Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter, sadly. The wonderful, fantastic J.K. Rowling does. Though I'd very much like to own my some Marauder!love...Please don't sue. :)
The voice rang across Platform 9 ¾ just as Remus Lupin was about to board the Hogwarts Express – the train that would, by the end of the day, have them all safe and sound Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Remus turned around and saw the familiar forms of two of his best friends galloping towards him. James Potter and Sirius Black.
"Hey there Prongs, Padfoot," Remus said with a smile as the two skidded to a stop, grinning and pulling him into an enthusiastic embrace.
"Long time no see, mate. Rob any Muggle banks over the summer? Lose yourself in the heat of passion? Did you neglect any of your homework?" Sirius asked excitedly, grabbing Remus by the shoulders and shaking him a little as if for emphasis.
Remus chuckled and shook his head. "Not this year."
"You're a right bore sometimes, you know," Sirius said with a sigh, letting go and ruffling Remus's light brown hair. "You need to live a little. The universe will not cease to exist if you don't do all your homework over the summer."
"Waitasecond, what's that?" James cried out, shoving his pointed index finger out at a gleaming, golden badge on Remus's school robes. "Is that a-"
"A prefect badge!" Sirius interjected, noticing the badge for the first time. "James, it's true! Our ickle Remus is a prefect!" An impish grin spread across his face, lighting up his already dashing features. "Why didn't you tell us?"
"Well, you see, I had this crazy idea that you two might make a gigantic deal of it and mock me for the rest of-"
"Peter, there you are!" James interrupted, grabbing a small, chubby boy and pulling him over. "Remus is a prefect!"
The smaller boy grinned, amusement shining in his tiny, watery eyes. "Really?"
Remus sighed as the three launched into singsong taunts and teasing, and he couldn't help but smile. His expectations had been no less.
"Move along boys, time to board the train," someone said, ushering them onto the train.
Caught up in the hustle and bustle of their search for an empty compartment, Remus bumped into something – or rather, someone.
"Oh, excuse me, I'm sorry-" he started, apologies flowing instantly from his mouth.
"It's fine, don't worry about it," a sweet, feminine voice replied. Remus opened his eyes and saw Lily Evans, the most talented witch of their year, standing in front of him with a smile. "I wasn't paying attention to where I was going."
"Really, Lily, it was my fault," Remus said shyly.
"As interesting as a debate over 'whose fault it was' would be, we'll just spare the breath and say it was Snape's fault," James said, nudging Peter a little to the side to stand by Lily, grinning charmingly. "Hey there, Lily."
Her expression instantly soured. "Hello James."
Remus heard Sirius snort, and Remus had to advert his gaze slightly to hide his amused smile. James had been doggedly pursuing Lily Evans since their prior year at Hogwarts, and she had been doggedly reminding him how extremely uninterested she was. It had grown quite amusing to watch him attempt to woo her in his pathetic and pitiful way.
Glancing over at Remus, her eyes lit back up as they caught on his badge. "Remus, you're a prefect?"
His cheeks warmed slightly, and he nodded with a small smile. "Yeah."
"I am too! The prefects get their own compartment, you know," she said, beaming at the shared responsibility. "Would you like to head down there with me?"
Remus blushed scarlet and cleared his throat awkwardly. "Uh, yeah, sure," he said with a tiny nod, trying to ignore the heated glare James was giving the back of his head.
"Wonderful. Come on," she said, tugging a little on Remus's sleeve and purposely bumping into James's shoulder. "They're going to give us our instructions and let us get to know the other prefects. It'll be fun," she continued kindly. Remus focused on the warmth of her voice to try and drown out the cold daggers he felt from James. He would make an intense effort to convince James that they simply were receiving instructions as prefects, and did not, in fact, sneak away to snog in a broom closet or whatnot. James had an active imagination, so clarifications like those had to be made.
"It's quite exciting, isn't it?" she asked as they walked past the compartments full with students. "I'm really not that surprised to see Dumbledore made you a prefect."
Remus turned to her and tilted his head. "Why's that?"
"Well, because despite your questionable company, you're a responsible boy. Besides, he may even want you to keep those wretched friends of yours in check."
Remus pursed his lips slightly. "They're not wretched," he said, slightly defensively.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that," she said, shaking her head with a sigh. "That James Potter just really gets me going sometimes. So obnoxious."
