A/N: HP belongs to JKR, not me. Duh. I'm only borrowing her world and putting my own twist on it.
Chapter 19: It’s Not a Matter of ‘If,’ but ‘How’
I was the first one into Defense class on Friday. Well, maybe not the first, but I was the first one who mattered. I stood around the perimeter of the room with the others students already here, waiting to hear this week’s lecture on duels before actually reviewing all we had done in the class this term. Oh Merlin, our exams are next week! I thought. Just one more week of classes, five days, and we can go home! Yes!
Remus walked into the room with James and Sirius at his side. Oh Merlin no.
“Hey Artemis,” Remus said, walking across the room to stand next to me. “So, um, did you come to a decision over lunch?”
I shook my head. Not in a ‘No, we’re finished!’ but rather in an ‘I have no clue what to think yet’ manner. “Not yet.”
Merlin, he asks me that every time he sees me. Probably worried that I won’t take him back after he practically confessed that he has self-esteem issues yesterday. Honestly, I know I’m awesome, but shouldn’t that awesomeness rub off on him? I smiled. Yep, no self-esteem issues with this girl. Just issues.
“What’s so funny?” Remus asked.
“Just telling myself how awesome and radical and cool and far-out and-”
“You’ve been reading Randy’s letters again, haven’t you? You’re using Muggle slang.”
“See? I’m hip enough to use it correctly!”
“Oh Merlin,” Remus muttered.
Okay, Defense was a breeze. We didn’t duel anyone (we’ve already dueled all our classmates once before). But for our exam, we had to duel our Professor. And in order to give us all enough time to face him (and him enough time to recover from the injuries he expected to receive), we’d be staggered for our duels. The first duel would begin on Monday morning, nine o’clock, and-
“I have the first duel?” I asked without thinking when I saw the schedule written on the chalkboard.
“Is there a problem, Artemis?” Professor DiGroop asked, seeming surprised at my outburst. “You have the highest duel success rate in the class.”
“Uh, no problem,” I said. Merlin, how am I supposed to attack a teacher? Let’s see, if I take down my professor, I might get in trouble. But if I don’t, I might not get good grades. Argh!
“Artemis? Did you hear me? Do you want me to reschedule?”
“Uh-?” Ugh, what was I supposed to say? I was hoping to hear from others and see what extent of curses I could throw at a teacher without fear of going overboard.
Remus looked down at me, then across to the professor. “Wait, so you actually want us to try to defeat you? We won’t get in trouble for actually attacking you and possibly hurting you?”
“Comes with the job,” DiGroop said casually. “Besides, I know I’m not the best in the world, or else I would be an Auror. I know I have a couple future Aurors in the room right now.” He looked to James and Sirius, who were grinning widely. “But my goal is to make sure you are safe when you enter the real world. These are dark times, and your generation is the unfortunate one that has to grow up in such times. So please, study your attacks and methods hard. Make sure you can use them in case of emergencies. This is all for you.”
Remus nodded. “Thank you professor.”
Class then turned to practicing specific curses, spells, and jinxes we wanted to use for our final. It wasn’t in a duel format, so Remus, James, Sirius, and I formed a group and took turns cursing each other. Okay, okay, I mostly turned my want to Sirius, but I just liked seeing bad things happen to him. It was funny to watch Sirius pout to James and Remus about how I was picking on him. Amazing how the ‘sexiest bloke in school’ sometimes acted like a spoiled child.
After class, I stopped Remus as he was about to leave with James and Sirius. Well, actually, I just said a quick ‘thank you’ for asking my question to the professor before heading Gryffindor Tower. Remus just smiled at me, asked if I made up my mind yet, and backed away when I again told him I didn’t know.
Honestly, what was I going to say to Remus? I couldn’t leave him waiting forever. I decided to head down to the kitchens instead to mull things over. Maybe a blueberry muffin would help.
After breakfast the next morning, I was still trying to sort things out. Everything, I mean. I knew that I was missing four days of memories and one day of actually living my life. Well, I learned last night after my roommates thought I was ‘asleep’ (honestly, the drapes were not soundproof without a silencing charm), they were going off about how I was apparently ‘pretending’ that nothing weird had happened over the past week. I guess no one had informed them that my accident had knocked those four days out of my head.
Anyway, I found out that after the Defense duel where I made Remus say ‘spatula’ in a high, squeaky voice, I went back to our dorm to write up my Defense essay and do some homework. Lily and Kati had continued to try to get me to talk. And that was when I blew up at them.
No, I didn’t make them explode. But I was evidently sick of them being nice to me and verbally cursed them out, saying something along the lines of how Lily should have no say in what I do because she’s never had a boyfriend (thank you James) and that even though Kati thinks she was helping me, I didn’t need any support from a fellow ex-girlfriend of Remus.
