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The Matchmaker by maggianos22

Format: Novel
Chapters: 11
Word Count: 31,593
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: General, Humor, Romance
Characters: Lupin, Sirius, Lily, James, Pettigrew, OC
Pairings: Remus/OC, James/Lily

First Published: 07/28/2013
Last Chapter: 12/13/2013
Last Updated: 12/13/2013

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 “Ronnie, we need your help,” James looked serious. “Our friend, Remus Lupin, whom we love dearly and only have the best intentions for, is in a teeny bit of a rut.”

“He needs to get a girlfriend, and we think that you’d be perfect for the job.” Sirius cut in bluntly.

Chapter 1: The Mission
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 “We've come to you on a mission.” That's it. That's all they said. Talk about being ambiguous.

Only one minute ago, my life was normal, average, ordinary. I was sitting at a table in the library, by myself, as usual, various essays and assignments spread out, each trying for my attention. Should I write about the effects of gillyweed when taken in excess? Or perhaps I'll attempt at interpreting the dreams I've had this week. And then there was always the fun task of reading up on the theory of wandless magic. Each one just seemed so dreadfully boring that I coudn't bring myself to do anything but lean back in my chair. The thought ran through my head that if I starred at the papers and books in front of me I might find some sort of motivation. But before the impulse to become a better student stroke, a peculiar shadow appeared on top of my school work. And much to my surprise and chagrin, the shadow was being cast by none other than James Potter and Sirius Black.

“We've come to you on a mission.” This was followed by the two boys intensely staring at me in an attempt to agree to their nebulous request. Their one-liner conjured so many questions in my mind that I faltered in responding. Finally, I collected my thoughts enough to utter a reply.

“What?” Smooth.

My response to their presence was apparently an invitation for them sit down. James sat like a normal human being, but Sirius wanted to look cool and tried to sit in the chair backwards, like a dad would when giving his son advice. Needless to say, Sirius did not look cool.

“So, Victoria,” James started, leaning on top of the table and giving me a good once over. Five seconds into our conversation and they already messed up.

“It’s Veronica.” I corrected his mistake, secretly hoping that he would feel a kindling of embarrassment from his faux pas. This is our seventh year together, after all, so either of them should at least know my name, especially if they are trying to enlist me in some sort of mission.

Sirius waved his hand, dismissing the correction with ease. “Veronica, we’re going to call you Ronnie, okay?” No one calls me Ronnie and I don’t particularly enjoy it, but fixing their mistakes seemed like a waste of breath.

“Ronnie, we need your help,” James looked serious. “Our friend, Remus Lupin, whom we love dearly and only have the best intention, is in a teeny bit of a rut.”

“He needs to get a girlfriend, and we think that you’d be perfect for the job.” Sirius cut in bluntly.

“So let me get this straight,” I summarized, a bit fazed by their audacious request. “Your friend is a loser who can’t get a date, so you want me to be his girlfriend…” This was starting to sound like the plot of a bad romantic comedy.

“Sounds about right,” James agreed, nodding his head with Sirius.

“And you think that I’m the type of girl to just go around throwing myself at any guy willing to date me?” Rage was starting to bubble up inside of me. I started collecting my books and what not off the table, shoving them into my bag without a second thought of their condition.

Sirius saw my anger and quickly tried to stop me from leaving. So he said what might of made sense in his little boy mind. “This will be good for you!”

This stopped me dead in my tracks. I spun around to face Black, my cheeks red hot from frustration, offense, and fury. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Sirius stammered, faltering on his answer. “It’s just that we know you’ve never had a boyfriend, and um we thought that this would be a good opportunity for you!” As he spoke, his voice gained confidence. “I mean, boys aren’t exactly lining up at your door step, are they?”

 Before I completely thought over what I was doing, my fist made abrupt contact with his face. Pain shot up my arm, but from the looks of it, Sirius was worse off. His usually straight nose was crooked and dark red blood, close to the Gryffindor scarlet he loved so much, was gushing out and onto the table. The two boys stared at me, shocked with my sudden outburst, and frankly, I was just as surprised as they were. I never did anything spontaneous, but then again, up until that point I never had to defend my honor.

“I thought Hufflepuffs are supposed to be nice!” James shouted at me, fumbling with his wand in an attempt to fix his friends broken nose, or at least stop the bleeding.

“Well he crossed the line when he said I wasn’t appealing to boys and that this would be the only chance I’d get to have a boyfriend.” I fumed, slinging my bag over my shoulder and striding away. If I were wearing red lipstick I’d be like a bad-ass heroine in the movies who takes shit from nobody. Note to self: peruse the selection of red lipstick next time I go Gladrags in Hogsmede.

Unfortunately, my amazing exit from the scene of the crime was ruined when Potter started chasing after me, calling out my unauthorized nickname. Due to my almost nonexistent will power and James’ overly persistent attempts of getting my attention, I turned around. He stood there, his hair unnaturally disheveled and his glasses slipping off the bridge of his nose. I put my hand on my hip, trying to look intimidating, but I doubt I did. “What do you want, Potter?” I spat out.

“Sorry about that whole thing,” He actually looked somewhat apologetic, sincerity written all over his face. “Sometimes Padfoot says things that don’t have a chance to be filtered through his brain, and by sometimes I mean all the time. He has a problem, I admit it. But, you shouldn’t be put off of Remus just because of his stupidity.”

Seriously? That was his apology? “I don’t want to date with Remus, I don’t want to talk to Remus, I don’t even want to look at Remus! Why the hell did you choose me to set your friend up with? You don’t even know me!” I couldn’t help it, it had to be said.

