A/N: Yay, ByeByeBirdie's baaaaaaaaaack! Yep, that's right, ByeByeBirdie has finally written another story and I hope you all enjoy it! This is only going to be one chapter so please don't ask me to update or anything. Please read and review!

Disclaimer: You know the drill. J.K. Rowling, only the best author in the history of the world, owns everybody and everything unless you don't recognize them. Then it's all me.

Written in the Stars

By ByeByeBirdie

I was only trying to protect her from the opposite sex, especially James. They were two of my closest friends and I never meant to hurt either one of them. But I knew James. Too well, to be honest. And I didn't want him to blow her off the same way he blew off every other girl he had gone out with. I also knew that he was experienced and she wasn't and I really didn't want her to do anything she would regret. They were both so different and they didn't need each other. They both had other friends so why couldn't they have just stayed enemies? Life would have been so much easier for everyone. I think I was being a bit overprotective but I cared about her and I didn't want James ruining anything between us. And even before James and Lily started to get close, there was Amos Diggory who got in the way. I knew he was bad news, only Lily wouldn't listen to anything I had said about either one of them.

Unfortunately, it all came out as jealousy according to Lily and I was pretty much shunned by her for a whole month.

Until that one day that I let her go and I stopped acting like her father and more like her friend.

This story isn't about Lily and James. No, it's about Lily and me and how rocky our friendship became during our seventh year at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. I wrote this story when I was trying to understand it all. Perhaps I'll give these transcripts to Lily when she marries James (oh, we all know it's going to happen right? They were just so in love by the end of our seventh year! Actually, it was quite sickening…) so she can understand what I was going through.

Lily Evans and I met during our first year when she stumbled across me sitting in her favorite chair in the library. Needless to say, she wasn't happy. And as cruel as it was, I enjoyed pissing her off. Mostly because I was eleven and that was the cool thing to do, but also because her fiery attitude was quite entertaining to watch.

For the next six years, I watched her and my best friend loathe each other and to be honest, I hated it. At least I thought I did. I just wanted them to get along. James and Lily were very much alike—both the top students of the class, both (and don't tell James I actually said this) good-looking, both popular, both have a good sense of humor, both are quite logical (though sometimes I wonder if James skips the logic part and goes straight to acting clueless), both are quite clever when it comes to pranks, both have an ego the size of an ostrich's egg which I have never personally seen but I hear they're fairly large, and both hate the other. That seems like enough to forget their differences and start to like each other, right? Well not these two. No, it's like they took a vow when they were eleven to always and forever hate the other person and make their lives miserable.

Actually, I wouldn't doubt it if they had.

Sirius Black, James Potter, and Peter Pettigrew were the three people that I was chosen to room with. Actually, I met James on the Hogwarts Express earlier that day but he was too busy laughing and hexing random strangers with his new friend, which turned out to be Sirius, to bother spending more time than a hello, how are you, my name is James, I'll see you at Hogwarts, with me. Which was fine with me. I thought that it would be better for everyone if I just laid low for the next seven years. I didn't want to get attached to friends and then have them turn on me when they found out about my condition. Unfortunately, Sirius refused to let me sulk around the room. When we met that first night together, Sirius had big plans for us. At first, they didn't include Peter but as the weeks and months passed, we realized that being a foursome was better than a threesome—better distractions and better plans, though Peter always enjoyed sitting around off to the side as we planned. He just went along with everything. He wanted friends more than anything, that was obvious, and he would have done anything to have gotten them. But he soon learned that we had fun. Sure, we got into tons of trouble and lost a lot of points and received a lot of detentions that year, but it was worth it. Everyone came to know us by Christmas, even the seventh-years, and we were so popular by the end of the year that we were even given a special name by the graduating class—the Marauders. But it wasn't just our pranks that turned us popular; it was our friendship. We got so close by the end of that year, people could have sworn we knew each other since we were born. Even McGonagall (Or Minnie to us—we teased her too much, I think) was rather proud of us, though she also liked to dwell on the fact that we were such pranksters at times. Needless to say, we didn't win the House Cup that year but no one really cared.

So I led two separate lives. The fun, up all night, pranking, teasing life with the Marauders all over the hallways and the quiet, set aside, studying life with Lily in the library. I liked both lives and I thought that that was the way it was going to be forever.

But things started changing during my seventh year. I think it probably all started when we were in Transfiguration class. Professor McGonagall had stopped lecturing (and the heavens finally opened up!) long enough to hand out groups for a project that was due the day before Christmas break, which was a little over a month. Now, usually when a professor gives a month for a project that means that we would need the whole month, especially McGonagall. This time was no different. However, when a professor gives a month for a project, it also means that people put if off until the last week. Including my three best friends, Sirius, James, and Peter.

Who were ironically, grouped together that November day. I think McGonagall was having some sort of brain freeze or something that day because why else would she pair Sirius and James together? I knew that they'd be asking for my help the night before it was due and I sighed deeply, hoping that perhaps that night would be a full moon.

Oh, speaking of that, Lily Evans had discovered my lycanthropy during our fifth year and kept it to herself for a month or so before asking me about it. I told her everything and she still remained loyal to me. I always admired her for that. I guess I grew up afraid of people's reactions and expected everyone to succumb to the obvious stereotype. I liked Lily's company, though, and I was glad when she waved to me the next morning at breakfast with a smile on her face.

Anyway, I stopped daydreaming long enough to hear my name being called out with Lily's and a kid named Amos Diggory, who I got along fine with but who James wanted to kick the living shit out of. They were rivals when it came to everything—specifically Quidditch and girls. They always seemed to be chasing after the same things and one of them always came out short.

But to be honest, Amos was a nice guy who was intelligent enough to know to listen to Lily Evans when she was assigning things, considering she was the Head Girl and she would give him an A for the project.

Our assignment was to look up all registered Animagi and write a 10-paper report with an oral presentation about each and every one, excluding McGonagall herself. She handed us guidelines which explained what we needed to be looking for, mostly why they had become Animagi, how long it took, what was their motivation, and what animal did they turn into, plus more basics.

I was tired of the glares I was getting from James by this point—well, actually he was glaring at Lily and Amos, but I was still rather annoyed with it—and when the class ended, I wanted to berate him for doing so. Instead, I found out some rather valuable information that caused Sirius to literally trip down the stairs and Peter to fall down on top of him. I'm just glad I was behind James and not in front of them.

"Sunday afternoon, Remus," Lily reminded me. I wasn't actually thrilled about starting so soon, but I knew that if we didn't, it wouldn't get done. I was glad that Lily was taking charge because I knew that we'd do a good job.

I met up with Sirius, James, and Peter in the front of the room, goofing off—not like I expected anything less—and I walked out with them.

"James, next time, why don't you spend more time dividing up your project than glaring at Lily and Amos during Transfiguration," I commented, giving him a smirk. "It's distracting."

James laughed. "Sorry Moony, but Amos just asked Virginia Cable out on a date for Friday night when he knew that I wanted to ask her out. It's okay though, we're going to beat his team on Saturday, so it equals out." He and Sirius slapped fives and were practically dancing in the hallways before I stopped them out of embarrassment not only for me and Peter but for themselves. They weren't exactly the Dancing Queens, if you know what I mean.

"Okay, fine," I sighed. "I know that you two have issues—which may be rather eccentric but are completely understandable—but what was your reason for staring at Lily? Let me remind you that you and Lily could easily be friends if you weren't so worried about your reputations."

"Well, Moony, you'll be happy to know that Evans and I settled our differences and have chosen to stop our detestation for each other. Actually, I think it's safe to say that we moved up from enemies to acquaintances and are now making our way up to being friends."

And that's when Sirius fell down the stairs, pulling Peter along with him accidentally.

Looking back, it was quite hilarious. James was certainly laughing. He had to grab on to the wall to balance himself. With one look at James, I was laughing hysterically as well, more at the fact that Peter was practically sprawled out on top of Sirius. It wasn't a pretty picture. By this point, we were blocking the stairwell and no one could get past us. And who would come by except for the one mentioned herself.

"Hello, Remus," Lily said to me, chuckling at how red my face was from laughing too hard. "James," she acknowledged with a nod.

It's funny, but I never realized how much difference it made for her to be calling James by his first name and not his last name. I don't think I had ever heard her say his first name in the six years that I have known her and the sound of it made me stop laughing and stare at her.

She didn't notice however because she was too busy staring humorously at Sirius who was lying at the bottom of the stairs still even though Peter had found the use of his legs and was now standing.

"I always knew you'd find your place, Black," Lily smirked. Apparently, she and Sirius had yet to exchange civilized words.

He gave her a look. "And where's that? Underneath you?" he smirked.

"I'm never going to be underneath you so keep dreaming."

"I'm surprised you even know what I'm talking about."

She glared at him. "Hm…Black? If you're here, then who's watching the gates of hell?" she smirked.

She walked down the stairs with that look of powerful authority on her face, pushing him on to the ground again, and that was probably one of the first times I really looked at her. She was gorgeous. How could I never have noticed that before? She had the type of silky red hair that I had always wanted to run through my fingers…oh, God no! I don't mean it like that. I will never be attracted to her. I just meant that it's the kind of hair guys like me want to reach out and touch. Oh, and she has these mesmerizing emerald green eyes that I'm sure guys stare into and she thinks they're listening when they're really just being hypnotized.

She walked away and I finally turned to James for more details. "So exactly how did you and, let me get this right, the girl who two days ago you called Virgin-bitch-from-hell-Mary, turn into acquaintances."

James shrugged. "To be honest, we blame you."

I stopped in the middle of the stairs, mostly out of shock and confusion, as he continued to walk down, stepping over Sirius who was still struggling to get up, now out of aggravation for Lily pushing him down.

"Whoa, whoa. What did I do?"

"I was talking…okay, yelling at Evans at our meeting yesterday and she said something that threw me completely off-guard."

"What does this have to do with me again?"

"She said that she wouldn't be surprised if I were some sort of monster in a previous life, but a horrible dragon that kills little children, not a nice werewolf like you," he commented, turning around to stare at me. "Which is when she clapped her hands over her mouth and gasped loudly, praying that I already knew…which I did."

