I don’t still live with my mum!” Peter protested, but was silenced when James, Lily, Sirius, and Remus all looked pointedly at him. He crossed his arms, “Well, maybe I do, but I’m looking for a place.”
“Why can’t you live with me? There’s plenty of room so I don’t see why not.” James adjusted his glasses which had slipped down his nose when he had started at Lily’s initial question. “And, why him?”
“Oi, excuse me, Prongs!”
“James, please, we can’t live together.” James’ response to this was to sputter, so Lily kept talking, her voice changing from a normal tone to slightly unsure. “Well, you know, it’d just be complicated.”
“And you moving in with Padfoot won’t be complicated?” James looking more and more upset with each syllable. Sirius settled back in his seat with a smug look. Lily stomped her foot,
“You are an absolute prat, James Potter! How can you think that I’m remotely attracted to that hound dog?” Sirius smug look only increased with what some may have considered an insult. James stood up, both hands going into his hair as he shouted at Lily and she yelled back, her arms thrown behind her as she leaned forward.
“You may as well sit down, Hol’ this will go on for a while.” Sirius remarked.r. I sat down on the couch where James had been, Peter leant over to explain how in school this was a daily –if not more- occurrence. It didn’t look as though the boys were even paying attention to the fight anymore, Sirius drumming his fingers and humming and Peter picking at a scab on his arm.
I instead tried to focus on the fight, trying to decipher just when James would realize that Lily didn’t consider it appropriate to move in with someone she was having a relationship with. At the moment he had yelled about having too much room, Sirius being a slob, and not having to deal with Sirius’ late night visitors. Lily had said ‘inappropriate’ probably seven times, ‘it doesn’t matter’ three times, and ‘unreasonable’ twice.
“But, Lily, it’s nothing that we won’t be doing later, when we’re married.”
Lily stopped, relaxing slightly at the word ‘married,’ but visibly shook some thought out of her head and yelled, “We can’t just go out of order, James.”
“You are being obstinate, so bloody stubborn, Lily.”
Her arms swept forward to cross themselves, she pursed her lips and glared.
“Come on, Lily. Is it a crime that I want you to move in with me?”
“No.” She tapped her foot rapidly, “But, there’s an order to things, James. We’re not married, so I’m not moving in with you.”
“Yet. We’re not married, yet.”
Their voices had lowered and steadied with each of their statements, but before Lily could respond to the last statement, James stepped forward and wrapping his arms around her, cut off her response with his lips. Peter nudged me to stand up and thankfully we did, because the Lily was backing up and the couple fell down to the couch, still kissing.
Peter sat down on the floor and I sat on the window sill. Sirius noticed my perplexed look and explained, “They’re mad. And mad about each other.” I looked out the window as a distraction, but snapped back to the situation when I heard them stop and James breathe, “Marry me, Lily.”
She pushed him off of her and stood up, “Are you serious, James?”
James and Sirius both rattled off, “No, I’m Sirius” and “No, he’s Sirius.” Lily ignored them both and started yelling again, “You call that a proposal, Potter?”
James sat back against the arm rest, “Umm, yes?”
She stood up, “Well, umm… no, James. I’ll say yes when it’s real.” With that, she waved goodbye to the rest of us and stormed out of the cabin.
James ruffled his hair, “What did I do wrong?”
His three friends’ response was to just laugh at him. I shrugged. Sirius stood up and slapped him on the back, “Maybe you should be a bit more traditional next time, Prongs.”
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