A/N: This is a Remus/Tilia fic. if you don't know who Tilia is, you have three options: 1. REad Farsight020's story "Falling in Love with Someone" which details her story pretty well, 2. Fire off an e-mail to Russet022, who I'm borrowing the character from and who can probably tell you everything you wanted-or didn't want- to know abou Tilia, or 3. Accept her as a random OC, and leave it at that. Thanks for reading, review if you want to.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of this story, not the Potter parts, nor the Tilia part. I just manipulate them...evil laugh. Enjoy!

Explosions

For Russet, love Shadow. Happy Birthday.

Summary: The Marauders decide to make Tilia's birthday special, and add a touch of surprise along the way.

It was summer, school was out, and the Marauders were staying over at James Potter's lake house for two weeks. Remus Lupin rolled over on his air mattress, which was at the foot of James' bed, and stretched his neck so that he could see the clock. Five a.m. Interesting.

He rolled again onto his back and stared at the ceiling, with no intention of going back to sleep. He listened to Peter Pettigrew's snores for a minute or two, and barely noticed when Sirius Black grunted in his sleep. James was muttering something that sounded like, "Don't go, Lily." Remus stifled a laugh at the mention of Lily Evans, James' crush for the last five years. At the thought of crushes, he smiled again, thinking of his own crush, Tilia Manoran, who was staying in the guest house that stood behind the Potter's main house. He sometimes wondered why she was there, when Sirius and James did nothing but annoy her. But, Mr. and Mrs. Potter were her aunt and uncle, so she had just as much right to be there as they had.

Then, quite suddenly, Remus sat bolt upright. Today…today was Tilia's birthday! And he didn't have anything for her! How could he have forgotten? This wasn't something that was easy to forget…he'd had a countdown for the last week! He stood up and woke James up roughly.

"Wassamatter?" he said blearily.

"Get up," Remus hissed.

"Why?" But Remus had already moved on to Sirius, who was proving much harder to wake.

"Sirius, come on!" Remus was practically shouting while shaking the tall, dark haired boy with such vigor that the air mattress was threatening defeat and deflation.

"Huh?" the sleepy reply finally came.

"Get up you great lump," Remus said hurriedly, as he woke Peter up with a soft kick.

"What?" the blond said sitting up with a jolt.

"Remus wants us up, Pete," James said, sitting up and putting his glasses on.

"Why?" Peter asked. "It's five o'clock in the morning." He made to lie back down, but Remus poked him and he remained sitting. Sirius glared up from where he was stretching luxuriously on his bed.

"Come on, guys," Remus pleaded. "It's Tilia's birthday, and I've completely forgotten!" The other burst out laughing. "It's not funny!" Remus said sullenly.

"I know, I know…but…" James sputtered.

"You want us to help you come up with something that can be made in two hours, and given as a present, right?" Sirius said shrewdly, standing and continuing his morning stretch routine.

"Yeah," Remus replied, "but nothing that you or James would normally do. No pranks. No funny stuff. Please?"

"Why not bake her a cake?" Peter suggested innocently.

"Always thinking about food, you are, Wormtail," James said. "No, this has got to be something lasting; something beautiful…you don't know my cousin. She'd think the cake was the joke, and the prank was the real present."

"No she wouldn't," Remus said. "She'd think the cake was funny…and she'd be amazed if we could pull it off, since none of us can cook."

"Hey!" Sirius exclaimed. "I can cook!"

"Yeah, scrambled eggs, and that's basically it," James said, poking him. Sirius poked him back, and the beginnings of an all-out poke war were at hand when Remus shouted, "Padfoot! Prongs! Act your age, not your mindset!"

They looked up to insult him back, but he was halfway out the door, heading to the kitchen to try to bake a cake. They had no choice but to follow with Peter in their wake.

8888 8888 8888

Tilia opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling for a moment before rolling over to see the clock. Five-thirty, a.m. Not fair. Today was her birthday…why was she up so early?

She got out of bed and poured herself a glass of water from the sink in the bathroom, before going back to her bedroom and pulling her curtain aside to see the predawn world on the other side of the glass. It was all so pale and beautiful, swirling in mist…and golden light. Golden light? She looked again, and traced the light to its source—the kitchen window at the main house.

Funny. Why would the kitchen light be on at this time? Unless one of the boys, or her aunt or uncle had done what she had done, and gone for a glass of water? But as she watched, the light did not go out. It remained on far longer than it would have if someone was just getting a glass of water. She jumped when a silhouette outlined itself against the glass…Sirius, unless she was greatly mistaken. She shook her head—they were probably planning some extravagant prank for her, since it was her birthday. She crawled back into bed and, after spending some time thinking what the prank could be, fell back asleep.

