Chapter 21 : Let It Grow
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“Let it grow, let it grow, let it blossom, let it flow. In the sun, the rain, the snow, love is lovely, let it grow.” – Eric Clapton, 1974
“Can I open my eyes?”
“What about now?”
“Not yet, love.”
“… Ok, what about now? Are we there yet?”
“Are we – ouch! - fucking - did you just lead me into a bush?”
“Sorry, but you were squirming against me and I sort of … lost track of the terrain.”
“Squirming? I’m shivering! You told me you had an indoor Valentine’s Day surprise for me, so I dressed accordingly, thinking it was going to be in a pub or something. Didn’t expect to trekking through the bloody snow … Fucking hell, my shoes are going to be ruined. Dammit baby, I really like these fringe moccasin boots – hold on, why are you slowing down? Wait, does this mean -”
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” he muttered into her ear as he removed his hands from her eyes and Gemma Rawnsley felt excitement rush through her as she surveyed her surroundings. Had Sirius rented some sort of log cabin in the middle of the woods? Was he going to give her flowers? And more importantly, was he going to shag her senseless?
“A tent. A very small, dirty tent,” she muttered in disbelief as she studied the desolate frozen lake in front of her. She tried to squash her disappointment as she bit her lip; instead of presenting the house of her dreams, Sirius had pulled back the proverbial curtain to reveal a deserted campsite just outside of Hogsmeade.
“Ha!” he said as a small chuckle escaped his lips.
“What?” Gemma asked incredulously.
“That crestfallen look on your face … You really think this is the surprise, don’t you?”
“I- I -” she stuttered and Sirius cut her off with a chaste peck. She cunningly tried to sneak her tongue into his mouth but he quickly stopped her from deepening the kiss.
“Not yet,” he muttered against her lips before taking her hand and leading toward the tent.
Gemma rolled her eyes and huffed playfully as she trudged through the snow behind him. When they reached the makeshift shelter, Sirius pulled back one of the flaps and motioned for her to step inside. The Hufflepuff gave him saucy wink before ducking down and entering the tent.
When her eyes finally adjusted to the tinted light, Gemma exhaled a deep breath and felt her eyebrows pop up in surprise. Sirius had used several Transfiguration spells to expand the inside of the tent, making it into an unconventional, but awe-inspiring bungalow. The Sixth Year slowly took a couple steps forward as her eyes surveyed the walls; they were covered with magical rosebushes that continually dropped red petals onto the floor. She bent down and picked up a couple, crushing them between her fingers, and inhaled sharply to revel in their fresh scent.
Gemma turned to see Sirius standing in front of the large pile of blankets and pillows. In one swift movement, she playfully tackled him and they both landed in the middle of the soft bedding cocoon he'd made for them. The Hufflepuff started to slowly kiss the side of his neck as she answered his question.
“It’s – mwah! – amazing, Sirius. It – mwah! – took my breath away. You really – mwah! – are a magical genius.
“Ha!” Sirius laughed again. “You really think this is everything, don’t you?”
“W-what?” Gemma stuttered as she pulled away from him. “There’s more?”
“Of course there’s more,” the Gryffindor muttered as he rolled his eyes. She timidly looked at him through her fringe, still in disbelief that her Valentine’s Day surprise was this elaborate.
“This is the last thing, I promise,” Sirius said with a grin as he reached into his pocket, pulled out a small yellow box, and placed it in her lap. When she pushed back the tissue paper inside, she gasped as she pulled out a long silver chain. The Seer carefully lifted it out of the box, and in the process, revealed the filigreed lapis lazuli pendant hanging from the bottom.
“The stone is associated with joy and fidelity -”
“I know that,” Gemma interrupted as she continued to stare at the bright blue object. As it spun around in place, she finally took in its full meaning; despite all of his audacity and insecurities, Sirius Black really did love her if he was giving her this sort of display of commitment and devotion. A warm, fuzzy feeling exploded from the base of her skull and lazily filtered out to the rest of her nervous system.
And for the first time since she had concocted Morrigan’s experimental potion, Gemma felt at peace.
