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If You Run From Me by CelticKisses

Format: Short story
Chapters: 4
Word Count: 14,326
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Romance, Angst
Characters: Lupin, Snape, Sirius, James, Lily, Pettigrew, Voldemort, OC
Pairings: Remus/Lily, Sirius/OC, Other Pairing

First Published: 12/07/2005
Last Chapter: 04/29/2006
Last Updated: 04/29/2006

Summary:
Story is dedicated to PixieGirl & Fuzzy_Slippers

Lily Evans is the girl of James Potter's dreams, but she has dreams of her own that haunt her. As James doubles his efforts to woo her he delves into the mystery that is Lily Evans and comes out a different person. He finds that he doesn't have to change to be perfect for her, and he learns that the perfect Lily Evans is not as perfect as everyone thinks. She has an ugly secret and an even scarier past. Lily has always hated James, but what if she now has no one else to run to?


Chapter 1: Chapter 1 - Prove Me Wrong
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“Ughhh!” Stupid!” The red head stormed through the common room, slamming books on tables as she went. “Ignorant!” She began to unpack her school bag onto one of the tables, slamming a new book down for each word. “Ridiculous! Self-centered! PRAT!”

“Merlin Lils, you wanna keep it down to a dull roar over there? Some of us are trying to study here!”

Lily glanced over at the black haired Gryffindor who was slouched on the couch, legs hanging over the side with an amused expression on his face.

“You wouldn’t know a book if it hit you in the face repeatedly screaming ‘I am a book’, Sirius.” Lily sighed with frustration and sat down.

“Aww.” Sirius cooed. “Did Wiwy have a bad pwefect meeting?” He asked in a voice one word normally reserve for speaking to infants.

She raised an eyebrow at him and then with a noise of aggravation flopped into a chair and dropped her head into her hands.

“that bad?” Sirius swung his legs back to the floor and rested a gentle hand on her back but she shrugged away from him. “Com on, Lils. What happened?”

The red head begrudgingly mumbled something that Sirius could not make out. The only words he could decipher were ‘everybody’, ‘asked’, ‘Potter’, and ‘childish’.

Sirius made an “ah” of understanding as the portrait swung open to admit said Potter to the room.

‘Where’s Remus?” Lily asked, standing and preparing to leave the room.

“Oh . . He’s uh . . “ Sirius stuttered. “He’s in the hospital wing . . . Said he wasn’t feeling well. . .”

“Wasn’t he just there a few weeks ago.?”

“Uhh . . Maybe . . . Frail little scrap he is . .. Poor chap . . .”

“Oy! Evans!”

Lily cringed at the voice and looked beseechingly towards Sirius, but he had slunk away to the other side of the room. She groaned as a hand patted her on the shoulder. Deciding that ignoring him was the best course of action she sat down at the table and opened her History of Magic text book.

James raised an eyebrow amusedly at the redhead bent over her book, the tip of her quill in her mouth, and then glanced over at Sirius who was sitting in the corner of the room and who gave him a quick thumbs up sign and large grin.

James grinned back and then pushed himself up on the table, his legs swinging over the edge. He leaned back on his hands, which were purposefully placed on top of her parchment and waited for her to notice him.

Lily re-dipped her quill in her ink well and continued writing her sentence, right across James’s hand.

“Ow!” James cried, grasping his hand and looking at her disdainfully. “that hurt Evens.” He said, pouting his mouth playfully.

“You’re rump is on my text book.” She said without looking up.

“Is it?” He said, unperturbed. He scooted over so that there was no longer a way for her to ignore him.

She threw her quill down in frustration.

“Now, now Evans.” He said, wagging his finger at her. “No need to throw a hissy fit.”

“A hissy fit!?” The redhead cried at him. “A hissy fit!” She threw her hands in the air in frustration and stood from her chair abruptly, throwing James off balance. “You’re a git, James Potter. A real git!” Then she stormed up the stairs to the girl’s dormitory.

Sirius roared with laughter from the corner he sat in at his friend’s mishap.

“What’s so funny.” James grumbled, running a hand through his hair and sighing.

“You should have seen it mate.” Sirius continued to laugh and clench his stomach. “That was the worst one yet.” James threw Sirius a reproachful glare and stared at the stairs the redhead had disappeared up. “So what did you do to her at the prefect meeting that caused her to be in such a foul mood?” He said as his laughter became controllable.

“I only asked her out.”

“Was it like the time you had all the ghosts follow her around all day and sing ‘Lily be my love’ or more like the time you bewitched her crystal ball in divination to read ‘Go out with me Evans’? Or how about the time you stole all the sheets from the girl’s dormitory, tied them together and then hung them around the ceiling of the common room and told her her friends wouldn’t get them back until she agreed to a date with you? Or was it more like the time you-”

“Must you always point out my failures to me?” James cried out in mock disdain.

Sirius grinned and clapped his friend on the back. “But in all honestly, what did you do?”

“I wrote ‘Lily Evans is my love’ on the prefect meeting room wall in chocolate pudding.” He mumbled quietly.

“You what?”

James groaned and collapsed in the closest squishy chair as Sirius was overcome by laughter once more.

“Why are you holding you’re hand like that?” Sirius gasped out between laughter.

James shrugged and then looked down at his hand and jumped up in surprise, holding his hand before him by the wrist as if it were some disgusting object.

“What? What’s wrong?” Sirius asked at the bug eyed expression on his friends face.

“She-she- my hand- wrote- I can’t - Merlin - how do - believe- bloody- talk- go - to her!”

Sirius stared blankly at his friend who was staring at him waiting for a reaction.

After a moment Sirius took a deep breath. “Okay one more time.” He said.

James rolled his eyes. Sirius noted he was now clenching his hand to his chest as if it were Lily’s sock. He tried to remember why he had helped James steal some girl’s sock so that he could admire it but was sidetracked by James crying out. “Bloody Hell Sirius! Look!” and he thrust his hand at him.

Sirius raised his eyebrows and an amused smile crossed his face. “Little minx.” He said under his breath in appreciation and gazed up towards the stairwell.

James was in a dream world, holding his hand before him and gazing at it lovingly while prancing around the room. “I’ll never wash my hand again!”

Sirius cringed, he probably wouldn’t. “So what’s the plan?” Sirius said placing a hand on his waltzing friend’s shoulder and leading him towards the sofa.

“Plan?” His friend asked a little wistfully.

“You can’t just continue on as you have! There’s actual hope now! You can’t mess this up!!”

James nodded in understanding and sat down on the couch and looked gravely at his hand.

Sirius sat down next to him and looked at the writing too.

Sirius shook his head again in disbelief. What was she doing?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Lily pranced quickly up the stairs, ignoring the fact that she had left all her books and homework on the table down in the common room. She was still infuriated, but what had possessed her to write that on his hand?

She cringed at the memory. Prove Me Wrong. She had etched across his hand. Did she really want him to? She grimaced as she reached her dorm. James Potter was the most annoying male creature to walk the halls of Hogwarts. No, the entire continent. The entire world! She groaned. Boys are stupid.

She reached her bed and lay across and gazed up at the ceiling. After a moment her mind started to wander and she let her eyes drift closed. Her body lulled into a deep rhythm and she breathed slowly in and out. It was calming to just lie there and pretend that James Potter didn’t exist and that if she stayed like this forever then he couldn’t bother her anymore.

“Lily and James sitting in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G! First comes-” Lily rolled her eyes and clamped the pillow over her head. When did people actually grow out of that song? Did they ever??

The door to the dorm swung open and the rest of the girls in her year traipsed in laughing and giggling amongst themselves. “Hey Lily!” Her friend Arianna called to her from across the room. Arianna was a pale skinned beauty with dark and flowing black hair. At the moment the tips were frosted bright pink. She was the only girl in their year who was friendly to Lily and the only one who considered Lily a friend.

“Hey Arianna.” Lily grumbled into her pillow.

“Why are you hiding in your pillow?” Arianna asked. “Dinner is in an hour if you’re that hungry.”

Lily shook her head in amusement but due to the pillow Arianna didn’t see it.

“Oh hey, I heard about what happened at the prefect meeting. . .” Arianna said with a smile, earning another groan from her redheaded friend. Arianna was all for Lily and James, in fact sometimes Lily suspected her of consorting with James and assisting him in torturing her. Fraternizing with the enemy, that’s what that was. “It couldn’t have been all that bad Lils.” Arianna said.

Lily removed the pillow from her face and stared at her friend with raised eyebrows.

“Come on now! Chocolate pudding?! Did you ever consider the magic it must have taken to get that stuff to stick to the wall?!”

Yup. She fraternized with the enemy for sure.

Arianna was suddenly over come by laughter. “What?” Lily looked at her questioningly.