I stood there with a curious look on my face.

"How does that turn into years of forgiveness?" Sirius dared to ask, running to catch up with us.

"Took the words right out of mouth," I confirmed.

"One thing led to another and we swapped Remus stories—interesting ones. And-"

"Ooh, so glad that I could be the topic of your conversation when you two start to make up," I said sarcastically, rolling my eyes. I'm not sure how this led to them being friends, but I was certainly intrigued to know.

James gave him a look, one that told him to shut up and listen. "Well, she finally said something about how you, Moony, always seemed to think we'd be good for each other," James continued. "I laughed at first. But it turns out, she was serious! When I stopped laughing again, now because I realized she wasn't kidding, I finally understood what you were saying about her all these years."

"Enlighten me," I responded. "What did I say?"

"About how we shouldn't be each other's competition. It turns out, we're more alike than I thought."

"It's official," Sirius sighed, running his hands through his hair confidently. "You've all gone mad."

I gave Sirius a look. "Just because you have yet to realize how sweet Lily can be doesn't-"

"Sweet?" James repeated with a laugh. "I'm not going that far. We still have unresolved issues—some that still make me think she's evil."

"Merlin, you guys have no morals. I swear you're all devil worshippers or something," Peter interjected.

"I'll tell you one thing—Lily Evans would look good in a devil costume," Sirius chuckled, throwing back his head and laughing hysterically.

"I thought you hated her!" Peter said in frustration.

"I do," he commented as they approached the Fat Lady portrait. He muttered the password and walked in, thinking about what he was planning on saying next. "But Lily Evans is still gorgeous. I know that. And every other guy in this school knows that."

"I'm not quite that far in saying that Evans is pretty," James said with a frown, throwing his books on to the table and sprawling out on the couch comfortably. "Though you know who would look awesome in anything? Virginia…"

"No," Sirius said, shaking his head and lying down on the floor next to the couch. "She would look great in nothing."

They exchanged fists (You know—the whole fist over fist thing that guys do when they greet each other. If you ask me, it's easier just to say hi, but I can never really keep up with the flow of masculinity these days. Mainly, because the flow is usually stopped by intelligent guys.) and laughed with each other.

I chose to rest in the large loveseat in the corner as I curiously listened on to their humorous conversation. It was obvious that James and Sirius were made for each other's friendship. They needed each other more than Sirius needed meat, which is saying a lot.

I was glad that they had changed the subject, although I knew I could always count on James and Sirius to eventually talk about girls whenever they're together. I was still unsure of this whole James-Lily friendship thing they're trying to work for. I knew that eventually, something would go wrong and one of them would realize how stupid they were being. I knew that one of them would end up being hurt and I hated knowing that eventually, I would have to pick up the pieces.

It was truly sickening and I wasn't the only one who thought so. Obviously I was wrong about them realizing how stupid they were because for the past five days, they had been smiling at each other, sitting next to each other during lunch, greeting each other in the hallways with a hello instead of a hex, were laughing together, making jokes together, and were actually making civilized conversation! I know I laughed years ago when Sirius said that aliens would eventually take over the world, but I think he was right!

By the time Sunday rolled around and I was supposed to be meeting Amos and Lily in the library, the whole school had made sure they were involved. Lily and James being acquaintances was the new gossip of the school and the fact that Zandy Varnopolis and Dennis Tyler broke up was yesterday's news.

By the time I had walked into the library, all I wanted to do was scold Lily for being so forgiving. Didn't she know that James had a reputation of being a player and a liar!?

"Hey, Remus," she greeted cheerfully, already surrounded by hundreds of books that would be helpful to our project. "Did you see Amos on your way in?"

"No," I said simply, taking a seat across from her instead of beside her.

She gave me an inquisitive look, one that I chose to ignore. "Um…is something the matter?"

I shrugged. I know I was acting like a prick but I didn't care at that point because Lily had done enough of that for the past five days.

"Okay, I know you're lying so why don't you tell me or I'll try to guess, which we both know will end up in failure since I suck at guessing games."

I still didn't reply. I wanted to see how long it would take her to guess what was going on with me. Yeah, I know I was being an ass but sometimes I do humorous things that annoy other people just so I could entertain myself. Sometimes, I don't put others ahead of myself. That's not selfish; it's just common sense. Okay, now I think it's just my anger talking.

"Okay then," she muttered, putting down her quill long enough to start guessing. "Is…is this about the project?"

I gave her a look. We hadn't even started yet!

"Noooo…okay," Lily continued. "Is…is this about anything that I had said to you that might have been offensive?"

I still gave her no response. Lily doesn't say offensive things to me and she should have known that.

"About what I said to a friend? Does this have to do with Sirius? Because I've told you many times that there's no way I can befriend that…pervert. Or maybe this has to do with Peter. I never really gave him a chance. But why would that bother you now. Hm…schoolwork, perhaps? Or maybe something to do with your lycanthropy? When's the next full moon? Does this have to do with that? Or wait! Maybe this has to do with me sneaking off-campus Friday night? Maybe it-"

"No! It's about James, Lily!!"

"Wh-what?" Lily responded in confusion, not really understanding. "What about James?"

I stared at her in shock, in disbelief that she was denying something. "Are you kidding?"

"Are you kidding?" Lily replied angrily. "You wanted this, remember? You've been telling me to get over myself and reconcile our differences for years now. Well I have. We're finally on our way to being friends. And I was going to thank you but apparently, you have second thoughts. Well I hate to tell you this, but I like the status that James and I have now and I'm not going back. Were you just full of yourself? Were you just making things up in hope that it would never happen?"

"Lily, that's not what I meant," I lied, knowing perfectly well that deep down inside, I didn't want them to become friends. I knew something would go wrong and I cared about both them too much for anything to happen.

"Yes it is, Lupin," she replied pointing her wand unintentionally at my face. I knew it was bad news when she called me by my last name. "You just don't want me have the same friends that you have, do you?"

"No, that's not it at all," I protested. But I stopped. Was she right? Was that the real reason? Maybe I just liked having separate lives. Perhaps, I liked conversing with two different sides of the status pole.

"Then why do you want me to go back to the way things were?" she demanded to know, putting down her wand sheepishly. "To be honest, I like the fact that James and I are getting along. We can compromise much more easily and…and I can finally begin to trust him."

"No you can't!" I disagreed, throwing it in her face a little too harshly. "Look, James is my friend but he'll do something to hurt you. Please don't get too attached to this whole friendship thing because it probably won't last."

"Oh my God," she whispered in disbelief. "You're like…well, you're acting like my overprotective father. Do you enjoy making my life miserable because I'm afraid that's what you're trying to do. It's like I can't do anything or go anywhere without your goddamned permission!"

"No, Lily, please-"

"Well, am I allowed to lead this project, Lupin? Am I allowed to speak up when I'd like to? If I can't be civil to James, can I at least say hi to him occasionally?"

"Hey, guys, what's going on?" Amos interrupted, taking a seat beside Lily, a little too close if you ask me.

I could tell she was grateful, but I was just hurt by her comments. I wasn't trying to protect her from anything or anyone. I was just trying to look out for her best interests. It stung to know that she thought I was trying to make her miserable. I was trying to help. I was trying to make her life better. Why didn't she see that?

Lily shot me a look and started explaining the basic details of what she thought we could start doing.

I wasn't paying attention though. I was too aggravated at her insulting remarks to care.

Lily had other friends of course but they soon became more interested in the opposite sex than they were anything else in life and by her sixth year, they were merely acquaintances. Her roommates were nothing but a bunch of celebrity-worshipping, guy-stalking, downright-clueless, party animals, ones that Lily would rather do without. However, Hilary O'Keefe was a quiet, reserved Ravenclaw who Lily occasionally spent an afternoon with. I rarely saw her and in the beginning of Lily's and my basis of friendship, I even thought she was made up for a while, though I never admitted that to Lily.

I stared at Lily and Hilary laughing and enjoying themselves outside sprawled on the freshly cut green grass as James and Sirius talked about the importance of girls in a man's life. Peter was listening intently trying to catch up any hints they may have let slip, though James and Sirius were surely enjoying torturing him.

"Yo, earth to Moony! Come in! Do you read me?"

I snapped out of it and turned back to look at them. "What?"

They all exchanged looks, ones that did go unnoticed to my eyes, and turned to glance where I had been staring at.

"What's with you, man?" Sirius dared to ask, trying to blow on a blade of grass in between his say to make a whistling sound. Sirius had been trying for the past hour and it still wasn't working. It never had and it probably never will, though don't tell him I said that. He swears he'll figure it out by the end of the school year. I swear he's just really thickheaded.

"What do you mean? Nothing's with me," I responded, shrugging and going back to basking in the autumn sun.

"You haven't been listening to a word we've said," James agreed, grabbing the blade of grass out of Sirius' hand and blowing into it, making the desired sound. Sirius scowled at him, ripped another piece of grass and kept trying. "You keep staring at Lily and Hilary over there by the lake. What's so interesting about them? I mean, besides the fact that they're dull and enjoy sitting around for hours by the lake just talking."

"Uh…that's what we're doing, only we're by the cluster of rocks, not the lake," Peter pointed out.

"Yeah, but there are four of us. We have much more to talk about than what two girls can gossip about," James argued.

"You guys talk about girls," I pointed out. "That's it."

Sirius grinned. "And proud of it," he agreed. "And don't think for one second that those two are talking about guys. The last thing on Evans' mind is the opposite sex."

"That's not-" I started, but Sirius refused to let me finish.

"They're probably talking about schoolwork," Sirius continued. "What else would those bookworms be talking about? All they'll ever know about the opposite sex will be found in books to them."

Before I can defend Lily, James stepped in. "Sirius, give it a rest, 'kay? You don't know them and I don't think they like being talked about behind their backs."

Sirius threw down the piece of grass and glared at James. "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Prongs, but you used to do it all the time! Before you and Evans over there got chummy."

"Chummy?" James repeated, in disbelief that Sirius had actually used that word. "I wouldn't call us chummy, Padfoot. I would merely call us acquaintances who have to work together, therefore being forced to talk to each other. Nowhere does that lead to being chummy."

