Lily screamed. And she screamed some more. Or was that laughter? If so, it was the scariest laugh I've ever heard in my entire life. She jumped up and down, and threw her arms around my neck, forcing me to jump with her, albeit reluctantly.
"I've known for ages, you know! Remus told me." She nodded at me, her strikingly green eyes wide. "He tells me things that he thinks he'll be made fun of by the other three," she said in mock disgust. "But- ahhhh! I never thought he'd make a move this fast! It's Remus after all! Yay! I am so so so so happy!"
I raised an eyebrow delicately. "Really? I couldn't tell." Lily snorted, ignoring my scathing tone.
"Oh, don't give me that, I know you're happy too. You've liked him since you two first met, I could just tell. I just knew."
Finally, I rolled my eyes. "Yes, Lily, you are the almighty Seer. Let us all bow down before your mightiness," I said in monotone, while preparing to bow. Her arm snatched out quickly to stop me from proceeding in my worship.
"Juliet, don't be melodramatic. This is a big installment! Life at Hogwarts," she sighed happily. I looked at my best friend, her eyes shining, and red hair tousled from jumping around. I decided I would let her have this one, and grinned.
"I suppose it is very good news. In fact, it doesn't get much better than this." Now it was my turn to sigh contentedly. Lily squealed, and I grimaced and tried to cover my ears a second too late.
"Ha! See, you are happy! Actually, you are more than happy. You are ecstatic! Radiant! Your joy knows no limits!" I sighed, this time in annoyance at her antics.
"That's one way of putting it, Lils."
The rest of the night was spent with me telling Lily again exactly how it had all happened, and then we analyzed every word and gesture and facial expression. You know, just normal conversations between two girls.
While lying in my bed, staring up into the darkness, I felt a little guilty at not having talked to Lily about more pressing matters, such as Severus and fighting and Occlumency and all that jazz. Sure, I wanted to discuss me and Remus- I felt a thrill run through me at that- but I had also known subconsciously that I was using it as a way to avoid that particular conversation.
I would save it until after lessons tomorrow. But then, my mind reasoned, I wouldn't want her to be distracted for the rest of the week, so maybe I should tell her this weekend. I mentally groaned. No, I would have to tell her sooner than that, she was my best friend! I sighed; it wasn't going to be easy.
I rolled over onto my side and decided to think about it more in the morning. I would definitely get Remus to help, like he had done with James and Sirius. We would also need to talk to Peter, as he had been absent tonight. I frowned, thinking of his strange behavior these past couple days. He wasn't around as much and when he was he was very distracted. I wondered what that was all about.
The next morning I was glad to see that I had a free period first thing, so I decided to go the library. As soon as I settled into my book, I was interrupted by a frantic looking Severus. I looked at his disheveled state in concern. What had happened?
"Have you told Pettigrew anything about me?" he asked with fervor, shaking my shoulders. Woah, something really had him riled up. I shook my head numbly. I wasn't used to Severus showing so much emotion, especially fear like this. Something had to have happened.
"No, but what happened, Severus? Tell me!" I demanded. I knew I was being impatient, and he was catching his breath, but I wanted to know now. I hated being in the dark.
He breathed deeply again, removing his hands from my shoulders and sitting across from me. "Good, because you cannot say anything to the traitor." I gasped. What was he going on about? Peter wasn't a traitor!
"Severus," I said sharply. "Be careful of what you say." He nodded soberly.
"I've never been so careful. I was walking down the hall when I noticed Pettigrew was inside a classroom with someone. I couldn't tell who it was, but me being me, I was curious. I Disillusioned myself and snuck into the room just as they were finishing up the conversation. And- it was Mulciber, one of the future Death Eaters! He's practically secured his spot in the Dark Lord's ranks, and Peter and he seemed to be agreeing on some arrangement. Pettigrew looked as though Christmas had come early, though not in a good way. I've never seen such a malicious look on his face." Severus shook his head.
"And here's the killer part. After they made whatever deal it was, they shook hands, and both walked out grinning." My grey eyes had no doubt darkened in anger, and Severus shrunk back at the look on my face.