Then Melissa and Samantha came into the room. I threw a slug-spewing curse at Samantha, apparently for no reason. Well, Samantha complained it was for no reason, but I knew I had been tempted to get her at a few points over these past six years. As I listened to my roommates further, I found that as the weekend progressed, I would verbally curse them and whatever they were doing that annoyed me.
Yeah, I remember the anger at Remus, I thought. I guess hanging out with him and the other Marauders made me feel more like myself at home, so I didn’t feel the need to put on my act. The things I did to my roommates remind me of what I do at home whenever I come across the girls I’ve grown up with. It’s like I totally abandoned my school persona. At least I seemed to have controlled myself on Monday if I didn’t receive any detentions, so that’s some good news.
But then I came back to the source of my problems- Remus breaking up with me. Sure, he said that he didn’t really mean it, that he wanted me to be with someone better, but no one else likes me like that. In clumping my Muggle and Marauder friends together, I’m close to nine blokes. And out of those nine blokes, only one likes me in a relationship kind of way. I mean, Peter, Zach, Jake, and Nick all have steady girlfriends. James is pining after Lily. Sirius jumps from girl to girl and said I’m not really his type. Ken just has problems talking to cute girls without making himself look like a pervert. And Randy has always said he doesn’t like me ‘that way.’ So really, where’s that ‘better guy’ that Remus thinks I should be with?
Right then, Remus said he still likes me. And I knew I still like him. But what kind of girl would I be if I just went running back into his arms after he confessed his issues at wand point? It would make me look easy. Weak. Certainly not fitting of Artemis Monroe, named after a powerful goddess.
Merlin, did I just compare myself to that Greek goddess in a good light? There must be something wrong with me. And now I’m just stating the obvious for myself. And now I’m thinking to myself like I’m a third person. Definitely something wrong with me.
I snapped myself out of my internal monologue, thankful that I didn’t stay in that loop of thoughts for too long. I then looked down. From the tree. That I was in. I had planted myself in the tree (no pun intended) after I ate in the kitchens, hoping that the fresh air and altitude would help clear my mind and allow me some insight into my heart. In reality, I just started thinking of random things and had just recently gotten back to my present problem with how to take back Remus in an acceptable manner. Well, at least I was comfortable and didn’t have anyone giving me weird or, in Samantha’s case, dirty looks.
“Hi Remus,” I said, going back to looking up at the sky from my perspective in the tree. I was just watching the moon set over to the west behind the trees and mountains. It was actually a pretty sight, though it looked like more of a funky oval than a circle, but full moon must have been a few days ago. I liked the full moon.
“I see you’ve figured out how to transfigure your skirt into pants.”
I nodded. “Unfortunately it only lasts an hour. I didn’t appreciate Black’s whistles the last time I climbed a tree in a skirt. I don’t like giving out free shows.”
“Shame,” he muttered.
I looked down, tilting my head to the side. Did I hear him right? “Beg pardon?”
“Uh, I didn’t say anything.”
“Sure you didn’t.” I found a dead leaf on one of the branches, still struggling to keep hold on the tree, and yanked it off. I then started ripping the leaf apart. Hey, it was already dead.
“So, you feel all right up there?” Remus asked.
“Uh-huh. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Well, at the Quidditch game. . .”
I groaned. “Look, trees in my mind are a lot more sturdy than those stands we, well, stand in to watch Quidditch. If terrible winds and heavy snow and bombarding rain can’t bring these things down, than I most certainly won’t.” I brushed some bits of the dead leave off my pants. “I’m weird that way.”
“Just that way?”
“I heard that one!”
“Look, my neck is killing me, trying to look up at you. Can’t you come down?”
“But I’m comfortable up here. Can’t you come up to me?”
“Uh, well, I can’t climb trees.”
“What?! Everyone can climb trees!”
“Not everyone. Now please, won’t you come down?”
“Fine, fine, I’ve already shredding this thing to bits anyway.” Besides, the moon just sank below the mountains. It seems to move quite fast when you have some frame of reference. I stood on the tree limb. But then I realized I really didn’t want to be on the ground. But Remus didn’t want me so high. Well, this tree didn’t exactly have low branches. But the next tree did. What if I-?
“Artemis?! What are you-?”
“Jumping from tree to tree,” I said just before I hurled myself forward, from the tree I was in to the tree a few meters away. I lost some altitude, of course, but I managed to land in the tree I wanted. And get this- I didn’t crack my head open this time!
“You know, if you keep calling my name, the Greeks might charge you in royalty fees,” I said. But I started to climb down some of the limbs.
“Why didn’t you just come down from the tree you were just in?” Remus demanded, now standing under my new tree, his wand drawn to obviously help if I lost my balance. Honestly, I live in trees during the summer. I think I know how to stay in them.
“Because that tree doesn’t have these low branches.” Once on the lowest branch, I sat down facing away from Remus, hooked my legs around the branch, and let myself fall backwards. I was then just a few centimeters higher than Remus’s face. Sure, I was hanging upside down with only my legs to support me, but I was fine. “There. Happy?”
