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Chapter 20 : Chapter 19
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“Good morning, thought you would never wake up.” Lily called from the couch.
I stood up, wrapping myself in a blanket I walked out and plopped down next to her with a groan. She laughed, “Sore?”
“The usual.” I replied with a nod. She pulled out her wand and asked me where. I leaned forward and attempted to point to my shoulder blades, “What was that thing in here?”
“Hmm..?” I felt her wand prod into my skin but soon felt nothing there at all. “Oh, that was James’ patronus, pretty handy in sending messages.”
I leaned back, “A what?”
Lily laughed, “I forget you don’t know anything! A patronus is a charm that protects one from dark, terrifying creatures - but the Order figured out a way to use them to pass messages.”
“Can you do one?”
Lily’s response was to look mock offended that I would even think that was a question, “Expecto patronum!” From the tip of her wand a shining white doe erupted, landing on the floor and skipped about the room before stopping in front of Lily who patted her on the head. The doe’s ears flicked about as Lily pet her, then she disappeared.
“Cool.” I closed my eyes, still tired. I heard Lily stand up and go into the kitchen and when she returned I could smell hot turkey on the plate she carried.
I tucked in, “Thanks, Lily, it’s delicious!” and it was. Thankfully Lily was already aware of my appetite post-moon and had loaded the plate up with several servings. “So, you guys send those deer around for messages? Doesn’t that get obvious you know, all those white deer running from where you’re staking out?”
“We only send them to those on duty if its an emergency. And if its for a message, it’ll go in a stream of light before reaching its intended. And its not always a deer, oddly enough the boy’s all look like their animagus forms.”
“So Sirius’ is a dog, Peter’s a mouse, and is Remus’ is a werewolf?”
“A rat, Peter’s is a rat. And Remus’ looks more wolflike to me, I think that’d be too risky for his secret.”
“What decides it’s form?”
“I don’t know... I think it’s like your spirit animal.” Lily responded with a laugh. “It’s meant to protect, but Alice’s is a little bird.” She laughed some more.
I nodded, eyes closed again, ready to fall asleep.
“Nope, wake up, you’ll never sleep later if you nap now.” She pulled me up to a standing position.
“I’m going to check on Remus.” Lily’s eyes lit up as she remembered that she meant to have a discussion with me about him so I shuffled quickly into his room and shut her out with the door.
“You do know I could open this, right?” I heard her mutter through the wooden door. I walked over to where Remus was sleeping soundly. I gave him a shove to the shoulder but he didn’t wake. I wanted to know if he was okay, but didn’t know just how to ask. Memories of the last night I spent in here flooded and I instantly cringed at just how forward I had been. What was I thinking? I turned and went back out with Lily.
“Fast asleep.” I jerked my thumb over my shoulder towards Remus’ room.
“I gave him a heavy dose of sleeping potion, so don’t expect him to wake up anytime soon.” She sat on the back of the couch and slid down onto the seat, “So while we have time, can you tell me why you snuck to his room while I was sleeping on your couch?”
I had arranged myself on the loveseat but when she asked this question I pulled myself into my blanket like it was a cocoon. “You can’t hide from me, Holly!” Lily shouted as she once again took to trying to shake the truth from me.
When I fell out of the blanket and off of the couch, “Ah, stop it, Lily. Fine, fine, I’ll talk.” I whined.
She hopped up immediately and arranged herself on the couch and I sat down next to and facing her. “I couldn’t sleep.”
“Holly, that’s what you said that first time, don’t expect me to believe that again.”
“It’s true! I couldn’t sleep, but for different reasons and more ulterior motives I went to his room.”
Lily laughed, “And?”
“Well, we snogged.” I tried to say matter-of-factly but my blush and tone betrayed my giddyness.
“With your clothes off.” She smirked.
“Just my shirt, Lily!” I cried in an attempt to defend myself to which she expertly responded, “Come on, Holly, I know what you sleep in.”
“Oh.” It hadn’t occurred to me at the time, but I really had been hardly clothed. And Remus had been as well. “But really I didn’t go too far.”
Lily immediately pointed out exactly what I was thinking, that I sounded like I was trying to convince myself of that. I shook my head and curled up further in my blanket, “Ugh. Damn wolf.”
She laughed and attempted to pull the blanket off of me. I kept a tight grip on my blankety cocoon until she gave up. “It’s really curious.”
