Chapter 1 : Into Oblivion
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Remus watches them, her green eyes. Flicks of red hair fall in front of them, the ends crease as she laughs, fold over in a frown, closed when tiring, warm when looking at him.
That has long been his description of them, but now James has adopted it for his own.
‘Lily Evans. She’s a fine one, isn’t she? Do you think she’ll be interested in me?’
The question isn’t directed at anyone in particular, but Sirius jumps in with his reply.
‘No. She’s the bookish type, always does what she’s told. Lily’s more like Remus.’
In the entire four years of being at school together, the entire two years he's liked Lily Evans, this is the first time he's heard their names put together by someone other than him.
Lily and Remus. Remus and Lily.
They’ve appeared in his head, hopefully in hers too, but never aloud. He rather likes the sound of it, he muses.
‘What are you trying to say, Sirius?’ James teases. ‘That I’m not smart enough for her? I’ll prove you wrong. I have a feeling about Lily. She’s different.’
Luckily, Sirius and Peter laugh at this, disguising Remus’s own nervous chuckles. He knows that this is nothing; a new fixation of James’s, nothing more.
They always fade into oblivion.
Remus and Lily become friends in fifth year.
She’s partnered with him for Prefect duties, and during their night time meanderings, friendship occurs.
‘Remus, does Potter really like me or is he just being a prat?’ she asks, the corners of her mouth pulling downwards.
‘I think it’s a mixture of both,’ Remus says cautiously. ‘I often get the feeling that James doesn’t know how he really feels about things.’
‘Well, Potter, frankly, is a git. He makes his feelings clear about Slytherins and Severus, and I can’t stand it. All he does is piss around with no care for others.’
Remus laughs. ‘Lily, I’ve never heard you swear before.’
‘Potter gives me a reason to swear. Unlike you, he isn’t a refined human being.’
‘He’s my friend though.’
‘Yes, that’s about the only flaw I’ve found in you.’
Lily pauses, smiling at him.
Remus, being more courageous than usual, tugs on her arm.
‘Come on, Lily. Let’s not let James get us into trouble. We’ve got to finish the round.’
Lily sticks her tongue at him before tugging on his arm and pulling him away.
They walk side by side. Arms rubbing. Hearts pounding.
Smirks and secret looks are exchanged before hurrying back to the tower.
Telling their friends about the incident which just happened will cause too much trouble on both sides, so they remain silent.
Whilst performing his prefect duty, something dramatic happens to Remus.
Not dramatic in the sense of someone being murdered or James saying he no longer loves Lily, but something else.
‘Remus have you ever been kissed?’ she asks as they wander down the Charms corridor.
The torches hanging on the stone walls flicker on everything and one meaning the blush of his white cheeks can be seen by all.
‘No,’ he murmurs. He hasn’t kissed anyone. For one, that might lead to closeness and his other form being revealed. Two, Lily is the only one for him. The Marlenes and Dorcass of the world hold no interest for him.
‘Neither have I,’ Lily chuckles nervously, before coming to a halt. She scuffs her shoe against the floor, tearing the already worn end. Her eyes are firmly fixed on the ground.
Remus stops. ‘Is everything alright Lily?’
‘Fine, perfectly fine.’
Her voice has gone several pitches higher.
Suddenly, she turns, facing him. Her green eyes are cast down at the floor. Remus looks at her fingers and sees them tremble slowly as they are raised higher and higher until they touch his face. The oval tips brush across his face, darting from here to there. Remus’s eyes dance around, trying to keep up with the music.
They pause at his jaw. Remus’s eyes are locked onto her fingers. Not moving, not even twitching. He senses the tension building between the tips of them and the bone. Slowly, they peel away, before gripping on again, harder than before. Pulled downwards, her lips touch his.
Remus bends inwards, hoping what he is doing is right. Their bodies soon begin to meld and time is forgotten. Fingers trace one another’s spines, necks, arms. They are eager explorers, not wanting to leave any area undiscovered.
As suddenly as Lily began kissing him, she breaks the kiss up.
‘Not here, not now. We might be seen.’