“Did you know that even when I look at the world upside down, I can still tell that you’re smiling, even though your lips are twitching ‘downwards’ according to my angle?”
“That’s because my lips have the context of my face. And I thought you would come down-”
“To the ground.”
“You didn’t specify that part.”
Remus sighed. But he was still smiling. “What am I going to do with you?”
“Hopefully not think that girls grow on trees.”
Ooh, a smile with parted lips. I missed those lips.
“Look, not to sound demanding or anything, but I got the impression that you still wanted to be my girlfriend.”
“But now you’re the one that’s acting like she wants to be just friends.”
“You also still know that I want to be your boyfriend again, right?”
Remus paused. “Money also grows on trees.”
“No it doesn’t!”
I finally cracked Remus. He had to look down at he tried to contain his laughter.
“Thank you, thank you. Be sure to catch me again. Regular shows resume in January, 1977.”
It took Remus a few minutes to gather his composure. He tried twice but failed when he actually looked up at me. The third time turned out to be the charm when he was able to look up without grinning like crazy or holding back giggles. And yes, blokes giggle. I should know.
“You’re going to make me ask you again, aren’t you?” Remus asked.
“Ask me what again?”
Remus sighed. “Will you be my girlfriend again? Because I really do miss us being together.”
And now I was back to my dilemma. Take him back or leave him hanging for a bit longer? Wait a second, that’s it!
“I’m ready to give my answer.” I reached up, grasped the tree limb, swung my legs over my head, and twirled back down to the ground. I landed perfectly in front of Remus without so much as a stumble.
Remus clapped softly. He stopped when I started to walk back towards the castle without speaking with him. “Wait, I thought you were-”
“I was.” I turned back to Remus, charged at him, and pushed him against the tree trunk. My hand found Remus’s tie and pulled it downward, bringing Remus’s face closer to my reach.
“My neck could have done without you pulling me down by my tie again,” Remus whispered to me.
“Where’s the fun in that?” I whispered my response. I then pulled his tie a little more.
Our lips smacked together. Not the most graceful beginning to a snog, but it didn’t matter. At the touch of Remus’s lips to mine, I nearly forgot that it was December. In fact, I hadn’t felt this warm since before he tried to break up with me. I pressed myself against him, effectively keeping his body backed up against the tree. As I felt his tongue slide into my mouth, his arms snaked around my waist, keeping the two of us close together. Merlin, I had missed this. I had nearly forgotten how great this feeling was.
Finally, the two of us realized we needed air around the same time. We broke apart, both panting and most likely both pink. The steam from our breath mingled together before dissipating in the crisp air.
“Thank you,” Remus whispered softly. His voice send chills down my spine.
I smiled. “So, you won’t do that to me again?”
He shook his head. “Never.”
“Good.” I reluctantly pulled myself away from him and took a few paces away from the tree. “Now remain calm. Wingardium Leviosa!”
“Huh? Aaahhhhh! Artemis!”
I used my wand to make Remus hover up, up, up into the tree I had just been in. Seeing a nice, secure place, I settled him down about six or eight meters up. I’m really bad at estimating tree heights.
“Now you can say you’ve been in a tree!” I called up cheerfully.
This time, Remus was not laughing. He found the trunk of the tree and hugged it for dear life. “Artemis! Get me down now!” he yelled, his voice cracking. “I can’t climb trees!”
“Think about it this way,” I said, containing my laughter. “You left me hanging about our relationship. I didn’t like the feelings you put me through. Now I’ll just leave you hanging in this tree.”
“And if you ever do anything as idiotic as that again,” I went on, “you’ll be begging me to only leave you in a tree.” I turned around and went to go back into the castle.
“ARTEMIS! GET ME DOWN FROM HERE!”
“If no one finds you, I’ll get you next week!” I called over my shoulder. “Keep warm!”
I passed PB&J as they were coming from the castle.
“What are you doing out here?” I asked them.
“Looking to see if you’ve finally gotten back together with Remus yet,” Sirius said.
I nodded, smiling. “Yeah, we’re a couple again.”
“So where is he?” James asked, looking around.
I pointed back to where I had been, a patch of trees between Hagrid’s hut and the Black Lake. “I left him in a tree over there. Did you know that when he’s scared, he sounds like a little girl?”
“You put Moony in a tree?!” Sirius choked out.
“Yup. You can get him down if you want.” I went to walk past them. I wanted hot chocolate. My fingers were getting cold.
“But Moony can’t climb trees!” James exclaimed.
“That’s what he said. Don’t worry, I charmed the ground around the tree to act like pillows if he falls out. I don’t want him too hurt. Tootles.”
A/N: Yay, they’re back together! Like how Artemis did it? Was it true to her character? Liked it, hated it, just let me know in the box below. Any other thoughts? Put in the box. Want to let me know that you at least read this chapter? Box! I like any reviews you have for me. Until next time!
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