“Oh -gasp- it’s just -gasp- I saw James on the way up here.” The laughter became harder and she shook with mirth. “He was dancing around the room holding his hand before him and singing some song that sounded like ‘kiss me my angel sugar dumpling turtle dove’.”

Lily recoiled and dove under the pillow she had cast aside before. Today could just no get any worse.

“Oh, but wait!” Arianna cried out in delight. “It gets better!”

Please don’t. Lily tried to push the girl off her bed but she refused to be budged.

“He was going on about ‘Lily finally realizing we are soul mates’ or some nonsense like that and I turned to Sirius, who was looking might fine today-” She said that everyday. “-and asked him what was going on and he just smiled that smile of his at me and said, ‘Why didn’t you know, my dear Arianna Rupertin? Lily seems to have decided to give James a chance.’ Now I know my best friend and I just stared at him and started laughing but sure as can be James came prancing over-”

Lily cringed.

“-yes he pranced, and shoved his hand in my face and there it was, written as clear as my fuschia tips.”

“They’re pink today.”

“That’s beside the point.”

Lily sighed and then, as if the words were being pulled out of her, with gritted teeth said, “I don’t know what possessed me.”

“Oh Lils!” Arianna launched at Lily and grabbed her in a tight hug. “I was wondering when you would come around!”

“I haven’t ‘come around’ or whatever you’re talking about. James is the most self-centered, annoying, useless, immature … git in the world!!”

Arianna just continued smiling and nodded as if she were really paying attention. Lily sighed, knowing full well that Arianna was as thick headed as they came and if she believe one thing, then that’s how it was. That was why she had been not so secretly helping James in his attempts to get to Lily. Lily suspected it was also an excuse for her to spend time in the presence of Sirius Black, whom she was crushing on majorly currently.

“Why do you look so glum Lils?” Arianna asked.

“It’s just . . . Now I have a strong feeling . . . Everything is about to get extremely annoying.”

“You have no idea.” Arianna sniggered under her breath.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Back down in the common room Sirius was trying to convince James that he looked like a fruit cake dancing around the common room like he was.

“James, come on mate, stop the fairy dance already.” Sirius groaned as another group of people came into the common room and gazed peculiarly at his best friend.

“But I could just float away!” James cried out from across the room as he ran across the top of the sofa and leaped into the air as if he really could.

Sirius shook his head and caught his friend by the shoulder as he ran past and pushed him into the couch.

“We still need a plan!” He said.

“Oh right. Plan.” James said, although Sirius could tell he was completely in another world.

“You need to first show her she likes you. Once she realizes that then you’re golden. Toy with her a bit, and then reel her in!”

“Lily isn’t a fish.” James said, coming back to earth and looking at his best mate like a lost puppy dog that had just been found out on the street and put into a warm bed in front of a fire place.

“You aren’t listening.”

“Of course I am.” He said as he stared out the window.

“Yeah, sure you are.”

“What did you say?”

“Prongs!”

James turned to look innocently at his friend. “Alright alright …What do we do?” He sighed.

“Welcome back to earth.”

James punched Sirius’s arm playfully and then they put their heads together to come up with their plan. The plan that would make Lily realize she had a need for James Potter.

Chapter 2: Chapter 2 - January Comes To An End
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“Lils! Class starts in ten minutes what in Merlin’s name are you doing?!”

Lily looked once more in her mirror and with an aggravated groan, picked her mascara up again. “Just a second, Arianna!”

She smiled when she heard Arianna’s foot stomp in a childish tantrum. She could just picture it in her mind. Arianna, blue frosted tips flowing behind her, stamping her foot, crossing her arms and pouting her lips.

“Lils! Honestly! If this is over some bloke I swear to Merlin I’ll-”

“You ready?” Lily appeared at the bottom of the stairs.

Arianna shrieked in surprise. “Ack! Lily!” She shoved Lily ungracefully towards the portrait hole. “Almost gave me a bloody heart attack . . .” She mumbled as they reached the portrait.

“I thought today was green day.” Lily glanced at Arianna’s tips.

Without missing a step Arianna continued to trudge to the portrait hole. “Today is Wednesday, Lils. It’s blue day.”

Lily smiled to herself. “Of course.”

Arianna finally reached the portrait, Lily in tow, and was about to open it when it sprung open. Startled, the two girls jumped back and in a combination of tripping over themselves, their messenger bags, and the rug, ended up on their backsides as James, Sirius, and Remus stepped through the portrait hole.

"R-R-Remus." Lily stuttered in surprise at the sandy blonde standing before her.

Remus chuckled to himself. "Miss Evans, what are you doing down there?"

Lily blushed scarlet as Remus reached a hand out to help her to her feet. Lily turned as Remus was dusting dirt off her back and saw Arianna, who winked at her with a mischievous grin, experiencing a similar scene with Sirius. Only Arianna was not blushing. Arianna never blushed. Ever.

Sometimes I hate being a redhead. Lily thought.

"Hey Remus." James walked over to where Lily and Remus were standing. Remus's back was to James so James didn't see him roll his eyes. "This looks . . . cozy." James's voice was flat and his eyes were anrrowed.

Remus looked away from Lily, blushing to Lily's surprise and delight.

James's arms were crossed againt his chest and he was frowning.

Remus bowed slightly to Lily and winked at her before turning and walking over to Sirius and Arianna.

"Why were you on your rump on the ground dear Evans?" James said in a silky voice that made Lily bristle.

Lily huffed and crossed her arms over her own chest. "Why did you throw the portrait open and knock me down?"

"Why were you standing in front of it?"

"Why were you wandering into the common room instead of going to class?"

"Why do you want to know?"

"Why don't you ever follow the rules like normal people and go to class?"

"Why do you always follow the rules like everyone else and go to class?"

"Why do you have such a disregard for the rules?"

"Why do you care so much?" He raised an eyebrow.

"Why don't you?!" She exclaimed, exasperated. Arguing with James was always extremely tiresome. His logic ran around in circles. Very small circles.

James snorted and threw his hands in the air. "Why do you always have to be so bloody perfect, Evans?"

Lily was speechless for a moment and the anger drained out of her. Her head drooped and she hid her face as she turned and ran to the staircase and disappeared up it.

"Lily, wait I-" James started but stopped when he realized she wasn't going to hear him anyways.

"What did you do this time, James?" Arianna wondered, coming over to his side, Remus and Sirius trailing after her.

"I don't know . . . I hadn't even asked her out yet and she took off running .. ."

"Maybe she's learned to simply anticipate it, considering you've never had a conversation where you haven't asked her at least once." Sirius chuckled, patting him on the back.

"What did you do?" Remus came up to the group, looking anxiously up at the stairs Lily had disappeared up.

"Oh, didn't you hear?" Arianna turned towards Remus. "They were yelling quite loudly this time."

"Why do you always have to fight with her?" Remus put his hands in his pockets and started to walk towards the portrait hole, asking it more to himself, but the others heard it anyways.

Sirius's gaze met James's over Arianna's head, Arianna was rather vertically challenged, both raising their eyebrows.

"Now wait a second, Remus." Sirius started after the sandy blonde, James directly behind him. "What was that?"

Remus stopped walking, his back to his two best friends and took a deep breath. After a moment he let the air out and he shook his head. "Nothing." He said without looking back, and then continued his walk to the portrait hole and left the room.

Sirius and James were left staring at the portrait as if there was some thought they were trying to process, but couldn't quite get their minds to wrap around it.

"You don't think he. . ." Sirius started.

"Nah . . ." James said in an unconvinced voice. "Not Moony." He ran a hand through his hair. "Not Lily."

Sirius nodded numbly. "Right. Cause Remus hasn't ever been like that for a girl right?"

James nodded. "Right."

"Still . . . you don't think . . ."

"No way."

Arianna, who was still left standing in the room stomped her foot in aggravation. "What are you two going on about now!?"

Sirius, ignoring Arianna's temper tantrum, set a hand on James's back. "Hey." James looked up at his surrogate brother. "Remus wouldn't do that . . . he knows how you feel."

James nodded, not convinced.

"Besides, she doesn't like him. Right Arianna?"

Arianna gasped. "Oh, sure. Now I'm in the room. Now that you need something. I mean, I've only been standing here for the past five minutes trying to get your attention."

James stalked over to Arianna and grabbed her arms. "Lily doesn't fancy Remus, right Arianna? Right Arianna?"

Arianna cringed and looked beseechingly towards Sirius, who was slouching on the end of the couch arm, also waiting for Arianna's answer.

"Come on guys. I mean, so what if she does?"

James groaned and let go of Arianna, then ran to the couch and buried his head in a cushion.

"Honestly, James. You're acting as if it's the end of the world."

"It is!" He cried, the sound a bit muffled by a red and gold pillow. "It's the end of everything!"

