"Please, Moony? Pretty, pretty please?"
Remus Lupin gave James Potter a withering glance. "For the last time, no!" Realizing the harshness of his tone, Remus quickly amended, "Why don't you ask Sirius or Peter to do it?"
James sighed melodramatically, flopping down on the red and gold couch that Remus was sitting on. The two boys had been studying in the Gryffindor Common Room in front of the fire when James had brought up the subject of Lily Evans. Again.
"Sirius can't do it. I think she hates him more than she hates me." James reasoned.
"Quite the feat." Remus replied, idly turning a page in his book.
Frustrated by his friend's flippancy but still determined, James persisted. "Peter can't, either. He wants to help, but he's just—too eager, or something. He makes himself all tongue tied. Plus, you're the only she will really talk to."
"Yes, and that's because I don't bug her every few minutes about dating you." When he noticed James's scowl, Remus shrugged and continued, "Sorry, Prongs, but I don't really want to go woo Lily Evans on your behalf. I have things to do."
James scoffed. "Like…?"
Remus held up his textbook and motioned to it. "Study, for one."
Though he felt bad about playing it, James realized that the guilt card was the only one he had left up his sleeve. It wasn't the fairest way to win this argument, but Remus would never go unless James offered a bit of…guilt-induced incentive.
"Moony, I'm hurt." He began, feigning a look of deep offense, "I go out of my way to practice highly illegal magic, just so I can be there for you when you're having one of your bad nights, and then you won't even do me this one, simple favor."
Sighing, Remus set his textbook beside him on the couch. He glowered at James.
"Well played, Prongs."
Turning and heading toward the portrait hole, Remus did not miss the smirk of satisfaction that crossed James's face.
He found her in the library, sitting at a table with her notes splayed out before her in a messy pile. She had a quill tucked behind her ear, and Remus noticed with a laugh that a bit of ink had stained her hair. Hearing his footsteps, Lily Evans looked up. When she realized it was Remus, she gave a sigh and turned back to her notes.
"Tell Potter that no, I still won't go out with him." She murmured as she looked over her notes. "And also inform him that that answer won't change no matter how many times he sends you, so he can go ahead and stop." Lily looked up, and Remus could see amusement glinting in her green eyes. "I'm sure that'd be a relief for both of us, no?"
"I'll gladly tell him all of that, but you know that he won't be deterred that easily." Remus replied glumly, settling down in the chair next to Lily. "How come you won't give him a chance?"
Lily looked away from her notes, a disgusted grimace tracing its way across her features. "Oh, please, Remus. Don't say something like that after I just had lunch." She clutched her stomach and sent him a glare, "Really, how can you suggest such a thing?"
Remus laughed. "My motives are very selfish." He admitted, "I want James to stop bugging me to talk to you."
"And avoid all of our wonderful meetings? Am I to assume you don't think me a pleasant conversationalist?" Lily pouted, resting a hand on her heart, "You wound me!"
Again, Remus chuckled. He gave Lily a smile, then turned his gaze away, embarrassed. "Oh, you know that's not what I meant."
Gathering her notes into a pile, Lily returned the smile. He missed it, however, as his eyes were still looking away. "I just don't like him." She answered, out of nowhere, "And I don't even mean that I don't like him like him, I mean I just plain don't like him!"
Her sudden outburst caught Remus off guard. He looked up at her sharply, trying to discover something in her eyes. She seemed guarded, however, her gaze cast down at her pile of notes.
"Why not?" he asked, scooting his chair closer to hers so that they could drop the volume of their voices.
Lily shrugged uncomfortably. "He's mean—he treats people horribly and thinks it's funny." She frowned, "James—and Sirius, too—they exploit other people for their own pleasure. It's awful. They attack people with such ferocity." She paused, before continuing, "I don't know how you can even be friends with them, they're so awful."
"They're really not so bad as you think…" Remus's voice trailed off. He felt stunned by her hatred for James but couldn't say that it wasn't justified. He thought back to how James had gotten him to come meet Lily; hadn't he guilted him into it by using Remus's own…condition? Remus gulped; he was being silly. James had been nothing but loyal and good to him since they'd become friends. He looked up to see Lily staring back at him very strangely, and suddenly he felt very awkward. "You don't—you don't think I am…?"
Realizing his implication, Lily immediately shook his head. "Oh no, Remus! I don't think that you're like that." She smiled warmly, "You're—sweet. I don't think you have a ferocious bone in your body."