8888 8888 8888

"Right…flour. Where's the flour?" Remus muttered some minutes later. They were all in the kitchen, and most of the ingredients for the cake were out on the counter—as was the recipe James had unearthed from his mother's drawer of cook books. It was, thankfully, a non-magic way of baking a cake, since none of them were overage, and technically couldn't use magic outside of school. Not that they usually abided by that rule anyway.

"Moony, I found it!" Peter said excitedly, climbing down from the counter he had been kneeling on to reach the upper cabinets. "Here." He handed Remus the heavy jar with great care, and Remus set it on the counter and began to measure the correct amount into his mixing bowl.

"Sirius can you hand me two eggs, please," he said a bit later. When he turned around to face Sirius, the tall boy hid something behind his back. Remus's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "What have you done this time?" he asked wearily.

"Nothing," Sirius said, his voice carefully innocent.

"Uh huh," Remus said, "Just hand me the eggs, will you?" The eggs were passed, and as soon as he turned his back, Sirius turned as well, setting something on the counter opposite from Remus, and waving his wand over it. James sniggered when he leaned over and saw what Sirius was doing.

"I heard that," Remus called from the other side of the kitchen.

"Heard what?" James said, falsely innocent.

"You two laugh," Remus said, not looking at them. "Just so long as it doesn't explode, it's fine."

"But exploding is the best part!" Sirius protested.

"NO." Remus said, rounding on him. Sirius quickly poked the thing behind him. "No big booms today. Please?"

"Alright, Moony. No big booms for you." Remus nodded in satisfaction. "But big booms for someone else, well that's still fair game," Sirius finished under his breath, so quietly that only James heard him.

8888 8888 8888

The cake was in the oven. The kitchen was a mess. And so far, nothing had exploded. Remus was quite pleased with himself for having got this far. Easier than I thought it was going to be, with Sirius around, he thought as he began to clean up the flour spills on the floor.

"What have you guys been doing?" The voice carried from the doorway to the living room, and Remus flinched. But James was already talking.

"Nothing, Mum," he said. "Well, baking a cake, since you know, today is Tilia's birthday. Remus here thought—"

"It was Remus' idea?" Mrs. Potter asked, looking over at Remus.

"Well, sort of," he said. "I wanted to do something for Tilia, and Peter suggested that we bake a cake, so here we are, making a mess of your kitchen."

"Sorry?" Peter offered.

"No, it's quite alright. I get far worse messes with James around." Her son faked a shocked expression and pointed at himself as if to say, me? "Actually, when I saw the kitchen light on, I thought it was one of those worse messes." She laughed. "Well, carry on. And make sure there's not a spot left in here when I come back Remus Lupin."

"Of course," he smiled at her joke—he'd never left a mess before, so why start now? The Marauders finished cleaning up—scrubbed until the kitchen was sparkling—and then went upstairs for a shower to wash all the flour out of their hair.

8888 8888 8888

The oven timer dinged while Remus was in the shower. He'd drawn the shortest straw, and had had to go last. Sirius' straw was the longest, so he went first. He'd also used the most hot water, and Remus was halfway through when the water cut to cold. He yelped, and heard Peter laughing from the next room. He finished up, grumbling, and pulled on a clean pair of boxers before heading into the bedroom to finish getting dressed.

Remus pulled his head out of his towel, where he had been drying his hair, and looked around the room. His eyes narrowed, and he pressed his lips together in a fair impression of Professor McGonagall.

"Peter," he said. "Where are James and Sirius?"

"Um…they went to go get the cake out of the oven," Peter said in a small voice. Remus sighed.

"Come on," he said. "Let's go stop them before they do anything strange to our cake." He pulled on a shirt and a pair of shorts and headed downstairs, Peter following.

"Alright," he said, entering the kitchen with a bang as the door hit the wall behind it. "What. Did. You. Do." It wasn't a question. It was a statement.

"What did who do?" James asked.

"To what?" Sirius finished. They were sitting at the kitchen table, innocent as ever. James was reading the front page of the Daily Prophet, and Sirius had his feet up on the table, flipping through The Quibbler.

"What did you two do to the cake?" Remus said, pointing at them.

"Nothing," they said together in identical voices of feigned innocence. Remus' eyes narrowed dangerously, and Sirius flinched at the sight of just how thin his lips were—he didn't recall ever seeing McGonagall's that thin, not even that time he flushed a cherry bomb down the toilet in the girls' bathroom on the second floor.

"And why should I believe you?" Remus asked.

"Because we're your best friends," James said immediately, not looking up from the newspaper.