Arianna rolled her eyes. "What about this ingenious plan to get Lily to notice you?" She asked.

"How do you know about that?" He squeaked, popping his head from behind the pillow.

"Sirius told me."

James glared at the black haired boy who shrugged.

"What is the world coming to!?" He cried into his pillow. "My best friend is telling my secrets to some girl and my other best friend is trying to steal Lily! What have I done to deserve this!?"

Sirius's eyes met Arianna's and they both rolled their eyes.

*~*~*~*~*~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~*~*~*~

"Lily?" Arianna called as she slowly opened the door to the dormitory. The room was dark and she heard a sniffling and then silence. She stepped into the room and closed the door behind her and there was scuffling noise at the back of the room. "Lily, are you alright?" She stepped in the direction she thought was Lily's bed. "Are you crying?"

Luminos was muttered and the room came into sudden brightness. Lily was sitting on her bed smiling. "What are you doing Rini?" She said, using Arianna's nickname.

Arianna cringed. "You know, you'd think a nickname like that would wear off, but no, lucky me, I've been stuck with it for six years."

Lily smiled again then quickly frowned. "We're going to be late for class!"

Rini started laughing. "Darling, we are late for class."

Lily gasped and vaulted off the bed towards the door and ran down the stairs, Rini right behind her, laughing the whole way.

"Where are you two off to?" Sirius shouted to them as they streaked by.

"Class!" Lily gasped.

Arianna burst out laughing. "I told you she'd be fine!" She called out over her shoulder as they flew out the portrait hole.

"Is she gone?" James asked from the floor by the couch.
"What are you doing down there Prongs?" Sirius laughed, noticing that his friend was face first on the carpet.

"Is she gone?"

"Who, Lily? Yeah, they've gone to class." He hauled James up by the arm. "And I suppose we should too. Remus probably saved us seats in the back."

James pretended that the thought of Remus didn't make him mad and followed Sirius out the door.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"Miss Evans." Professor Zinkloni drawled as they entered the Transfiguration room. "You are late."

"Oh, I know but we were going to be on time, but then we got hit and we fell and then he helped me up but I shouldn't really talk about that but then they knocked us over and we were on our way to class and then we started fighting and we were going to be on time but then I had to run back up to the dorms and then Arianna had to come get me and then we ran out the common room and we ran all the way here and we really were going to be on time!" Lily ended, nodding.

Arianna snorted behind her hand and tried to hide her laughter at the professor's blank expression.

"I'm sure somewhere in there was a brilliant excuse Miss Evans. Please find a seat." He said in a bored tone, as if he had heard every excuse under the sun.

Rini grabbed the gaping Lily's hand and pulled her to the back of the room. "I really thought for sure he was going to give us detention." She whispered to Rini.

They walked to the back of the room, passing Remus, who sat alone, on the way. Remus smiled at the two girls and gestured for them to come to him.

"What's up Remie?" Arianna sat down next to him and ruffled his hair.

Remus smiled at them. "Where's James and Sirius?"

Lily cringed at the mention of James’s name while Rini answered, “We passed Sirius on our way down, I’m sure they’ll be along in a few minutes, you know how they are.”

Remus nodded and Rini stood to continue down to the back of the room. Lily turned to follow but Remus caught her hand. Stunned, Lily turned to look down at him.

“Can we talk later Lils?”

“Sure.” She managed to squeak out without fainting. He nodded with a small smile and released her hand. She floated back to where Arianna was sitting and flopped into the chair next to her.

“What did Remie want?” Arianna asked while she dug through her messenger back for her textbook.

“To talk later.” Lily said breathlessly.

Rini stopped her rummaging. “To talk later?” She said, puzzled. “Whatever for?”

“I have no idea.” Lily replied, gazing off into space with a glazed expression.

“Oh no.” Rini said, setting her newly found book on the table, startling Lily. “You cannot fancy Remie. You simply cannot.

“How many years have you called him Remie?”

“Since we were like three. Cousins get to do that. Don’t change the subject.”

Lily sighed.

Arianna groaned. “James will kill me if he finds out that I let this happen.” She took Lily by the shoulders and shook her. “Snap out of it Lils!”

“Miss Rupertin! It’s bad enough that you were late for my class. There is no need to cause such a disruption. If it continues you will be dismissed from the room. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Professor.” Arianna responded, angelic smile and halo in place. As soon as he turned his back she grabbed Lily’s shoulders again. “Snap out of it Lils! I’m telling you! Remus and you are not meant to happen!”

Lily looked at her friend oddly. “What do you mean by that?”

Rini sighed and looked down at the book, mumbling something.

“Merlin! You are on James’s side, aren’t you!? I can’t believe it! My own best friend! Fraternizing with my enemy!”

“Miss Evans! If you ladies insist on disrupting perhaps it would have been better for you to have skipped class entirely. I will reward detention for the next interruption!”

“Yes, Professor!” Lily answered, back straight and hands clasped like a good little student.

Professor Zinkloni raised an eyebrow in their direction, frowned and turned back to the blackboard.

“I am not fraternizing with the enemy.” Rini whispered back as she opened up a new piece of parchment and dipped her quill in the ink well they were sharing.

“Then what’s the problem with me fancying Remus?” She asked irritably.

“Because you’re supposed to like Ja- . . . Because he’s my cousin and you’re my best friend. That’s icky!”

Lily shook her head and turned to Arianna, taking her hands. “Rini, if it does bother you. I won’t do it. You mean more to me than some bloke and you’ve been there for me the past few months more than ever. Even when they-” she gestured to the room around them “-start on me. So tell me truthfully. Would it really bother you if I fancied Remus? You mean more to me than that.”

Arianna gulped. What was she supposed to say now? “Not at all.” She replied. James is going to kill me

“Welcome Mister Potter. Mister Black.” Their attentions were drawn to the front of the class.

“Why, good day Professor Zinkloni! We have come to absorb everything and anything you wish us to absorb into our puny minds this day!”

“Which won’t be much if history is to prove anything.” Professor Zinkloni mumbled dryly. “I suppose thirty minutes late is better than never.”

“Thirty minutes?” James exclaimed. “You hear that, Sirius? We improved by five minutes! Last time we were thirty-five minutes late!”

“Imagine that!”

“Yes.” Professor Zinkloni continued dryly. “Imagine that. You may take your seats now.” He suggested.

James and Sirius bowed gallantly to him, earning appreciative chuckles from the class, and turned to find seats. Sirius started towards Remus as soon as he saw him, but James hung back.

“What's wrong, Prongs?” Sirius asked when he noticed James wasn’t following him.

James shook his head. “Nothing.” He said, looking up at Sirius.

Sirius nodded in return, knowing that when they were in the right place James would tell him.

*~*~*~*~*~*~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~*~*~*~

When class ended the three trudged out of the room, but Remus hung back.

“Come on Remus! It’s lunch time!” Sirius exclaimed, grabbing his arm and trying to tug him down the hall. Remus tried to not be pulled but Sirius was a lot stronger than him, and after a moment of Lily not appearing, he allowed himself to be dragged away.

Lily and Rini always hung back at the end of classes. It was an understood thing between them. Lily always procrastinated the gathering of her materials and Rini always waited for her. Then they would slowly walk to their next class. The goal was to avoid contact with the other girls. Today, for one reason or another, hanging back did not work, and they found when they entered the foyer of the Great Hall, that the way was blocked by a group of five or six other sixth year girls.

Lily hung her head. She hated having to go through this. Arianna stiffened at the sight of them and thrust her chin forward. She was a force to be reckoned with, but Lily was too kind hearted to fight back and allowed their verbal jabs to soak through her skin and get to her heart.

“Merlin, Rupertin. Didn’t your mother teach you how to do your hair properly?” The girl in front scowled as they approached and they got a full view of Rini’s blue tips.

“Didn’t your mother ever tell you that if you keep making that face, it will stay like that?” Rini retorted.

The girl frowned and there was a flurry of movement behind her. Lily looked up suddenly. They’re pulling wands. They’ve never pulled wands before.

Rini was startled at the movement. Pulling a wand was crossing the line in such an instance.

The girl in the front toyed with her wand, spinning it between her fingers. “Anything else you wanted to say, Rupertin?”

“I think I’m good.” Rini said, crossing her arms across her chest and frowning. “Come on Lils.” She said, as she started to attempt to walk around the girls.

“Woah. Just a second.” The girl, who was known as Frannie by her group of friends, held out her hand and stopped Lily mid step. “What is this . . .thing, you are wearing?” Frannie gestured to the silver chain around Lily’s neck.

Lily grasped the charm quickly in her hand. It was a fairy that her grandmother had given to her before she had died. Lily treasured it and normally kept it hidden under her school robes but it must have slipped out in the excitement of the morning.