Blushing, Remus shrunk a bit into his seat. He was flattered by her compliment, but also knew how very untrue it was. Very people know how ferocious he could be.
"I think I should go." He said, quickly, "I've taken up too much of your time…"
The words were scarcely out of his mouth before he'd turned and left, leaving Lily in his wake to wonder about his sudden departure. She hoped she hadn't offended him by insulting his friends; in retrospect, she supposed it hadn't been the wisest choice. Still, he had asked.
Sighing and telling herself she would just have to think about it later, she pulled the quill out from behind her ear and a sheet of parchment from her bag so that she could begin her homework.
Remus didn't return to Gryffindor Tower immediately, knowing that James would be there and would want a full report of how the conversation had gone. The sandy-haired boy couldn't bring himself to repeat the things Lily had said; he knew it wouldn't deter James, but he was also sure that it would still hurt him.
Though he did his best to avoid the rest of the Marauders (for he was certain that James would have informed Sirius and Peter by that time) for the rest of the day, he couldn't get away from them at dinner that evening. As dusk fell, Remus tried to skip the meal, but his stomach demanded that he go and, as a Prefect, he would have felt guilty sneaking into the kitchens after curfew.
Resigning himself to his fate, Remus entered the Great Hall and took the seat next to Peter, across from James and Sirius. All three of his best friends were staring at him intently, trying to discern any positive news in his face.
It didn't take them long to figure out that there was no positive news to be found, however, when Remus pointedly avoided looking all three of them in the eyes.
James was the first to speak up. "Aw, Moony. Did she shoot me down again?"
Nodding, Remus sighed. "Yeah, she did." Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Lily approaching the table to sit down. He felt himself freeze up; he couldn't repeat what she said with her standing there. "Sorry, Prongs."
"Did she say why?" Peter asked, reaching forward for a roll. Remus fought the urge to glare at him; he'd hoped that the others would drop it when he said she'd maintained the same answer.
"Can we not talk about this when she's a meter away." Remus whispered, giving his friends an impatient look. Sirius, Peter, and James all raised their eyebrows at him, amused at his reaction.
Unfortunately, Remus's fears were confirmed when Lily Evans suddenly chimed into the conversation. "Oh, don't worry, Peter. I'll tell you why." She said, in a sarcastically gossipy tone, "It turns out that I think James Potter is a frighteningly horrid excuse for a human being! Can you believe it? Who could have guessed that I wouldn't be impressed by someone who gets his fun at the expense of other people's pain?" Lily scoffed, glaring daggers at James as her tone changed, "Really, Potter, this is getting to be ridiculous. I don't think it's possible to dislike you any more than I do, and that will never change. So do me a favor. Back off! I don't want to be asked out, I don't want to even hear your voice. And stop sending Remus to talk to me in some weird attempt to placate me. He's the only nice person in this whole group, and I hate to think of you using him like that."
With that, Lily grabbed a sandwich off the table, stood, and left the Great Hall.
For a moment, every Marauder was completely silent. That moment passed, however, and the three Marauders turned to look, stunned, at the blushing Remus. Trying not to squirm under their disbelieving stares, Remus gulped.
"I…am not really that hungry." He announced awkwardly, before standing and walking stiffly out of the Great Hall.
Remus shuffled into the Gryffindor Common Room to find Lily sprawled out on the couch in front of the fire. His first instinct was to run toward the Boys' Dormitory, but before he could move, she lifted a hand and motioned him toward her. He took a few slow steps.
"You know, you didn't have to say it that way." He said. His tone wasn't angry, or chastising; it was, instead, quiet and sad. "It won't stop him."
Lily waved at him to come closer, as he was partway across the room. She waited until he'd obeyed before she spoke, her green eyes staring at the flickering flames in the fireplace.
"Why can't he just leave me alone?" she asked. Her voice was so gloomy that Remus felt his own heart clinch with sympathy. "I didn't mean to be so cruel."
He nodded. "I know."
She continued as if she'd never even heard him. "He just brings out the worst in me. I see how he treats other people, and it makes me so furious that I just can't…can't reign in my anger."
Noticing that Remus was hovering by the couch, Lily moved her feet so that he could sit. He did, awkwardly, simultaneously saying, "James isn't so terrible as you think he is."
Lily snorted. "Oh?"
"He really isn't." Remus pleaded in earnest, "He's a good bloke. A little mean, on occasion, but it's all in good fun. He means nothing by it."