Yet, a wisp of sorrow slowly crept up her spine. Sirius’ present turned her nomadic soul into something calm and peaceful, like the glassy smooth surface of the Black Lake on a still morning … which meant that when she returned to school for her Seventh Year, she would be a catastrophe and mess without him. She knew Sirius meant every word of his silent lapis lazuli pledge but she couldn’t help but dwell on the future and feel even more helpless and fearful than before.
But she took a deep breath, quickly squashed her urge to disappear into thin air, and decided to live in the moment. In the here and now. She slowly put the long chain around her neck and closed the clasp, letting the pendant settle between her small breasts. Gemma then caught his excited grin and felt a frown start to tug at her lips.
“What, you don’t like it?” Sirius panicked. “I charmed it to shimmer when I’m thinking about you.”
“No!” she gasped as she put her hands on his chest. “No, I love it! It’s just … well, your surprise puts mine to shame, really.”
“I’ll be the judge of that,” the boy said with a smile as he secured his hand on her hip. Gemma rolled her eyes and sluggishly grabbed her leather fringe shoulder bag. She reached her entire arm into the sack and after a few seconds of rummaging, pulled out a hand painted black shoebox. Sirius promptly tore it out of her hands, flipped open the top, and uncovered each one of her gifts.
“A bottle of firewhiskey! How did you know I loved this particular vintage? And oh that smell - I think this is the finest strain of gillyweed I’ve ever seen! Merlin Gemma, a motorbike magazine, some dummy wands, and … DOG TOYS!”
Sirius’ face immediately burst into the biggest grin she had ever seen.
“No one has ever given me dog toys before! Not even as a joke, or anything! Look, I know we’re supposed to have passionate sex right now, but can you please throw this fluffy Snape for me outside? Pretty please? I’ll love you forever if you do.”
Gemma saw a puppy-like expression on his face and snorted with amusement. Although she desperately wanted to rip off all his clothes, she couldn’t resist the pleading look in his eyes. It was too cute to ignore. She nodded her head in agreement and Sirius pulled her towards the tent door. As soon as the couple went back out into the winter weather, the boy swiftly turned into his animagus and wagged his tail excitedly.
“You really are one of a kind, Sirius Black,” Gemma muttered as she tossed the fluffy Snape across the field of snow. The large black dog scampered after it and she sighed happily and watched him retrieve the object. Yet, as he sprinted back to her, the Seer suddenly felt her eyes focus on the view of Hogsmeade behind him. The quaint little houses were calm and serene but as a small green leaf slowly fell off a completely bare tree and landed at her feet, Gemma felt a strong sense of déjà vu.
“What? What’s wrong?” Sirius asked after he rapidly changed back into his human form. Gemma looked down at the bright green leaf and then back Hogsmeade as the hairs on her arms stood at full attention. Tears prickled the edges of her eyes and terror burned through her veins and almost made her heart explode.
“I can’t explain it … but I have a feeling something really fucking bad is about to happen.”
Aeryn Miller shifted uncomfortably in her plastic coated seat as the witches and wizards around her shouted over the sound of pints being poured; she bristled slightly after a passing gentleman brushed against her to avoid an oncoming server. She knew the pub was busy but thought that the clientele would at least have the decency to say sorry.
“Here you are, dears!” their aging server chirped as he placed their lunch on the table. As the man went back to the kitchen window, Aeryn looked down at her bangers and mash and frowned. Although she appreciated that Peter was picking up the tab, she wished he had chosen something a little more … romantic.
“Isn’t The Crinkly Boot such a great place?” Peter exclaimed before he heartily dove into his fish and chips. “It’s decorated like a real life English pub! And the food! Yum! I knew you’d like it … ‘cos you know, you’re a Muggleborn.” He forced several chips into his mouth and smiled as sauce ran down his chin.
“Yes, it’s wonderful, dear,” Aeryn muttered as she reached out and took a sip of her butterbeer. She desperately wished she could be at Madame Puddifoots, drinking her favorite red velvet cake tea instead.
“So what did you get me?” he grinned from across the table. Aeryn’s mood brightened as she turned and opened her bright pink handbag.
“You’re going to love it,” she beamed as she handed him a delicately wrapped red, white, and pink package. Peter dropped his food and smeared his greasy fingers over the shiny paper as he ripped it open.