“It’s nothing.” She protested quietly.

“Good. Give it to me.” Frannie demanded.

Lily shook her head. “I can’t. Please, it’s very special to me.” Her eyes got big and she stepped abck from them.

“ I said give it to me, Evans.” Frannie stepped forward menacingly.

“No.” Lily shook her head.

Frannie raised her wand and muttered a spell before Lily had a chance to react. Before she could register what was happening, her legs were in a binding curse and Frannie had unclasped the charm necklace and walked away with it.

Arianna was finally able to get back to Lily’s side and said the counter curse to the jinx. “Are you alright, Lils?”

Lily sniffed and shook her head then raised tear filled eyes to Rini. “She took Grandma’s necklace.” She whispered.

“She what!?” Rini went to go after the girl, but Lily grabbed her sleeve.

“They already went inside. Please don’t Rini. Remember what happened last time?”

Rini stilled and nodded. She did remember. She had had a black eye for two weeks as a reminder, in fact.

“Let’s just go in and eat.” Lily sighed.

Rini helped her to her feet and they entered the Hall together.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~*~*~

Halfway through the meal the Headmaster stepped up to the podium and cleared his throat. The hall stilled slowly and all attention was turned to him.

“Good children, I have wonderful news. The date for the annual Hogwart’s Valentine’s Ball will be February 14th this year. The prefects will begin to plan the event with the Head boy and girl this week. Dress robes are required to attend!” Which earned a groan from the male population. “Also, newly instated, if you receive a detention the week before-” James squeaked indignantly. “-yes Mister Potter, seven days, before the ball then you will not be allowed to attend.” The crowd’s reaction was mixed, but Sirius and James were the most devastated.

“This means we’ll have to be somewhat behaved for a whole week!” Sirius cried out in disdain.

Remus smiled at his friends and accidentally met Lily’s eyes across the table. They were both still for a moment and then Remus mouthed, “Meet me outside after” to her and she numbly nodded.

“Further more, I expect exemplary behavior at this event, because we have just received word that Dragon’s Breath will be playing that night.” This news was met by loud cheering.

“They’re the hottest band around!” James yelled to Sirius. “How’d the old man get them!?”

After the commotion had died down, the students began to move out the door. Surprisingly enough, four hundred or so students trying to go out two doors at once causes quite a problem. It takes quite awhile to be able to leave the Great Hall.

Lily was walking next to Arianna when she felt someone gently grab her hand. She started and jumped but turned to find Remus pulling her away from the crowd. Either Rini didn’t notice or she pretended not to.

Lily’s mouth had gone dry. “What’s wrong Remus?”

Remus smiled. “Nothing dear Lily. I was just- . .. Well. . .” he let go of her hand and put his hands in his pockets, scuffling his feet. “I was just wondering . . . Do you want to go to the ball with me?”

Lily could have jumped for joy. “Yes.” She managed to squeak, jumping internally.

“Really?” He looked up and looked rather surprised.

“Of course I will, Remus.” She smiled.

He smiled back. “Oh, good.” he ended lamely.

“Lily!” Arianna had just realized her friend had disappeared. “Lily where are you?!”

“I better go.” She said in an apologetic voice. “I-I . . I’ll see you Remus.” She waved to him and scampered off after her friend.

James came up at that moment with Sirius. Not noticing the expression on Remus’s face he called out to Lily.

“Hey, Evans!”

Not even registering that it was James that was calling to her because of her good mood, she turned around to face who ever had called her name just as Rini came running to her side.

“You wanna go to the ball with me, Evans?”

“I can’t!” She called back without thinking. “I already have a date!” Then she put a hand to her mouth in a silent gasp and turned her back quickly on them and ran off. Rini looked curiously at the group and then saw her cousin’s expression. She stood, horrified, then walked over to them.

“Remie?”

Remus was the picture of innocence. “Yeah Rini? How are you? I haven’t spoken to you all day.”

“Please tell me you didn’t.”

“Didn’t what?” Sirius jutted in, only to be ignored.

“It’s none of your business, Rini.” His eyes narrowed.

“Like hell! She’s my best friend, Remie! And James-”

James and Sirius, who had been watching the exchange as if it were a ping pong match seemed to suddenly realize what was going on.

“Wait . . . Remus . . .” Sirius started.

Remus crossed his arms across his chest and waited for the explosion.

James’s face was ice for a moment and then riddled with anger as he lashed out at Remus and caught him on the jaw with a well placed punch that sent him to the ground.

“James!” Rini cried out as her cousin fell to the floor. Remus wouldn’t hit James back and on some level James knew that. But he would have felt a whole lot better if he did.

“Shut up Arianna! Remus knows that’s crossing the line!” James exclaimed.

“Bloody hell, James!” Remus’s anger suddenly got the better of him. “I don’t get much happiness in this life, couldn’t you allow me something?”

Remus’s admition was as effective as a punch would have been. James felt like he had been socked in the gut. Like the wind had been knocked from him. But he would never admit that he felt Remus was right. Jealousy and anger, mixed with an odd sense of betrayal overwhelmed him.

“Fine Remus. Have it your way. We’ll see who she chooses.”

Remus smiled. “That’s perfectly fine with me. Do you really think your in a position to be bargaining like that? Sure you wanna loose the grand friendship you’ve established with her?” He taunted.

Rini took Remus’s arm. “Come on, Remie. I want to talk to you. Like you said, we haven’t spoken all day.”

Remus allowed himself to be led away from his two best friends.

“What is this all about, Remie? You never mentioned that you fancied Lils.”

“I never felt the need to.” He replied shortly.

“Hey. Remie, it’s me. I’m on your side.”

He grinned sheepishly. “Sorry, Rini. I’m sorry for James too. I know how he feels about her, in a way, but sometimes it makes me mad how he acts as if she’s something he wants just because he knows he can’t have her. Like she isn’t a human being but a prize.”

It was Arianna’s turn to feel foolish. “I never thought of it like that.” She admitted. “I better go find her.” She said with a sigh. “Love you , Remie.” She kissed his cheek and ran off down the hall to find her best friend, and find out what had happened.

Remus stopped and watched his cousin disappear down the hallway, leaning against the wall. The full moon was next weel and he was starting to feel really weak. He ran a hand through his hair. His bangs had grown long and hung in his eyes now. He sighed. Was Lily worth loosing James over? Who was he kidding? They were made for each other. Everyone saw it. Everyone said it. He didn’t have a chance in the end.

Downhearted, he started slowly back up towards the Gryffindor Tower.



Chapter 3: Chapter 3 - Things That Can Not Be Forgiven
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A week passed before James was able to look at Remus again without his fists balling up and all the blood in his body rushing to his face. This gave him a headache. You’d get a headache too if all the blood in your body was constantly leaving where it was supposed to be and congregating in your face.

The thing was, Remus was getting sicker and sicker as the full moon approached. He started slacking off in class and skipping meals. Every month’s change was different for him, and the stress of the past month seemed to be making this one extremely difficult.

Lily and Rini were starting to notice a pattern in Remus’s behavior, but neither suspected such a horrible secret to lie in their friend. Rini, although she was his cousin, had no idea about his condition.

“Hey Moony.” Sirius plunked down next to Remus at the table. Remus’s plate was bare and he had a green tinge to his face. The full moon was in two days. “You feeling all right, mate?”

Remus had enough energy in him to turn his head and glare at his friend.

“Right. . .stupid question.” Sirius stuffed a piece of bread in his mouth.

James wandered in and trailed over to the table, fighting a gaggle of simpering girls off him as he went. “That’s right, ladies.” His voice dripped with honey and echoed across the hall to them. Sirius rolled his eyes at his schmoozing friend. Once James had finally reached the table and sat down with a big sigh, he muttered, “Bloody hell. You’d think they’d get the idea already.”

“What are you mumbling about?” Sirius asked, mid-chew.

“Nothing. It’s just . . .”

“Who are you going to the ball with, James?” Remus asked quietly from the other side of the table.

James took a deep breath and looked at his friend. Remus was his friend after all. He didn’t want to lose him, but asking Lily out was crossing the line. He found that if he ignored that idea then he could be civil to him. “I’m not going with anyone.” He said to his plate.

Sirius choked on his piece of bread. “What?!” He finally managed to sputter . “You’re a marauder! The marauders always have dates!”

“I don’t want to go with anyone.” He loaded his plate up with butternut parmesan.

“What do you mean you don’t want to go with anyone?!” Sirius was dumbfounded. How could he show his face at a public event without a date?

“I think,” Remus said in his quiet voice, “that James had someone in mind and his plans were changed for him.”

Sirius looked dumbly at Remus before he remembered that Remus and Lily were going together. “Oh. . .” He said in comprehension.

