Chapter 23 : Eyes of the World
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Ma petite (French) – my little one, term of endearment
Incroyable (French) – incredible
Also, I've gone through all the chapters and fixed a lot of capitalization inconsistencies and I encourage you to go back and read the early chapters. I've dropped a lot of hints throughout the story so if you're bored and can't wait for the next chapter, you might be able to figure out what happens before I update!
Chapter image by me.
“Sometimes we live no particular way but our own.” – Grateful Dead, 1973
“ … Are you even listening to me?”
Remus Lupin blinked several times, shook his head, and tried to back pedal. He certainly hadn’t been paying attention to his Potions partner as she prattled on about her ideas for their next assignment; his wolfish instincts desired the upcoming Full Moon and Marianne’s sweet lips, not a boring study session in the Library.
“You were voicing your thoughts on the proper brewing techniques,” he said as he averted his eyes and shuffled a couple of his parchment papers, “for the Wiggenweld Potion.”
“Nice try,” Lizzie Richardson smirked as she leaned back in her chair. “You’ve been kilometers away this entire discussion. Whatchya thinking about, hmmm?”
Remus gulped as he subconsciously tugged at the collar of his uniform shirt. He could barely keep his feral intuitions under control, but tried to mask his intense yearnings with an unreadable poker face.
“Is it an upcoming prank?” the Castle’s biggest gossip asked.
“No,” the Gryffindor muttered as he dipped his quill and resumed his research.
“Did you fail that Transfiguration exam two weeks ago?”
“Troubles with your family?”
“Are Sirius and Gemma breaking up?”
“What? No, of course not,” Remus murmured in disbelief.
“She’s been acting crazy ever since the attack,” Lizzie pounced as she scooted her chair around the study table towards him. “Practically manic. We all think Sirius tried to dump her on Valentine’s Day and now she’s gone completely mental to try and keep him around.”
Remus cleared his throat and continued to let his quill fly over the parchment. He couldn’t deny that the Seer was an emotional wreck – she’d been completely frantic for the past two weeks and despite his empathetic efforts, refused to talk about any of her anxiety or stress - but he knew it had something to do with her magical ability and not Sirius’ supposed unhappiness.
“You couldn’t be further from the truth,” the werewolf said through his teeth.
“So it’s not a prank … not Sirius and Gemma … is it young love?”
Remus’ stern demeanor suddenly cracked as eyes widened with shock. He tried to hide his blush as he buried his face in his Potions book.
“Is is love, isn’t it?” Lizzie squealed as she found her juicy piece of gossip for the week. “Is it Marlene? Are you back together again?”
“No,” he grumbled truthfully as he berated himself for his slip up. “Now, can we please get back to our assignment?”
“What denial!” the Hufflepuff continued as she completely ignored his request. “I knew you two would be together again – Persephone Davies owes me 5 galleons! So why did your romance end for a bit? Was she a slag? … Or wait, do you like that? Is that why you’re back with her?”
“No,” Remus answered as he rolled his eyes and realized he was never going to win against the girl. He returned his attention back to his Potions book and resumed his quest for the perfect recipe for their next assignment.
“Well what do you fancy about her then? Inquiring minds want to know!”
Remus welcomed the intrusion and his lips curved into a small smirk when he looked up to see Marianne standing next to their table with a very annoyed expression plastered across her face. He coughed slightly and directed his attention back to his notes to avoid any further questions, but secretly rejoiced at his lover’s close proximity.
“Yes?” Lizzie asked with a raised brow. He could tell she was extremely peeved that he hadn’t spilled anything worthwhile.
“Professor McGonagall needs to see Remus right away,” the Ravenclaw Prefect stated with authority. “I’m sorry, but your study session is going to have to be postponed. It’s urgent.”
As his Potions partner groaned and started to organize her belongings, Remus desperately tried to control his urge to whisk Marianne to the back of the Library and pin her against one of the book shelves in a romantic embrace. Luckily, Lizzie showed no signs of her normal curiosity. He sighed with relief, but still bit the inside of his cheek as he shut his Potions book.
“I’ll continue researching tonight and find you after dinner tomorrow to show you my thoughts,” the Gryffindor said as he rose from his chair. “I’m sure this meeting with McGonagall isn’t going to take very long.” He threw a quick glance at Marianne; she never let her guard down and continued to hide behind her stoic pureblood facade.
“Fair enough,” Lizzie sighed dramatically. “I’ll have some solutions by tomorrow night as well. But I’m not done with you! I still have more questions!” She gave him a small wave and exited the Library.