His heart falls slightly. He wants to let out a little cry. He never thought this would ever happen, and now it just has, he doesn’t want it ripped away too soon. The incision she made into his heart by breaking off the kiss is being deepened with her words.
‘Somewhere else,’ she continues and smirks at him.
A quick pull on his hand and Lily drags him down the corridor.
They are in the passageway behind the special mirror. Only there can they finally be themselves.
Neither of their friends notice the suddenly extended lengths of their prefect duties despite it being an almost a year since it began. Neither one resembling much of what their self was a year ago.
Their kisses were tender at first, probing. Now, they have delved a lot deeper.
‘Lily, do you ever think about the war?’ Remus runs his hands through her hair as they lie on the floor, arms round one another.
‘At times. It’s hard not to if you’re a Mudblood like me.’
Her comment draws a gasp from Remus.
‘Don’t call yourself that. It’s not true.’
‘If Severus sees fit to call me that, then it should be,’ she bites back.
Remus doesn’t respond. He doesn’t want her to know the truth. The truth that he hates Severus even more than she does for him calling her that. She has changed since he said that. No longer innocent, she has become bitter and brittle.
Remus’s own ears are often burnt by the sharp tip of her tongue. Barbed by her comments he is slowly joining her in the broken mould that they will soon share.
She turns to face him and undoes the buttons of his shirt. One by one. Her cold fingers begin to trace the many scars criss-crossing his chest, a familiar picture to her now.
‘You’ll be safe during the war,’ she continues. ‘They say they want werewolves. Even if you don’t join them, they still won’t kill, you’re too precious. Not like me, I’m dispensable.’
‘What if I don’t want to just sit back and be safe?’ Remus asks. ‘What if I want to make the world safer for people like you so you’re indispensable instead?’
Lily leans in, her head resting on his bare chest.
‘Remus, Remus, Remus. At times I wish I could be you,’ Lily says softly, her breath dancing on his skin. ‘Don’t think too highly of me, will you? I don’t deserve it and don’t dispute that fact.’
She stands, the warmth quickly fading from his chest. She straightens her shirt before grabbing her cloak off the stone floor and pulling it on.
‘I can’t do next week, Remus. I’m busy.’
She gives him one last look, eyes full of tears, before running out.
That will be the first time she missed a meeting.
Remus lies in his bed in the dormitory. The sheets are still warm from where Lily has just sat, reading to him.
A barrage of noise is heard. Stomping feet and loud cries echo around as the person runs up the stairs. A bang is heard as they burst through the door.
‘Remus!’ James cries. ‘Have you seen my cloak?’
‘I’ve only and got myself a date tonight.’
James’s face lights up, and Remus can’t help but smile back. It’s nice to see he’s moving on from Lily, Remus thinks. Now, their secret might finally be allowed to venture into the open.
‘With whom, may I ask?’
‘One never reveals their secrets about dating, Remus. You might go after her yourself as she is quite something.’
James sighs. ‘Fine, she’s a Gryffindor, and similar in age to us. That’s all you’re getting from me.’
Remus smirks. It doesn’t sound like Lily, he thinks. If it is her, James would be dancing to him now. Besides, she wouldn’t do that to him in her newly evolved form.
It happened about two weeks ago. The change. Now, smiles are generously handed out, cries of anger no longer heard. Remus is trying not to be too hopefully but it seems as if the old Lily is back.
‘Back to the original matter though, why do you need the Cloak?’
‘It’s a secret date of course. The drama adds to the fun.’
‘James, you’ve never been able to keep a secret.’
‘I know, but I’ll try and make it last.’
With one final smirk, James’s head pops up from behind his trunk, the silvery cloth slipping his hand. He gives Remus a wave before running out.
Remus breathes out.
Everything’s falling into place.
A year and a half to the day since it started, Remus enters the common room. He scans the room for her, for Lily. When he closes in on her, he feels as if it should be his turn to cry, not hers.
Her eyes are lighting up for James, her hand is touching his, he gazes down at her.
She was his date, his secret date. Everything has fallen out of place, not into it. The only positive thing is that everything has fallen into place mentally. Lily’s constantly evolving form. James’s constantly evolving moods. Remus’s constantly evolving confusion. Everything has evolved, for the worse.
