Minerva looked uneagerly at the building Remus had labeled the Dance Machine. She wasn't a real sociable person. And she didn't want to go and dance. She couldn't dance.
Remus placed a hand on her shoulder.
Min. How sweet. He uttered the syllable like they had been best friends for years, like he knew all there was to know about her.
She looked at him, her eyebrow raised.
"Do you want to do this?"
Remus was extremely sensitive, he must have caught a drift of her discomfort.
"Not really. . . I'm sorry to say, but I'm just not a dancer, and especially not fond of loud noises." She said, regrettably.
"That's okay. I don't mind, I'm not much into either, unless I get into a strange mood."
"Other than the one that happens on the full moon?" Minerva smiled her question.
Remus chuckled. "Other than that. So, what do you say we get out while we can?"
They were still standing at the entrance, and she quickly backed away.
They walked in a comfortable silence for a few moments, before she spoke up.
"Where do you suggest we go?"
"There's this beautiful lake. . . it has boats you can rent, until midnight. It's very peaceful out there. . ."
Minerva shivered with happiness.
"It sounds wonderful. How far away is it?"
"Not far. Shall we take a taxi?"
Minerva blushed. "A . . . a taxi?"
"Hey. . . don't be embarrassed! It's normal for wizard not to know." Remus said.
They walked till they reached the edge of the street, and then Remus waved his hand, and three yellow cars stopped.
Minerva looked at them in amazement.
"This," Remus said, opening the door of the first car. "Is a taxi."
He motioned for her to climb in. Always a gentlemen he was.
Remus got in after her, and told the man in front, "Miller's Pond, please,"
"Right away sir."
The car pulled away, and moved along in a steady pace.
"He would take us wherever we wanted to go." Remus explained. "But it's not cheap,"
"Why didn't we just apparate?" she said, keeping her voice down, to prevent the taxi driver from hearing.
"Because I thought this would be funner for you. Is it?"
Minerva nodded. It was. Driving down the London streets at night was beautiful. All the people, going to different places, leading different lives.
The ride ended fairly quickly. Which she didn't know was good or bad. But the pond was beautiful. The trees swaying back and force, as if ballroom dancing in long fluffy dresses, and the moon was out, half full, accompianed by the stars, shimmering. And the water, with it's ripples. Why was nature so perfect? Almost flawless.
Remus paid the driver, and they walked down a narrow concrete path to a tiny little lit up shack. They stood in front, by a service window, and he rang a little bell that was sitting on the counter.
A sleepy looking man appeared, and asked, "How long?"
"I'd say three hours maximum." Remus replied.
Remus reached into his pant pockets and took out some money, paying the man, who then gave them a key. "Number 12,"
Remus nodded, and went down to the shore, Minerva trailing him slowly, taking in the atmosphere of the place.
"It's so beautiful!" She exclaimed.
"That's what I said." Remus replied.
He was bending over the boat, fiddling around with a lock of some sort. He was such a sturdy, strong man. Tall, with a little extra flesh, but not enough to make him plump. Remus was perfect.
Oh stop it, she told herself, moving her head to stare at the lake again.
"Care to get in?" Came his voice.
Minerva looked over. What had this night be planned as? A night of fun? Well, this was certinally not what Remus had planned. But it was much better. So much better.
She gingerly stepped into the boat, trying to kept herself up. Wouldn't it be something if she fell in.
He got in after her, almost hopping in.
"You've done this before," She noted. With whom?
Remus grinned. "Yes, I wanted to be a sailor when I was younger."
"I can see you as that." Minerva commented.
He used the oars to push away from the shore, and then starting to turn the oars counter-clockwise, hitting the water with a solid thump, but being gentle enough not to splash water around. Remus looked up, at the stars, and seemed to be amazed.
"Did you know Minerva, that Sirius was named after a star? The Dog Star in fact, and as you perhaps know, he transforms into a dog. Isn't that an odd coincidence?"
Minerva was enthralled by his voice, so calm, with the ability to capture anyone, enchant them.
"You were a great teacher." She answered.
Remus looked at her. "You think so?"
"Well, from what Harry's told me, I've been the best so far. And I believe him." Remus said, laughing.
She smiled at his laughter.
"Harry's very trustworthy." He continued.
"I've always wondered something—" Minerva started, putting her hand in the water, feeling it's harsh coldness. But she kept it there.