"He's a good guy, really. He just fancies you," Remus said quietly.
She snorted slightly and shook her head. "Well, I fancy him about as much as a hex. Possibly even less."
"You should give him a chance..."
Before Lily had the chance to respond, they arrived at the prefects' compartment, cutting them short. Remus slid it open for her with a tiny smile, and she smiled back, their conversation seemingly forgotten.
It hadn't taken long for the rest of the prefects to arrive and their instructions to be explained. Remus recognized most of the other prefects by face, but he didn't know any other than Lily by name. Having her there gave him a sense of comfort.
When all duties had been given and questions answered, they were given the opportunity to join the rest of the students if they wished. Remus made a slight movement to get up and rush back to his friends, before he noticed Lily wasn't moving. "You alright?"
She looked up at him. "Hmm?"
Remus ignored the tiny flip his stomach did when her piercing green eyes cut into his own pale blue ones. "I asked if you're alright. You didn't get up to head back."
"Oh, I think I'm just gonna stay here," she said with a smile. "It's calmer."
"Oh. Well, would you like me to stay with you?" he asked, tilting his head.
She chuckled softly. "That's very sweet of you, Remus, but you don't have to. I'm sure your friends are missing you."
Remus chuckled as well, shaking his head. "Honestly, I bet they've already forgotten. I think I'll stay here with you. I've got all year to listen to mischief I'll pretend I'm not listening to."
She laughed and smiled, gently shaking her head. "Has anyone ever told you what a sweetheart you are?"
"Well, you just did," he said with a smile, looking down and sitting back down next to her. "Does that count?"
"Sure, it can count." She smiled at him again, and he turned to his trunk to hide the darkening tint in his cheeks.
He pulled out his calender and quill and began marking down the things discussed in their brief meeting; partially so he wouldn't forget and partially so she wouldn't see the embarrassing flush on his pale cheeks.
When everything was recorded and orderly, he began starring consistent dates throughout the months of the calender casually. He could feel Lily's curious gaze on him, but much to his relief, she withheld her questions and began marking her own calender.
A comfortable silence settled on them like a blanket, snugly removing the need to do or saying anything in particular. It was a long train ride, and there was no need wear out all conversation pieces in the first hour – especially considering neither was one of many words.
When he reached the end of the his calender and had no more dates to mark, he carefully placed it back in his trunk and leaned back into the seat, watching the countryside whip by as the train plowed on.
"Anything interesting out there?" she asked, snapping Remus out of his trance in a jolt.
Once he had fully composed himself, he shrugged. "Not particularly. Same scenery as always," he said with a halfhearted chuckle.
"Funny how that works," she said with a smile. "You excited about the year?"
A wider smile spread on his lips. "Yeah, I love it here. I've missed it. Especially getting to see the guys all the time. Sirius stayed with James for part of the summer, but I wasn't able to make it." He noticed her mood shift slightly at the mention of James and Sirius, so he continued on swiftly to change the subject. "Being a prefect is also pretty exciting in its own right, even with the mocking it brought about."
"Mocking?" she asked. Her mouth twisted a little. "Don't tell me those gits were mocking you for being a prefect."
Remus chuckled and shook his head. "Don't get too wound up. It was more teasing, actually. All in good fun."
"If you insist," she said, the trace of scorn melting from her eyes. Remus had taken to notice her rush to the aid of those suffering at the mischievous hands of James and Sirius. He knew his friends had a talent for trouble, but it was part of what made Remus bond with them so much. He wouldn't want them any other way.
"You're too hard on them," Remus said lightly.
"They deserve it. I have yet to see them prove to me that they can be classified as decent human beings," she said, shaking her index finger slightly. "When they are able to do so, I'll be more than glad to treat them as such. I really do try to be nice."
"I know they're hard to get on with at first. I've grown quite fond of them over the years, though," he said with a nod.
"Well, it's definitely their gain," she said with a kind smile.
Remus felt his face heat again as he returned his gaze to the hilly scenery. He needed an off button for this face-heating business – it really was getting a bit ridiculous. She should know better than to be so nice. If she wasn't more careful, his face would be stained this color.