"Chummy refers to romantic tendencies and let's hope Prongs isn't thinking about Lily that way," I interjected, secretly wondering if that was where James was heading with Lily.

I breathed a sigh of relief when a look of horror came over James' face who felt the need to slap my arm in disgust. "Bloody Merlin, Moony, you sure paint quite the sickening picture."

I shrugged. "Prongs, I wouldn't doubt it. You've slept with every other girl at this school."

"Yeah but this is Evans," he snapped. He shuddered. "Even the thought of her in my bed is one to make me throw up."

Sirius laughed. "I don't think she'd appreciate it if you did."

"Thanks, Padfoot," James said dryly.

I probably should have been more relieved than I felt that afternoon but I still had a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. James often said one thing and did another. I wasn't trying to doubt one of my best friends, but I still felt that I shouldn't trust him. There's just something about him that makes me wonder if he was doing the right thing with Lily.

Uh-oh. I am sounding like Lily's father.

A few days later it was storming outside, harder than it had in years. The thunder was so loud that it was rolling off the outside walls of the school and practically creating it impossible to hear one another. The wind outside was so harsh, Sirius had gleefully run into Charms class, late like usual, to announce that the roof of Rubeus Hagrid's hut had been blown off and was dangling on a Quidditch pole. So of course, the whole class had to run to the window and believe it for themselves. This of course reminded James that practice had to be cancelled that night since it was obvious that people probably would have been blown away. The last class of the day had been cancelled because the lights kept flickering and would often go out for minutes before coming back on. It didn't matter though because the lightening was so big that it lit up the rooms for everyone. But Dumbledore didn't think it was particularly safe so he cancelled classes, mostly because he really didn't want anyone to wander outside to where Herbology class was, which was what the seventh-year Gryffindors had with the Slytherins. Dinner was served earlier so instead of having just three hours to spend in the evening, we had a whole five hours. Sirius wanted to prank the Slytherins, James wanted to eat, Peter wanted to get started on their project, and I personally just wanted to hang out, get some work done, and throw together a chess or Exploding Snaps tournament. In the end, we all got what we wanted except for me.

"Lupin. Library. Now," Lily said coldly to me as I walked into the commons room after finishing the prank.

"Ex-cuse me?" I shot back, rather petulantly. Looking back, I felt guilty for acting so snotty to Lily since I did know that I should have apologized to her.

"Our project?" she reminded, giving me an exasperated look.

"No, I know what it's for, but do I not have a say in when I want to work on it?" I offered, knowing perfectly well that I would lose this battle.

"You lost that say when you tried to control what I do," she snapped angrily, thrusting two books in my hands. "Start reading these if you don't want to come now. But we're meeting Amos in twenty minutes."

"Yes, Your Highness," I smirked, bowing in front of her in a joking manner.

She pushed me into the wall before shoving past us to leave the commons room.

"And all this time I thought it was Prongs that couldn't get along with her," Sirius snickered. "Did you two switch bodies or something?"

"We're arguing," I simply stated.

"I can see that," Peter laughed, walking ahead of Sirius and me to where our usual couch was empty and sat down on it.

"What about?" Sirius asked when Peter didn't bother to, grabbing my arm and pulling it over to our claimed spot just to make sure I wouldn't go to the library without telling him what was going on.

I shrugged. "Nothing really. I…I'm going to make up with her anyway. Maybe I should go to the library and do it now," I lied. But I'd rather spend uncomfortable silence with Lily than explain to Sirius why I was angry at Lily.

I walked as slowly as I could to the library but when I got there, there was still over ten minutes before Amos was intended to arrive.

"I thought you wouldn't show for another ten minutes," Lily said to me distantly, not bothering to look up from her work.

"Neither did I," I muttered under breath.

When Lily didn't offer anything else to say, I took out the books that Lily handed to me and started reading and taking notes from Animagi of the Past: A Healthy Combination of Potions and Transfiguration. I hardly looked at the book. I merely skimmed through it. I knew it all by heart anyway. James had taken this exact book out when he, Sirius, and Peter wanted to become Animagi for me, which I never mentioned was probably the nicest thing that anyone had ever done for me; I even cried when they offered (that definitely surprised them. I can remember them staring in shock at me with their jaws dropped. We had never cried in front of each other before…actually, that's not true. When Sirius' younger sister died, he cried himself to sleep for a month. He never showed us, but I knew.). Anyway, I knew more than enough about Animagi than a silly little book could tell me, but I couldn't tell that to Lily or Amos. It was the Marauder's secret that would remain with us until our death.

We heard someone trudge through a few aisles and we both looked up, expecting it to be Amos. But, surprise, surprise, it was my dear little friend, James.

"James? What are you doing here?" I dared to ask, ignoring the daggered glare I was getting from Lily, who obviously was still angry about the comments I had made.

"You borrowed my Transfiguration book yesterday and I need it to start our project," he said with a shrug. "Hey, Lily."

"So you came all the way down here to get it?" I questioned curiously. "Why couldn't you borrow Sirius' or Peter's?"

"Because first of all, Sirius' book is propping open our window," he snickered, and Lily tried to contain her laughing which ended up with her in some sort of coughing fit. James gave her a strange look and turned back to me. "And Peter is using his to do his homework. Second of all, I have notes in there that I need. And third, I was planning on coming to the library to do my work anyway."

"So join us," Lily said, a smirk planted on her lips as she glanced evilly my way. I'm beginning to think that James was right. Perhaps Lily does have an evil side to her.

"What?" James said in surprise.

"Yeah, you don't want to sit alone and this table is big enough for an army," Lily said reassuringly.

"And with all of your books on it," I said with a fake smile on my face, "This army may only have room for three people."

She feigned joking laughter, one that James could easily tell was fake but didn't prod, and gave me a huge, fake smile back, leaning back in her chair and crossing her arms. "At least I know what a book is."

"That only works on Sirius, Lily," James interrupted, glancing at me strangely, knowing that something was going on.

"James, don't you need your whole group to do your project?" I said, trying hard not to glare at him for trying to joke around. "I don't exactly see Sirius and Peter running behind you with their arms in the air, excited to do this."

"We chose the tactic of not working together. Instead, we're doing our separate bits. Sirius is reading the books and taking the notes, I'm writing the report, Peter's putting together the oral presentation and we're combining it all in the end. Much smarter than being forced to work with group members you don't like," he snarled, thinking of Amos.

Lily and I exchanged angered looks, both thinking of ourselves at that point.

"When is Pretty Boy getting here anyway?"

Lily laughed and opened her mouth to say, I'm sure, something witty back, but, thank the heavens, 'Pretty Boy' swooped in at that moment. "What's he doing here?" was the first thing out of his mouth, glaring at James.

Oh, great. I knew at that moment that James would sit down and take up Lily's offer because he loved having endless time to torture Amos.

And I was right. James pulled out a seat beside me and sat down. "I'm joining you all," he said with a smug grin on his face. "I figured that a project is a project and even though we have two different topics, why not spend the time together?"

"Oh this should be fun," Amos muttered under his breath sarcastically, taking a seat beside Lily…too close to Lily, now that I think about it. The signs were there and I'm surprised that I didn't catch them then.

"Almost as fun when we beat you on Saturday, 270 to fifty," James muttered under his breath, loud enough so Amos could here.

Amos did not look happy with that comment but I could tell he had a comeback on the tip of his tongue. "Yeah, well I was distracted during the game, Potter," he sneered. "I couldn't help but think what an absolutely perfect night Friday was spent with Virginia. What did you do? Stay locked in your room playing boardgames with your little friends?"

"Hey!" I cried back, taking extreme offense to that.

"Oh, not you, Remus," he quickly defended. "I was talking about Puny Peter and Impractical Black."

"Guys! Can we put aside our differences and get back to work?" Lily stepped in. I could tell she was realizing too late that even though she wanted to get back at me, having James and Amos in the same room, much less at the same table was an even worse idea.

"Why did you suggest James stay if you wanted to work?" I said out loud, realizing too late how selfish that sounded.

"Because unlike you, I can deal with him," she shot back. She winced and I could tell she was hoping that no one would find out we were having an argument, least of all James.

"Whoa, what's going on with you two?" Amos asked.

"Nothing. Let's get to work," I quickly changed the subject. "Did you bring the highlighters?"

"Yeah. And I brought…candy!" he said enthusiastically, dumping out a bag of Honeydukes candy.

Even James was trying hard not to look pleased. Energy always made me work better and more efficiently and James, too. I guess it's a Marauder thing. Lily, on the other hand, just looked distracted by it. I knew she didn't want some—she was like a vacuum when it came to candy. One bag and it was all gone in seconds.

"Okay, well I learned that Animagi are stronger when-" she started, turning away from the candy.

"Wait, you're doing a project on Animagi?" James asked in surprised, giving me one of his why-didn't-you-tell-me-this-seemed-like-something-you-could-have-brought-up-to-the-Marauders-since-we-are-indeed-Anamagi-and-we-could-laugh-about-how-easy-your-project-was. Um…James had very expressionistic looks. They were easy to read.

"Yeah. Why?" Lily asked.

"Uh…well that just seems too easy compared to Ancient Transfiguration spells that went wrong and caused other spells to be created," James sighed. "Oh, that's my project," he laughed.

"Easy?" Amos sneered. "Do you know how much more reading we have to do? You have…like, two books to read. We have over ten. Our topic is much more in detail than yours."

"I'd brag and say ours is harder but I'm not really sure what that would accomplish since I already know I'm better than you."

"I think it would be best if you two didn't speak to each other," Lily stepped in, glaring at both of them. And let me tell you, when Lily glares at you, it makes you want to shut up. She's very intimidating which is why I knew she'd make a perfect Head Girl.