“A … oh. What is this exactly?” the Gryffindor frowned as he reached into the tissue paper and pulled out a silver box.
“It’s a cigarette holder!” Aeryn answered joyously. “I know I told you stop … but if you’re going to continue to smoke, I thought you should at least do it in style. It’s custom made – I got your name engraved on it and everything. Open it! Open it!” Peter skeptically wrenched open the holder and cocked his head to the side as he evaluated the object. She watched a small shudder wobble his shoulders.
“I’m trying to quit, Aeryn,” he growled as his mood turned sour.
“No you aren’t,” she replied with a teasing grin as she took another sip of her drink. “You stopped for a month - and I’m very proud of you for that – but now you’re at it again. Let face it, Peter, I can nag you all I want, but you’re a smoker. That’s just what you are.”
“Smoking is a guilty pleasure I need to stay away from, Aeryn!” Peter snapped, killing her laughter as he pushed the holder back across the table. “Don’t you see that? I need to quit now, before a habit really starts forming! So - so stop encouraging me with stupid presents like this! I should be staying away from cigarettes, not carrying them around in some overly engraved container.”
His eyes turned misty and malevolent as his fingers nervously tapped against the wooden table.
“I haven’t had one in a week, you know!”
Aeryn couldn’t help but let her mouth flop open in surprise as tears started to gather in her eyes. She had planned her gift for weeks and even spent most of her bank account to make sure it was perfect … and he just gave it back to her, uninterested in ever using it. As Peter continued to consume his lunch and ignore her completely, Aeryn felt disappointed with her boyfriend for the first time in her life.
She had pulled out all the stops – and what had he done? Taken her to some dingy pub in the middle of nowhere and rejected her gift. The Hogsmeade weekend was supposed to be about him making things up to her, but his final product seriously underwhelmed her.
And that was how her saintly image of Peter Pettigrew finally cracked, much like her impressions of the other Marauders weeks prior. She felt a newfound sentiment bubble inside her and instead of laughing and brushing off his rebuff, she allowed herself to feel hurt and upset by his actions. She sniffled softly as a lone tear escaped one of her eyes.
Yet, even though she started to doubt her boyfriend, she remained silent. Aeryn tried to say something – anything to let him know how disappointed she was - but her mouth glued itself shut. As Peter continued to inhale his food, her eyes nervously flittered across the room … and magically caught the reflection of Cora in the window. The Ravenclaw happened to be outside, playfully shoving her teammates into a nearby bank of snow.
“Oh look, there’s Cora. I have to ask her something about Astronomy. Be right back,” Aeryn said steadily as she rose from her seat. Her speech finally caught Peter’s attention and he looked up from his lunch and caught her distressed gaze. His eyes registered her emotions and his fork landed on his plate with a clang! when he realized what he had done.
“Oh Aeryn, I’m so sorry, I -”
“I’ll just be a minute!” she said with a fake cheery voice as she wiped a tear off her cheek and ignored his apology. Moments earlier, she had been frozen, but now she was rapidly mobile after seeing her new friend. She raced out the door and started to slowly blubber as she staggered over towards the members of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team. They gradually stopped roughhousing when they realized that she was there to see Cora.
“Hi,” Aeryn muttered meekly, only looking at the female Seeker. Cora registered the look in her eyes and turned back towards her teammates.
“Fuck off, you lot - go drink whiskey and ogle some Fifth Years. Move along, nothing to see here!” she barked and then glared at them when they began to snigger. Aeryn felt the Ravenclaw comfortingly put her hands on her shoulders and shortly after, started to sob. Cora wrapped her arms around her completely and hugged her with solace.
“There, there. I’m sure whatever happened isn’t the end of the world,” she muttered in her ear. Aeryn finally felt a smile spread across her face when they finished their embrace.
“I’m sorry to do that to you,” she blubbered as she wiped away more tears with the sleeve of her red jumper. “But I just needed a hug. And I saw you and -”
“There’s no need to explain yourself, Aeryn!” Cora laughed. “I know what it’s like to need a bone crushing hug!”