I peered out at her, “What is?”
“That I never really noticed that effect of the wolf on Remus while we were in school. We could tell when he was sick or irritable, never that he was downright horny.” She waggled her eyebrows and I extricated one of my arms so I could hit her.
Her response was merely laughter. She composed herself, “I mean, I have told you how Remus tended- and still does- to stay away from people. He can’t really get away from you here.”
“Great, just want I want to be- the person that is here.”
“Well, is Remus the man who happens to be here to you?”
I shook my head, she was right. I hadn’t snogged Remus because he was there, but because I’d been thinking about it since Alice and Frank’s wedding.
“Then don’t worry about it. You’re both going to feel awkward since it is out of character for both of you.”
I hope it doesn’t last for long. Lily seemed to understand what I was thinking from her empathetic smile. We sat quietly for a bit until she disappeared for a bit, only to return with a bottle of wine and two glasses. “How about we start a new tradition?”
I eyed her warily, “And what would that be?”
“Celebrating the waning of the moon.” She tapped the cork with her wand which removed itself and then poured two shallow glasses, “Here.” I took the glass and looked at it and back at her unsure. “To health and happiness.”
“Here, here!” I cheered then, as I went to sip, I caught a strong whiff of the wine. I glanced at Lily, she motioned towards my glass so I tilted it a bit more and took a drink. I lowered my glass, “That wasn’t half bad.”
She rolled her eyes and took another sip. As we chatted I found out that James still hadn’t attempted another proposal and that Lily was now expecting it at every turn. Something that she suspected James realized and was now teasing her with. “He will never stop teasing me.” She complained.
“To pet peeves that are actually perks.”
We clinked glasses but were interrupted by a banging on the door before we could take another drink. Lily went to the door, “Who is it?”
“Oh, Lily, thank goodness! Open the door it’s Alice!” When Lily did as requested Alice came falling into the sitting room. “Order’s calling a meeting. Immediately. I figured you’d be here so I could get you and Remus both. Where is he? We have to go, hurry up!” She was racing towards the open bedroom but realized it was empty and that it clearly belonged to a girl. She pivoted and I waved meekly at her. Alice briefly looked confused and then her mouth formed a little ‘o’ as if she realized that I really did live with Remus and wasn’t just a happy house guest caught in the cabin one night.
She saw the closed door and walked towards it, but Lily jumped in front of it before she could barge in. “Sorry, Alice, I kinda goofed up a sleeping draught and he’s still out.” Alice looked shocked and then pushed to try to get into the room, her healer instinct kicking in. “We’ve still got five more hours before it’s a concern.” Lily pulled Alice away from the door.
“Okay, we should be back by then.” Alice started towards the door, “Are you coming? Where are your shoes?”
“Oh, sorry, coming!” Lily hopped as she pulled her shoes on, then gave me a hug goodbye whispering, “Change his bandages in an hour, just dunk them in the cauldron first, okay?”
I nodded and waved as she followed Alice out the door. After the door shut, I could hear Alice comment, “Screwing up a potion, Lily? That’s not like you!” Then two successive CRACKS! as they disappeared.
I pulled down a book to read, mentally calculating in how many pages I should change Remus’ bandages. A few chapters later, I closed the book. I unraveled some more of the bandage, and threw them into the cauldron to soak. I went into Remus’ room to see that he was still fast asleep. I pulled the covers down and gasped when I saw the dark red stained bandage on his abdomen. It was worse than I thought. I went back to the potion and picked the bandages out with the wooden spoon. If only I could levitate the three strips with me like I’ve seen them do. Instead I settled for precariously balancing them on the wooden handle. I still needed my hands to take off the old bandage, so I wedged the spoon to balance under a pile of his books on the shelf.
Grimacing, I peeled away the dirty bandages. I went to throw them in the bath for washing later and brought out a warm rag to wash the area with. Wiping away the dried blood, I saw that the gash had mostly closed. Did James get him with his antlers? I chuckled to myself when I imagined Sirius asking if Prongs had pronged Moony. After I had cleaned it up, I grabbed a bandage dangling from above me, I layered them on, gently smoothing them out. I found some dry bandage to wrap taught around him and tied to hold it in place.
