Disclaimer: Nope, not JK Rowling, so I can't claim ownership of anything Harry Potter related. I do own all of Remus' exes, though – they're locked in my airing cupboard for being mean to him.
A/N: "If you look up the word 'chequered' in the dictionary, under the explanation of what the word means, it actually says 'see also: Remus J Lupin, love-life of.' Interestingly enough, you'll find exactly the same phrase under the word 'disaster'."
This is a companion piece to The Werewolf Who Stole Christmas, inspired by the above sentences, which Remus says to Tonks after she pins him down about his romantic past. It shouldn't be too confusing if you haven't read that (although obviously, I'd be delighted if you did) – they're just going to be snapshots of his encounters with some of his more significant significant others, perhaps explaining a little about why he is who he is. All you really need to know is that my Remus has a little more Marauder in him than some…because I like him that way ; )
I don't think we should go out any more.
Remus stared at the note. The library swirled away into nothingness as he realised that it did actually say what he thought it did. There was no hidden meaning, no subtext, nothing on the scrap of parchment but the words he desperately didn't want to believe. He contemplated the appropriate response, the appropriate emotion, bouncing his quill on his chin, his hand shaking slightly. He scribbled a reply.
The response was swift.
Because David Reynolds asked me to go out with him and I said yes.
He stared at it. He wished he hadn't asked. David Reynolds? Who on earth was David Reynolds?
Then he remembered. He was captain of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team. Git.
He scrawled the word 'fine' angrily, hoping that his emotion showed in his penmanship, and tossed the note back across the table at Olivia, his ex-girlfriend.
Bloody hell, he thought. I've got an ex-girlfriend. He'd never intended to have one of those. Olivia had been the first girl he'd ever really fancied, the first girl he'd asked out, the first girl he'd kissed. He'd had another couple of firsts that he thought they might get around to one day at the back of his mind, but instead of those, she'd decided to be the very first girl to rip his heart out.
David bloody Reynolds. He was short and stocky and had a very oddly-shaped head.
He stared at his Charms textbook until the words didn't look like words anymore. It was bad enough that she was dumping him at all, let alone doing it in the library where he couldn't cause a fuss, let alone doing it in a sodding note. And as if that wasn't enough, she was leaving him for the worst Quidditch captain Hogwarts had ever seen, who had presided over the worst Hufflepuff losing streak since records began. What on earth did she see in him?
He stared at the passage on cheering charms so hard he was surprised his eyes weren't bleeding. He desperately wanted to be anywhere except sitting across the table from Olivia Crosby, but he didn't want to give her the satisfaction of knowing how upset he was.
Dignity wasn't a lot, but, apparently, it was all he had left.
He stared for exactly half an hour, turning the page at carefully timed intervals to keep up the pretence that he was actually reading, and then decided that that was probably long enough to have made the point that he really wasn't bothered about Olivia anymore, or David sodding Reynolds. He threw his things into his bag with forced casualness, and stalked out of the library.
He was halfway down the corridor when he realised he wasn't alone, and that whoever it was who was following him was saying his name and asking him to slow down. He glanced over his shoulder to see who it was, and then stopped so abruptly that Lily ran into him. "Sorry," she said, stepping back, catching her breath. "I was starting to wonder if you were ignoring me."
"Sorry," he said. His voice sounded distant, almost as if it was someone else speaking.
"Are you alright?"
He thought about it for a moment. He wasn't sure he'd ever been less alright, which given what he went through on a monthly basis, was rather an achievement on Olivia's part.
"What is it with girls?" he said.
"What do you mean?"
"They pretend they like you, they make you fall in love with them, and then one day, out of nowhere they reach into your chest, rip out your heart, toss it on the floor and stamp all over it."
"Are you being metaphorical?" she asked. He frowned at her quizzically.
"Yes," he said, his tone more bewildered than angry.
"Just thought I'd check," she said. "There's some pretty nasty hexes going around at the moment. In fact, that's where I was when I saw you. Some Slytherin sixth formers were –" she stopped and frowned. "You found out about David and Olivia, didn't you?"
"Found out about?" he said. What was there to find out about?
A large foreboding lump settled in his stomach. Suddenly he felt even less alright than he had thirty seconds ago, which he actually wouldn't have believed was possible. "That they've been, you know," Lily said, suddenly fascinated by the top of her own shoes. "Behind your back."
The world whirled away, and he was overtaken by the urge to be sick.
"I think I need to sit down," he said. He intended to slide down the wall and collapse on the floor, but Lily caught his elbow and dragged him a little way down the corridor and up the flight of stairs to the Prefect's bathroom. She muttered the password and shoved him inside.
"Sorry," she said, her voice echoing off the marble as she locked the door behind them. "I thought you knew. Me and my big mouth."
Remus sank onto the cold marble and pulled his knees up to his chest, hugging them tightly and rocking back and forth. He was suddenly quite grateful she hadn't let him do this in the corridor. "Does everybody know?" he said. Lily summoned a towel to sit on, and slid down beside him.
"I don't know," she said, softly. "I only know because I saw them."
"Last week," she said. "Gave them a piece of my mind about it."
"Fat lot of good it did," she said. "Will you stop that? You're making me sea sick."
"Sorry," he said. He stopped rocking, and chewed the skin around his nails instead.
David Reynolds. And his Olivia. Who had cheated on him. He wished he wasn't a prefect, then he wouldn't have seen the kind of thing people got up to in broom cupboards behind other people's backs. Now it seemed like the only thought his brain was capable of having, the only image it could focus on. David Reynolds and Olivia, doing things behind his back in broom cupboards.