There was a rather uncomfortable silence for a few moments and then James cleared his throat loudly and Sirius looked at Remus, stared at Remus rather, with his eyebrows knit.

Remus tolerated the staring for a few moments and then it reached an extremely irritating climax. “Is there something that you want to ask me, Padfoot?” He asked amusedly.

“Yeah . . . Why doesn’t Arianna know about you?”

James’s and Remus’s eyes met across the table and they grinned at each other knowingly.

“Hey Padfoot,” James said, forgetting about Sirius’s question, “who are you going to the ball with?”

Sirius laughed and shoved another piece of bread in his mouth.

“No, seriously, Sirius.” Remus smiled.

Sirius glared at Remus and swallowed his mouthful. “I hate it when you guys do that.” He looked form James to Remus and sighed in defeat. “I’m going with some Ravenclaw girl.”

“Does she have a name?” James smiled as desert appeared on the table.

“Not one that I know.” He admitted sheepishly into his pumpkin juice.

“Why aren’t you going with Arianna?” James prodded.

Sirius choked on his pumpkin juice and it sprayed across the table, splashing all over the second year on the other side of James. The little boy glared at him and then slunk off to the other end of the table.

“Moony’s cousin!?” He exclaimed, as if the idea had never come across him.

Remus smiled. “It’s o.k. I think she likes you too.”

Sirius looked away and pretended the news didn’t please him. “So why doesn’t she know about you?”

“About being a werewolf?”

Sirius nodded and James looked mildly interested.

“She’s not really my cousin.”

There was a long silence as both boys thought about this for a moment. “What?!” They both ended up yelling in unison. They had known Arianna as Remus’s cousin for so long. . . It was like finding out that Lily’s name was really Beatrice or something like that.

“What do you mean she isn’t your cousin?” James spat, spraying little bits of chocolate across the table.

“Chew your food James.” Remus replied.

“Is she really not your cousin??” Sirius spit.

“Does that mean you don’t like her anymore?” Remis smiled weakly. James and Sirius stared silently at him for a few moments before he sighed and began to explain. “Arianna was adopted by my aunt and uncle when she was a baby. Her real parents were muggles and abusive.”

“Arianna was abused?” James asked, unable to comprehend. “You mean . . .her parents abused her?”

“We don’t all have loving families, Prongs.” Sirius grumbled.

“But she’s so . . .happy!” James protested.

“That doesn’t mean that she didn’t have an unhappy childhood.” Sirius pointed out.

“Hey! Sirius, she’s a lot like you- . . .” James trailed off in sudden realization.

Remus cleared his throat. “My parents haven’t thought it necessary to inform the rest of the family what I am, so naturally, Rini has no idea.”

>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"Sirius. Sirius, it's time to go."

James was pulling on Sirius's arm. He had fallen asleep on the couch as they waited for the common room to empty out so that they could sneak out with Remus. Actually, they didn't sneak out with him. He was supervised by the school healer the entire day and then released into the passage under the large willow tree by the lake. They used the secret passage behind one of the statues, traveling under James's invisibility cloak, which he had spelled himself. Once they had reached the grounds Peter would normally disappear into the woods on some flight of fancy of his own. What good was a rat to help with a werewolf anyway?

Tonight, Peter was not in the common room so they left without him. It was much easier to fit just the two of them without Peter's girth under the cloak, they also reached the statue faster than they normally did.

"We should leave him behind more often." Sirius observed as they slid into the secret passageway.

They traveled down the passageway at a run. The passage came out on the other side of the lake from the willow tree. The first time they had attempted to follow Remus, they had both transformed here, but had then found that in stag form, James did not fit through the tunnel to the shrieking shack. They now had a system set up. Sirius would transform and James would take his wand. They would then travel down the tunnel, Sirius loping along in the front, until they reached the door to the shrieking shack's passage. Sirius would stand guard as James emerged and transformed, Sirius would then take both their wands in his mouth and stash them by the tunnel entrance. They would then go off to find Remus, which was not very difficult.

This system had worked for nearly four years now, without a problem once in all the full moons they had been through. But for some reason, tonight was different.

Tonight, when they emerged from the tunnel, Remus was crouched in the corner, and they did not see him until he had leaped at James. Sirius barked a warning, but it was too late. The werewolf had aimed it's spring well, and it had landed on top of James's chest.

James's shirt gave way under the beast's claws and ribbons of red trailed down his front. He looked down at them, panicked. He was fine, as long as he stayed way from the teeth there wouldn't be any lasting damage. As long as Remus didn't bite him, he wouldn't be cursed too.

But the werewolf had other ideas. He snapped at James, nearly taking his nose off.

"Sirius!" James called out as he wrestled to get the werewolf off him.

Sirius sprung at Remus and dug his claws into his back. Remus turned around, and howled in agony, then turned his attention on Sirius, who started up the stairs, barking and daring the werewolf to follow him.

Remus took the bait and loped off after the dog, giving James the time to drag himself into the tunnel again, and shut the door behind him. He leaned against the hard wood, breathing heavy.

He was worried for Sirius, but that was a small thought in the back of his mind at the moment. There was blood running down his chest and his shirt was torn and ragged. His arm had a large gash on the bicep that was bleeding freely. But he had stayed away from the teeth.

He leaned his head back. What had just happened?

His body was numb, and he couldn't move for a moment and then he realized he had to get back to the castle and to the infirmary. He struggled to stand and then slowly began his way back down the tunnel, using the wall as a support, and cursing Remus Lupin with every step he took.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Rini and Lily were sprawled out on her bed looking at the latest issue of Which Witch magazine and eating Fizzing Whizbees and Bertie Bott's when there was a sudden tap on the dorm window.

"I'll get it!" Rini sprung up and knocked all the candy off the bed as she sprang to the window.

"Rini!" Lily laughed as she tried to save the jelly beans that inevitably met their doom on the floor a few seconds later. There was silence and Lily looked over to see what was wrong. Rini was staring out the window with a terrified expression on her face as a small brown owl flew into the room and landed on the bed.

"What's wrong, Arianna?" Lily said, slowly untangling herself from the sheets.

"Oh Merlin!" Arianna finally gasped. "I think it's James!"

"What?" Lily asked as she slid off the bed, her legs surrounded in sheets. She landed with a hard 'oomf!'.

"Lily come quickly!" Arianna cried frantically.

Lily was frightened by the tone of hysteria in Arianna's voice and scrambled to her feet and to the window. She looked out into the darkness and could make out the limping figure slowly making it's way across the lawn. "Dear Merlin, I think it is."

"Lily, you have to go down and see if he's alright! You're a prefect, you can be out after hours without getting in trouble, and he looks like he's hurt!" She said as she took another look out the window. Lily looked out again, he was walking funny, and slow, and she was a prefect, it was her duty.

She sighed in frustration. "Oh alright. Alright." She said. She was curious why James was alone and out on the grounds so late, maybe she'd be able to give him a detention. She ran out the door and down the hall. Rini stared out the window, watching the one figure attempt to make it's way back up to the school.

Once Lily reached the lawn she was able to make out the person's face enough to tell that it was indeed James, but she stopped in her tracks as he looked up at her. His face was pale and there was a large scrape down his cheek. He was dragging his feet and one looked as if the knee would not bend. One of his arms was cradled against his chest, which was covered by a shredded article of clothing that looked like it may have at one point been a shirt. There was blood trickling down his body.

"James!" She cried out in horror. He looked up at her and then his eyes rolled back in his head and he fell to the ground. "James!" She said again as she ran to him. "Good Merlin!" She cried as she reached his side and knelt next to him. "What happened to you?! You're bleeding!"

His head was swimming and some part of him numbly registered that it was Lily's voice floating above him somewhere. There was cold hands on his chest and then everything was dark again. A few seconds later everything would come back and he tried to say something . . . to reassure her that he was alright, but the words wouldn't form.

A small trickle of blood escaped the side of his mouth and he coughed. "James!" Lily threw her arms around him as she forced him to sit up. "Look at me James!" She demanded.

He fought very hard to open his eyes, but he felt so dizzy.

"Look at me James!" She grabbed his hands and after feeling how slippery they were she took his face gently but firmly. "We have to get you inside and to the infirmary. You have to help me James."

He closed his eyes tightly and scrunched them against the wave of pain as he let her help him back to his feet. She started walking slowly, one arm around his waist and the other holding his arm over her shoulders. It was a long, slow walk and the night was cold. She was shivering and for a moment his brain did not register why or even the fact that she was. He stopped and she tugged on his arm. "James, come on you won't make it much longer if we don't hurry. You're loosing a lot of blood. Oh, why didn't I bring my wand?"