When she told me she received the power of Head Girl, I could remember immediately Flooing over to her house and embracing her tightly. She had worked so hard for it for the past seven years and I knew she was afraid she'd lose it to Lana Turner, who was close to the top of her class. But Lana was a stuck-up snobby wench who made it known to everyone that she was at Hogwarts purely for the sake of making everyone else feel belittled. She enjoyed putting people down and she loved telling people they weren't smart. She got some sort of sick joy out of making other people miserable and she probably hated men more than she hated Lily, which is saying a lot. I can remember the day clearly when she told James that his intelligence was getting him nowhere since he never used it. And the next day the ranks came out for the first semester and he was second on the list, and she was third. Oh, she was fumed when he made it a point to get back at her. Usually, I find revenge haughty and nowhere as sweet as people would like to believe. But I knew Lana deserved it and I was proud to be standing by James when he attacked her intelligence in front of the school at dinner that evening. Even Lily couldn't force back a smile, even though last year she hated James with a fierce passion of a thousand suns. Lily was meant for Head Girl and even though it took a while for James to get adjusted, he did a pretty good job at it.

Again, I probably should have realized that something seductive was going on between Amos to Lily when after that late-night study session, he whispered into her ear, loud enough for both me and James to hear, "We'll be meeting on Sunday afternoon again? I'll be counting the days until then. Can't wait to see you."

I guess I was just a little preoccupied with the fact that Lily completely ignored me for the last two hours when we were trying to work. And it bothered me when she and Amos left for twenty minutes to bring back more food…oh, shit. Again, more subtle hints that I had completely missed. I had to endure twenty minutes of James pestering me as to why Lily and I were fighting. I knew the whole 'We're not fighting. Let me work,' thing wasn't going to work so I tried to change the subject. Let's just say that he got the hint after a while but was still aggravated with me and still refused to drop it.

Anyway, even Lily didn't understand why Amos was acting that way so I'm sure Amos didn't do anything to disrespect her when they went to the kitchens, because she said, "Um…we have class tomorrow. I'll just be seeing you then."

James exchanged looks with me and I gave him a shrug. Lily wasn't exactly Miss Prom Queen and she doesn't pick up signals too well. She probably hadn't been hit on more than twice in her life, though the other two were in a bar with sleazy, old, drunken men who had a thing for red hair. In fact, looking back, Lily had been on only three dates, and they were with the same guy, Jacob Wexler. Hm…I wonder whatever happened to him? All I know is that one night, she came in crying, I embraced her, I comforted her, I punched Jacob and the next day, we all felt better…well, except for Jacob. He was quite peeved actually, but he broke Lily's heart and a friend has to do what a friend has to do.

Amos gave her a smile and shook his head guiltily, escorting her out of the library, changing the subject. By that point, James almost looked angry, but also at that point, I hadn't realized how friendly he and Lily were really getting. Otherwise, I would have hidden under my bed until disaster struck.

I only began to notice something the next morning at lunch when Amos walked over to Lily and sat down beside her, sitting, again, too close. He whispered something in her ear and they both laughed. But the one thing that made my head turn a second time was the gleam in Amos' eye, one that did not look promising. He kept looking at her in the way a motorcyclist looked at a tattoo artist—hungrily. It didn't look pretty.

"Yo, Remus, are you in?"

I glanced back at my friends and nodded, no idea what I had just agreed to but I'm sure it had something to do with a prank and the Slytherins.

"Good. Tomorrow morning, Snivellus will have no idea what hit him," Sirius said evilly, slapping high-fives with James.

"If we're lucky—the rest of his gang will be there as well," James agreed.

I barely heard them. I was too busy staring at Amos and wondering what his intentions were to be bothered with a silly Marauder prank. Uh-oh. Don't tell James and Sirius I said that. They wouldn't be too happy that I chose to spy on Lily than to plan a prank on the Slytherins.

I hated lying to Lily. She was hard to deceive and she felt so down whenever I had to turn her offers down. That morning, she had asked if I could run the prefect meeting that night since she had to tutor and James had a detention. Unfortunately, I had already promised Sirius that I would sneak into Hogsmeade with him and Peter to get extra supplies for the planned prank for the next morning and therefore had decided on skipping the meeting. However, I couldn't tell Lily that. It was against the rules to be off-campus and to skip a prefect meeting without an excuse. Besides, she was already angry with me for what I had said earlier in the week and I was sure that this would make her even madder. But I was never a good liar either. That's probably one of my worst qualities, besides the fact that I often overwork myself, though Lily had no problems with that. Anyway, instead I resulted in telling her that I had received detention. I was hoping that could be it considering she was mad at me already; I thought perhaps she would just stomp off and go ask Hilary to do it but, nope, I was wrong. She persisted in knowing what I had received the detention for.

"Uh…er…uh…oh, I was wandering the halls after midnight," I lied, knowing she probably wouldn't believe that. But it was the only thing I could think of that didn't involve the rest of the Marauders.

She gave me a look. "Hmm…why? You normally are in the commons room before even ten o'clock, usually finishing up homework or playing chess with Peter. What made you go wandering?"

"I was hungry, okay?" I snapped. "Kind of like the way you were hungry yesterday and went out with Amos."

She gave me a look and just stared at me, making me very uncomfortable. Lily had a way of doing that—making normal situation very uncomfortable. Man, I can't believe that I never noticed how intimidating she really is! She crossed her arms in front of herself and chose to glare at me. "So now you don't like Amos? I thought that was reserved for James, who apparently you don't like either…oh, no wait—you just don't want me to like him."

"Lily, they're both bad news," I blurted out.

She dropped her jaw in disgust and was clearly refraining herself from slapping me. She took a deep breath in, turning away from me to catch her breath, and then turned back to me with a fake, calm smile on her face. "I'm going to pretend that you didn't say that and just walk away because I know if I don't, I'll do something I'll regret."

I shouldn't have listened to the voice in the back of my head—the one that told me to keep warning Lily even though I had no proof. "Don't trust them."

She stopped immediately and whirled around, fury raging in her eyes. I had to step back the anger in her eyes was so fierce.

"'Don't trust them?'" she repeated huffily, glaring at me now with full-fledged hatred, letting out an angry growl. "Why shouldn't I trust them, Remus Lupin? What did they ever do to me to make me not trust them—or to you, I guess? I thought James was your friend! Why are you trying to keep me away from other people, Lupin?"

"Not others," I tried to clarify, but it just came out as selfish. "Just not them."

"I think you're the one who can't be trusted, Lupin," she sneered, swallowing hard. She ran her hands through her hair nervously and started playing with one of her long curly bangs. I soon learned in our first year that when she played with her long bangs like that, she was afraid to say something. As the years passed, she didn't play with her hair as much. She became a more confident person and said whatever was on her mind. Today was different.

"What is it, Lily?" I asked with a sigh.

"I-I just don't…get it, Remus," she said gently instead of barking my head off, which was I thought she was going to do. "I-I thought you were my friend. But…but friends want other friends to be happy. And, if you couldn't tell, I'm not exactly happy right now. I-I…I don't know what you have against me becoming friends with James or Amos but…but I'm going to do it with or without your permission. I just thought you'd understand. Apparently, I was wrong."

Damnit! When she turned the corner I threw my book at the wall in frustration. I hated when Lily was disappointed with me. It was worse than when she was mad at me. When she was mad, I could easily apologize and we'd forget about the whole thing, granted her being mad at me only happened three times in our friendship. But when she was disappointed, in anyone for that matter not only me, she wasn't exactly the most forgiving person. It took her longer to get out of her disappointed stage than her angry stage. She hated being angry…at anyone, even James and Sirius when they used to play pranks on her. But she had no control over her disappointment and I knew she and I wouldn't be talking civilly for a while. I tried not to let it bother me but it did. I realized that she was right. I should have just been happy for her and let that have been it. But no, I butted into her personal life and now I just made matters worse between her and me. DAMNIT!

I ran after her, knowing that this was something I shouldn't do. I was just causing more trouble for myself. I knew she wouldn't forgive me, but I couldn't just let her go thinking that I didn't understand. Okay, true, I didn't completely understand why she wanted so badly to befriend James, but I didn't want to ruin it for her either.

"Lily, wait!" I cried out, trying to catch my breath when I finally grabbed her arm and stopped her from walking any further.

"What?" she snapped, glaring at me. Yep, she wasn't done being disappointed or angry with me yet. I should have known. Actually, I did know. I was just being the hopeful seventeen-year-old I am.

"Listen, I'm sorry, okay?" I apologized genuinely, looking at her deeply.

"How come I don't believe that?"

Damn, she's good. "No, I really am sorry," I lied. "I shouldn't have made false accusations on James and Amos and I shouldn't have tired to stop you for befriending either one of them."

"No you shouldn't have," she muttered, pulling her arm away from me. "But you did. And I just don't get it. You're not normally like this, Remus." Oh good. We were on a first-name basis again. This could be good. "And I hate you when you are." Hm…maybe not. "You can't control me and you shouldn't try."

"I-I don't control you," I said, surprised at her claim.

"Then what is it?" she demanded, glaring at me again. Ugh, I hate that face. I hated knowing she was upset with me. "Because I just don't know what to tell you, Lupin." Damn, last name again. "It's like…it's like you're jealous or something."

I couldn't help it. I laughed hysterically. I even had to hold on to the wall to balance myself. My sides were aching harder than they ever have. Me!? Jealous!? Of what? Of who!?

She waited for me to stop laughing. She obviously didn't find it very funny and I tried to be considerate of her but the idea of me jealous was preposterous. "Lily, you have no idea what you're talking about."

"Yeah? Well, I already knew that," she said stubbornly. "Remus, I don't know what's going on with you but something is. You're acting like a jealous boyfriend and I hate that. I hate it when you get protective as well but this is far more than being protective. This is like some sort of halt, don't go near James and Amos, I'm afraid something might happen, they can't be trusted, I care too much to let you get hurt situation that you have created not for me but for yourself. Jealousy isn't your thing, Remus, so back off and let me life my life without you controlling it, okay?"

"No, not okay," I found myself arguing. "I'm not jealous. Why the hell would you think I was jealous!? What would I be jealous of!? Yes, I care about you, but what dos that have anything to do with James and Amos, Lily? Again, you don't know what you're talking about."

"When you figure out that I can handle myself and I don't need you watching over my shoulder every second of my life, I hope you realize just how wrong you've been," she warned, pointing her finger at me. "Until then? Stay…away…from…me."

How come I always seemed to screw things up at the wrong times?