"Yes?" Remus asked.
"Why. . . I hope you won't be offended, but why was Sirius Harry's godfather instead of you?"
Remus looked at her. "I don't know. I guess I was never as close to James as Sirius was. I was sort of like how Hermione is with Harry. You know Ron is Harry's first choice for everything. But James and Sirius didn't ever make me feel unwanted."
Minerva felt a wave of sadness sweep in to her.
She looked at the stars again; so many, so many were dying, so many were already dead, their last rays of light streaming down. It made her remember how everything must come to an end. Eventually they'd all be dead, all lying under the ground, rotting. Rotting away, with the worms. It was not a wonderful image.
Minerva heard the faint humming of Remus, and she looked down.
"What's that?" she asked.
"Oh! I didn't even realize I was humming. I get lost in thought. . ."
"What's the song?" she persisted.
"Ah- I heard it somewhere, er, and all I can remember is three lines of it. . . It's called Love Lost." Remus continued to row, not appearing tired at all.
She was surprised to hear him start to sing, as that was what she wished he would do.
"In the end we stand-alone with nothing but our memories
Motionless in a sea of darkness, clinging to love lost
Hoping that someone will save us, but not willing to swim to shore"
He had a pleasant voice. Not one that would get him on the radio, but one that could be sung in public without shame. She loved it. But she loved him. That was different.
"It's beautiful." Minerva said out loud, trying to memorize the song. "Can you sing it one more?
"My voice isn't that good," he said teasingly. He made no move to sing it again.
"It's fine." She insisted.
Remus looked at her, and smiled inwardly. How can you smile inwardly? It wasn't really smiling. Well, he felt good all over, even his ears felt good. Like everything was smiling.
Strange, Lupin, very strange.
"So I wanted to be a sailor. How about you? Before you had any idea you were a wizard?"
Her eyebrows scrunched up. It was so cute. They always did that, when she was thinking, trying to remember something.
"Well, I recall wanting to be a hairdresser." She said giggling.
Remus grinned. "You laughed!"
Minerva smiled back. "Yes, I did. Tell me the truth: Am I that uptight? That you would think it was a major accomplishment when I finally laughed?"
Remus shrugged. "Well, the truth, yes."
Minerva frowned. "hmm. . . maybe I should work on that."
"Only if you want to," he assured her.
There was a comfortable silence for a few seconds.
Remus wondered if she would oblige to kissing him? Should he? They were in the middle of the lake now, and he set his oars down.
"I need a break." He said, stretching his arms out. That was the truth.
He wished he would've brought something to eat.
That made him smile. He was a wizard after all, was he not?
Mumuring a few words under his breath, he conjured up a place full of fruit.
"Hungry?" Remus said, placing the plate on a board that separated the two of them.
"Yes. Fruit?" She asked, reaching for a grape.
"Anything wrong with it? I've always had a passion for fruit." And you.
Minerva nodded. "Fruit is nature's dessert."
"Did some famous person say that? Famous, in the muggle world I mean."
"I wouldn't know. Who would be commenting on fruit anyhow?"
They both smiled.
* * * *
They were on they're way back to Hogwarts, this time apparating to Hogsmeade, instead of taking a taxi. From the small artsy town, they walked back, observing the calmness of the night.
"You wouldn't know, looking at Hogwarts right now, that we were all in danger." Minerva said.
"Voldemort." Remus agreed.
"What do you think is going to happen?" She asked him, her words dripping with worry.
"What? I think Voldemort will be killed. It's inevitable. Nothing bad will ever last too long." Remus said, believing every word. They had thought he was gone. And then he had believed it. And know that he was back, Remus still believed it.
"I wish I had your confidence." She said simply.
They entered the building, and he said "I'll walk you to your quarters."
The footsteps echoed through the corridors, but Hogwarts was a school that always made strange little noises, so Remus knew the sounds were go unnoticed.
He plugged his ears as she spoke the Gryffindor password, and walked in with her.
They paused outside her door.
"Well, I had a really nice time, Remus." She said, tentatively.
"So did I." He said warmly.
And then he did it.
He leaned forward, and took her lips in his. It was beautiful.
When you've been longing to do something for a very long time, and then it happens, how could it be anything but beautiful?