“Well, thanks anyways,” Aeryn sniffled and she returned her hand to her side. As she blinked away a couple more snuffles, she finally settled down. A genuine giggle escaped her lips and for the first time that day, Aeryn felt loved. However, seconds later, the sky turned dark and stormy. The Gryffindor watched as her friend’s expression turn stern and cautious and she looked over her shoulder at the smoldering sky. The clouds were starting to form some sort of shape, some sort of picture or image …
And as a crack of thunder echoed throughout the area, the Dark Mark officially emerged above Hogsmeade.
Immediately, Aeryn heard screams of terror and felt fear flood her senses. She desperately reached out and grabbed Cora’s arm as black tendrils raced through the air and spawned willing Death Eaters. The Seeker grabbed her hand and pulled them down the street towards the Castle as they tried to escape the oncoming attack.
However, their flight was short lived. When Aeryn and Cora scampered across the cobblestones and rounded a corner, a jet of grey light hit both of them in the chest. As Aeryn fell to the ground, she heard the fierce cackle of Luciana Rosier as she rocketed past them to continue the assault.
“JAMES!” Lily Evans screamed as she yanked her boyfriend around the corner to avoid the oncoming rope snares. The spell narrowly missed the couple and launched past them. Before James could move a muscle, Lily’s expression hardened with bravery as she pushed him behind her and extended an arm around the brick wall.
“Stupefy!” the Head Girl muttered softly and her spell crept up on the unsuspecting Death Eater and hit him in the shoulder. The servant’s body hardened and he stiffly fell to the ground, paralyzed. The two Heads cautiously held their breath as the dust began to settle. A deafening silence skulked into the courtyard, signaling that the coast was clear, and Lily and James collectively peaked their heads out to see the fate of their recent foe.
“Ha!” Lily said with a soft smile as she crossed her arms over her chest. “Take notes for your Auror exam, James Potter - bravado isn’t always effective.”
“I thought I’d never see the day,” James muttered playfully as he ran a hand through his extremely messy and slightly burnt hair. “Are you really giving me dueling pointers right now -”
“Bloody hell!” he exclaimed in surprise as they both dodged the Unforgiveable Curse. “They aren’t fighting fair, are they?”
“Over here!” Lily heard someone whisper urgently and she turned to see an old man with silver dreadlocks motioning for them to come inside the secret door he was standing behind.
“Smithers, thank Merlin!” James exclaimed as he practically carried her into the adjacent building. After the old man swiftly closed the door behind them, Lily put a hand to her chest as she attempted to settle her rapidly beating heart. Her head began to throb and she panted lightly and tried to remain calm in the face of danger; Ben Smithers resumed his post and seconds later, pulled in another innocent bystander.
“Miss Evans, is that you?”
Lily felt someone tug at her left trouser leg and she slowly turned around to look down at Nanette Minot, who was staring up at her with pleading eyes. Lily recognized the fear in her expression and tried to comfort her by putting an arm around her shoulders. The Head Girl felt soothing words form on the tip of her tongue but as she turned her attention to the rest of the room, she realized that Nanette wasn’t the only scared student in the room.
Lily felt her maternal instinct kick in as she did a quick headcount. So far, Smithers had rescued 26 other students and turned The Purple Inkpot into a makeshift safe house. Her selflessness began to control her actions and she instantly tended to the scared teenagers, asking if anyone was hurt or impaired.; she even placed some of the house kittens in the laps of frightened youngsters to make them feel at ease.
“Potter!” Frank called out from across the room and Lily perked up as she saw Alice cross over to James.
“Thank Merlin you’re here. Smithers started pulling people off the street and we know Zito and his parents are doing the same over at Dominic Maestro’s music shop,” Alice informed them.
“Too bad, really,” Frank said with a half smile. “I heard Tarantellegra was in the middle of cutting a record when the attacked started.”
“Prongs!” Remus called desperately after Smithers forcefully pulled him inside. The werewolf staggered over to them and enveloped his best friend in a staunch hug. “Where are the others?”
“We don’t know,” Lily said softly and hugged Remus when he offered her a comforting embrace as well. “Peter and Aeryn were off at some pub if I remember correctly and Sirius -”
“Already on it,” James said as he pulled a two-way mirror out of his corduroy jacket. “Padfoot?”