I didn't care what she had said. I kept watching out for her even though I did know that she could handle herself. For the next month, literally, I was ignored by her and avoided by her. When we passed each other in the hallway, she looked the other way. In classes, she chose someone else as her partner instead of me. At dinner, she sat on the complete opposite side of the table. At prefect meetings, she wouldn't even recognize me. James always had to be the go-between, and I don't think he appreciated it too much. In the commons room, she'd immediately leave if I entered. When we got together to do our project, she didn't even look at me.

Speaking of our project, James was still making visits there when our group was there, and even Peter stayed occasionally. Of course, Sirius chose not to be around Amos and Lily, though he did stop in one time so that he, James, and Peter could start arranging their project. But he was there for maybe twenty minutes, gave both Lily and Amos a deadly glare, and then walked back to the commons room to, I'm sure, hit on some girls.

What bothered me was that James' visits started to become more frequent as the days went by and as the last week before the project was due, he came every day and sat with us. Even Amos was getting annoyed at him. I had to admit that it was getting quite aggravating to have James there, looking over our shoulder and watching every step we took in order to get our project under way. I knew he was doing it because he knew all about Animagi and wanted to shove it in Amos' face, but after the hundredth obnoxious remark, it was getting old.

Anyway, five days before our project was due, I was getting pretty used to Lily's silent treatment and it didn't bother me as much. Actually, it gave me more time to spend with the Marauders who were on some sort of pranking binge or whatnot. Snape and his gang of five, Augustus Rookwood, Rodolphus Lestrange, Bellatrix Black, Narcissa Black, and Avery Nott, had always been our biggest targets but in the past month, they've had their robes turned to red and gold, their Quidditch brooms hidden (the ones who played, at least), themselves turned into rats, balloons filled with pudding fall on their heads, their essays erased with invisible markers, their textbooks stolen, their commons room striped and polka-dotted, and their underwear magically disappear. It wasn't a good month for them but boy, did we enjoy watching them. Of course, this earned us all many detentions—the ones that we were caught for doing anyway, but we were usually pretty good at keeping ourselves hidden. Two years ago, we had started to create our own Marauder's map and by February, it was pretty much finished with. We knew the way around Hogwarts like it was the back of our hands and by the end of the year, we barely even needed the map for secret passageways. Besides the map, James had inherited an Invisibility Cloak from his father's side of the family (one that had been a part of his family for hundreds of generations—the Potters came from a loooongtime of witches and wizards and were actually quite famous throughout the wizardry world. They were not only prestigious Aurors but they grew up with Ministry power in their blood. One of the earliest Ministers of Magic was a Potter.), and we used that to sneak around. By our sixth year it was hard to fit four grown men underneath it, but we still made it work the best we could. We did a pretty good job hiding in the shadows as well.

So it was five days before our project was due and suddenly, my life got incredibly hectic, along with the rest of the seventh-years. It was as if all of the professors assembled a meeting and together and decided to make our lives miserable. To be honest, the weeks before the holidays always seemed to be a little busier than usual, mostly because the professors want to get in as much as they can before they're given two weeks off. However, this time was different. Not only did they cram more homework on us, but tests and essays were becoming more of an option instead of just long and boring lectures. I hadn't had that much homework since the O.W.L.S. during my fifth year, and even that was more spread out.

I was rushing to the library with a bag full of books and notes on Sunday evening when I overheard Amos talking to his best friend, Mike Lester. Now normally I don't eavesdrop. In fact, I was just planning on slipping by the unnoticed when I suddenly heard Lily's name being mentioned and I just had to stop. That was my first problem.

"Oh, come on, Amos, just do it now," Mike urged. "Lily, I'm sure, will say yes."

Amos shook his head. "Not until Christmas Break. I already told you that."

Mike sighed. "Tell me again why you have to wait to ask her out?" I froze. Amos was going to ask Lily out? Hm…I tried to find the bad in that but I really couldn't and that's when I felt incredibly guilty. Maybe Lily was right and I was being too overprotective.

Until I heard what Amos' reply was. Then I realized why I had started to despise him so much.

"Because I need an A on this project and Lily is my ticket in," Amos described matter-of-factly with a chuckle. "I still have no idea what I learned this past month. Lily just did it all, not that I care. I'm sure Lupin did some, too, but that kid can just kiss my ass. He and Lily got into some pathetic fight, which actually works out perfectly for me because he won't be in the way when I take her out. I get everything—my A and her skinny, little ass."

"I can't believe you're going to do this," Mike responded with a haughty smirk. "You realize that Lily probably won't come back to your room, right?"

Amos snorted. "Oh please. By the end of the date, she'll be begging for me and I will be the famous Ravenclaw who finally deflowered the nosy Know-it-All. And the best part? She will have no idea what the hell is going on until the next morning when I kick her out of my room."

I refrained myself from dropping my bag in the middle of the floor, turning the corner and beating the shit out of Amos Diggory. I knew he couldn't be trusted! I was right all along! Being an overprotective friend was supposed to be a bother, but it turned out that it worked in my favor…only, it didn't exactly work in Lily's favor considering she hated me then, but I tried not to think about that.

Anyway, I counted to ten and simply walked away when I realized they had moved on to talking about Quidditch. They were messing with the wrong girl, didn't they see that? I knew Lily wouldn't be begging Amos for anything and I hoped she would have realized that Amos is a guy she shouldn't be dating. As I walked silently down the hallway I realized something else. I had to warn Lily somehow not matter how much she didn't want to talk to me. I couldn't let Lily make the mistake of going out with Amos Diggory.

I grabbed the map, which we rarely used now considering we had it memorized, from our secret hiding place (if I told you, it wouldn't be a secret anymore, would it?), and searched for Lily's dot. I found it in the Great Hall oddly, with Hilary's right next to her.

I practically ran down the stairs and rushed through hallways, knocking over some innocent people on the way but already on my way without having time to apologize. I caught my breath outside the Great Hall and walked in casually, scanning the room for Lily, which wasn't hard considering there were only about five other people in there and Lily's flaming red hair wasn't hard to notice.

Hilary nodded in my direction before I could even get there and Lily was already turned around. "What do you want?" she sneered.

"I need to talk to you," I said with a worried sigh.

"I'm in the middle of something right now, Remus," she said, crossing her arms and giving me one of her infamous go-away looks.

And honestly, I wanted to go away. I wanted to be anywhere but there but I knew I had to tell her about what I had heard or else I'd feel guilty forever. "Lily, please," I begged. "Would I have sought you out if it wasn't important?"

"Well you seemed to have told a lot of unimportant information before so I'm not exactly sure if I should trust you," she smirked, putting a lot of unneeded emphasis on the word trust. I got the picture. I knew she was still mad. Did she really have to remind me?

"Lily," I said firmly, refusing to give up, giving an apologetic look to Hilary. I crossed my arms and continued, "I'm not leaving without you."

I trapped her. I knew she wouldn't talk to Hilary with me there and I knew that she knew that I knew that. She could tell she had lost this battle so she said a simple, "This shouldn't take long. I'll be back soon."

She shrugged and said, "Whatever. I still have work to do anyway." She grabbed her Charms textbook and opened it, going back to her essay that she had previously started.

Lily followed me out of the Great Hall and already started scolding me, "Remus, what's wrong with you? I was talking with Hilary about important things and I really don't need any interruptions!"

"Listen, Lily, this isn't exactly easy for me, okay? So if you could just put aside the fact that we're not exactly speaking right now and listen to what I have to say, I won't bother you for the rest of our lives, if that's what you want."

"You think I don't want to speak to you, Remus?" Lily snapped. "No, this isn't exactly my idea of fun but you hurt me and I hated thinking that I couldn't tell you things anymore because you'd just take in the wrong way."

Oh great. If I hurt her then wait until she hears what I have to say next. I could tell she saw the uneasy glint in my eye because she said next, "Oh great. This isn't good news either, is it."

I shook my head. "And…and I know what I say will ruin our friendship, but your safety is more important than that. You'll probably hate me for the rest of my life after I say what I have to say next, but it's necessary. I'm not saying this to be protective. No, I'm saying this because I care for you and I-I don't want you to get hurt anymore than you are now."

She didn't say anything. I think she was refraining herself from snapping at me some more.

"I…uh…I kinda…," I stuttered. I took a deep breath and realized then that I couldn't tell her what I had heard word-for-word. "Listen, Lily. Amos can't be trusted, okay?" I said hurriedly, not letting her get any words in. "Don't listen to anything he says and don't be flattered by his compliments. If he asks you out, please don't say yes. It's just better for you if you don't go out on a date with him, okay? He's not the kind of guy you deserve. He's not nice and he he's not loyal. You deserve someone better and you deserve someone who's not using you for your brains or for your body." I took a deep breath and realized that I had nothing left to say. I just had to sit there and endure a long line of screams, which indeed came next.

She stared at me in absolute disbelief, the daggered glare close behind. "I can't believe you, Remus Jeremiah Lupin!" she screamed…literally. I mean, I swear her voice was pounding off the hallway walls that it could have shattered glass windows if there were any around. "I tell you less than a month ago to stay away from me until you realize I don't need you watching out for me and hear you are, warning me again of false accusations! There's nothing wrong with Amos Diggory! Do you remember two years ago when you were getting quite close to Naomi Ditweiler and I didn't like her? Well, I gave her a chance, right? So why can't you just trust me to make my own decisions about Amos and just give him a chance? It's all just in your head, Lupin, and I don't know how you found he was thinking of asking me out, but I was actually planning on saying no to begin with. However, maybe now I will say yes and prove to you that Amos is a nice guy."

"No, Lily, please," I argued. Damnit! This was going so wrong! "Just trust me."

Boy were those the wrong words to say. She literally growled at me when I said that and I swear I saw flames coming out of her ears. She snorted and turned away with a haughty laugh. "Yeah, okay. How about I trust you in the same sense that I shouldn't trust Amos?" she grunted.

"Lily, you don't understand. I-"

"No, Lupin, you don't understand," she shot back. "I'm tired of taking this bullshit from you so if you could just kindly let me go back to talking to Hilary, my friend, which you obviously have no desire of being. You are the lousiest friend that a girl could ask for, you know that, Remus Lupin? I wish that I had never met you in the library our first year because then I wouldn't be having this problem. Never, ever talk to me again, Lupin, if you know what's good for you."