Her eyes narrowed and he had to fight to not shrink beneath her gaze. "Perhaps it means something to the people he and his little friends so relentlessly tease."
Remus folded his hands in his lap, staring down at them. "I'm one of his friends, you know."
Realizing what she'd just said, Lily's hand flew to her mouth and she sat up very quickly. She maneuvered her position on the couch so that she was sitting next to him; her visage was apologetic.
"Oh, Remus. I didn't mean you. You're different from all of them." She smiled kindly, as if hoping to make up for her statement, "You're…dear. I can't imagine you being vicious to a fly."
Her constant remarks about his passive nature made him feel very uncomfortable; Lily hardly knew him well enough to know his secret, and her praise made him wish very much that he was the boy she seemed to think he was. A new thought struck him: he wanted Lily Evans to think highly of him. Remus felt guilty for even thinking it.
"You don't really know me well enough to make a judgement like that." He stated, repulsed by his own, sudden feelings for her. He needed to get away and get some air; having her so near was starting to make him feel claustrophobic. He started to stand, but a small hand reached out and caught his elbow, prompting him to sit down again.
Even after he was seated, her hand remained on his arm.
Lily looked at him, her eyes wide and sad. "Are you angry at me, Remus?"
He shook his head, but his eyes refused to meet hers. Suddenly, her hand lifted and turned his head so that he was looking down into her bright green orbs. Remus gulped, and reiterated, "I'm not mad, I promise." Her hand didn't move from his cheek, and Remus was very aware that he was starting to blush.
Slowly, Lily and Remus began to move toward each other, each of them letting their eyes fall shut. Their lips brushed lightly. That touch, so gentle and delicate, was enough to awaken Remus to reality; he was kissing Lily Evans, the girl one of his best friends was desperately in love with.
Remus pulled away from her, pretending he didn't notice her eyes flutter open and a look of disappointment cross her face. Scratching the back of his head, he shrugged.
"We shouldn't." he murmured, barely above a whisper.
"Why not?" Lily returned, partway between anger, surprise, and sadness.
Relinquishing his arm from her grasp, Remus rubbed his hands together nervously. "It's just…not right."
Anger won out and took hold of Lily. "He doesn't own me, Remus."
Remus turned toward her, grabbing her hands in his own and giving her a pleading look. "Don't—don't talk like that. That's not why." He paused, gulping, "Well, not completely, anyway."
Lily rolled her eyes. "Then I repeat, why not?"
"It makes me feel horrible." He said, defeated. When she opened her mouth to reply, he shook his head, signaling her not to talk. "You said you hated James for the way he treated others, but aren't I just as bad if I kiss the girl one of my very best friends is crazy about?" he gently squeezed Lily's hands, feeling guilty as she looked away from him, avoiding his eyes.
After a moment of silence, she finally spoke. "And?"
"And what?" he asked, confused by her response.
"That can't be all." Lily replied, her eyes still trained on the floor. "That can't be it."
Again, Remus's instincts told him that he should run. Lily Evans was getting dangerously close to asking him about his biggest secret, and he couldn't tell her. She would hate him, and he wasn't sure he could stand that after what had just transpired between them.
In response to her statement, he shrugged. "That's all I have to say."
With that, Lily looked up and studied Remus's face for a moment. He looked tired; there were bags under his hazel eyes, and his skin was pale. A few strands of shaggy sandy-blonde hair fell in front of his face. She knew he wasn't being completely honest; the expression on his face told her so.
"Liar." She whispered, holding his gaze.
That one word, coupled with her accusatory glance, awakened some passion in Remus that he hadn't known he possessed. He ripped his hands away from hers and placed them behind her head in one swift motion, before bringing his lips crashing down upon hers. The sudden violence of his actions momentarily caught Lily off-guard, but soon she was returning his kiss with equal vigor.
They continued for a few blissful, passionate minutes when suddenly, Remus felt the old guilt return to him. He was acting like an animal. His gaze was wild as he pulled away from her, untangling his hands from her dark red hair. Suddenly, he stood and bolted for the boy's dormitory, leaving a bewildered Lily Evans to think about just how ferocious that shy, kind boy could be.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I'm not making money off of this. Though, if I'm honest, I wish I was. I could use some money. Haha.
A/N: Never wrote Remus/Lily before—not sure if I ever will again, I found it to be horribly difficult to write Remus. Not sure if I did a very good job, feedback would be much appreciated.
Thank you for reading and please review!