"Juliet, let's not rush into anything. I just know what I saw. Let's not jump to conclusions." He warned me slowly. I nodded. Oh, yes. I knew not to jump to conclusions. But that didn't mean I wasn't going to do something about this information. I would find out the answers I needed. Then I could decide what I was going to do with Peter.
Severus eyes me warily. "What are you thinking, Juliet? I don't like that look on your face." I smiled sweetly at my new friend.
"Oh, Severus, be a pal and help me brew something?"
My next class I had was with Peter, Lily, and Remus. I sat with Remus while ignoring Lily's not-so-subtle smirks in our general direction. I glared at the back of Peter's head, who was sitting in front of me. What are you hiding? I wondered furiously.
Remus held my hand underneath the desk, and although it brought me comfort, I still couldn't help being tense. He noticed, and rubbed comforting circles on the back of my hand with his thumb. He looked at me with concern in his eyes, and I mouthed, "Later." He nodded, and we turned our attention to the front of the room, where the DADA professor was lecturing on the Unforgivable Curses.
Finally-finally!- classes were over for the day. I dragged Remus with me to an empty classroom, and said, "You are not going to believe this!" I was angry, and I felt my magic humming around me, itching to be used on the source of my anger. I tried to reel it in, knowing that I had a bad habit of acting first and thinking later. It could be useful, but sometimes it just caused a lot of damage.
"Okay, Juliet, you've been bristling with anger all day- what is bothering you?" Remus asked. I stood a few feet away from him, my arms folded across my chest. "Peter is a traitor! We think," I added reluctantly.
"What?" Remus yelped, before shaking his head. "No, that's not possible. It's Peter we're talking about here, right?" I sighed.
"That was exactly my reaction, and because I don't have enough evidence, Severus and I are working on a plan to get the information I need. But here's what I do know." I recounted this morning's events, and afterwards, Remus looked dazed.
"No, that couldn't be. Peter wouldn't go Dark. Not over us. We're his best friends!" Remus looked very sad in that moment and like he needed a hug. I provided just that, and he hugged me back fiercely.
"I know, love, but we can't ignore the evidence just because he's our friend. That's why we'll find out the information we need, and go from there." I looked up at Remus, who was staring off past my shoulder, seemingly in deep thought. I placed a light kiss against his jaw. And another. Finally, I got his attention, and he smiled down at me.
He removed his hands from around my waist and cupped my cheeks gently. "You mean so much to me, Juliet. You know that, don't you? Even if it seems foolish, and we've been together for such a short time-" He babbled on and I just smiled. I shushed him by giving him another kiss, this time directly on his lips.
"Shhh," I whispered against the softest lips in the world. What? They were, okay! He just grinned slightly against my own lips, and we kissed again, deeper, harder. It was almost as if we poured all our fear into that kiss- our fear of the war, and the growing number of disappearances, and how close it was getting to us. In short, in that kiss, we knew all we had was each other.
After a moment, we pulled apart, and I sighed. "I guess now is the time we talk to Lily." Remus sighed as well, and as I pulled away, his strong hands grabbed me and pulled me back against his chest. "Just another moment more," he murmured. I laughed.
Now normally, this kind of sappy stuff would be having me throwing up, but with Remus- I dunno. It's different. I felt like with Remus I could tell him anything, and he wouldn't judge me. I trusted him completely. With Remus, I felt whole.
Once we finally made it back to the common room, after a bit more of kissing- I smirked at this-, we found Lily reading in one of the armchairs, her beautiful red hair falling slightly into her face. I smiled at my best friend. She was lucky to have James, even if she didn't realize it yet, and he was lucky to have her, which he definitely realized. Remus and I plopped down on the couch next to her, and she looked up, rolling her eyes at our intertwined hands.
"And where have you two love birds been?" she asked nonchalantly. I glanced at Remus, who had a bit of a pink tinge to his cheeks. I smirked. "Yes, where have we been, Remus?"
"Juliet!" he protested, and Lily smirked right along with me.
"Okay, you two girls have had your fun, now we have to talk seriously. Lily, Juliet and I have something important to talk to you about." I looked at Lily, who didn't know if we were being serious or not. She decided we weren't.