“I’m alright, Prongs!” Sirius gasped as his face appeared. He kept turning his head back and forth as he threw glances at his wailing girlfriend. “But I don’t think Gemma is. She’s hysterical, mate.”
“Where are you?” Lily said breathlessly as she snatched the mirror out of James’ hands.
“We’re two blocks from Zonko’s,” Sirius answered but his attention soon turned elsewhere. “You need to breathe, baby -”
“Padfoot!” Remus barked as he grabbed the object out of Lily’s grasp. “The Aurors have just arrived but you need to get indoors. Now.”
“Gemma, you’re not making any sense! Fuck, I can’t move her. She keeps saying this whole thing is her fault. Someone needs to help me calm her down –”
“Look!” a First Year gasped, grabbing everyone’s attention. Lily followed his pointing finger out the window to see a mass of young students standing behind none other than Marianne as she battled a Death Eater with a flurry of offensive spells. The Head Girl remained speechless as she watched the Prefect lunge over debris and attack her assailant. One of her spells finally hit the Death Eater in the chest and she protectively huddled the children behind her as the black figure fell to the ground.
“Over here!” Smithers called across the courtyard and Marianne’s face lit up with hope as she rushed the entire group over towards the door. The newcomers poured into the room - adding ten more to the headcount - and the shop owner slammed the door shut when the Ravenclaw finally tripped inside. Lily watched her catch her breath and try to process the situation, just as she herself had done moments earlier.
Yet, when Marianne’s gaze finally caught Remus' longing stare, Lily saw relief wash over her face, which caused the Gryffindor to smile slightly. Even though Remus had proclaimed that Marianne hated his guts and never wanted to speak to him again, the girl still displayed a large release of anxiety when she realized he was safe and unharmed. Lily quickly glanced at Remus, who couldn’t keep his eyes off the Ravenclaw, and noted that he had the exact same expression on his face.
“Marianne, Marianne!” Nanette squealed as she practically tackled her sister. The Seventh Year snapped away from Remus’ intent gaze and scooped her up, covering the little girl with kisses as she muttered French words of affection into her ears.
“Where is Gabrielle?” she asked when she finally set her back on the ground.
“I thought she was with you!” Nanette panted as she hid her face behind her hands. “Oh no!”
“Don’t worry, I’m going to find her,” Marianne whispered and she kissed her head one more time before swiftly racing over to the door. Before Smithers could bar her from leaving, the Prefect shot out into the courtyard and a determined Remus quickly ran after her.
“Shit,” James muttered as he adjusted his glasses nervously. “Alright, I’m going to help Padfoot with Gemma – Frank and Alice, you can stay here or go find more trapped students, up to you – but Lily, you need to go after Remus and make sure he doesn't do anything stupid.”
“I’m on it,” she answered unwaveringly. Alice and Frank nodded their heads and slipped out the back door and into the fray.
“I’m sorry this ruined our Valentine’s Day,” James said delicately as he pushed a strand of red hair behind her ears. “But think of it this way – we’re getting real life experience for our NEWT exams. It’s like we’re studying – something you love to do!”
“Shut up,” she growled playfully as she swatted his shoulder. Yet, just before Lily and James parted ways, they caught the other’s concerned glances and immediately rushed into each other arms and kissed passionately. Lily lost herself in his caress and tried to push all of her worries and anxieties about him out of her mind.
“Oooooooh! Lily and James, sitting in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G!”
“Come on,” she laughed against his lips before throwing the giggling child a stern look. “I’ll see you back at the Castle.”
“Yes you will,” James grinned as he gave her one last chaste kiss. The two Heads then slipped out the backdoor and parted ways to accomplish their separate missions.
Lily’s heart raced as she carefully tracked her two classmates through the dangerous streets of Hogsmeade. After dodging several Unforgiveables and stunning a Death Eater, the Gryffindor slid across the snow and ran into a wall. She caught her breath and continued down the alleyway when she suddenly heard several spells being cast, followed by a piercing scream.
Without delay, Lily shot out of the dark corridor and rushed to Marianne’s side as the Ravenclaw dramatically threw herself over Remus’ limp body. Lily couldn’t help but feel a throbbing ache of sorrow in her chest and Marianne quickly became frenzied and out of control as she wept with extreme remorse.