They fell back into silence, and Remus couldn't help but wonder why he suddenly had nothing more to say. He and Lily had had classes together for years, as they were both Gryffindors and valued high marks in their classes, but this was the longest they had ever spent with one another. Alone, at least, and depending on social skills to carry them through. He was always surrounded by James, Sirius, and Peter, while Lily was always surrounded with her group of Gryffindor girls. Not to mention Lily progressively disliked his group more and more as years passed – she did not find excessive (and sometimes cruel) mischief to be appealing. Why she was so friendly with him, he could not figure out. She seemed to think him an innocent gem being corrupted by their negative influence, though this was hardly the case.
The sky outside began darkening, and Remus suddenly felt Lily's form go limp against his arm. He jumped slightly as his inside leaped into his throat, a not altogether unpleasant feeling, though quite shocking. He looked down to see her eyelids gently closed, her soft red hair swept gracefully across her cheek. He felt his pulse quicken and face heat again – his entire body went rigid as he searched for a way to sit her up without disturbing her. He was hardly accustomed to having beautiful girls falling asleep on him, and it was less than outstandingly comfortable. It simply didn't happen.
After finding no easy way to safely escape the situation, he settled for riding it out. She was a quiet and gentle sleeper, so she wasn't disturbing him – he only hoped no one got the wrong idea. James would very well have his head. Remus was simply relieved he had changed into his robes before he ever even boarded the train. That would be rather difficult to do with Lily on him.
It wasn't long before the train coasted to a stop in Hogsmeade. Remus gently shook her, reluctant to wake her but knowing he couldn't very well leave her on the train.
Her eyes fluttered open and looked up at him. "Wha?"
"We're in Hogsmeade. Rise and shine."
Outside the compartment, other students were already bustling past to depart the train. Lily stretched a little and sat up, rubbing her eyes. "Thanks for being such a wonderful pillow. You're a good guy, Remus Lupin."
"Well, thank you, Lily Evans." He smiled and made an effort to keep his blush in check before standing and helping her up. After getting her trunk down from the overhead compartment and his from the seat, they walked out with the rest of the crowd onto the platform. Remus couldn't see his friends anywhere, so he stuck with Lily. He watched as the first years were led off for the ceremonial crossing of the lake.
Rain began leaking down slowly until a thin sheet was falling. He noticed Lily shivering slightly, so he pulled a large jacket from his trunk and handed it over to her. She gave a grateful smile as they boarded the carriages that would bring them to Hogwarts. Once she had sat down, she pulled the jacket snugly around herself for warmth.
"You know, you're quite nice company when the others are gone. Such a gentleman," Lily said, chuckling. "We should hang out more often."
"I have a feeling we will be with all this prefect business," he said with a smile, sitting back down beside her.
"I look forward to it."
The carriage bumped along the road, past the large iron gate entrance to the grounds and down the path before stopping in front of the large, castle-like school. Its grandeur never ceased to amaze Remus.
Stepping out of the carriage and holding out his hand, he helped her down to the ground. The rain had stopped again, so there was only a light glisten on the ground.
"Thank you, kind sir," she said brightly.
"Wow, it's almost like I heard a similar phrase just moments ago," he said with a smile. "Come on, let's catch up with the others."
It didn't take long for them to join the rest of the crowd as they entered the large school and were seated in the Grand Hall for the Sorting. Remus casually scanned for his friends and saw them nowhere. The Sorting had begun, so he and Lily simply chose a spot at the Gyrffindor table and watched as the first years were Sorted into each House, calls of "Gryffindor! Hufflepuff! Ravenclaw! Slytherin!" ringing throughout the Hall. They all looked so tiny. Had he been that tiny?
His eye finally caught James's, and suddenly a sense of doom settled in his stomach. The boy looked...well...angry. Really angry. Murderous, even.
Remus wondered what type of flowers they would use at his funeral...
He had resolved to mend the damage the moment the Sorting was over. With only a brief goodbye, Remus abandoned his seat by Lily and his plate full of food to approach James, Sirius, and Peter.
James turned to see him, eyebrows knit tightly. "You back-stabbing little git-"
"James, James, calm down!" Sirius soothed, patting James on the shoulder. "I'm sure Remus has a prefectly good explanation. Get it? Prefectly?" Sirius said with mirth.
"This is no time for jokes, Sirius! He's trying to steal my Lily!" James said, almost pouting. In an angry sort of way, of course.