"Yes, of course I will be the Maid of Honor," she said, rolling her eyes again. "I find it insulting that you even have to ask." I roared with laughter, and even Remus grinned a bit.
"Lily! We're being serious here."I said, ignoring her muttered, "So was I."
"Okay, well, I know this is going to hurt you so I'm just going to say it." I said, heaving a sigh. Lily's strikingly green eyes were wide as she realized I was actually being serious, which was not an often occurrence.
"I know you have a past with Severus Snape, but I thought you should know that, even though it is too late for him to turn back on becoming a Death Eater, he has decided to play the very valuable role of spy for the Order of the Phoenix once we leave school." Lily had frozen at the mention of her former best friend, but said nothing.
"He, along with James, Sirius, and Remus are going to be receiving Occlumency lessons from Professor Dumbledore, and I advise you to do so as well. You are planning on fighting after school, right?" Her eyes flicked over to James, who was sitting at the table, playing Exploding Snaps with Peter. He looked up at that exact moment and blew a kiss at her, and she blushed.
"Yes, of course," she breathed. She leaned forward in her seat, clutching the sides of the armchair. She was listening very closely to my every word.
"I would advise you not to mention anything to Peter," Remus interjected. Lily frowned and was about to say something but Remus beat her to it. "We were hoping to speak to him in private." Lily nodded, accepting this. It was a little white lie, but it was necessary and I was glad for Remus' quick thinking. I knew he would mention something similar to James and Sirius tonight as well.
"We can go see Dumbledore tomorrow after classes, if you'd like." I offered. "And then we can set up a time he can teach you. He might want me to help too; after all, he's quite busy with the war and all." Lily nodded seriously. We didn't usually talk about the things going on outside of Hogwarts, as it seemed just too far away from us, but when we did, we did so very somberly. It was not something to be joked about.
Lily looked down at the book in her hands, and if I hadn't had my werewolf senses, I wouldn't have caught sight of the little tear trickling down her cheek, which she quickly hid from us with her hair. I looked at Remus quizzically, and he shrugged.
Lily stood, and mumbled something about getting another book from the dorm room. She all but ran to the stairs and disappeared. I frowned, gave Remus a look, and went after my friend. I entered the dorm cautiously.
"Lily? Lovely Lily?" I called. It was a bit of a joke between us. I always called her that now that I had once heard Professor Slughorn call her that in class. She swore she hated it, but I think she secretly liked it, and besides, I just liked to tease too much to not take that opportunity.
I heard muffled sniffling coming from her bed, and I walked over without trepidation. I flopped myself on the end of the bed, where Lily was lying face down, her head buried in her pillow. I sighed.
"Lily, what's wrong?" I asked. She shook her head and said nothing. "C'mon, Lils, you can tell me." I had a feeling I knew what it was going to be.
She looked up at me, her eyes red which made the green pop even more. "Oh, Juliet, I feel like I'm being selfish for being upset over this, of all things, when there are much worse things going on outside, but I can't help it. I'm still just really sad about Severus, is all. And I have forgiven him, but it's not the same. It's just too difficult now. And that's what hurts. My first friend from the Wizarding World is not even the same person I knew! Plus, with James in the picture now, I just don't see a friendship working, and that makes me sad." A few more tears streamed down Lily's face, and I grimaced. I hated seeing my friend's in pain.
"So, you're really serious about James then?" I asked. I was curious, as she had avoided the subject mostly up until now. She nodded. "I think it's too early to tell, but I really do like him. He's changed a lot since last year, which, I know, sounds unbelievable, but it's true. He's a really great guy."
I beamed. "He is, and I'm really happy for you, Lily. You won't even see Severus that much, so I don't think you have to worry about it. Let's just focus on the Occlumency for now." Lily nodded, wiping the last of the tears away.
"Thank you for being such a good friend, Juliet." She said, sitting up. I smiled.
"I do my best." I said wryly. She just laughed and grabbed me in a hug. I had Lily, and my friends. I had Remus.
Everything was going to be okay in the world.