“Have a good night!” he called softly, trying not to fluster the cranky librarian at the front of the room. When his words slowly evaporated into the cool night air, a palpable tension throbbed between the two Seventh Years; Remus felt lightheaded as his blood rushed throughout his veins. Several of the students sitting around them eyed each other excitedly, for it was well known that Remus and Marianne had a falling out, although no one knew the exact reason why. The werewolf kept his composure and the onlookers thankfully mistook their sexual tension for extreme irritability.
Marianne’s cold, stoic demeanor masked her true feelings; she sniffed arrogantly, and with a swish of her perfectly coiffed hair, turned towards the door. Remus gulped and looked down at his shoes as he followed her, trying his best to act like a wolf with its tail between its legs. They quickly exited the Library and continued down the dark Castle corridor towards McGonagall’s office.
As the pair swerved around an incoming pack of Slytherin Third Years, Remus couldn’t help but glance over at his lover’s face. She played her part perfectly and he let his thoughts turn towards despair as he wondered if she was really acting at all.
Maybe she’d changed her mind about being with a werewolf. Maybe she’d finally realized that he was too much of a risk. Maybe they were just kidding themselves. Maybe they needed to end this whole silly romance before it turned into something too serious.
Yet, as they rounded the next corner, Marianne abruptly dropped her pureblood persona, jerked Remus into an empty storage room, and jumped into his arms as she kissed him hungrily against a shelf of obsolete manuscripts. He only faltered for a moment as his body smacked against the wood behind him, but the werewolf unleashed his inner animal as his inhibitions quickly disappeared. Their kisses became frenzied and powerful as their bodies melted together in the dark and after some time, Marianne adjusted her position to start caressing his neck with her lips. Her fingers quickly toyed with the buttons of his uniform shirt as she nipped his earlobe and it took all of Remus’ inner strength to stop himself from doing the same.
“Wait,” he said as he regrettably pulled away, “what about my meeting with McGonagall?”
Marianne’s swollen lips formed a satisfied grin.
“I wouldn’t worry about that.”
Remus gave her a puzzling stare, for he knew she was acting out of the ordinary.
“What?” she said innocently.
“Fine,” the Prefect smirked. “There never was a meeting with McGonagall. I was watching you from across the Library … you kept running your hand through your hair to push it out of your face.”
Her expression softened as she slid her fingers through his sandy locks.
“I realized how much I love your long hair … and then I kept imagining you with longer hair - enough for you to have a ponytail.” Remus felt her physically shudder with delight as she closed her eyes relived her earlier daydreams. When she returned to reality, she teased him as she leaned in closer. “I was so hot and bothered that I faked a meeting so I could get you in a private place and have my way with you.”
Remus couldn’t help but let his jaw drop in astonishment. Even though she broke a rule every now and then, Marianne never abused her Prefect position for her own personal gain. She was the logical one – the one who always used reason and facts to support her decisions - but here she was, risking it all to be alone with a werewolf in an empty storage facility, behaving completely irrational.
Yet, before he could properly shut his mouth, the pair heard several loud voices as a pack of students exited the Library and roamed down the hallway towards them. The Gryffindor went completely rigid - as if someone had cast a Full Body-Bind Curse on him - and they both held their breath and waited for the group to pass. Once the voices faded, they simultaneously exhaled in relief. Remus felt his arms begin to shake the tension out of his system and Marianne frowned slightly as she took his trembling hands in her own.
“You aren’t mad at me, are you?” she whispered. “This whole thing was supposed to be romantic, not agitating.”
“I’m not mad,” he answered softly as his lips formed a small smile. “I’m actually impressed … I just think we need to be more careful.”
“It’s not my fault Lotte and Valentine can see right through my unemotional letters,” she joked.
“I’m not worried about them. We can trust our closest friends,” answered the werewolf, “but we can’t afford to let anyone else catch on. If someone at Hogwarts notices your newly found infatuation with breaking the rules …”
“Your Marauder ways may have rubbed off on me,” she countered lightheartedly, “but I still know how to act accordingly.”
He sighed, rolled his eyes, and wrapped his arms around her shoulders.
“I’m sorry. It’s just … well, Lizzie Richardson almost read me like an open book,” he said somberly and some of his hair fell into his face. “I’m trying my best here … but it’s already difficult enough for me to control my urges before the Full Moon without anyone noticing. Adding you to the equation makes it almost impossible.”
Marianne smiled and brushed his hair back behind his ear.
“I actually like your animalistic side,” she said with a slight giggle. “You’re more passionate and enthusiastic just before your monthly transformation.”
“I’m sorry,” he began, but she put a finger to his lips to quiet him.
“Don’t be,” she smiled deviously. “I told you, I like it.”
