Disclaimer: I don't own harry potter.

Cristi Sanders

Remus would never have suspected that she would become his rock when he met her that first day at the station. He never suspected that she would be there for him—strong and caring—in his moments of vulnerability.

She'd been there for him the day after his first transformation at Hogwarts. She'd simply hugged him when he told her what he was, unable to keep the secret from her, needing at least one person to know—to be there. And she was. She'd held him as he cried that no one would ever like him if they found out—that no one liked him as it was. Then she'd told him that he was wrong; that she liked him and so did Lily and so did the marauders.

Next came the time in second year when the other marauders had discovered what he was. He'd ran out of the room the second the words, "You're a werewolf, aren't you?" had left James Potter's lips. And he had ran straight to her and proceeded to go on and on for hours about how he now only had her and Lily as friends and that was only if the marauders didn't tell anyone. He would have continued to mope in misery if Cristi hadn't waited till he'd finished his spiel and then proceed to call him an idiot and drag his butt back up to his dormitory to face the other boys. He'd never been more furious for her meddling—or more grateful.

For a few years after that, Remus was blissfully happy with his life. His friends were wonderful—the marauders had even become animagi for him—and he had even been named Prefect in his fifth year. But then came the night when he'd been confronted by Snape alone. Snape had made accusations about him being a werewolf and allusions to having proof that he would show to the whole school. Remus had stuttered nervously and denied feverishly and managed to escape the encounter, but it had rattled him. The first person he'd gone to that night was Cristi. He had gone to her, pulled her into an empty classroom and then paced back and forth in front of her while he alternated between worrying and ranting about Snape, people finding out and being a werewolf in general. She'd sat there and heard what he had to say before smacking him upside the head. "That," she'd said, "is, one, for letting Snape get to you; two, for thinking that anyone would believe that greasy git anyway; and three, for thinking that your friends would stop being around you just because the rest of the school found out. Snape could spread the rumor that you're a vampire that goes on a mad killing spree once a week but secretly sleeps with a stuffed llama at night and I would still proclaim to the world that you are my best friend. What you need to realize is that I wouldn't care what they thought. It wouldn't be me missing out on their friendship if they shunned me for being friends with you, but them missing out on mine for being so judgmental of you." He'd hugged her fiercely then, finally catching on that his friends wouldn't abandon him if it came to a choice between him and the rest of the school.

And then there'd been last year; last year, when Sirius had done the inconceivable and told Snape about him. He didn't think he'd ever trust someone again after that incident. Pulling back from his other friends, he'd created a protective shell around himself. It had lasted all of two days before Cristi broke it down. She didn't come into the room whining that he was being stupid about not trusting them—Peter—she didn't tell him that he was well liked and would always be her best mate—James—she simply came up to him, sat down next to him and hugged him. That was all it took before he was telling her everything that had happened and how much it had hurt that Sirius had done that. And she'd listened; neither agreeing to his proclamation that he would never speak to or look at Sirius again or trying to convince him that he should make amends—though that would come later. She'd held him then, stood by him when he'd apologized to James and Peter for pushing them away and then locked him in an abandoned classroom with Sirius when she dubbed that he was being unreasonably stubborn and unforgiving.

All through the years, Cristi had been there for him. She'd helped him get through life issues and small problems and had never asked for anything. Cristi was the strong one; she was the reliable one; she was the one who never let anyone get her down or make her vulnerable.

And yet there she was, sobbing as the boggart she'd found—who had taken the form of her mother—told her how disappointed she was in her, how she never wanted to see her again and to count this as an official disowning. Cristi had her wand out, but it had fallen from her hand and she was clearly in no state to pick it up, let alone fight off the boggart. So Remus did the one thing that she had always done for him, saved her from herself.

He stepped in front of the boggart, watched as it turned into the full moon and then banished it with a flick of his wand, the word "riddikulus," and the thought of it turning into a balloon. Then he rushed to Cristi's side. She was hugging her knees while leaning up against one of the desks and crying. Not just crying though, heart wrenching sobs that made Remus hurt just to watch. As she continued to cry, he sat down next to her, pulled her to his side and wrapped his arms around her. He rubbed her back soothingly and just let her get it out. After a while, Cristi's sobs slowly died down to just sniffles and Remus pulled back and turned her to face him.

"Look at me, Cristi," he said gently. She shook her head no, instead focusing intently on her lap. "Cristi," he repeated, "look at me." And this time he put his finger under her chin to tilt it up. Her eyes were watery and sad, but what hurt Remus the most was the pain he saw in them.

"Cristi," he started, now that he had her full attention. "You are the last person that anyone would ever be disappointed in."

"But that's just it!" she retorted. "Of course people would be disappointed in me! I don't have hundreds of friends. I don't get great grades—"

"You're a good person Cristi, the very best. I have never met someone as kind and caring as you," Remus interjected. Cristi threw her hands up.

"But that's just it," she said, looking down once again. "I'm nice. That's great. Throw me a parade, why don't you. The point is that I can never measure up to you, Lily or the marauders. That's another point, I really only have you, lily and the marauders. And I don't even truly have you." At the last statement, she looked Remus in the eyes and he caught his breath at the emotion they held. And then it hit him. All those times she had helped him; at first, friendship had been the only motive, but as he looked back over the events of the last two years, he couldn't help but realize that Cristi didn't act like Lily did towards him. In fact, the two of them didn't act how most friends acted; they snuggled with each other while sharing the same blanket, they talked out by the lake till the wee hours of the morning and Remus didn't think there was a single time in the last year at least when just thinking about her didn't make him smile.

Now he realized just what his friends had been harassing him about when it came to dating. Whenever he would tell them that then he'd be lying to the girl, they always responded with, "then go with someone who knows." He had always assumed that they meant that he should tell someone. He realized now that they had meant Cristi all along; that they were infinitely less blind about his love life than he was—

He also realized that he had just been staring at Cristi while figuring this all out when really, he should have realized it weeks ago. So he reached out and took her hand.

"Cristi, will you go to Hogsmeade with me next weekend? If you can forgive how blind I've been of course," he asked, a smirk forming on his face that only came from having spent years with Sirius Black and James Potter for best friends. Cristi's face broke out into a grin.

"Of course, you dolt. Do you think that after liking you this long I'd say no?" she replied.

With that, Remus stood up before helping Cristi back to her feet. They then proceeded to walk back to Gryffindor tower together; Cristi feeling better than she had all day and Remus wondering how he could be so smart and yet so stupid at the same time.