And with that, she stomped back into the Great Hall, shooting me the most evil glare that I have ever seen.

I leaned against the wall and ran my fingers through my hair uncomfortably. That did not go the way I had planned, though I should have realized that Lily would just make matters worse between us. I guess that a little part of me was hoping that Lily would finally listen to what I have to say. I was always too hopeful when it came to Lily though, and now she hated me more than anything. Damnit!! I royally screwed up. But I couldn't just let her go on the date without telling her what I had heard. Not telling her at all is worse than her hating me, I had decided. I think I made the correct choice….but then why did I feel so lousy?

Our project went well considering Lily still wouldn't acknowledge my presence, I wanted to murder Amos with my bare hands, and Amos didn't know what the hell he was talking about. Unfortunately, I was not as ecstatic as James, Sirius, and Peter that my project was over. Now, I knew that Amos would ask Lily out and she would say yes.

However, I still joined in with the party plans on that last Friday before Christmas Break. We always threw one and everybody in the school always comes. It's held out on the Quidditch pitch so no professors would be distracted and Sirius usually charms the area around the Quidditch pitch so that the weather is Spring weather. It's the party that everyone looks forward to every year. Unfortunately, I wasn't exactly in the mood to celebrate. I was still extremely worried about Lily and I was letting it get to me.

"C'mon Remus, you've been standing there for the past hour," Sirius complained. "You missed out on the beer fight before! And the music is great. A million girls would love to dance with you."

"Hm…" I murmured. "Maybe I'll ask Lily. Have you seen her?"

Sirius groaned. "Why choose that bitch?" he complained. "And no, because she's not here."

"Why?" I asked curiously. Lily had always had a blast at these parties and we always kept each other company. We danced all night, drank alcohol together, joked around and made silly comments about others, attempted to get drunk but always managed to keep our prefect status top notch, and then in the morning laugh about what a crazy but fun night it was. I knew that it wouldn't be happening that year, which pretty much sucked considering it was our last year, but I wanted to apologize to Lily. I knew I was right but I'd rather be friends with Lily than keep my pride in tact.

"Well, for some odd reason that is completely unexplainable, she was asked out on a date and is in Hogsmeade now," he said with a look of disgust. "How that whore managed-"

"What?" I exclaimed, practically dropping my butterbeer. I wasn't drinking alcohol. Without Lily, it just didn't feel the same.

"Yeah, I know. Surprise, surprise. That wench managed to snipe a date. Hm…maybe she's paying him. Or-"

"No, that's not what I meant," I said in a rush, shaking my head to stop him. "Who is she on a date with?"

He shrugged. "I'm not sure. If I'm not mistaken, it may be Amos but-"

"Oh shit!" I cried, thrusting my butterbeer at Sirius and running up to the school, practically freezing myself while going through the Quidditch barriers and the school doors. I hadn't bothered to grab my jacket from the Quidditch pitch. I ran through the halls like a maniac and I was sure that if anybody had seen me, they would have thought my pants were on fire or something. I said the password and ran through the empty commons room and took the stairs by twos. I slammed the door against the wall and went straight to the secret hiding place. I threw all of the unnecessary objects in the air, throwing them all over the room in a hurry, and grabbed the map. "I solemnly swear I am up to no good," I said in a rush, breathlessly. I still hadn't caught my breath but when I searched all over the map and couldn't find her I collapsed on my bed. I'm not sure what I was really planning on doing if I had spotted her still in the school. Looking back, I didn't really have a plan. I just wanted to stop her. And then it hit me. I just had to let her do her thing. I trusted Lily and I trusted her judgment. I should have just let her go. Unfortunately, I was an idiot who didn't realize it until right then.

But that didn't stop me from worrying about her.

By three o'clock in the morning, the party died out. Everyone had dispersed and all there was left to do was clean-up. Even with magic, there was so much trash around that with only me and the other three Marauders, it was probably going to take longer than it ever had. But the party had been a huge hit. Even I had to admit it. By the time I had stopped thinking about Lily, I was dancing with others girls, having drinking contests against Sirius and James and other competitors, and I was having the best time of my life. I had forgotten all about Lily and I was glad that I had or else it probably would have ruined my night.

Sirius groaned for the millionth time. "I know why we like throwing these parties, but tell me again. Why do we put up with all of the cleaning?"

"Because it's worth it," James explained. "Ugh, I'm going to have a major hangover in the morning."

"No, I'll still be having my hangover tomorrow night," I replied, ignoring the pounding headache I was getting. Yeah, I finally gave in toealcohol. And because I was so worried about Lily, I drank a little more than intended.

We all tried to laugh but it hurt too much.

"Do you need any help cleaning up?" a small voice behind me asked.

I whirled around and stared at Lily in surprise. I shrugged and handed her a large garbage bag, without saying anything. I was trying to act casual but I'm sure it came out more as cocky and unforgiving. I couldn't help it though. I was trying hard to not be a little angry with her and seeing her there just reminded me of the words she had said to me. They stung and I knew that she knew it.

Lily swallowed hard and was obviously trying to find the right words to apologize to me. Oh, I knew that was what she was doing. There was no other reason she would have talked to me after she told me never to go near her again. Lily was a woman of her word and she'd rather eat the entire Lake Squid before admitting she was wrong.

I glanced up at her again and that's when I saw her in the most gorgeous black dress that I had ever seen. Bloody Merlin, did she look frickin' amazing. Uh…don't tell her I said that.

I wasn't the only one gawking at her. Not only were James and Peter staring at her in amazement, but even Sirius was!

"Wow," Sirius muttered. "I'll deny I ever said this, but Evans, you look hott!"

"Don't remind me," she muttered, trying to cover up.

I should have seen the signs then, considering I had completely missed them with Amos and had learned my lesson but James wasn't staring at her like she was a piece of meat like the rest of us were (unintentionally of course). No, he was staring at her with a look of longing, the kind that thought she was beautiful, not just 'hott'.

Anyone else wouldn't have given her face a second glance--only her body--but I noticed the frazzled look on her face quickly after I looked up and I had to really stare at it. Something was wrong. Her eyes were barely red but I could tell they were.

"I didn't even realize you had a dress like that," Sirius smirked. "What did you do? Go on a last minute shopping binge? You figured that this may be your only date so you better get a dress now?"

"Black…" she started uneasily. "I'd…I'd appreciate it if you just didn't talk about it at all right now."

"Wait, you went on a date?" James asked. I tried to read the look on his face as he stared at her in sort of a surprise-slash-confused way.

She took a deep breath in and glanced at James. "Like I said. I don't want to talk about it," she said, almost angrily. "But…but yes, if that's what you want to call it."

"You don't even know what it's called," Sirius snickered under his breath, turning away from her. "Amateur."

Oh, Lily looked mad. She looked even madder with him than she had with me. "Fucking hell, Black!" she shouted into the black of night. Everyone froze. Lily Evans didn't swear very often—hardly at all, actually. "Y'know, I never particularly liked you but I wouldn't have called it hatred! You were just so goddamned hard to deal with that I never tried! Sometimes I wondered why I didn't try but I finally realize why—because you're such a goddamned prick! I tell you to not talk about the date and you go ahead and have that last final word that was so fucking unnecessary!! You don't care about anyone else except for yourself and I'm sick and tired of listening to you. You are such a bloody moron, one that I am glad I hadn't befriended ever. Bloody Merlin, Black, you can be so selfish sometimes I wonder how your head can fit through doors!" She was seething by the end of her little speech and after closing her eyes and taking a deep breath in, she finally was calm enough to look around and see the rest of us standing there in awe, including Sirius. "Now where do you need me to start cleaning up!?"

All four of us pointed in the same direction, ironically, and didn't say another word.

Until finally Sirius had to mention it. "Did that just happen?" he whispered to me when Lily's back was turned.

I glanced to where Lily was and I nodded at Sirius. "I…I-I think so."

"Should I be scared?" he asked in a small voice.

"Yes." I couldn't help but laugh at Sirius' overreaction, even though I knew he was just teasing. "C'mon, I'm tired. Let's just finish cleaning and I'll ask Lily about it later."

"I think…" he started, making sure Lily was still out of earshot. "I think this has something to do with her date."

"Well, put a pointed hat on my head and call me Merlin!" I snickered. "Aren't you the smart one."

Sirius shoved me playfully and rolled his eyes. "I'm serious," he almost whined. "I don't think it went as planned."

I glanced at Sirius in shock, surprised that he even cared to notice. "You…you can't tell anyone this, Sirius, but…" I started, not really sure why I was telling him this. Maybe I just wanted to get it off my chest. "But I overheard Amos talking with Mike and he wanted…well, let's just say that he wanted Lily for the same reasons you want girls."

"What!?" he whispered loudly, letting out a groan of disgust. "Please tell me I just have a dirty mind."

I shook my head. "He wanted…uh…he wanted to 'deflower' her."

Sirius growled. I mean, he seriously growled. It was like a Padfoot growl, one that would have scared me if hadn't known it was him. "What a bloody prick! Shouldn't he have realized that Lily Evans wasn't about to do anything sexually with him. Even I know that and I'm not too fond of the girl. Ugh, it'll be tough not to sock him next time I see him."

I glared at him. "You can't," I warned. "You're not supposed to know, remember?"

Sirius groaned. "Yeah, yeah, I know. Okay, I won't sock him but can I at least trip him and blame it on my clumsy feet?"

"You don't have clumsy feet."

"Diggory doesn't have to know that."

I laughed and slapped fives with him. "Y'know, perhaps clumsy feet should run in our Marauding group," I teased.

We went back to cleaning up, which only lasted another ten minutes. But for the whole ten minutes, I couldn't help but worry about Lily. I wanted to know what happened and I wanted to know why Lily was willing to apologize so quickly and admit she was wrong. And after about the thirtieth glance her way, James had to slap me I was being so obvious. But what was I supposed to do? Let her slip through my fingers again? Our friendship meant too much to me to let her get away.