He shrugged off his cloak and draped it across her shoulders and then started off towards the castle again as she looked at him, stunned. The cloak was warm, and there was blood on it, but it smelt good. It smelt warm and comforting, it smelt like safety and protection. It smelt like James. She closed her eyes against the warmth that bubbled up in her.

No. James Potter was an insufferable git. That was the end of it.

But she couldn't help but pity him anyways, at least, she thought it was pity, and she ran to catch up with him and slid her arm around his waist again to give him support. The rest of the walk was silent until they reached the hall of the infirmary, then Lily shouted for the healer until she came and took the bleeding James from her care and into her own.

She asked no questions, only pulled out her many potion bottles and bandages and began to work on the black haired boy as he began to slip in and out of consciousness. She stood there in shock for a moment, only able to watch, and he turned his head to look at her. She stared back. They stood like that for a moment, eyes locked, until the healer put a nasty potion on to the gash in his arm an he was forced to look away.

" Come now, Mr. Potter. You have had worse. It will only sting a minute. This is what you get for insisting to-" Then the healer rose and pulled the curtains shut around the bed, shutting herself inside with her patient, and shutting Lily off from the pain she had seen written on his face.

Rini was probably worried and wondering where she was. She had a lot of homework to finish and it was really late. She had classes tomorrow. She had an exam come to think of it, in Potions.

So she really wondered why, for some reason, she sat down in a chair on the other side of the room, and waited. Waited for what? She had no idea. But she stayed.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"Lily." A voice cooed in her ear. "Wake up Sleeping Beauty."

Lily swatted at the direction the voice was coming from and her hand made contact with someone's face.

"Ow! Hey now!"

She took stock of her surroundings before opening her eyes. There was something cold and hard under her arm and something equally hard against her back. There was a bright light shining in her eyes.

She opened her eyes to find a smirking Sirius standing before her, arms crossed and a large bandage on his forehead that was partially hidden by his long bangs. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes as she turned so that her feet were on the floor. She had been curled sideways in a hard plastic chair, her arms draped over one of the arms and her feet tucked beneath her. She looked around her confusion for a moment before she saw that the ray of light on her eyes was from a high window in the wall and then realized she was in the infirmary.

Sirius grinned at her. "You've been here all night."

"Have I?" She said, rubbing her palms over her eyes.

Sirius crossed his arms and leaned haphazardly against the wall next to her. "Yes indeed you have. Now I'm wondering, whatever is Miss Lily Evans doing in the hospital ward? Now see, when I got here, it was only dear Miss Lily. . . and James."

Lily stood from the chair and stretched, her back cramping in protest. "Was it?" She said as she started walking towards the door.

Sirius followed her, grinning. "It was. Now I'm finding this really interesting Lils, see I know how very much you hate James. You knew he was hurt and you stayed with him all night."

"I did not stay with him all night because he was hurt." The redhead protested, putting her hands on her hips and turning to face him.

"Then why did you stay?" He smirked.

"I fell asleep." She waved him off and started towards the door again, then turned around with a sudden thought. "Why are you hear Sirius?"

Sirius stopped and wore a shocked expression for a moment. "I-uh . . . I brought . . . Remus in." He stuttered out.

"Remus is here too?" She asked in shock as she pushed past him.

"They both are." He said quietly as he tried to grab her arm and stop her from walking into the room.

She stopped as the beds came into view. They were across from each other and both James and Remus were sitting up in the beds, propped up by pillows, each one glaring at the other. Remus, other than looking sick and tired seemed to be fine, with hardly a scratch on him.

James looked better than he had last night, but not by much.

"Look Lils, I think it might be best if you go." Sirius said gently as he came up next to her. "There are some things we need to talk about." He said nodding towards the other two boys.

Lily nodded numbly and left the ward. Rini met her in the hallway.

"I came down about an hour after you left to make sure you were alright. I sat with you for a bit and then left to find Madame to ask if James would be alright. When I came back Sirius was in there with you, you were still asleep. He said that I should probably go catch some sleep too." The way her friend blushed, Lily wondered what more had happened between her friends but said nothing on the subject.

She sighed. "I really want to know what happened last night. All three of them are in there now and Remus and James look as if they are ready to fly out of their beds and throttle each other."

There was the sound of something that had been very fragile crashing and the girls mutely decided it would be best to go get ready for class.

>>>>>>>>>>>>

"What happened last night?!" Remus yelled at James in an accusatory voice. "Why was Lily down here with you?!"

"Because you almost bloody killed me!" He yelled back.

Sirius stood between them and tried to calm both down. "Come on now mates, this is all just a big misunderstanding."

"Misunderstanding!?" They cried simultaneously.

"You know, I think I'll sit this one out." Sirius said as he found a chair on the sidelines and let them go at it. It would probably be best for them to get their anger out in the open while they were both in a state were they couldn't kill each other.

"I did not almost kill you." Remus continued.

"You bloody well did!" James said. "You think I did this to myself?"

Remus took a deep breath as the realization hit him. "I did that?" He asked quietly. He had never attacked anyone before in his werewolf state. The headmaster was careful to make sure that he was properly cared for and sent out where he could do no damage to anyone but himself. Only the professors knew what he was and the Marauders suspected the Headmaster as well as the school healer knew about James and Sirius's escapades every full moon.

James attempted to cross his arms against his chest but only ended pulling at healing wounds and bruised muscles. "Lily saved me."

Remus looked away, the guilt washing over him. He had attacked his best friend? Those scrapes on his face were because of him? He looked at his hands, seeing not the fingers, but the claws that were there every full moon.

James did not relent at the pained expression on his friend's face. "She found me out on the lawn and half carried me up here. She wouldn't leave me out there."

Sirius stood from his chair. "James." He said, holding out a hand as if he could stop James's words.

"But you, Remus. You're a monster." As the words left James's lips, the energy drained from him and the sight of his friend's face brought his heart crashing down to his knees. "I-I'm sorry Remus. . . I didn't mean that . . ."

"No." Remus said quietly. "You did . . . I understand." Then he turned his face away and would not look back.

"I'm sorry Moony." James said quietly, knowing how deep he had hurt his friend. "Remus, I shouldn't have said that. I didn't mean it." Remus's head was just visible enough so that they could see that he nodded, as if he heard him.

Sirius came to the edge of his bed, a disapproving look on his face. "You would have done the same thing," James said to his surrogate brother, his eyes clouded over, "if it had been Arianna." Then he closed his eyes and fell back against his pillows.


>>>>>>>>>>>>

"I can't believe the ball is in only four hours!" Rini was prancing around the dormitory, half in her dress robe and half in her pajamas, as Lily fought with her hair in front of the mirror in the bathroom that branched off their room.

"What's the bloke's name you're going with?" Lily called out as she opened her lipstick tube.

"Something Finnigan. He's in Hufflepuff. He's that red head bloke who sits next to me in Magical Runes."

There was a few seconds of silence and then Lily exclaimed, "You're going with Finnigan?!"

"Haven't we had this conversation before?" Arianna called back, rolling her eyes.

"I think I would remember if you had told me you were going with Finnigan!" Lily shuddered.

"Hey Lils, did you read the newspaper this morning?"

"No. Why?" She stepped back into the room, wiping her hands dry with a towel and raised her eyebrows at Arianna, who was now stuck in the straps of her gown.

"Help?" She asked meekly as Lily stifled laughter and came to her with a pitying look.

"What was in the newspaper? You never read the newspaper." Lily smiled. "In fact, you can read?"

"Ha ha." Rini smiled despite the teasing. "There was an article about some rioting in Hogsmeade. I guess there was a group of people who went through the town spreading these ideas about muggle borns. . ."

Lily's hands slipped from her friend's shoulders. "All fixed."

Rini nodded in thanks. "I guess they think that our kind is less worthy than your kind. Something about them not wanting us being able to practice magic."

"That's a load of rubbish and you know it." Lily pulled her friend into the bathroom and picked up her brush. "Now. Let's do something with that hair of yours."

>>>>>>>>>>>>

Four hours later, Rini and Lily were analyzing themselves before the mirror.

"Are we ready?" Rini asked.

Lily took a deep breath. "Am I ready?" She said in a breathless whisper.

I never should have let this happen. Rini berated herself. No wonder James has been so distant this week. She looked over at her friend's reflection. She really likes Remus. With a sigh, she grabbed her friend's hand. "They'll be waiting for us." She said softly.

"Yeah . . ." Lily replied distantly.

They exited the dorm, passing groups of giggling girls in their multicolored gowns, and fought their way down to the portrait hole.

"Where are you meeting Finnigan?" Lily asked.

"Outside the Great Hall on the staircase."

"Well I guess I'll see you later then because-" She started.

"Lily?" A surprised voice came from behind them. The girls turned around quickly, the Marauders were standing before them, all attired regally.