“He – he – he jumped in front of it! He sa-saved -”
“Marianne, we need to get him to the Hospital Wing right now,” Lily said firmly as she placed a hand on her shoulder. “Remus is going to be fine -”
“You don’t know that!” the girl wailed. “I don’t know what spell hit him, he could be in a co-coma!”
“Marianne,” Lily whispered as she took her hand and blinked back tears, “we must have faith. The universe truly looks out for those who deserve it – so if Remus sacrificed himself, then he will not be harmed … Now come on, let’s get him back to the Castle, just in case I’m wrong.”
Hours later, Marianne Minot chewed her left thumbnail for the third time and finally drew blood as she ripped off a large hangnail. She didn’t notice the wound, however, and continued to anxiously stare at Remus as he slept and recuperated in the Hospital Wing.
“Marianne,” Lily muttered softly as she placed a hand on her shoulder, “I’m going to get some dinner from the kitchens, do you want anything?”
“No,” the girl said barely above a whisper as she started to chomp on one of her other perfectly shaped nails. “I’m not hungry.”
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Lily throw her a sympathetic look, but filtered out the positive moment and instead focused on the day’s tragedy. She felt a fresh wave of unhappiness crash over her - overwhelming her already exhausted defense system - and emitted a small sob of heartbreak.
For the next hour, Marianne remained in silence as her mind whirred with worry, concern, apprehension, fear, and unease. She went through a full range of emotions within a matter of minutes; she was guilty for causing him harm, but angry that he was stupid enough to get in the way of a spell she could have handled without his help, and then depressed that her thoughts had turned so vicious and two faced. Finally, her nerves got the best of her and the Ravenclaw felt her eyes slowly close as her body succumbed to her extreme fatigue. A couple minutes later, her old alarm wormed its way into her brain and Marianne twitched violently and snapped awake to check if anything had changed. When her eyes settled on his rugged face, her lips burst into a grin.
“You’re awake,” she said breathlessly as she watched his eyes flutter open. “Thank Merlin, you’re awake.”
Without delay, she bolted out of her chair and stood at Remus’ side as he started to register where he was. His gaze flittered around the room until she reached out and lightly touched his hand. The Gryffindor froze and slowly panned over to meet her relieved stare.
Marianne had been waiting for this moment for hours, but now that it was here, she felt speechless and thunderstruck. How could she even begin to thank him? Her exhaustion kept her from physically answering the question and instead of showering him with verbal gratitude, Marianne sat down on the side of the bed and picked up his hand. She placed his fingers on her cheek, nuzzled his cold skin, and soon, found herself delicately kissing his knuckles.
However, Remus ripped his hand out of her grasp and started to curl into a ball, facing the other direction; Marianne’s emptiness swiftly turned into fury as she disregarded his recent wounds and shoved his shoulder angrily.
“What is it?” she spat.
Her outburst caught his attention and Remus sent a questioning look in her direction.
“What is it about me that repels you so?” she began desperately. “Is it because I’m irritating to study with? Is it because I slapped you? Is it because I’m too rich - oh Remus, I can’t help that I have money, but it doesn’t matter to me – or is it because I’m not pretty enough?”
“No!” he cried out frantically as he turned to face her. “You’re beautiful. Breathtakingly beautiful, in fact.”
“Then what is it?” she asked with a mournful moan as she captured his hand again. “What is wrong with me?”
“Nothing,” he said as he adverted his eyes away from her. “There’s nothing wrong with you.” She frowned in confusion as she felt his pulse begin to race. “I’m the damaged one.”
And that’s when she remembered the most important detail from their last encounter; “Please, Marianne, there’s something I have to tell you -”
“Remus?” she asked blindly. Her question hung in the air as she watched his left arm start to twitch with nervousness. His hand remained in her grasp but his fingers jittered under her touch. She glanced back at the boy’s face and saw that he had tears of dread forming in his eyes.
“I’m – I’m - ”
He choked on his words as he let out a sob of despair.
“… a werewolf.”
Marianne couldn’t help but let a surprised cry tumble out of her mouth and she felt her heart swell with concern as her hands flew to her chest. The news was certainly shocking ... but she realized what a burden the lycan was carrying, for even though Remus was the definition of a good-hearted and caring person, every Full Moon he changed into something he couldn’t control. And at last, she understood why he rejected her. His lycanthropy forced him to withdraw from any sort of deep relationship because he feared she would refuse him when she found out the truth.