As I went to cover him in the blanket again, I leaned down and kissed above the bandaging. I sat for a bit on the bed, brushing his hair off of his forehead. He really was quite handsome. Normally he looked concerned about something, and rarely I saw him so relaxed. I suppose this was an enchanted sleep. I leant down again and kissed him on the forehead, “Feel better, Remus.”
Lily and Alice returned before Remus awoke. “Hello, hello Holly! Didn’t expect you to still be up! Don’t mind me, I’m just dying to see proof that Lily screwed up such a simple potion. You don’t live with a girl that long and pass up an opportunity to see Slughorn’s favorite make a mistake!” She was practically skipping as she headed towards Remus’ door.
i looked at Lily, who was shaking her head at me, mouthing, I tried, I’m sorry. I wasn’t quite sure what if there was anything in the cabin that would give our secret away, having been there so long with only visitors who knew. I held my breath as she barged open his door, Alice peaked her head in, hanging onto the door frame for balance.
It felt like an eternity had passed before she withdrew herself, but when she did she was all smiles as always, “Sleeping like a baby, he is!”
She hopped onto one of the chairs and kept babbling away, “Oh, it’s been ages since I’ve had some girl time. I love having Frank ‘round all the time, but what I really want is to have some girlie chat. So, what’s new?”
Lily and I looked at each other. I was still busy scanning the room for anything obvious. Hoping there wasn’t a calendar with a huge circle around yesterday or a countdown timer on the wall or something. Not that there was, but I was doing my best at observing with fresh eyes. Lily seemed to have been doing the same. Rather than waiting to hear if we would respond, Alice had continued to chat, mostly to herself. I loved having her there, because, really, how likely was I to see Alice. What with me being cooped up in this cabin and no access to Lily and her’s flat, and Alice not a typical visitor here, because of you know, circumstances. I listened as she prattled on about how lovely their honeymoon had been, how the coast had been lovely, and lovely this and lovely that. I had properly zoned out and was looking outside, when my name snapped me back to attention, “What?”
“Oh don’t be embarrassed, Holly, I wanted to know why you and Remus don’t share a room?”
“What?” I repeated, but this time slightly annoyed rather than as a question.
Alice didn’t seem to notice my tone and continued to elaborate on her question, “Is that the secret to staying together so long? Separate rooms? It just seems like something my parents, no, my grandparents, would do. I don’t think I could do that, Frank and I are just so happy to always be together- are you two doing okay?”
I still hadn’t answered but felt that my mouth had dropped open. Whether we were a couple or not, I was taking offense. Lily, thankfully, interjected. “Alice, seriously? You and Frank have been together how long seven months? Holly and Remus are going on three years. And plus you two are different couples entirely.”
My shock and horror was redirected towards Lily. What sort of web of lies had been spun about Remus and I? We would be better off telling the truth at this point. I shut my mouth and settled on smiling as if we were the happiest couple for hundreds of miles.
“Three years! Blimey, I had no idea. Well, whatever works for you.” Alice patted my hand, and I still felt patronized, especially when she finished with “no matter how odd it may be.”
Annoyed at her insults, whether they were meant to be or not, I quickly responded, “Well, its a small cabin, we’re practically on top of one another as it is...” I trailed off realizing that I had no idea why a couple of three years would not share a room. Especially since it was only our friends who would be witnesses. But we weren’t a couple of three years. Thanks for complicating things, Lily.
I could tell my answer wasn’t satisfactory. I’m sure Alice was hoping for juicier details, and I’ll just let Lily make those up. “I’m turning in for the night. Sorry I can’t stay up and visit, Alice.”
She hopped up and gave me a tight hug which reminded me of the ache down my entire back. I winced and went to my room, hardly realizing I had never returned her hug. I sat down on the bed, curling my legs in towards me and holding them tight. It wasn’t long, basically immediately, when their voices cut through the wall, “Wow, what...!”
Lily interrupted her, “Well, you did insult their relationship.”
“But, Lily, it’s weird isn’t it?”
“Alice. Not everyone is you and Frank. They’re Remus and Holly. They confuse us all. But they’re happy.”
Were Remus and I happy? I don’t know. wait, why do we confuse them? Should I even be eavesdropping? Yes.
“Look, Alice, just because you and Frank have had a good month as husband and wife does not make you some sort of expert.”
“Oh yeah, and you and your relationship with Potter makes you an expert?”