As she returned her hand to her side, Remus laughed softly in appreciation and moved to kiss her … but as the secret lovers heard another pack of students wander out of the Library, a familiar fear washed over them and they snapped to attention. As the group came closer, Remus recognized the voices of Snape and Lestrange and sheer terror replaced their fear. Even in the dark, he saw the color drain out of Marianne’s face when she also identified the two students just outside the door. Her green eyes flashed with desperation as she urgently tugged at his robes.
“I can share you with the Moon,” she said just above a whisper. “Just promise me you’ll love me completely – as a man and a wolf. Don’t hold anything back.”
They held their breath again - communicating their tremendous amounts of anxiety and nervousness purely through eye contact - as Snape and Lestrange passed by their hiding place and continued down the hallway. When their voices finally faded into the darkness, Marianne’s legs gave way and he quickly scooped her up and steadied her. He held her tenderly as they locked eyes.
“I promise,” he replied. Marianne sighed with intense relief and closed her eyes as she put her head on his shoulder. They stood in the dark, surrounded by hundreds of out of date books, and their heartbeats finally slowed to their normal rates.
“You were right, though. This is quite possibly the worst location for a tryst. What was I thinking?” the Prefect conceded with a frown as she pulled away from him. “I … well, I just needed you next to me. I couldn’t help it.”
Her emphasis triggered Remus’ inner Marauder to involuntarily roar to life and a smirk burst across his handsome face as he pieced together a plan to surprise her.
“Tell me ma petite, do you like puzzles?”
“What?” she asked, extremely confused.
“Do you like puzzles?”
“Of course I do, you know that -”
Remus watched her face glow with excitement as he reached into his pocket and pulled out the disguised Marauder’s Map. Marianne eagerly snatched the piece of blank parchment out of his grasp and meticulously started to analyze every inch of it with her wand. The Gryffindor couldn’t help but admire her dedication to solve his challenge and felt a faint tingle of joy nip at his fingertips.
“Aparecium! Reveal your secret!” she demanded as she tapped the paper with the end of her wand. Seconds later, Remus grinned as words appeared on the smooth surface of the parchment.
Mr. Wormtail bids Miss Minot hello and encourages her to try again.
Mr. Padfoot would like to acknowledge Miss Minot’s attempt, but reminds her that she must use her rebellious side (if she has one) to figure out the password.
Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Padfoot and would like to add that Miss Minot should give the creators more credit because they are, in fact, absolutely brilliant wizards.
Mr. Moony apologizes for the other Messrs. arrogance and must remark that Miss Minot looks extremely beautiful when she tries to solve a mystery.
“Now, due to our time constraints -”
“No, don’t tell me the answer, I want to figure it out myself!”
“Marianne,” Remus warned as they heard more footsteps stomp down the hallway, “please.”
“Oh fine,” she huffed as he silently pulled them past a couple of shelves towards a window. The Marauder thrust the piece of parchment into the pale moonlight and whispered the magic words as he tapped it with his wand.
“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”
Marianne held a hand over her mouth to try and mask the astonishing cry that tumbled out of her lips; Remus’ face burst into a large grin again as she quickly nicked the parchment out of his hand and scanned the entire Map to take in its secrets. They both watched the marker for Rose Smythe float past their location and then looked at each other with mischievous glints in their eyes.
“Now follow me,” the boy whispered as he took back the Map and squeezed her hand tightly.
The couple snaked through the rows of bookshelves and exited through an alternate doorway that lead to a series of spiral staircases, secret passageways, and dimly lit hallways. Once they reached the Seventh Floor, Remus looked down at the Map and checked to see if the coast was clear. Once they were safe, the couple scampered down the large Castle corridor until they reached a tapestry depicting Barnaby the Barmy’s attempt to teach trolls ballet.
“What?” Marianne said as she heaved to catch her breath. “Your Marauder's Map doesn’t show any rooms around here.”
“That’s intended,” the werewolf beamed as he quickly folded up the parchment and stuffed it in his trouser pocket. He then placed his hand on her shoulders and looked her directly in the eyes. “Now Marianne, you said earlier that you needed to be with me. I want you to think of a place where no one would ever find us – somewhere we need to be. Somewhere free. Think about it as you pace back and forth three times and be as detailed as possible.”
Marianne closed her eyes, scrunched her brows together, and began to process his request; he melted with happiness as he watched her think and walk back and forth. He couldn’t wait to surprise her. Her eyes flew open when she heard a grumbling sound and Remus chuckled as she ran towards a newly visible door. In one swift movement, she grabbed his hand, opened small portal, and pushed them inside.
“Merlin’s beard,” she gasped as the door slammed shut behind them. Once she recognized the scenery, she uncharacteristically yelped with joy and began to laugh delightfully. Remus put a hand to his brow to shield his eyes from the bright sunlight and once he adjusted to the tropical temperament, panned the coastline to watch several ships cross the horizon line.
