Pairings: Remus/Lily, a little of Remus/Tonks at the end.
Disclaimer: Remus, Lily, James and Tonks don't belong to me but to the lucky J.K. Rowling. I don't own the lyrics, they are Joan Baez's (from the song Diamonds & Rust).
Diamonds & Rust
It had all begun in their fifth year.
Lily and Remus had been made Prefects; that meant spending time with each other, sometimes even just the two of them. Even though they were in the same year and in the same house, Lily and Remus had never really talked that much, and had never been alone in the same room.
Lily Evans was very pretty; she had startlingly green eyes that made Remus's insides squirm when they landed on him. Her hair was of a beautiful dark shade of red that Remus had never seen in anyone else. She was a smart and uncommonly gifted witch. She was quick-witted and always spoke her mind. She was popular and was hardly ever found without her bunch of friends. For all those reasons, Lily Evans made Remus nervous.
Remus Lupin wasn't handsome, but he had something much more valuable than beauty: he had charm. When one went past the slightly sick-looking look he usually bore and the dark circles around his eyes, one could see it. He had a treasure that was internal beauty. You did not notice it at first sight; it took a fair amount of staring to notice it, and Lily had done it alright. He was quiet and shy, calm and intelligent. But he was mysterious and funny enough to be attractive. For all those reasons, Remus Lupin made Lily nervous.
Throughout their fifth year, they discovered each other's personality and tastes and were quite surprised to find that they were much more alike than they had thought. They had the same tastes in books. They both had a passionate love affair with chocolate. They were both studious, but knew how to have fun.
Remus discovered that Lily was truly kind. Sometimes her emerald eyes would twinkle and she would make fun of him, but it was always nicely. She never said anything nasty to him. More importantly, she had guessed that he was a werewolf, and absolutely nothing changed in their relationship. She accepted him, but managed not to show her pity for him. She, like Remus's fellow Marauders, managed to make him laugh of his lycanthropy, but was always ready to have a serious conversation about it.
Lily discovered that Remus's greatest flaw, and, so far, the only one she had found, was his lack of self-confidence. That was, if she didn't count his friends as a flaw, because she sincerely believed that Potter, Pettigrew and Black weren't worthy of Remus. One evening, at the end of their fifth year, as they were having another one of those conversations in which Remus was self-deprecating, Lily decided that she had had enough. The two of them were patrolling and no one else was there. Lily said to herself it was about time Remus knew how she felt for him. It had happened gradually throughout the past year; at first she had thought it was merely a crush, but it had much deepened ever since. She could no longer deny that she was in love with him.
"Why do you always have to talk about yourself like this?" Lily sighed exasperatedly.
She stopped walking and glared at him. Frowning, Remus stopped waking too.
"Well, it's not as if many people thought otherwise," Remus said. "And they don't even know what I am."
Lily rolled her eyes at his obliviousness. How such a wonderful human being could think so low of himself was beyond her faculties of understanding.
"You're wrong. Quite a few girls fancy you."
"Really?" Remus asked defiantly. "Who?"
Lily forced herself to look right into his amber eyes, knowing she was blushing.
Remus's face fell, but for one second his eyes reflected a bewildered happiness.
"You can't," Remus said shakily. "Please tell me you were joking."
Lily's heart sank; had she been too foolish in believing Remus might return her feelings? The look of horror on his face brought uninvited tears to her eyes. Lily shook her head as if it might make them disappear.
"I didn't think you found me that bad," Lily said hoarsely, looking down.
Lily heard Remus gasp. She could practically hear his brain work quickly.
"You're mistaken, Lily, I… I fancy you too."
Lily felt an immense wave of relief and looked up at Remus. He looked embarrassed. She gave him a tentative smile.
"What's wrong, then?" Lily asked.
But she knew the answer to that. She groaned.
"Potter," Lily said with disgust.
Remus nodded gravely and reluctantly. "I can't do that to James. I know he wouldn't want me to tell you, but… he really likes you very much."
Lily waved aside his words and looked into his eyes searchingly.
"But are you in love with me, Remus?" Lily whispered.
Remus's heart screamed "yes!" but his brain retorted stubbornly, "James!". His face turned red and he had to close his eyes to regain composure.
"That doesn't matter, because –" Remus started, his voice thick with emotion.
"Doesn't matter?" Lily repeated in disbelief, almost shouting. "Doesn't matter? Remus Lupin, you stupid loyal git, do you even know how much I love you?"
Lily looked aghast and her face was now the same colour as Remus's.
"You… you're in love with me?" Remus stammered, looking as if he didn't believe it.
Lily looked away and wondered if anyone had ever felt so embarrassed. After a few deep breaths, she looked back at him.