I was picturing Alice’s hands on her hips as she said this.
“Whoa, can we stop Alice. Why are you being so argumentative?”
“Imnotbeingargumentative.” Arms were probably crossed now.
“I said I’m not being argumentative.”
“Lily, I think-” She cut herself off. Her tone was different this time, softer, maybe. Lily wasn’t responding, I mean maybe she was gesturing, but the wall between us prevented me from knowing.
Alice began talking again, this time in a hushed whisper, “I don’t know how else to tell you. I guess theres a proper way to announce things like this, but I can’t hold it in any longer.”
There was no audible response from her, but I heard the couch springs give as Lily must have sat back down. Alice continued, “I think I’m pregnant.”
Several things happened at once. Overjoyed and forgetting my previous annoyance and the fact that I was supposed to be in bed, I rushed out of my room squealing, “Oh, how exciting!” and Lily said, “Speak up, I can barely hear you.”
Ignoring my actions and attempt to hug her, Alice looked at Lily then to me, “Wait- you can’t- but she did- er, what?”
I backed away and waved at Alice to repeat. When she did Lily’s mouth just dropped as I lunged and hugged Alice again. “Sorry, my ears are fine tuned to all things baby, but this is so so exciting!”
Lily was having quite the opposite reaction. “What.” was all she managed to verbalize, but I could tell that her mind was racing like a greyhound at the track. From over Alice’s shoulder I rapidly signalled to Lily to say something. “Umm.. how, uh, how far along are you?”
“I know its a smidge early to tell others, but I’m almost two months.”
Lily nodded but didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what else to say besides giddily hopping about, so I let them two be while I went to put a kettle on the stove for tea.
When I was out of the room and what Alice would think as earshot, Lily spoke, finally.
“Are you, are you sure?”
“Yes, Lily, and I would hope that you’d be excited for me and Frank. Maybe show some form of emotion?”
“I am, really.” Long pause. “I just- I just think we’re awfully young, aren’t we?”
Alice was quick with the retort, “Don’t even start, you sound just like my father, telling me I am barely eighteen. Don’t Lily. Just don’t.”
“Alice, I’m sorry I’m just shocked, I-”
“Yeah, I get it Lily. When you’re ready to really talk to me, come home, yeah?”
After I heard her exit the house and apparate away, I edged back out into view juggling to carrying three cups of tea. “Alright, you’re going to have to help me out here. Tough carrying three cups... Oh where’s Alice?”
Lily rolled her eyes, “Don’t play dumb, Holly, I know you heard that exchange.”
I nodded and Lily grabbed her cup holding the sides tightly to warm her fingers. “Don’t even say anything, I’m mad at you for being her cheerleader in this mess.”
“Lily, she’s married now.”
Lily took a sip, but maintained her glare. “We are still teenagers.”
“Fine. Agree to disagree.”
A purposeful silence permeated between us. When we finished our cups, we still hadn’t said a word. Alice’s comments about Remus and I were resurfacing in my mind. I’m not even sure if there was a ‘Remus and I.’ There was when we both lost our inhibitions. But now? As I cleared the table, Lily finally spoke up. Well maybe not exactly speaking up, but mumbling. “It’s not fair.”
Cautiously, “What’s not fair?”
“This world, these times, everything.” Her hands were in her hair as she spoke. “It is not fair to the baby. To bring them into this.”
“Lily, geeze, I didn’t realize...”
“There is no way you could,” She snapped suddenly, anger directed at me now.
“You’ve only experienced it once.”
“More than once.” I held up three fingers. “You’re only thinking of the wedding. But there were two other times that my friends came home in the middle of the night thoroughly injured.”
Lily was still angry, “Holly, do not even think that compares to what we have been through.”
Her words were laced with venom. And I did my best to stay calm, although I could feel the hair raising on my neck. “Fine, I won’t.” I snatched up the full cup intended for Alice, now-cold tea splashing to the rug. “But you, you don’t even think that you can understand everything that I have been through.”
Throwing her words back at her, I stormed into the kitchen and threw the mugs into the sink. Lily’s scoff echoed from the sitting area, she continued, mocking me. “Oh really? Tell me how much you’ve been through.”