His heart feels as if it’s failing.
‘Looks as if Prongs finally got lucky,’ Sirius says to Remus as he slips into the common room.
‘What do you mean?’
What he sees needs to be affirmed, even if he can’t hide himself from it. She has chosen James, not him. Every time his heart contracts it feels as if it will be his last.
His pulse has quickened, hands clammy, eyes darting from one to the other.
Lily and James. James and Lily.
Black hair merged with auburn. Hazel eyes with green. Lover with lover.
Remus can’t remove his eyes from the pair. He’s frozen like a statue. He’s not alone though. The rest of Gryffindor house is solely fixed on them on too.
‘Apparently they’ve been having secret rendezvous’ for the past few months. Who would have thought Evans would have been up for that sort of thing?’
Sirius claps him on the back before strolling over to Peter who has Exploding Snap out, ready to play.
Sirius’s joviality is the final straw. Remus feels as if he’s about to fail, fall, flounder. Anyone of those three can be applicable to him right now. The scene before him slowly changes, to what, he doesn't know, he simply welcomes it.
Lily’s eyes wander over to him, finally able to break from the trance of James.
But they wander over to late. The only thing she catches is his brown hair leaving the common room.
Remus sits at the back of the library. The quill dangling in his hand is slowly staining the parchment an inky shade of black. He bristles his fingers against the feathers of it, trying to feel something, anything.
Nothing happens. No feeling is induced.
Quills scratch, books turn, shelves rattle, feet clomp, doors bang.
But Remus is unaware to all of this.
Only when Lily drifts over, like a spectre, does he look up.
‘Hello,’ she whispers.
He nods in return.
‘Can I sit down?’ she asks.
He looks at the chair opposite to him, the heavy, dark pile of wood, before nodding again.
‘Look, I need to explain…’Lily starts, before rubbing at her eye.
Moving the pile of books in front of her to the side, she coughs.
‘I never meant it to happen.’
‘James and me.’ (One stab to his heart.) ‘Well, it’s something special, something different.’
(Stab number two.)
His mind drifts back to the time in fourth year when James first noticed her. He used the same adjective then as she’s using now, three years on.
‘I wish I could explain, but I just can’t find the words. It was only one stupid kiss. One stupid kiss. I don’t even know how it happened. It was just at that stupid Halloween party. I had drunk a little too much, and I think he had too. Then it sort of escalated and we kissed.’
(Stab the third.)
(Or perhaps multiple stabs.)
(Stab, stab, stab, stab, stab.)
She bangs her hand on the table, causing pieces of parchment to flutter in the impact. A Ravenclaw shhs at her before returning to his reading. Remus wants to shh her too. The more she says the more it hurts.
The Halloween party was the first time she said she really liked him. Love has never been mentioned, but her saying that was their closest foray to it. Now the truth of that is blurred, it's leading Remus to question every single one of her actions.
‘Then it sort of spiralled from there. Like me and you really...’ A deep breath and a cough follow this. ‘I thought I could end it. I thought it was never the same. That was until last week.’
She pauses again and glances at Remus. He doesn’t remember much from last week. There was a full moon on Wednesday so he spent most of it in the hospital wing.
‘In Defence, I finally managed to master the Patronus Charm…’ Breathing in, her voice wavers on the next part, ‘My form is a doe.’
(The fourth stab.)
Remus sits there in silence.
His form is a wolf, expected to say the least. James’s is a stag, again, expected.
But Lily’s. That's unexpected.
‘Remus, I think I love him. Really love him. I think he might be the one.’
He tries to hold back his laughter. Love at seventeen. That never happens. Even he doesn’t love Lily. Then again, Remus isn’t sure whether the laughter is induced by the madness of the situation or true ridicule.
(The final stab.)
He pushes his chair back, crumples up his parchment and flees from the room.
All this time with Lily. All this time she must have known that James the one, not him. He will fade into oblivion. Instead of Lily being a phase of James’s, he is a phase of hers.
There is no point in joking. Remus can’t hide from that fact.
There’s no Remus and Lily.
They were never meant to be.
He sees it now.
They had faded into oblivion long ago.