“You imagined all of this?” he asked.
“No,” she sighed happily as she watched the waves crash onto the shore, “this is a real place.”
“Where are we then?”
“Technically, we’re nowhere,” she smirked as she intertwined their fingers. “But officially, we are on Minot Plantation property in the middle of the Caribbean.”
“What do you mean?” he asked as he felt his hand start to shake.
“The Minot family has owned this island since the 1700s,” the French aristocrat answered. “We made our fortune growing sugar cane – but we didn’t use slaves like the Muggles, we magically automated the process. Geographically speaking, we’re about 50 kilometers away from Martinique but in order to protect our business, we made the island unplottable and set up defensive spells to attack anyone we deemed threatening.”
She pulled his trembling hand up to her lips and kissed it gently.
“It’s the safest place I could think of.”
“You – you, “ Remus stuttered, “own this entire island?”
“My grandfather ran the operations until he passed the duty onto my father, which ruffled everyone’s feathers because he wasn’t fully French,” she said as she rolled her eyes good-humoredly. “But they forgave his English roots and relinquished control because they knew the business wasn’t going to last much longer. When my father could no longer afford to run the plantation, my affluent mother consented to their marriage in exchange to become his business partner. They’ve lived here every summer since.”
She smiled wistfully and Remus saw the same intense wonderment she displayed when she entered The Purple Inkpot for the first time … yet, he didn’t share her happiness. As the werewolf watched her walk towards the brilliantly shining blue water, he felt a familiar guilt rip through his insides. Although he loved Marianne deeply and had finally let her into his circle of complete trust, he knew their relationship was doomed, for their fantasy journey to the Caribbean had raised the stakes even higher. No matter how much they needed each other - no matter how much they sacrificed - they would never be allowed to be together in public.
Werewolves weren’t supposed to care for pureblood plantation heiresses. He was meant for a life of solitude and she was meant for a member of the aristocracy.
As Marianne continued to silently reminisce about her childhood memories on the island, Remus continued to dwell on the consequences of their relationship. He started to breathe heavily as he thought about what their clandestine romance would do to their lives. If someone caught them, she would be silenced and kept under lock and key for her disobedience – no more trips to the south of France, no more lavish parties with her friends, and certainly no more career opportunities at the Wizengamot – and he would be expelled from school and unable to get a job, because there was no way her father wouldn't look into his background. If someone ever caught them, their life trajectories would completely nosedive and skew in the wrong direction.
Marianne returned to his side and snuggled against him, seemingly unaware of his inner turmoil. He resumed his self-torment in silence and still questioned their choices because in his mind, they were throwing all logic and reason out the window … but Remus knew that if they were caught, the worst consequence would be that they would never be able to see each other again. He would never be able to hold her in his arms or kiss the top of her head.
He would be truly and utterly alone. But perhaps, he wondered, that’s what he deserved for tempting fate.
“What is this place?” she asked as she looked up at him.
“It’s called the Room of Requirement,” Remus answered as he tried to mask his gloom. “It only appears when a person truly needs something. Sirius and Gemma use it all the time when they need a place to themselves.”
“Incroyable,” she muttered in astonishment. “And why isn’t it on your Map?”
“Because we figured that if a Marauder needs the room that badly,” he replied solemnly, “he deserves to be left alone. Of course, it isn’t fool proof – if the person isn’t careful with their loopholes, unwanted outsiders can come in.”
“Well thank Merlin I was detailed enough to include the island defense systems,” Marianne teased. “No one will be able to enter this room if they pose a threat. Now stop worrying about the future and kiss me.”
“I wasn’t worrying -”
“I can see it in your face,” she said plainly as she placed as hand on his cheek. “I’m worried too – in fact I lose sleep over what will happen to us - but right now, we’re safe. So stop agonizing and kiss me.”
Remus sighed with desperation, admitted defeat, and finally obliged her. Yet, he couldn’t help but still hate himself as he unleashed his inner animal to love her as a man and a wolf, just like he had promised. But instead of pulling away, she kissed him back enthusiastically - as if her life depended on it - and the couple lost themselves in their secret romance and escaped their harsh reality for a couple of hours.
Author’s Note: First of all, can you imagine young Leo with a ponytail? I can. And I would have done the exact same thing Marianne did XD
I know this is kind of fluff, but after reading JK’s biography of Remus, I wanted to play around with his levels of self loathing – I know she said he was never in love before Tonks, but I’ve tried to make that the only uncanon thing about him. He’ll have the same doubts as he did during the Second War, but you’ll see what I mean in later chapters.
The next chapter with be James and then Sirius – and then a party scene for the group one.
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