I grabbed a mug and before I could think about what I was doing I hurled it at her. It stopped in mid air thanks to quick wand work from Lily, then fell to the ground and shattered. I nearly vomited when I realized what I had done. Panting, trying to calm myself down, I looked at Lily, who still looked furious. She tapped her foot, “Well?”
“Fine. I let my dog out one night and then in a matter of hours, I’m attacked, bitten, and turned by a werewolf, taken to this cabin and told I cannot leave. I have to tell my family that I’ve run off and I’m practically positive they haven’t even tried to look for me. And all this wolf stuff? I keep my mouth shut because it drives Remus into a pit of despair, but it fucking sucks. I lose a almost week every month to some unpredictable state. Like right now? Right now I’m mad as hell and I just chucked something at you without thinking.
“I may not be in some rebel group risking my life to save the world like you all are. But you got me into this, and I reserve the right to be pissed every once in awhile.
“So what if Alice and Frank are having a baby? They’re bringing some love to it and isn’t that what it needs?” I was still panting. Lily’s arms were still crossed.
“Don’t blame your shit on us, Holly Clark. And don’t tell me what to think about my best friend’s teenage pregnancy, either.”
“Get out.” That was me. I only realized it when I noticed Lily’s mouth hadn’t moved. I was in a rage. I had spoke before I had my thoughts together. Currently they were racing about reminding me of Lily calling Remus and I confusing, the mess of lies we told Alice, but really, most ruthless was her insinuations that I wasn’t a part of them, when I had been forced into this by them.
“I’m telling you to get out.” I walked towards the door, shocked by just how loudly myfeet seemed to slam against the ground with each step. “I didn’t ask to get involved in any of this, to even know you all. But now I do. I think it is absurd that you want to further exclude me from your lives when I am stuck here, Lily. Stuck here.” I threw open the door, it slammed into the wall, the knob puncturing the wood of the wall behind it.
“Now,” I stuck my foot out to hold the door open, using my arms to cross them angrily against my chest. “Get out.”
Lily was smart, I had to give her that. She knew I did not want to hear a single word out of her. Well, maybe she just did not want to say a word to me. Grabbing her coat, she stormed out the door, she strode about two yards, then turned to face me again, quietly her voice growled out. “Don’t be such a victim.” Then she turned and disappeared on the spot.
“Argh!!” I pulled the door until it became unstuck from the wall then slammed it shut with all of my body weight.
My shoulders were heaving and I tried to catch my racing, angry heart. I looked at the shut door and I kicked it for good measure.
I wanted to leave. I needed to get out.
I ran into my room, pacing back and forth looking at all my belongings. If she doesn’t think I can understand them, then why am I even here still? I ripped open the wardrobe door and found the bag Remus had enchanted previously. I do not belong here. I should go home, pick back up with where I was. Live normally. I can’t live normally. I violently chucked a pair of heels into the bag. Not anymore. I grabbed all my clothes from the drawer and dumped them into the bag. If Lily thought that way, the others must as well. Who was even kidding? Living here, pretending to be friends with wizards. Wizards and witches. It sounded like some kind of pipe dream. Unreal.
When most everything had been thrown into my bag, I picked it up and stormed out of my room. Remus’ door was still shut. I owed him a goodbye.
Without setting down the bag, I went into the room to see that he was awake. Covers pushed to the side and curiously looking at his wound.
“Hullo, Holly. How long have I been-” When he looked up from his wound and saw me, “Holly! What- what’s wrong?”
I just shook my head. “Nothing.”
Was I? I lifted my arm to touch my face, indeed, I was. With that movement my bag slung forward to rest in front of me.
“Why do you have that bag? Holly, what is going on?” He winced as he stood up.
I backed away, preferring to rip the plaster off quickly, rather than slowly and painfully.
“I’m leaving. I don’t belong here.”
Remus’ face dropped. “Where are you going to go?”
“Home.” I was out of his room now. “I have to leave.”
I shook my head, turning away now to walk quickly for the door. “No, I’m going.”
Before I could get there, Remus grabbed my arm. I shook him off and kept walking but before I could open the door, the handle vanished. “Remus, please.” I put my forehead on the door.
“Not until you tell me what’s going on. I have been unconscious for Merlin knows how long and I wake up to this?”
I turned to face him but couldn’t quite figure out what to tell him. How to explain.
“Holly, please, tell me what happened.” He gestured towards the wrapping on abdomen, then towards me, finally towards the door.