"And because you know you love us," Sirius said, flashing a grin at Remus before disappearing behind The Quibbler, which he had turned upside-down.

8888 8888 8888

At nine-thirty, when Tilia woke up the second time, she gave up on sleep, and went in search of breakfast instead. She got dressed quickly and walked up to the main house. She banged on the kitchen door until Peter let her in.

"Thanks," she said, kicking off her shoes and leaving them beside the door.

"No problem," he said. "Happy birthday."

"Thanks again," she said with a smile.

The kitchen was deserted, so she and Peter moved into the living room, where her aunt and uncle looked up with matching grins to wish her a happy birthday. She smiled and asked where the other boys were, and was told they were doing something in the dining room. She glanced suspiciously at the door to the dining room, and moved toward it slowly.

"What's wrong?" Mr. Potter asked.

"Well, I'm scared that when I open the door something is either going to fall on my head, or something is going to explode."

"Now, now, dear cousin," James said, opening the door and poking his head through. "Would we do that to you on your birthday?"

"Yes," she said bluntly. They laughed, and he waved them all into the dining room. "Come on, we've got breakfast." He said.

"Breakfast?" Tilia asked brightly, her stomach growling loudly.

"Yeah, we've been working on it since five this morning," Sirius called from inside. "So get your birthday butt in here, I want to eat!"

"You should be nicer to my 'birthday butt'," Tilia said, moving into the room. "Or else I might have to hex you."

"You wouldn't!" He feigned horror.

"Of course I would," she said sweetly. "Good morning, Remus! How's your sanity today?"

"Oh, wonderful," he smiled. "Happy birthday."

"Thanks…ooohhh!!!" She had noticed the cake on the table in front of him. It was covered in white frosting, and decorated with blue and green and purple and it was beautiful. Right in the center it said, Happy Birthday Tilia in big letters, and all around the edge the icing was patterned to look like fireworks. She grinned and looked up at the Marauders.

"So this is breakfast?" she asked. They nodded. "We could do that more often."

"It was Remus and Peter's idea," James said.

"Really?" she looked surprised. "I would have thought Sirius, for sure."

"Nah, I like scrambled eggs too much to suggest cake for breakfast." They all laughed. "So, want to cut?" He dangled a knife temptingly in from of her.

"No, why don't you?"

"Because Birthday Butt always cuts the cake," Sirius said.

"Yes, but Padfoot, if you helped bake the cake, why don't you want to cut it? It can't be dangerous."

"Its not," James said, throwing a look at Sirius. He took the knife away from his friend and handed it to his cousin. "Now cut."

"Fine. But if anything blows up, I kill Sirius first, James second." They laughed again. She set the knife to the frosting…

…and the cake exploded. She jumped back toward the wall, but ended up landing on Remus who had jumped sideways to avoid the blast. He landed on the floor, and she landed on top of him.

"Sorry," she said, standing up.

"It's alright," he wheezed, a little winded.

"Look at the cake!" Peter shouted.

It had not, in fact, exploded. The icing that had looked like fireworks had leapt to life, and the room was filled with brightly colored sparks that bounced off the walls and ricocheted off the china cabinet, and it was beautiful.

"Oh, that's awesome!" Tilia shouted, clapping her hands excitedly.

"Okay, that was Sirius' idea," Remus said, slightly dazed.

"Still going to kill me?" Sirius asked from safely across the table.

"No," she said. "This is way too cool. I'll even forgive the explosion."

"Of course you'll forgive the explosion," James snickered from behind his hand so that only Sirius could hear him. "It ended you in Moony's lap." Sirius burst out laughing, and Tilia ignored them and began to cut the cake and pass the pieces out to them all.

8888 8888 8888

When they had all eaten, and Mr. and Mrs. Potter had gone back to the living room to read the paper, Sirius, James, and Peter retreated to the kitchen, claiming the wish to clean up after breakfast. Tilia and Remus were left alone in the dining room, where the firework sparks were still bouncing around.

"That was truly awesome," Tilia said, glancing around at the sparks.

"Yeah," Remus agreed.

"Thank you," she said.

"You're welcome," he replied simply. They stood awkwardly for a few moments, then, quite suddenly, Tilia hugged him.

"Whoa," he said, hugging her back. "That was random."

"Yeah, I just felt like it." She stepped back a bit, and watched him. Their eyes locked, and suddenly, he knew what she wanted for her birthday present…and it wasn't a cake.

He moved towards her, and leaned in. Her arms snaked around his neck, and her fingers buried themselves in his hair. His hands rested gently on her back and pulled her closer. They swayed as if dancing. He leaned in and kissed her, and she smiled against his lips, and he knew that he had just made this birthday memory and lasting, beautiful one.