"I wasn't trying to steal anyone, honest, James. It was solely prefect business," Remus said sincerely. "Yes, she's a nice girl, and yes, she was enjoyable company, but I promise you I'm not trying to step on your turf. I know how much you like her, and I wouldn't do that to you." He looked hopefully into James's eyes and, with relief, watched them dim down to normal.
"See? Moony here was just on his Top Secret Prefect Business. No need to fret," Sirius said, patting them both on the shoulders. "And no harm done. Now come join us, fair Moony, before the food chills. Come come now, no need to be afraid. I know Peter looks a little bit frightening, but he doesn't bite. Hard," he said with a grin as Peter stuck out his tongue.
Remus sent a wary look back to Lily and received a slight frown and a nod before she turned back to her food. He felt something in his stomach drop and a nip of guilt, but he sat down as instructed. Lily understood. She had a knack for that.
"So...I heard you and Evans were all snuggly in that empty little prefects compartment. Is this true?" Sirius asked in a newscaster impression, using his fork as a microphone.
Remus sighed and rolled his eyes. "She just fell asleep. You know how ridiculously exaggerated a rumor can get."
"See, I knew it all along. I knew my Moony wouldn't do something like that," James said matter-of-factly, nodding and stuff a bite of food in his mouth.
Remus and Sirius exchange a glance, rolling their eyes and snorting softly with knowing amusement.
The feast ended and Remus stood with Lily to help herd the Gryffindors to the common room, as they were both the prefects. He detected a slight disappointment from her, but he focused on a wailing first year to occupy his mind instead, sending Lily on with the rest of their pack.
The little girl had tears streaming down her face, and Remus felt a tugging on his heartstrings. "What's wrong?"
She opened her mouth to speak but more sobs simply erupted. Remus knelt down beside her and pulled out a handkerchief, wiping the tears from her tiny cheeks. After a few moments, she had calmed down.
Deciding not to open the can of worms and chance her breaking into another bout of sobs, he simply patted her arm and stood up, holding out his hand for her. "Come on, let's get on to the common room."
Her tiny, flushed face nodded as she looked up at him, taking his hand. He knew the way to the common room like the back of his hand – as a matter of fact, he knew the entire school like the back of his hand. He and his friends had discovered passageways in the school that not even their headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, knew about. They went as far as to make a map for themselves. The Marauder's Map, as they were the Marauders: Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs. Remus pretty much had this under control.
They arrived shortly at the entrance to the common room, a picture of The Fat Lady, and Remus gave the password to get in.
He saw quite a few people still milling about the common room when they arrived – Lily suddenly stood out from the rest.. He gave a her a smile, and slightly to his surprise, received a smile back. She walked over and looked down at the little girl. "All better?"
The first year girl smiled and nodded before looking up at Remus. "Thanks."
"No problem," he said, patting her shoulder before she skipped off to find her friends.
"You're quite the piece of work," she said, smiling and shaking her head.
Remus frowned slightly. "I'm sorry about-"
"About ditching me at dinner?" she finished. Remus's frowned deepened, and she smiled. "Don't worry about it, really. They're your friends, and I don't blame you for it. I'm a big girl and can take care of myself."
Remus felt his cheeks heat. "I wasn't trying to say-"
She laughed and patted his cheek. "Calm down, I know. Go upstairs, get some sleep. You'll feel better in the morning. Run along."
Remus anxious expression melted into a laugh. "Yes, mother."
She rolled her eyes and smiled, giving him a nudge towards the stairs leading up to the boys dormitories. "See you in the morning, prefect."
"See you in the morning too, prefect," he said with amusement as they parted.
The smile never quite faded from his face as he climbed the stairs and made his way to the dormitory he shared with James, Sirius, and Peter. He walked into see them unpacking their trunks – which basically meant they were throwing their clothes at each other in mock battle.
"Guys-" Remus said before he was hit in the face with a pillow. He chuckled and shook his head, tossing the pillow gently back onto Sirius's bed and leaving them to their battle as he began neatly unpacking his trunk.
Changing into his pajamas and crawling under the covers, he watched his friends duke it out before staring up at the canopy above his four-poster bed.
Soon enough he drifted to sleep, the yelps and laughter of his friends lulling him away.