I bid Lucia goodnight at the portrait hole, kissing her one last time. To have someone that close . . . it's incredible. I don't just smell her perfume, but something that's entirely Lucia. I wish I could stay forever. But all too soon we pull apart and she heads off for Ravenclaw's tower. As soon as she's out of sight I start bashing my head against the wall.
I'm so stupid. I know it'll never work. How can I do this to her? When she looks up at me, like she did when we said goodnight, I swear I can see the trust in her eyes. Trust, I think bitterly. She can't trust me. And I don't even know if I can trust her enough to tell her.
"Are you coming in or not?" the Fat Lady asks peevishly. I clamber through and head up to my dorm. I can't lead her on like this. I flop on my bed, face in my pillow. I almost wish it was the full moon, so I didn't have to go through this – this – this thought, this agony, this human-ness.
"Aw, is Moony feeling moody?"
Sirius. Just who I wanted to see. "Go away, Padfoot."
"Come on," he whines, "you can tell me anything." His voice is more serious now. "You know that."
Against my better judgment, I sit up. What's the worst that can happen? I think, too miserable to have a proper internal battle. "It's Lucia."
"Girl problems," he grins.
"She's not the problem, I am!" I explode. "I'm so stupid. How can I keep leading her on?"
"What d'you mean, 'lead her on'?" Sirius asks. "I thought you liked her. You've been together for a month now, after all."
"I do. But who am I kidding? This'll never work out. You know that as well as I do." He starts to say something, but I cut him off. "Say we keep going out. Won't she get suspicious if I start making excuses every time there's a full moon? Girlfriends are supposed to be close to you, and she's a Ravenclaw. I'm sure she'd figure it out. And then she'll break up with me and not tell anyone, if I'm lucky," I mutter. "Why not just dump her now and save us both some heartbreak?"
"You know, there's always a chance that she might not mind," Sirius ventures. I don't think he's ever seen me this upset. "Lily didn't."
"But she's a Gryffindor, brave and loyal. Can the same be said of Lucia? I don't even know. I'm not sure I want to get close enough to find out." As an afterthought, I add, "Besides, Lily knew me for years before she found out. Not so with Lucia."
"Remus, give her a week," he implores. "You can't just write her off because she's not a Gryffindor." Sirius is cross now. "You're dead-set against anti-werewolf bias, but you sure are prejudiced when it comes to houses."
That hits home. "Fine, a week, but no more."
"Get her to eat breakfast with us," Sirius adds, his grin showing that serious Sirius is gone. "We'll see what we think. And hey, if it doesn't work out, maybe she'll fall for yours truly instead."
It's been a week. I still don't know. The boys aren't any help, either – Sirius thinks I should give her a chance (still), James is afraid to let out such a big secret (though he told Lily), and Peter can't decide which of his two idols' side to take. So I'm taking matters into my own hands.
By the time I get to the corridor where I asked Lucia to meet me, I've got an answer, I guess. Proverbs are useful: Better safe than sorry, right?
So I'm breaking it off. I have my misgivings, of course. Who else would have me? Alice has Frank, Lily has James, Marlene and Lana plus half the Hufflepuff girls enjoy messing with Sirius (or rather, he messes with them), I'll never understand it but Pruscilla is after Peter, and the rest are all matched up in 7th year (prejudice or not, Slytherins don't count). People are starting to think about the future – James'll probably propose any day now.
Blast. I hadn't thought about the future. Even if I find someone, I'll never be a father. I couldn't do that a child whose only sin would be having a git like me for a father. Suddenly I hear footsteps coming down the corridor, interrupting my thoughts. I pull out the map to make sure, but the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach is right – it's Lucia. Too late for second-guessing now.
She looks a little confused as to why we were here in a little-used Astronomy tower. I figured no matter what I decided, she'd think I'd chosen here for the privacy. That's part of it, but when the deed was done, I knew she'd never have to come back up here again. Never have to think of me again.
"You wanted to talk to me?" My heart melts at her dreamy, trusting eyes. She has no clue anything is wrong. He's just playing a trick on me. I'd bet anything that's what she's thinking.
"Er, yeah." I cough awkwardly, and it takes a lot not to pull a James and muss up my hair. "I don't really know how to say this, but . . . I – I guess what I'm trying to say is that I can't be with you anymore." The shock in her eyes pierces me, but I have to keep going now, before my voice gives out on me. "Please, Lucia, I just want you to understand . . . it's not your fault, at all. Don't think it for a second. It's mine." Though, is it her fault? That she doesn't seem like a trustworthy person? But now isn't a time for philosophy. "I'm sorry," I whisper.
"Why?" she whispers back through her tears. Crap, I made her cry. Will I be strong enough to keep myself from going to her if I look? I stand silently at the window. I have nothing left to say, nothing to make her smile, just I'm sorry, over and over again. I glare at the waning crescent moon. This is all it's fault.
"I thought you cared," she says hoarsely, as though her voice hadn't been used for years. She turns, sniffling, and leaves.
I am left alone.