I guess this is how everything had started. Yeah I know, it seemed like it should have all ended but it didn't. It all just began going further downhill from there. I thought that Amos was the last of it, but I soon realized that up next was James. Damnit, I should have noticed the signs before it was too late.

It was as if Amos had begun an era of magnetic-guys, drawn to Lily. For the next couple of days, even weeks, everywhere I went, I heard Lily's name dropped with a mention of 'beautiful.' I wasn't sure if I was imagining it but by the time I had overheard a bunch of guys talking about her in the library, I knew I wasn't going crazy. Or maybe I was. I was scared for her. I was honestly and truly scared for her. Whatever Amos had done sparked something inside of me and I knew that I had to be there for Lily whenever she needed me.

Unfortunately, I didn't realize just how hard that was going to be.

When I woke up the next morning, I groaned. I had so much stuff to do and it was the first day of vacation. There was a prefect meeting in the morning, before everyone left for home, and I had offered to tutor that afternoon. On top of that, I had to somehow sneak into Hogsmeade and get the remainder of everyone's gifts. Granted, I could do that any day but I think my friends would have gotten suspicious if I disappeared every time they wanted to do something.

"I guess this meeting is adjourned," Lily said after the meeting was over. "Have a nice holiday everyone."

They all murmured their thank-yous and practically sped out of there. Most likely, there was still some packing to do and since the train left in an hour, it was barely enough time for people to finish. Including Peter, who was forced to go home that year by his grandparents. Since our third year, us Marauders had mostly remained at Hogwarts for the holidays, except for Sirius who was forced go home by his stuck-up mother sometimes. And James usually went home for Easter Break. We liked having the school practically for ourselves for two weeks. We could wreak havoc and not be totally busted for it. Even Dumbledore liked having us around. He commented last year that Christmas without the Marauders was like the Dark Lord losing power—you just never know what could happen next. Unfortunately, Peter's grandparents told him that if he didn't come for his last Christmas, they'd send him to military school over the summer. The scary part is, they weren't kidding. Like Peter's relationship with his grandparents, mine with my father and brother wasn't exactly the father-son friendship I would have hoped it could be. Ever since my mother died during my younger brother, Ray's birth when I was only eight, my dad hadn't exactly been there for me. Sure, he supports us and takes care of us the best he can, but he's more of a father than a friend. Christmas at home felt like an obligation not a leisurely activity. He was a good father, there was no doubt about that, but I just wish he'd stop making promises and then breaking them to me and Ray.

Of course, James' family was absolutely perfect and he had the option of going home, but he never chose it. He actually told us during our fourth year that he loved his family, but they're always at home. And Sirius was at Hogwarts and he was practically family. In fact, he ran away from home at sixteen and literally moved in with James for the summer vacation. Last Christmas, he was given a huge amount of money from his uncle and is actually looking for his own apartment for after Hogwarts. They both claimed that they'd rather spend time with the Marauders than at home, especially on Christmas because we always made sure to make it the best. We were always trying to top the previous years and we were running out of ideas, but we still always managed to say at the end of the two weeks, "Man, this has been the best Christmas ever!"

Anyway, the meeting was adjourned and I only had ten minutes to go up to my dorm room, grab my books, and rush to the library to start tutoring. I probably would have made it with a minute or so to spare if Lily hadn't stopped me. Since the morning clean-up, she and I hadn't had the opportunity to talk.

"Remus, I need to talk to you," she said as everyone else started filing out, the ones who weren't going home who were taking their leisurely time.

I glanced at the clock. "Uh…okay, but can you make it quick?"

She didn't respond. I think she was trying to figure out what to say. "Listen, I'm…I'm sorry about everything," she blurted out. "I should have listened to you from the beginning. You're my friend and I should have realized that you weren't trying to sabotage my friendships with anyone else."

I gave her a smile. "Does this mean we can be friends again? Because I really hated not having you to talk to."

She smiled back at me, gathering her things together. "You know, most people wouldn't admit that."

"Yeah, well I'm not most people," I pointed out.

She grinned. "And I thank you for that."

I walked over to her and gave her a hug, glad that things were okay between us. I wanted to ask about her date, but when I glanced at the clock I realized that if I was to be on time, I would have had to leave two minutes ago.

"And…and about last night with Amos," she started, taking a deep breath in.

"Listen, Lily," I said, cutting her off and feeling really guilty about it. "I really want to hear about it because I could tell you were upset last night, but right now I have to tutor someone and I'm already late. Can we talk about this later? I want to be able to really talk about it; not just summarize."

She shrugged and smiled at me. "Sure, Remus," she said but I could tell that that was a fake smile on her face. I knew I had disappointed her once again and I knew that I would pay for blowing her off but I also knew that McGonagall would ride my ass if I didn't show up for tutoring…again. I often forget about these minor obligations and I don't think Minnie would be so forgiving for a third time.

But when Lily had accidentally run into me outside the Fat Lady portrait the two afternoons later after lunch, I knew that she wouldn't be so forgiving that I had to unfortunately blow her off again since I was planning on meeting Sirius in the kitchens.

"Remus!" she said surprised. "Well, you've been fairly busy. James keeps telling me that he has no idea where you've been. I didn't believe him at first but after the fifth time I asked him, I was finally catching on…unless you were trying to avoid me which I hoped wasn't the case. Although I do deserve it considering the way I treated you for the past month…are you avoiding me, Remus?"

I gave her a look. "No, Lily, I am not avoiding you," I scolded. "You should know me better than that."

She gave me a sheepish look. "I-I'm sorry. I guess I'm just paranoid. Well now that I've found you, I-I need to ask you something very important."

"What is it? Are you okay? Does this have something to do with Amos? Because-"

"Do you think I'm pretty?"

I stared at her. I mean, really stared at her. I gave her a blank look and just stood there, for probably longer than necessary.

"Okay, silence isn't good," she muttered under her breath, her face turning bright red out of embarrassment.

"Where's this coming from?" I responded instead of giving her my opinion—that she was drop-dead gorgeous and that any guy would be lucky to have her. Unfortunately, I was afraid that if I gave her what I knew, she'd use it too well and snatch some other guy that wasn't deserving of her.

"And neither is avoiding the question," she muttered again, a disappointed look in the back of her eyes. "Never mind. Forget that I asked. I guess I got my answer."

"Lily, you're gorgeous," I blurted out. Damnit for my big mouth! "And you always have been."

She blushed. "Really? You're not just saying that because you don't want me not speaking to you again?"

I chuckled. "Lily-bean," I started, using the nickname for her that I hadn't used in a long time, "Don't tell anyone I told you this, but there were a few guys in the library a few days ago talking about how you were so intimidating. Not just because of your intelligence but because of your beauty. One of them even asked if it was possible that a girl as stunning as you could even have brains, because that was just too good to be true." I can't believe I actually told her that. I was planning on keeping what those guys had said to me to my grave.

"You're making that up," she said as a statement, not a question.

"No, I'm really not," I argued, giving her a perturbed look. "I can't believe you needed me to tell you that. I mean, don't you ever look in the mirror?"

"Mirrors don't always tell you how it is."

"Talking mirrors don't," I teased, and she laughed with me which I though was a good sign. "Now why are you asking me this?"

"It's just that…oh, never mind," she said shyly.

"Lily, never in my life have you not shared a secret with me. This shouldn't be any different."

"It's not a secret, Remus," she clarified, taking my hand and walking away from the Fat Lady portrait, into the shadows so no one could overhear.

I hesitated and waited for her to explain but when she didn't I asked again, "Then what is it?"

"Remus, all my life I've been told that I was just plain and average by none other than Petunia and my family. A freak from above that just happened to be a part of the Evans family. I had no talent and no specialty and no one would ever care for a freak like myself. I'm just too plain for any guys to notice me. Well, because of that, I buried myself in my work, hid behind a mask of fear, and now I am the top student in this school and everyone is forced to notice me. However…I…I-I sometimes wonder if I've been missing out."

"Lily, what brings this up again? Why must you convince yourself you're beautiful?" I asked, daring to ask the inevitable question. "Does this have something to do with Amos?"

Lily paused and then shook her head. "It doesn't matter. I-I was just curious, I guess. Listen, I'm going to be late for a meeting with Dumbledore. I-I still need to talk to you about Amos though. You deserve a long explanation and I want to give it to you when I have the time. Tomorrow, maybe?"

I winced. "I can't. It's…well, it's a full moon."

"Oh right. Duh. I should have known. How about Tuesday night then?"

"We're having a party," I explained.

"Another one!?"

"Well, it's just a Marauder thing," I said with a shrug. "Hey, why don't you come? Rachel Colman will be there as well and you can even invite Hilary."

"Hilary's gone for the holidays," Lily responded. "But yeah, I guess since I missed the last one I shouldn't miss this one. Where is it?"

"Just in our dorm room—just a fun Christmas hang-out, get together thing."

"Your dorm room?" she repeated skeptically.

"Oh, come on, Lily," I groaned. "If McGonagall happens to catch us doing something, which she won't, do you really think she would bust the Head Girl? No. Besides, it'll be fun and I'm sure we can get away for a while and have a nice, long talk."

That part made her stop and think and she finally gave in. "Okay, I'll go. What else do I have to do anyhow?"

"That's the spirit! Hanging out with me because you have nothing else left to do," I said sarcastically with a teasing grin. We both laughed and said our goodbyes as she ran off, in a hurry to meet Dumbledore.

It wasn't until much, much later that I found out that the reason Lily had asked me if I thought she was pretty was all because of James. After Lily had refused to go up to Amos' dorm room, he called her stuck-up and ugly and Lily had believed him. But apparently, James had called her beautiful the night of our clean-up, only hours after Amos said she wasn't, so she just didn't believe him, though she really wanted to. Like she said, Petunia and her extended family members thought of her as a freak and when Amos said she was ugly, she thought it only confirmed it. However, she wanted to believe James more than anything. She needed my opinion before she could believe it herself so apparently when I had said yes, I just pushed her closer into James' arms. Bloody Merlin, what the hell was wrong with me!?

Knock, knock.

"Yay! Rachel's here!" Sirius said excitedly, rushing to the door. He opened it but who he saw behind it wasn't exactly who he wanted it to be, so he slammed the door in her face.