“You must think I’m a monster,” he whispered when she remained silent.
“No!” she exclaimed as she lunged forward and jumped into his white bed, melding her body next to his. Her reaction took the werewolf by surprise and she felt him jerk away from her. She remained by his side, however, and gave him a soft smile as she touched his cheek lovingly. “I think you’re the bravest person I’ve ever met … And I think I’ve fallen in love with you.”
Marianne felt her smile grow as Remus finally responded to her touch and nestled his face in her hand. Tears of happiness – and not of sadness or misery – rolled down his cheeks as he whimpered gently. She wrapped her arms around his shaking frame and for a quiet minute, they cuddled each other comfortingly. After Marianne took a deep breath, she looked over at Remus and felt her mouth gravitate towards his. However, the boy put his fingers to her lips and shushed her lightly. Her eyebrows knitted in concern as he began to speak.
“The moment you barged over and demanded that I help you find the answer to a puzzling OWL practice question, I fell in love with you. And for two years now, I’ve stayed in the shadows and watched you from afar … because I know that a girl like you could never be with a bloke like me.”
“Regardless of how you feel Marianne, you have to understand that we can never be together - you have to learn the same thing I did. What would happen if you introduced me to your parents as your boyfriend?”
“They would accept you,” she said matter-of-factly.
“No, they wouldn’t.”
“You’ve never met them, how do you know that?”
“Because you’re supposed to marry a Lord or a Count,” Remus answered as he brushed some of her dark hair out of her face. “They may be tolerant but they would never let their eldest daughter be with a nobody. Especially a werewolf nobody.”
His lips turned into a sharp frown.
“It’s not logical for us to start something together, Marianne. You have to see that.”
“But I don’t want to be logical!” she countered forcefully and after a couple seconds passed, her tone turned soft and pleading. “I want to be happy.”
Her sentiment hung in the air as the two Seventh Years stared into each other’s eyes, stunned into silence. A sense of bravery finally washed over her and like Remus’ self-sacrificing stunt, Marianne let her actions speak louder than her words. She leaned over and gracefully pressed her lips against his, inhaling sharply as their kiss deepened. Although she was inexperienced, the Ravenclaw felt her need and desire outweigh her propriety and she attacked him hungrily. Remus responded just as voraciously and their gentle embrace turned messy, chaotic, and frenzied as they clawed at each other.
“… What if we kept it a secret?” Marianne said breathlessly as she pulled away from him. “What if nobody had to know?”
“I have a feeling Lily already does,” Remus snorted and moved to resume their earlier caresses.
“But you’d be willing to do it,” she said sternly. “To take the risk.”
“Yes,” the werewolf answered intensely and Marianne felt her heart explode with joy. “But only on one condition.”
She peered up at him curiously.
“You have to continue to wear whatever perfume you applied to your neck. It smells like … like sandalwood … and vanilla. And it’s the most perfect scent I’ve ever encountered.”
“Remus, I didn’t put on any perfume this morning,” she said with a slight snicker. “Wow, that spell must have really knocked the sense out of you.”
“Not all of it,” he muttered playfully as he snuck his arms around her waist, pulled the white sheets over them, and crashed his lips down upon hers.
Author’s note: ZOMGREMUSANDMARIANNEREMUSANDMARIANNE!!!!
So yeah, they are secret lovers right now, but go ahead shippers, REJOICE!! Was it worth the wait? :D
And if some other subplots are a little vague and confusing, that’s ok. Things will be resolved in the next couple chapters ;)
So before I go fangirl in the corner for the next couple of hours, I just want to say how thankful I am for all the views (there have been over 10,000!!!!) and reviews I’ve gotten on this story. You don’t understand how much they mean to me. Like Aeryn, I am too nice for my own good, so to say thank you to EVERYONE who follows this story, I’ve decided to make a Tumblr so you can get a behind the scenes look at Wide Awake and learn more about my process and characterizations. The link is on my author page, so go check it out because I made it solely for my WONDERFUL fans!!
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