"I never thought she was good enough for you," Lily said. He looked up from his knees.
"Didn't you?" he said, his voice oddly hollow.
"No. And for what it's worth, Gloriana Pritchard told me he's all hands."
"Oh," he said, cheered for a moment until another thought occurred to him. A horrible, horrible, horrible thought. A new rush of nausea passed through him. "Do you think that's why she – because I didn't – "
"If she did it's a pretty stupid reason to break up with somebody. You're better off without her."
He knew that she was trying to make him feel better, and he smiled at her as best he could, feeling that it was probably about as successful an attempt as if he'd only had a smile described to him, once, by someone who had heard about what one was supposed to look like from a friend. "It doesn't feel like that," he said.
"No," Lily said. "Not at the moment. You will meet somebody else, though."
"Easy for you to say," Remus said. "Everybody fancies you."
"Do not," Lily said, blushing.
"They do," he said, "and you know it."
Lily blushed a shade deeper, and he felt momentarily better, until the image of Olivia and David Reynolds floated back through his mind. He felt as if he'd been kicked in the stomach. "How am I supposed to..?" he let the question hang, not even really knowing what it was he wanted to ask.
"You've just got to hold your head up high," she said. "And if anyone gives you a hard time, tell them they'll have me to deal with. Especially your so-called friends."
"My friends?" he said.
"Potter and Black. If I catch them making fun of you – "
"They're really nowhere near as bad as you think they are, you know."
She shot him a look of utter disbelief. "Did it ever occur to you," she said, "that there's a chance they are?"
"No," he said, and she laughed.
"Maybe we'll have to agree to disagree on that."
He was grateful for the momentary distraction, but as soon as her words finished echoing off the marble, he was back where he'd started: numb, nauseous and an odd combination of angry and sad.
He hugged his knees tighter, wondering what on earth he'd done to deserve this. "You didn't do anything wrong, you know," Lily said, apparently reading his mind. "It's not your fault."
"What am I supposed to do?"
"Eat chocolate and mope," she said.
"That'll help, will it?"
"Yes," she said. "Trust me, I'm an expert."
He wasn't sure how long he sat, hugging his knees in the bathroom before Lily spoke again. "Are you feeling up to going to the common room?" she said, and he nodded, even though he was pretty sure it was the last thing in the world he wanted to do. "Come on then," she said. "Let's see if we can't find those pesky friends of yours."
They walked back to the common room in silence. He wasn't really sure what there was to say. He muttered the password when they reached the portrait of the Fat Lady, and he stood back to let her go first. "Lily?" he said, and she turned. "Thanks."
"Don't mention it."
He scanned the room, relieved to find Olivia wasn't there. Neither were his friends. He trudged up the stairs to their room, and it seemed a very long way, the door at least twice as heavy as it was usually. He lumbered to his bed and dropped onto it, his head in his hands.
He could tell without looking up that his friends were staring at him. "Olivia dumped me," he said, thinking it was best to get it over and done with. "For David Reynolds."
"David Reynolds?" James said. "Why?"
Remus glared at him. James looked away abashed and studied the floor, having apparently realised that it wasn't a particularly helpful thing to say. "You didn't know, did you?" he asked.
"Know what?" Peter said.
"That they'd been – I don't know – doing things behind my back."
"Of course not," Sirius said.
"He'd be in the hospital wing if we had," James added.
Remus felt a little better that they hadn't known – not that he'd ever really believed that they wouldn't have told him if they had. But it was comforting. Peter always seemed to know everything about everyone, and if he hadn't sniffed out the gossip, there was a chance no-one else had either, and he was pretty certain Lily wouldn't say anything, even though he hadn't asked her not to. He was dumped, but not a total laughing stock. It wasn't much consolation, but some consolation was better than none at all.
"What are you going to do?" James asked.
"Lily seems to think that chocolate might help."
"Bollocks to that," Sirius said. "What you need is revenge."
Peter nodded enthusiastically. "Luckily for you," James said, "I had a brilliant idea when we were in detention yesterday."
"The one with the –" Sirius said, grinning ominously.
"Perfect," Sirius said. "No-one messes with our Moony."
Remus sat in detention a week later, writing the words 'As a prefect of this school I am supposed to know better than to fill other pupil's shoes with bubotuber pus' for the four hundred and seventeenth time. He knew that what they'd done to David Reynolds was petty and stupid, and that really, he should have known better, but he couldn't help returning Sirius' smile across the room. Revenge was a far better way of getting over it than chocolate.
Granted there was still an odd kind of ache in his chest whenever he thought of Olivia, and a stabbing pain whenever he thought that he wasn't with her any more…. And bile rose in his chest when he saw her, and rage quickly followed when he saw her and David Reynolds together…. And he hadn't slept all week, as hideous thoughts and images circled his brain like vultures, picking over his humiliation and leaving him nothing but a dejected carcass of his former self….
He sighed and shook his hand, trying to shake off the ache in his wrist before returning his quill to the parchment to scrawl his line for the four hundred and eighteenth time. In fact, now he came to think about it, he wasn't feeling better at all.
But he still had his friends and another two week's detention to keep his mind off things. And he supposed that was something.
A/N: Anyone who reviews gets a Valentine's card from a fanfic Remus of their choice. Up for grabs we've got: Romantic Remus (hearts and flowers), Mischievous Remus (tasteless joke you laugh at in spite of yourself), Sexy Remus (no card, big snog), Flirty Remus (slightly suggestive poem) and Thoughtful Remus (something arty).