"Well, that was rude," James said simply.

"Well, who invited the Bitch-from-Hell anyway!?"

"You know I can hear you, right?" a muffled voice outside the door cried out.

I sighed and jumped up from my bed to let her in. "Sirius, you and her really need to make up soon because I don't think I can handle any more of this," I hissed so Lily couldn't hear before I opened the door and let her in.

"Listen, Sirius," Lily started nervously. All of our heads shot up. I had never heard the word 'Sirius' come out of Lily Evans' mouth…ever. She even had Sirius' attention by now. "I-I'm sorry about what I said to you the night of your party. It was rude and inconsiderate and I shouldn't have been running away with my mouth. I didn't mean any of it. It was just so stupid of me and I know it was-"

"The truth?" Sirius suggested.

"What? No!" Lily argued.

Sirius sighed. "Lily," he started, realizing his first mistake with using her first name. "I'm not dumb, even though you'd like to think I was. You can stand there and apologize all you want but you still said it, right? And I know you—okay, maybe not like Remus does, but I know that you think before you speak. And you wouldn't have said it if you didn't mean it."

"But that's the thing, Sirius, I wasn't thinking that night. I had a terrible night and you were just making it worse."

Sirius winced. "Yeah…I guess I should apologize for that."

"What for?" Lily smirked. "You were just being the normal you around me."

"Yeah, but I could have easily seen you didn't want me to be normal. For once, you wanted me to be considerate of you and I wasn't."

"But it wasn't your fault," Lily insisted. "And why are you apologizing to me? I came up here to apologize to you."

"Yeah, but can't a guy feel bad for what he's done and apologize as well?"

"Listen, you were just being you," she repeated. "I'm the one who's sorry."

"Lily, just accept my apology."

"Not until you accept mine."

I stared at them in absolute shock. I mean, seriously, I went numb I was just standing and staring at them for so long. And the craziest part was, they didn't even notice what they were doing!

"Should we be worried that they're arguing about who should be the one to apologize?" James whispered to me.

I felt myself nodding. "And you can't forget the fact that they're using their first names."

"Oh, that and they're not biting each other's heads off."

"Then yes. We should be extremely worried," I muttered.

Knock, knock.

"Saved by the door," James muttered, throwing himself at the door just to be away from Lily and Sirius' apologizing fest, which was almost turning mushy. What the hell was going on!?

"Hey, Rachel," I greeted.

"Hey, Remus," she said politely. She glanced at Lily and Sirius who hadn't noticed that Rachel just got there. "Uh…what's up with them?"

"Let's just say that pigs can now fly," James explained with a chuckle.

We all laughed, except for Sirius and Lily, who had finally stopped and turned to see what was so funny. "What?" Lily asked innocently.

"Rachel! When did you get here?" Sirius asked, pointing to his bed where she could sit.

"Gee, it's nice to know I'm loved," she said sarcastically, taking a seat beside him.

About an hour later, we were all joking and having some fun, even Sirius and Lily (I have to admit, I was definitely freaked out in the beginning but it was so obvious that Sirius was smitten with Rachel that I didn't have to worry about being protective of Lily, like I usually am. Okay, okay like I always am. Happy now?).

"I have to say that if someone had told me a year ago that I'd be hanging out in the Marauders room actually having fun, I would have told them that they've gone absolutely mad," Lily admitted.

"And now you're the one who's gone completely mad," James teased, shoving her gently and winking playfully at her.

We all laughed but I knew that there was some hidden truth behind that.

"Okay, who ate all of the Grape Whizzibizzies?" Rachel demanded to know.

Sirius shrugged and smiled at her. "I d'know," he muttered.

"Sirius, your tongue is bright purple!!" she whined. "You ate my whizzibizzies!"

"Oh, calm down. Have some Chocolate Frogs," he grinned.

She glared at him. "You know I hate those."

"That's because you're a freak of nature. Who doesn't like chocolate!?"

"Ex-cuse me?" she asked, but she was laughing at how hyperactive Sirius was at the moment.

"Come on, Rachie," he giggled. "Chocolate was made for all humankind to enjoy especially teenagers! How do you think ADHD was discovered!? Because of chocolate! Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! Chocolate is like the…the king of all candy. It's like the Snitch in Quidditch! The bell at the end of a History of Magic lesson! Like a little stray puppy asking you to be its mommy. Uh…it's like all of frickin' Europe! It's just the best part of life! Now, can you honestly sit there and tell me you don't like winning Quidditch? You don't like it when Binns finally shuts up? Don't tell me you don't like puppies!!!!"

"You'll have to ignore him," James said, rolling his eyes. "When he eats sugar, he forgets who he is."

Rachel laughed. "I don't know. I'm rather enjoying watching Sirius make a fool out of himself."

They all laughed.

"Hey, I'll go down to the kitchens and grab some more candy," I offered.

"Ooooh, more cake too!" Sirius said giddily.

"WHAT!?" James shouted. "You ate that whole goddamned chocolate cake by yourself!?"

Sirius grinned sheepishly. "Um…Rachel ate it?"

We all laughed and Lily commented, "The one who doesn't like chocolate ate the chocolate cake?"


We all burst into hysterical laughter with Sirius staring at us wondering what was so funny. He looked like a wet dog in the rain…just so incredibly helpless.

"Lily, you want to come with me?" I asked, glad that I could have the chance to finally talk to her about Amos.

"Are we getting that much?" she teased. I gave her a look and she laughed. "Yes, I'm coming."

"Maybe when we get back we could-"

"Play strip poker?"


"Spin the bottle?"


"Truth and dare?"


"Well aren't you just a bunch of party poopers."

"We'll be back soon," Lily said, rolling her eyes and grabbing my arm so we could get out of there fast before Sirius made another game offer that probably would have resulted in some sort of pillow attack.

I was having a great time that night. In fact, I couldn't remember ever having so much fun. I had been living in two separate worlds, divided by the Marauders and Lily, before that night and suddenly, they were intermixed. He could finally stop breaking promises to one another. He could finally include Lily in his Marauding activities, now that Sirius wasn't so vengeful of her and he knew he didn't have to worry about being to transparent when it came to protecting her. Because he had three other guys to watch over her! At least that's what I thought…

"Remus, I-I know why you wanted me to come with you," Lily said before I could open my mouth and ask her about her date with Amos. "And I just wanted to tell you that…that everything's okay. I actually talked about it with James and he helped me. And right now, I'm getting over it. I don't want to have to relive that night and I'm sorry that I promised you we'd talk about it because I hate breaking promises but I'm doing much better now. I-I don't want to have to talk about it anymore than I have."

I felt numb as I walked across the commons room and through the portrait hole. She chose James over me? That hurt more than she'd probably ever know. I take back what I said about not being protective. How could she trust him!? Wasn't he the one who made her life miserable for six years!? What makes her think that he's changed? I hadn't seen any significant alterations in the way he acted and in his attitude. He seemed like the same guy to me. How could Lily possibly trust him?

"Lily, how can you-"

"Trust him?" she finished with a firm look in her eye. "I know you have this tendency to protect me when it's not needed, but Remus? Can you please stop worrying about me? I trust James, alright? I don't know why…or how…or even when I started to, but I do. Please don't ruin that for me, okay?"

I stared at her for longer than necessary as we walked down the hallway in silence and I hated doing it, but I admitted that she was right. I had to stop protecting her. She wasn't such a little girl anymore and I couldn't always be her secret service. It was time for Lily to go out on her own. So I did the one thing I never thought I could.

I let her go.

"I love you, Lily, you know that, right?" I chose to say.

She gaped at me and, with a slight awkward hesitation, gave me a kiss on the cheek. "You're the best friend that a girl could ask for, Remus, y'know that?"

And that's when it all began. The roller coaster between Lily and James was only beginning. In the beginning, it was rocky. They were friends for quite a while, until they both finally admitted that friends just wasn't enough. However, with the occasional stupid comment from Lily, she would remember how he used to be with girls so she started avoiding him. Of course, this ended up with a huge argument breaking out between James and Sirius who, by the next day, were back to being best friends again.

I don't think that James and Lily were ever meant to be. They were just finally old enough to realize that being so alike doesn't mean that they had to disagree on everything else. They were able to settle their differences over one civil conversation and because of that, they always remembered how well they could compromise. Lily and James started out as the couple that probably wouldn't last. Then two months later, everyone in the school began worrying that perhaps he wasn't the most eligible bachelor anymore. Finally, by Easter Break, pandemonium broke out between the girls who were head-over-heels in love with James because he took Lily home to meet his family. That was when I knew for the first time that those two were going to get married some day. They were meant for each other in a strange, twisted way that I never could understand.

And the best part? Lily still told me everything.

"I'm in love with him, Remus Lupin. I'm head-over-heels, just-like-the-movies, walking into furniture, my head always in the clouds, where's my wedding ring in love with him!" she was practically singing to me on the night of our graduation.

"Never let him go, Lily," I whispered into her ear as we sat underneath the stars outside by the lake.

Lily simply smiled and nestled closer to me as the moon brightened the sky and everything seemed perfect.

"Thank you, Remus," she said after a long, comfortable silence.

"For what?"

"For being you."

I knew right then and there that Lily and I would remain friends forever. We were destined to be best friends. It's like written in the stars or something, not that I ever believed in that Astronomy crap. I just knew that our friendship was broken for too long during our seventh year and we could never go back and retrieve it. But we still had our whole lives ahead of us to build a stronger friendship. Once I let her go, it was easier for me to see who she really was. When I stopped watching over her shoulder and protecting her from everyone else, she became my best friend instead of my broken angel who needed a wing repaired. No, she learned to repair her own wings and even though James became her new best friend, she told me once that I would always have a special place in her heart. Don't get me wrong, we were never in love and we never will be but I'm glad that I could have met such a wonderful person like Lily Evans.

Indeed, my life never felt the same again.

It felt better.

A/N: Yay! Another story written and sent into ! This is actually the beginning of a series…somewhat. I'm in the middle of a one chapter fic for Sirius and am starting one for James as well. I may even write a Lily story if I have time before I go off to college. Anyway, review!