His bandages were soaked through again. I walked him towards the couch, “Lay down.” I found a towel and threw in some new bandages to soak. Repeating the same cleaning and rebandaging process as before, I told him what I knew from the full moon. “James and you got into a fight. One of his antlers really got you. Apparently, theres no damage to your vital organs, but I didn’t ask how they knew. Lily gave you a heavy dose of sleeping potion so you could rest and heal. They all had to go to a meeting- don’t worry Lily glossed over the reason for your absence.”
I kept staring at his side, where I had just finished wrapping. The same urge to lay a kiss (to make it better) hit me, but this time I repressed it. Instead, choosing to lightly run my fingers above the bandage. Remus’ hand reached over to hold mine. I still couldn’t look at him.
“Is that all?”
I shook my head. “Lily and I had a row.”
“Concerning...?” Remus tilted his head as he tried to make eye contact with me, but I kept staring at our hands.
“Me.” How do I even explain? And I couldn't tell him Alice's news, it wasn't mine to tell. It was stupid. But I am still angry.
“You’ve got to give me more than that, Holly.” He prodded my arm on the ‘that’ in an attempt to make me smile.
And I smiled. Then tried to explain, “Well, it is late, I am sleepy, they had just gotten back from an emergency order mee-”
“What?” Remus went to sit up but I held him down. He sputtered for a bit saying, “They? Who besides Lily is the ‘they’? What meeting? For what? What happened?”
Eventually I shushed him and made my reply, “Lily and Alice. Alice showed up to get Lily and you for the meeting. Don’t worry, Lily said you weren’t sleeping well or something and she had messed up the dosage of a sleeping draft. Alice went all nuts about Lily messing it up and thats why she came back. I don’t have a clue what the meeting was about. Quite honestly, I forgot to ask.”
From his position trapped laying on the couch by my forearm, Remus attempted to let me see him roll his eyes. “So you, for once, didn’t interrogate someone for details from a meeting you wouldn’t understand anyway?”
“Remus.” That comment couldn’t have been any more ill timed. I tried to think of something to say but couldn’t. His name just hung out there, exuding the annoyance with which I said it.
He kept quiet for a bit, probably repeating his words to check why I would be upset. Then a deep breath came, “I’m sorry.”
“For …” as Remus paused I became convinced that none of them truly knew anything about how I felt in this situation. I chomped down on my tongue before I lashed out at him though, knowing that Remus was always careful with his words.
“For talking about you as if you were incapable of understanding.” He finished.
“Thanks.” I made circles around his thumb with my pointer finger. “Thats what Lily’s and my row was about. I think.”
With a scoff Remus made a comment that one would expect from Sirius, “Birds.”
I pulled my hand back and wrapped my legs again, turning so that I didn’t have to look at him. He nudged the back of my head with what felt like his elbow. “Sorry, I just meant that you’re angry about something you can’t remember.”
“So you’re not leaving then, right?”
“Nope.” I let my bag, finally, slide off of my shoulder. I moved that hand up towards the couch and he quickly took it to hold.
We stayed there silently, comfortably together.
“It’s late.” I mumbled after a while, but I didn’t want to move because although I was sitting on the floor, I was comfortable, with him.
A rapping on the window pane stirred me from unconsciousness. I was sore still, but that was probably because I slept on the floor. I opened my eyes, why had I slept on the floor? Peering over I saw Remus’ hand and arm dangling, his knuckles touching the floor. The rapping sounded again and I looked up to see James, Sirius, and Peter with their faces pressed up against the window.
Upon realizing my notice of them, James shouted, “Can you let us in?”
Sirius shoved him, “Don’t be rude, Prongs.” Then turned to the window again, “Holly, your door isn’t a door anymore!”
I sat up, rubbing at my eyes, what were they talking about our doors not a door?
“We can’t break the windows either, Holly!”
“Wormtail! Merlin, you weren’t supposed to tell them we tried!”
I held up my hand to signal them to wait. I walked towards the door, stretching myarms out as I went. But they were right, there was no handle, it was just wall. Not even a seam where it would open. Why...? Oh. I tried to run away last night.
I went back to the couch and shook Remus, “Hey. Hey. Remus, I need you to undo that spell on the door.”
“Damnit, she has to wake up Remus. This is going to take forever.” James swore.