But then she pushed him away, reluncinatly, and said, "I have to go."
She disappeared in her room, and his heart dropped.
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Minerva felted crushed. She had been enjoying herself.
"Why can't you let yourself have a good time?" She said angrily to herself. "What is wrong with you?"
It was her parents, that was who. She knew they had never liked her, never understood her, never wanted her. She was the unexpected surprise. The unwanted surprise.
They had always been very mean to her. She remembered sleeping on the floor, with a thin blanket. Minerva was never allowed to go outside, never allowed to go to anyone's house, could only go to school, and come home. Then they would make her study all day, so she would get straight A's, so she could get a scholarship, and they would never have to see her again. The earlier, the better.
Then came the letter.
It was inviting her to a place called Hogwarts, a school of witchcraft and wizardry. She was amazed, hooked in from the start. Her parents loved the idea. They gave her five thousand dollars, which she was told to used wisely, because they didn't want to see her ever again.
"Mineva, you'll stay at this school during the summers, you hear? I don't want to see you crawling back here. You've got your money, and now you'll leave us alone. Understand?" Her mother had said, sucking on her cigarette.
She had been a young girl, only eleven, and had meakly nodded her head.
Albus Dumbledore was the first person she ever trusted. He was nice to her, despite her lack of warmth. He did everything he could to make her feel welcomed.
He had done a pretty good job.
But she didn't want to get to close to anyone, for fear of being abandoned again, like she had been years ago. It was the not the greatest feeling, to be despised. Minerva didn't want it to happen again.
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Hermione Granger woke up early, and walked down to the common rooms, after dressing and cleaning up. Neville was down there, bent over a book, the potions book.
She felt a little awkward, after what Ron had said about Neville having a crush on her, but she sat down next to him. "Hey Neville, what are you doing?"
Neville looked up. "I'm studying for the Potions quiz."
She smiled. "Good for you!"
He grinned back. "I'll show Snape. Do you think I'm a squib?'
Whoa, where did that come from?
"Well, no. I don't think you are."
"Well. . . because you can do magic. I just think with you, it takes a bit more practicing, than with others. Some people are like that. You just have to remember to believe in yourself, and don't to get discouraged. By Snape, by Draco, by anyone."
Neville's face was shining with joy. "Thank you, Hermione. You don't know how much that means to me."
It was Ron, coming down the stairs. By the tone of his voice, a little defensive, he was probably getting jealous again. He was so sweet, in an annoying way.
She looked at Neville, who now had a different look on his face. Almost as if. . . he was mad that Ron had come downstairs. Maybe Ron was right. . . maybe Neville did like her. She stood up, almost. . . horrified.
Hermione wondered why she was horrified.
Could it be. . . could it be because she knew that she could like Neville back?
"Hey Ron!" she said, trying to convince herself. It seemed.
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No, Neville did not care for Ron Weasley much at all.
Ron didn't deserve Hermione, Ron was too obnoxious, too unsupportful. He was always making fun of Hermione, and it drove Neville nuts. She was much better than that.
But it seemed hopeless.
She couldn't like him.
Everyone knew she had liked Ron Weasley since day one. Everyone except Ron and Hermione, of course. It had taken them four years to figure that out.
Oh how he hated that she would rather be with Ron.
But he didn't hate her, how could he?
She was the love of his life.
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Remus felt miserable. Why didn't she want to kiss him? Had he just been misleaded for so long? Maybe it had all been his imagination. He could never see her again, it would be to humiliating. What could he say to her now? Besides, every moment spent with her, where he wasn't free to reach out and stroke her hair, hold her hand, kiss her lips, would be moments of pure torture. He couldn't deal with that.
It wasn't like he was allowed to be in Hogwarts anyway, he could just go back to hanging around Diagon Alley.
Sounded good to him.
A/N okay, I do plan on continuing this. Me, I hate leaving something and not finishing it. I think I owe it to you people who like this story to continue it. Here's the next part! And thanks to Wingedkeys, for her humorous reviews, (and thanks for all that help on how I should continue this, I was seriously considering everything you said.) thanks to The Love Child of Mcgonagall and Snape for encouraging me all the way through.
Oh, and please forget that she's 70, and he's 30. Okay? God, the whole idea sounds kind of nasty. Oh well. I mean, I am the one who did that snape/hermoine thing, right?