"R-Remus." Lily stuttered, her eyes wide. He was standing at the front of the group, hands in his pockets and a crisp black dress robe on. Sirius and James were similarly attired in the black robe. Even that boy Peter that always hung around them could bee seen wearing one from where he sulked in the corner. Sirius was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed and his tie knotted loosely so it hung inches below the first few unhooked buttons of his shirt.

James would not let himself look at Lily. He hung back and acted as if the nearest painting was far more interesting and for once, he was silent. His words from the day before still haunted him, and he had come to a silent agreement with himself that he would not stand in Remus's way, no matter how much it hurt him. He owed it to Remus for what he had said. It had been an accident. It was common knowledge that werewolf's would attack anyone, that they did not recognize faces, nor did they care who the face belonged to. Remus had not known it was him. He had to keep telling himself that. Over and over again. Remus had not known. Meanwhile, he had to live with the guilt of causing his friend pain over something he could not control, and watching that friend walk away with the one girl he had always dreamt himself with. This night was going to be anything but fun.

Remus was smiling slightly at her. Now that the full moon had passed, he looked much healthier. The circles underneath his eyes had faded away with the full nights sleep he had had and his poise had returned. She stepped closer to him and he slipped a flower gently into her hands.

She looked down at the delicate orchid in her hand and said, "It's not a lily."

"You sound surprised." He noted.

She looked at him, a grin spreading across her face. "I hate Lilies. You would too if you were me. I don't think I have ever received any other type of flower. It's like people think my parents named me Lily just knowing I would love them."

Remus smiled back as he offered her his arm and Lily gently took it. They exited the dorm, leaving Arianna looking slightly put-down at having been ditched , Sirius with a plastered expression of "nothing's-wrong-and-I-don't-care" on his face and poor James looked so lost that he'd never know which way was up again, never mind how to find his way alone down to the Great Hall.

Sirius looked over at the black haired girl a few feet away from him and his stomach fluttered. Her dress was a deep crimson and dipped low in the back, her hair was down, as it always was, and the tips were died a dark red to match her dress.

James cleared his throat from the other side of the room and then left through the portrait hole, but not before giving Sirius a significant look.

"Arianna?" He said after a few moments of silence.

Arianna turned around and smiled at him. "Everyone calls me Rini, Sirius."

He cleared his throat. "Rini."

She smiled and nodded. Good Merlin he was handsome, did he have a date tonight? Would it matter if he did? She scolded herself. I already am going with someone else.

"You look really nice tonight." He said quietly. He was still leaning on the wall and his head was titled towards the floor so when he looked up at her it was through his dark bangs.

Her breath caught in her throat. "So do you." She said breathlessly.

There was an awkward silence for a moment and then the portrait hole opened up.

"You still in here, Sirius?" A voice called out. "Serena is out here waiting for you."

"Serena . . ?" Arianna's heart dropped. He did have a date.

Sirius pushed up from the wall and walked towards the door, and in doing so passed her. He stopped and looked down at her. "Have a good time tonight. . . Rini." Then he left.

Rini couldn't breathe for a moment. Gradually, her senses came back to her and she was able to move again, slowly, towards the portrait. Tonight looked like it was going to be anything but a good time.

Chapter 4: Chapter 4 - February Begins and the Feud Ends. Temporarily.
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Chapter 4 - February Begins and the Feud Ends. Temporarily.

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Remus and Lily entered the hall arm in arm, smiles on both their faces. The hall was decorated in twinkling pinks and reds. A rather large, overly frilly, and tacky heart was on the wall above the teacher's table and the lights were dimmed. The normal white candles that floated above the tables were now red and casting warm orange glows over the few round tables that lined the sides of the room. In front of the table a stage had been erected and Dragon's Breath was tuning their instruments with their wands. On closer examination she realized the large heart said 'Dragon's Breath' on it.

"You want some punch?" Remus asked her softly.

She smiled sweetly at him. "Yes, please."

He patted her hand gently and disappeared into the crowd.

Lily noticed a table to the far back that was unoccupied and set out for it. She was stopped every so often by friends to say hello and compliment each other on how fabulous they looked that evening and gossip about who had been escorted to the ball by whom.

During her journey through the crowd, she noticed Sirius and his blonde haired companion, who looked rather ridiculous in the shade of lipstick she had plastered on her tiny lips, at a table quite near the one she was going towards. Sirius looked anything but pleased. He was swirling the liquid around his cup with his hand rested on his chin. He looked up, meeting Lily’s gaze and smiled warmly at her. She smiled warmly back and chuckled to herself as his date went on prattling, not having noticed his wavering attention.

Help me. He mouthed to her silently.

She smiled and shook her head and he winked at her before turning his face back to his drink.

“Heading for that table there?” A voice interrupted her from behind. She jumped, startled, but seconds later recognized the voice as the smiling dirty blonde handed her a heart shaped glass filled with red punch.

She took a sip. “Yes.” She answered.

“Spot on.” He replied, extending his arm to her. She smiled and gently placed her hand in the crook of his elbow.

Once they had settled at the table and sat in silence for about fifteen minutes, she realized how very awkward it was to be sitting here with him.

He cleared his throat. “Well . . .” He attempted.

She smiled sadly at him. This wasn’t going very well . . .

“Would you like to dance?”

“What?”

“Would you like to dance?” He stood and extended his hand towards her, an earnest look in his eyes.

She fidgeted for a moment and then finally consented and slipped her hand in his. “I would like to take this moment to warn you.” She said as he slipped an arm around her waist.

“Yes?”

“I simply can not dance.” She protested as he stepped out on to the dance floor.

“Well. . . You’ve never danced with me.” He replied with a smile.

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How sickening. How very, very sickening. James was sitting alone, in the farthest, darkest corner of the Great Hall that he could find. He was watching Remus twirl Lily about the dance floor with an envious glare. How extremely unfair. I get torn to pieces, and he gets to dance with Lily.

He watched as the dance ended and another, slower one began. He cringed as his best mate pulled his girl closer to him. He grimaced as she giggled softly and then was forced to look away as he saw them lock eyes.

Why had he even bothered to come? Why was he torturing himself like this?

“Prongs?”

James tilted his face away from Sirius as he sat down next to him and put a gentle
and on his back. James shrugged away and kept his face towards his clenched fists where they sat in his lap.

“If it’s anything like what I’ve been experiencing watching that stupid Finnigan bloke, then I understand how you feel, Prongs.”

James lifted his head and looked hard at Sirius’s face before responding. “I forgot.” He admitted.

“Looks like we both got skimped out of having our dream girls.” He said, leaning back against the table and crossing his arms.

James looked up and saw that Remus was leaving Lily with a group of her friends and walking towards the entrance hall. Lily’s friends were all a twitter around her, whispering excitedly.

“And to Remus . . .” Sirius shook his head.

“Where’s your date?” James asked.

Sirius smiled. “I have no idea. And I don’t really care to find out.” The smile faded and he leaned in so he could talk softly and James could still hear him. “I made a mistake James, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fix it, but damnit, you and Lils. . . You can’t just sit back, Prongs. She’s not supposed to be with Remus.”

James ran his hand through his hair and sighed. “Go tell that to her.”

The conversation was interrupted by a commotion on the dance floor.

“What’s going on?” James asked as Sirius stood on his chair to see over the heads of the crowd.

“Shit.” He muttered. “Merlin’s beard. Dragon turds. Lizard guts.” Sirius went on cursing as he started into the crowd.

“Where are you going?!” James leapt to his feet and followed his friend through the crowd, pushing people as he went. It was rather hard to get through the pack.

“It’s Lily.” He heard Sirius call back over his shoulder and he doubled his efforts to get through the crowd.


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“Sooo. . . Does he dance good?” Rini was whispering in Lily’s ear as they watched Remus walk away. He had just excused himself for a moment and Lily was immediately surrounded by group of girls. Lily, unused to any of the girls in her year, or any other year, talking to her, was taken aback. Apparently the Marauders were more popular than she had realized.

“Rini, he’s your cousin. Why do you want to know?” Lily smiled as she fanned herself with her hand. It was stiflingly hot in the midst of all these people.

“For your sake.” She said with a twinkling smile.

Lily shoved her playfully. “Why aren’t you with your date?”

“I got sick of him staring at my chest. Every few minutes I would have to remind him my face was five inches higher.”

“I told you he was icky.”

“Evans.” A voice interrupted their conversation. Lily’s body went cold with fear. She turned slowly, already knowing what to expect.

Frannie was standing before her, hands on her hips and her normal gaggle of girls sniggering around her. Lily’s heart dropped when she saw her grandmother’s necklace clasped about the girls thick neck. The fairy wasn’t as shiny as it had been when Frannie had taken it from her, probably because Lily treasured it so much that she polished every evening before bed.