“Oi, it’s cold as a ghost out here!” Sirius shouted, trying to rush me, as he knocked on the window.
Shaking Remus’ shoulders wasn’t working, and picking up his arms to let them fall upon him, though comical, was not effective either. A slow swipe of my finger up the bottom of his foot made him twitch, so I tried it again. This time he tried to roll over, but shouted in pain. “Arrghh!”
“Sorry! Sorry, Remus! I was just trying to wake you up!”
Grimacing, Remus responded, “No, its not you.” As he sat up gingerly he asked what was going on. When I explained about the door, he chuckled, “Forgotten I’d done that.”
After retrieving his wand he went to the door, then turned to me, “What I did, er... it wasn’t okay. I’m sorry.”
I realized what he meant as he started to explain again, “So blatantly locking you in here, you know.” I only nodded in response. “It’s just...”
As he searched for the words, the three boys outside started knocking on the window.
“Oi, get on with it!” James called.
“They can wait.” I said quickly, “What’s ‘just...’?”
Remus absently scratched his head while responding, “Well, just that, you know, if you leave, you can’t come back. BECAUSE,” he quickly augmented, “of the charms and protective spells. I don’t know how I’d find you again.”
“Remus, we’d figure it out. Don’t worry.” I did my best to maintain eye contact with him, but there was so much more I wanted to add.
After a quiet pause, Remus turned back to the door wand pointed where the handle would go. “Holly?” He said rather than a spell, but didn’t look back at me.
TAP TAP TAP “COME ON!” Patience was not a Marauder’s strong suit.
“Nevermind. Later.” Remus muttered what sounded to me like nonsense and the wall separated a smidge. As soon as the hinges reappeared, the door was yanked open and James, Sirius, Peter, and a strong gust of cold air entered the cabin.
“Shut the door!” I shouted with a vain attempt to run away from the chilly air.
“Anything for you!” Sirius called as he pushed the door shut, only to promptly pull it open and continue doing so, fanning the cold air into the cabin.
I grabbed my bag and ran to my room to wrap myself in a blanket. Sirius was content with my reaction and had finally shut the door when I emerged. The boys were already interrogating Remus about why he would have vanished the door and why he had slept on the couch, I on the floor, instead of our perfectly fine beds. A huge scratch on James’ face caused me to shout out, saving Remus from having to answer. “What happened to your face?!”
“Now, now, don’t be so rude to Wormy. There’s not much he can do with the lot he’s been given.” James replied and Peter punched him in the arm.
“I’m sorry.” Remus was looking at his hands.
James laughed and waved it off, “It’s nothing, Remus. I just look a bit more threatening now, don’t you think?”
“It’s hardly visible, mate!” Sirius pointed out, and that was true.
“Either way, it is nothing compared to what I did to you. How’re you feeling?” James turned the conversation back to Remus.
Remus tilted his hand back and forth and shrugged. “I’ve been better, I’ve been worse.”
“Whoa, Moony, it must hurt because normally you’re all ‘I’m fine, bugger off!’” Sirius said, reaching around to peak below the bandage. The bleeding had stopped but it still looked, well, gross. Sirius turned to James, “Prongs, you prat, look what you did!”
James didn’t say anything to respond. I couldn’t tell if he felt guilty, or if they didn’t want to bring up the situation of the injury. Maybe it was necessary, or maybe it wasn’t?
“Well, er, tell me about the meeting. What’s going on?” Remus asked to end the pause in conversation.
“That’s what we’re here for.” James replied, pointing his finger, “They’re worried that some ministry officials are going to be imperioused and trying to keep tabs on them by making contacts at those offices, or some people getting jobs there. Wormtail’s in luck, his cushy little desk job in the Department of Magical Transportation will now entail doing more than stacking and restacking parchment.”
“Congrats, Pete! Who’re you watching?”
Before Peter could respond, James continued to talk, “Some old codger. But I guess he’d be an easy target so you may see some action.”
Peter smiled, “Well, none of you have assignments yet. So enjoy skulking around Knockturn Alley all day, yeah?”
“They’re coming, just because you’re employed...”
The boys bickered then settled on hoping for assignments in cool locations.
Remus stood up and announced he was in need of a shower (or that he wanted to leave the room after Sirius had voiced his desire to tail someone who worked at or frequented the strip club hidden in Hogsmeade). As he walked away, Sirius called, “Merlin, Remus, that thing has been bleeding still.”