"You haven't answered my question."
"How couldn't I love you?" Remus asked rather bitterly.
Remus wondered if he could just run to the Astronomy Tower and jump. He was such a horrible friend, he was sure no one would miss him.
"But I can't," Remus said after an uncomfortable silence. "I can't, because of James."
"Potter doesn't have to know," Lily pleaded, staring back at him.
But Remus looked away, feeling that all his noble intentions would leave him if he got lost into her eyes.
"I can't lie to him," Remus said. "I don't want to."
But Lily ruined it all when she kissed him. For a few seconds he remained completely numb, but soon he couldn't help but responded eagerly to her kiss. His brain was rendered completely blank, something which Remus found unusual but not unpleasant. He pulled back as his conscience made a sudden reappearance. She smiled at him and every guilty thought he had been having magically disappeared.
"We'll find a way," Remus said, and hated himself for it.
And they kissed again on the day after, and on the day after. Remus didn't know what he had been missing, but now he felt like he could never let her go. Weeks passed by. Remus and Lily were only alone when they patrolled and when James had Quidditch practice or a detention. The joy those priceless moments with Lily brought to Remus's life seemed enough, for now, to bear the twinge of guilt he felt whenever James spoke about Lily.
Presently, Remus was enjoying one of these stolen moments with Lily, in the Room of Requirements which proved to be more than useful. He referred to them as stolen moments because deep inside, he had the feeling that he was only stealing Lily from James, that he had better enjoy them because it would not last. Sometimes he thought that he should just end it, that it would do nothing but make three persons suffer, but then he would remember Lily's laughter, or something he had said that had made her smile, or the twinkle in her green eyes, and he would say to himself that he was happy that he could have her, even for a while, even secretly.
"We have to keep it a secret," Remus said.
Lily restrained the urge to roll her eyes. They had already talked about this several times.
"I mean, you have to know…" Remus kept on quietly. "It will always be like that."
Lily looked at him sadly.
"I don't want to give you the old cliché, but -"
"Yeah, life is unfair."
Weeks passed by and it was still more and more difficult to look at James in the eye. They saw each other during the summer, and it was much easier because James wasn't there. But when they went back to Hogwarts for their sixth year, Remus's guilt increased and Lily got sick and tired of hiding.
"I want more than stolen kisses in broom cupboards, Remus," Lily told him. "This is not my idea of a relationship."
"Because you think this is my idea of a relationship?" Remus snapped.
Lily's green eyes widened.
"I'm sorry," Remus sighed. "I didn't mean to snarl at you... but look what it's doing to me. It's changing me. I can't even be with my friends without feeling guilty."
"So what? Either we tell Potter, or -"
Lily trailed off.
"Or we break up before it's too late," Remus finished softly.
Lily smiled wistfully. "It's already too late."
Remus knew she was right. He gave a great sight and wondered if his life would ever be easy. He decided that it would probably never be so.
"But we can give ourselves some more time, can't we?" Lily asked.
Some more time lasted two months. On a cold December Sunday, Lily and Remus went for a walk around the lake. Lily's nose was slightly red from the cold and Remus found it irresistibly cute. He had decided to end it, for good. Lily had agreed with him to decide this was their last day together, and they were going to enjoy themselves. All of a sudden, Lily stopped walking, bent down and threw a snowball at him.
"Lily!" Remus protested, feigning to be aggrieved.
Lily laughed, Remus joined her and soon they were laughing stupidly, so hard that they could hardly breathe. They lay on the snow-covered ground, looking up at the wintry sky while trying to regain their composures.
"I love the snow," Lily said quietly.
Remus closed his eyes and breathed the cold, pure air, and smelled Lily's sweet scent one last time, thinking that if he could chose a moment to die, it would be now.
Exactly twenty-one years later, Remus sat near the window of Tonks's and his flat, watching the snow fall. Tomorrow was the full moon and he was thinking of Lily, on the anniversary of their break-up. His first love was long gone now, but he could still clearly recall that December afternoon, and the sound of her laughter.
Well I'll be damned
Here comes your ghost again
But that's not unusual
It's just that the moon is full
Now I see you standing
With brown leaves falling around
And snow in your hair
Our breath comes out white clouds
Mingles and hangs in the air
Speaking strictly for me
We both could have died then and there
Remus startled as his pregnant wife sat next to him. Tonks and their baby was his future now, he reminded himself. It was time he turned his back to his memories.
"Are you alright?" Tonks asked.
Remus nodded and grinned tenderly at her. She cuddled against him.
"I love the snow," Tonks said.
Remus smiled. It seemed that he had a thing for winter girls.
It's all come back too clearly
Yes I loved you dearly
And if you're offering me diamonds and rust
I've already paid
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