She tried not to look at the necklace. “Hello, Frannie.” She tried to smile but there was a large lump in her throat.

The girl grimaced and stepped closer, Rini darted between them, a scowl on her face. “Don’t even speak to me, Evans. You're below me. You have no right to speak to me that way.”

Rini growled, literally growled, at the girl. Lily put a hand on her friend’s arm, trying to pull her back.

“Give Lils back her necklace Frankfurt.” Rini growled at Frannie. A few people in the crowd sniggered.

“Think my name’s funny do yah?” Frannie Frankfurt wheeled around to the crowd, her eyes sparking. The crowd immediately went silent. Rini sniggered. Frannie whipped around, her hand flying out and contacting with the side of Lily’s face before anyone could register what she was doing. Rini had ducked out of the way.

Lily staggered back in shock. Rini had her hand to her mouth in horror, realizing she had left Lily open to the attack.

Now, two things happened next simultaneously.

Rini careened into the bigger girl before them, and Sirius and James entered the circle that had been left open by the crowd as the fight broke out.

Sirius immediately grabbed the flailing raven haired girl by the waist and hoisted her away from her victim. “Put me down, Sirius!! I’m going to claw the evil witch’s eyes out!!”

Sirius did not let go. “You are not going to claw anyone’s eyes out, Rini! Now stop squirming before you cause more damage!!”

James had rushed to Lily’s side and was trying to get her to let him see her cheek. She would not turn towards him though. He took her arm gently. “Why did she hit you?” He asked.

“That stupid goat stole Lily’s necklace!” Rini cried out from where Sirius was trying to hold her.

“I did no such thing!” Frannie protested from where she was on the ground. She wasn’t about to go anywhere though. Not with the two best looking guys in the school standing over her. She smiled at them, but they shuddered in repulsion.

“She’s lying!” Rini cried out. Sirius had to put a hand over her mouth to quiet her down.

James walked over to the girl and asked her to stand up. Frannie, smiled as sweetly as she could manage and stood up. Trying to be graceful and beautiful. James ignored her attempts and looked at the neckline of her gown, seeing a thing silver chain. “That’s a pretty chain.” He commented. Her hand instinctively flew to her neck. “Can I see it?” He held out his hand.

Frannie backed away a step, a panicked expression crossing her face, the girls behind her whispering excitedly.

Lily put a hand on the boy’s arm. “It’s alright James, you don’t have to . . .” He silenced her with his hand.

Frannie reached back and unclasped the necklace. She dropped it in James’s hand, her eyes cast downward.

James looked at it for a moment and then walked to Lily and brushed her hair to the side and clasped it around her neck. “I believe this is yours.” He said.

She smiled up at him, tears forming in her eyes. “Thank you.” She whispered.

James turned back around and faced the group of girls. “If I find out that any more threats are made against Lily Evans, or any one of you taunts her in any way, you will deal with me.” He said, scanning the crowd with dark fiery eyes. “Now, if you’ll excuse us.” He said, staying rooted to the spot. The girls, heads cast to the floor, rushed away as quickly as they could, trying to pretend nothing had happened.

Once everyone had turned away and gone back to dancing, Sirius finally released Rini. She smacked his arm. “I could have gotten it back by myself!” She cried out.

Sirius grinned at her. “You wanna dance?”

She stopped mid-thwack and looked at him for a moment. “Alright.” She responded with a smile.

As they walked away, Lily turned back to James and thanked him again. “You don’t know how important this necklace is to me.” She said.

“You’ve worn it everyday since our third year.” He said back quietly.

She was rather shocked for a moment that he had noticed something like that, but couldn’t pursue the matter further because Remus approached them at that moment.

“Am I interrupting something?” His gaze was on James and it was hard to decide whether it was unbridled fury or sparkling annoyance that was in his eyes.

“No, I was just leaving.” James responded turning away.

“Wait.” Lily’s voice stopped him. She turned to Remus. “Remus, would you mind if I danced this one with James?”

Remus and James were still for a moment . Remus’s heart fell. It was happening already then. He had known he and she would not last, but to happen so soon? “Of course.” He smiled half-heartedly and left them.

James remained still as Remus walked away. Lily cleared her throat. “You don’t mind, do you?” She asked timidly.

James shook his head. Merlin’s beard . . .mind?

She stepped closer to him and he slipped an arm around her waist. A slow song was lilting through the hall.

“You didn’t have to do that.” She said after a moment of silence had passed between them.

“Yed, I did.” He answered, for a moment he was unable to meet her eyes, but noting her silence, he eventually did. “Lily?” He stopped dancing and reached a hand out to her cheek. She was crying.

“No. No, it’s alright.” She sniffed and wiped the tears away. “You . . . It’s just . . .”

“What’s the matter Lily?” He was afraid he had done something terribly wrong.

“This necklace . . . You couldn’t possibly know how important it is to me. . . But you . . In front of everyone . . .”

“Lily.” He said kindly, pulling her off the dance floor where everyone could see her tears, and bringing her to a deserted table. “I told you already. You don’t have to thank me I-”

“No. Listen, James.” She cut him off. She took his hands and he tried to ignore the feeling that cascaded through him. “That was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.”

He smiled. “You can’t have met many nice people than.” He meant it as a joke, but she grimaced and he noted he had, again, said the wrong thing. “I’m sorry, Lily.”

She sniffed. “I always thought you were a prat, James Potter. But all of a sudden . . .” She covered her mouth in horror and stood from the chair. “I’m sorry James. I have to go.” she said in a hurried tone and then took off across the dance floor.

“Lily!” He called after her. “Lily, wait!” But she was already gone.

Remus and Sirius came hustling up behind James, Rini trailing behind them. At Lily’s retreating back she glared at the boys. “What have you done to her now?” She scowled and ran after her friend.

Remus turned towards James and sighed. “You should go after her, James.” He said quietly, then turned and walked away. James stared after him in shock for moment and then looked at Sirius, who had an equally confused expression on his face. Did Remus just admit defeat? James sent felt elated. He looked at the crowd that stood between him and Lily. The path was still barred. He still had to make her realize she loved him.

But suddenly the path was looking a whole lot brighter.

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“Lils! Oh, Lily please wait up!” Rini was huffing behind her friend. She stopped as she reached the portrait hole and put her hand on her knees, bending over and trying to get air back in her lungs. “Stupid red head. I’m going to kill her.” She heaved as she pushed through the portrait opening.

The common room was unlit, except for the small circle of light that was cast by the fire that sat in the hearth. Lily was sitting before that fire, her knees pulled up against her chest, rocking back and forth. Rini approached at a walk and slowly sat down next to her friend, so as not to frighten her. Lily leaned over and rested her head on her friend’s shoulder. Rini rubbed her back in what she hoped was a comforting manner.

“You have to tell them, Lily.” Rini said softly. “You can’t keep pretending it’s not real. You have to tell them. You owe it to them.”

“I can’t.” She croaked. “I can’t tell them.” She was overcome by tears once more. “I can’t tell them.”


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The prefects had to stay to clean up the mess the party-goers had made after the ball. Considering they were short one prefect, because Lily had disappeared, the Marauders decided to stay and help clean up. Rather, James decided that he should probably stay to make it up to Remus, and was forcing Sirius to stay with him.

“So . . .” He started as they worked. Remus was making a point of keeping his distance from them at the moment. “How was it with Rini? Was your date totally ticked at being ditched?”

“She was surprisingly . . .unsurprised.” Sirius chuckled. “I guess she didn’t want to exactly be there with me either. So it all worked out for the best. . .you see . . .she had her eye on Rini’s date.” They had a good laugh about that one until Remus finally came over to them. He was rather timid about speaking but eventually they all clapped each other on the backs and decided that the past was behind them. At least, forwardly. Because inside Remus’s heart, he still had feelings for Lily. And he knew James did too.

It wasn’t over yet.

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The next morning was a weekend day, so there was no classes. Thank Merlin since at least three fourths of the school’s student population did not see the better part of the morning and breakfast was rather empty.

Sirius and James dragged their selves from their beds around eleven o’clock to attend Quidditch practice, passing a new announcement on the bulletin board.

“James. Wait. Look at this.” Sirius stopped and started reading the announcement and then jumped on James’s back with a gleeful yelp. “Hogsmead weekend next weekend!!!”

James laughed and struggled to push his friend off. After tussling for a few moments they both sat on the ground, the play-fight had come to a deadlock, as it normally did. “You’re going to ask Rini right?” James asked as they struggled back to their feet, now they were probably going to be late to practice.

“You’re going to invite Lils, right?” James smiled back at Sirius and they took off at a run down the lawn.

“Last one there’s a rotten higglypunk!”

“First one there’s gotta eat it!!!”


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