“I’ll worry about that after I wash.” The lethargic Remus replied as he shut the door.
James leaned back in his seat, “When do you think people’ll start saying ‘Dumbledore’?”
“What?” The three of us asked with varying degrees of confusion.
“You know how everyone says ‘Merlin’ for practically anything? I wonder when people will be using Dumbledore’s name instead.” He responded matter of factly.
Sirius shrugged as we all remained silent.
“I’m not kidding. When do you think people started saying ‘Merlin’?”
“Oh before he was born, no doubt. Probably some gibberish his mum had heard so much she named her kid that.” Came Sirius’ sarcastic retort. He began laughing at his own joke, gasping out more to build on his 'theory', "And all his life when people would use Merlin as an exclamation, he'd go "What?""
"You're unbelievable." James said, his face in his hands, in exasperation at his friend.
By the end of the day, Remus had showered, the others had performed more healing magic to his abdomen, dinner had been consumed, and all news concerning their brigade had been told. What hadn't occured however, was Remus telling me what he wanted to say earlier.
"It okay if I crarsh here, Moony?" Sirius had asked about twenty minutes prior. When Remus had responded affirmatively, my hopes for ending my curiousity were dashed.
We hung out around the table playing a game of dominoes I had found on Remus' shelf. He figured they had belonged to his father because he had never played or seen them before. Occasionally the tiles would move to a different spot in the train or the end tiles would suddenly lose or gain dots. Sirius had initially complained that it was a game for old wizards but before long we had all gotten rather into it. When the last tile was laid and we waited for something to occur but nothing happened we packed the pieces back into their box. Remus went to put it back on the bookshelf and I walked the short distance with him.
"Will I ever find out what you wanted to say earlier?" I hastily whispered as Remus reached to set the box on a higher shelf.
He looked at me with confusion then as his expression changed, he turned to Sirius, "Blankets where they normally are mate." Then back to me, "Want to go for a walk? Get some fresh air and stretch your legs?"
"What am I, a dog?" I retorted, then realized we were ditching Sirius. "Well, I guess I'm some derivative of one, so.. yes."
I pulled on my coat, scarf, and boots and met Remus at the door. Sirius smiled cheekily from the couch, "You kids have fun!" He teased with a wink.
It was weird being outside with Remus when it wasn't the full moon, walking more than the three meters of the cabin where our garden lay. Under dense tree cover and walking on the fallen leaves, we made a rambling way through the woods.
"What I wanted to say Holly, was that, well, I didn't want you to leave."
"Yeah, Remus, I got that with the whole making the door disappear bit."
He sighed, "No, Holly, more than that. I don't want you staying just because I, er, turned you."
I stopped walking and he turned to face me. My heart was pounding and I was just sure he could hear it, but I was more focused on my thoughts. Then why would you not want me to leave? And hoping that it would be the answer I wanted, I voiced it.
"Because I like having you around, Holly. And..." He scratched the back of his head, "Well, it's more than having company in the house, its having you."
A smile grew across my face and I reached out for his hand, "I don't mind being there when you're home either."
Linking hands we walked back towards the cabin, still taking our time. I side-stepped a bit so that I could lean on Remus' side as we walked in the quiet. After a few minutes Remus stopped and I got tugged backwards by the change in momentum, but also by an expert pull of his arms that turned me in to face him. Laughing, I looked up at him, "Remus, what?"
"I just want to make sure I didn't forget anything." He mumbled, staring into my eyes.
His light brown eyes grew nearer and mine slowly shut as I leaned towards him as well. His kiss was different than last time. It was slower and shorter, and sweet. When we looked back up at eachother, we both smiled and I leant into his chest, letting go of the hand that I was holding and wrapping my arms around him instead. It didn't feel weird to just hug him and have him hug me.
We were only a few steps away from the boundary of the muggle repelling charm, which gave a good reason for Remus to maintain his tight hold on me. Although, I don't think he would have let go anyways. Before opening the door, he leaned down and gave me a quick kiss. "Goodnight, Holly."
A/N: Hope you enjoyed this rather long chapter (for me). I'm promising more action soon! And that I will continue to update! I haven't forgotten about this story.
Please review! Thanks
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