“But you two have so much in common! You were in the library and Moony loves the library! Plus, you both have hair! You guys are basically soul mates.” His logic was impeccable (sarcasm). James sensed the apprehension in my face so he tried again. “C’mon, at least talk to him. Please?”

I frowned at his attempted puppy eyes, which made him look like a creepy man child. “As tempting as that sounds, I’m going to have to say no.” And with that, I headed towards my common room, hoping that that was the end of it all. There were plenty of other eligible single girls who would gladly date Remus Lupin. I might’ve thought about it if it weren’t for his obnoxious friends. Unfortunately, those obnoxious friends of his also can’t take a hint, because, little to my knowledge, this whole mess wasn’t over by a long shot.

The next morning, I was graced with the presence of not only James Potter and Sirius Black, but the rest of their obnoxious group of friends they so conceitedly dubbed “The Mauraders.” I have no idea what that’s about, most likely they thought that the rest of the population of Hogwarts enjoyed being subject to their rarely funny, usually cruel pranks. All I wanted to do was delve into my stack of hot pancakes, maybe indulge myself with a drizzle of maple syrup and a dollop of butter, but I was rudely interrupted by Hogwarts Most Annoying Boys. The whole situation was extremely de ja vu, a shadow being cast over my breakfast and everything.

“Ronnie!” I heard James exclaim, him and his friends gathered on the other side of the Hufflepuff table.

“Wow,” I faked enthusiasm, although my attempt was weak at best. “What do I owe the pleasure of seeing you two?” I, in fact, had a very good idea of why they were troubling me, but I refused to fully believe it.

“Well, Padfoot and I were just discussing how we haven’t spent time with our good friend Veronica lately and we felt like this visit is long overdue. So, we are eating breakfast with you!” James explained this with a large smile on his face, nudging Sirius, who looked less enthusiastic about meeting with me again.

“Wow, Sirius,” I leaned toward his face, squinting a bit for effect. “Your nose seems a bit crooked. Did someone break it recently?” I feigned an innocent tone of voice, using all my strength not to burst out laughing. James, on the other hand, wasn’t as strong and started cracking up. I’m Sirius kicked his shin underneath the table because it stopped abruptly and James looked like he was in pain.

“Soooo, Remus, do you know Ronnie? I’m not sure if I’ve ever introduced you two before,” James asked, failing to nonchalantly change the subject of conversation.

Remus looked caught off guard by the inquiry, but quickly collected himself and gave me a once over. His brows furrowed in thought, and I was convinced that he was only being polite, pretending to know me from somewhere. By seventh year it is a bit embarrassing for half of your peers not recognize you, but I’ve gotten used to it.

“We had Potions together in first year!” Remus exclaimed suddenly. “And Herbology and transfiguration in third year.”

Now it was my turn to wrack my memory. It was quite possible that we had shared a few classes throughout the years. In fact, I’ve probably been in the same class with everyone currently in seventh year at least once. I was just surprised that Remus remembered. I looked at his hopeful face, waiting for me to acknowledge these new developments and although I honestly can’t remember a damn thing, I felt bad. “Oooohhhh, yeah!” My voice cracked from the pressures of lying, something that happened routinely. I hate lying to people.

James, on the other hand, thoroughly believed my exaggeration of the truth and was looking overly joyous. In his eyes, his couple was hitting it off. I shot him a “stop-trying-to-be-cupid” look, but I doubt it registered.

“I’m sorry guys, but I have to finish this essay before Potions because I had an unfortunate interruption,” cue glare at Sirius and James, but mostly Sirius, “So if you don’t mind…”

“Oh! Remus is a whiz at Potions! I’m sure he’d love to help you!” James offered, elbowing his friend. There was a bit of hesitation on Remus’s part, but he quickly stepped up to the plate.

“Um, sure! What’s the essay on?”

A parade of questions rushed through my head. Should I really let James think he made a breakthrough? But then again, I am shit at Potions and could use all the help I could get. “Um, it’s on the effects of an overdose of gillyweed and I’m positive I covered all of the bases, but there’s still a good 3 inches left before I meet the dimension requirements.”

Remus opened up his bag and shuffled through a few loose papers before locating a scroll of parchment and pulling it out. “I had the same problem as you did, so I just wrote a conclusion, summing up all the facts I listed in the body of the essay.” He pointed to the end of his scroll which contained a neat little paragraph that filled out the page quite nicely. He then leaned in a little bit and said in a low secretive voice, “And if that doesn’t work out for you, I know a charm that enhances the size of your handwriting the smallest bit so it looks like you just wrote the entire essay that way.” He leaned back and winked.

His whole demeanor made me falter. The Remus Lupin that sat in front of me was not the one I imagined last night. Of course, I knew how he looked, but when his friends came looking for a sex partner for him, I assumed that his personality was either A) extremely awkward to the point where he couldn’t talk to girls, or B) a total douchebag. But he was neither. Remus Lupin was an overall nice guy. He even was, dare I say, suave and smooth with the ladies, you know, in a dorky “I’ll help you with your homework kind of way.” But even then, I still had to wonder, why has he never had a girlfriend? Does he play for a different team? Or is he just not looking for one?

“Well, um, thanks for all the help,” I smiled at him and he was quick to return it. “I should probably be getting to class now.” Breakfast time was over, and as I collected my essay and books, I stared longingly at my plate, which was still full of golden pancakes and sweet, sweet syrup. Looks like no breakfast for me.

Chapter 2: Potter and Black's Makeover Service
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 “Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey!” A voice floated into my ears.

“Mom, its Saturday. Go away!” I groaned, shoving my head underneath my cool, refreshing pillow and attempting to return to my dreamless sleep/

“Oh, isn’t that adorable? She thinks we’re her mother!” The voice cooed again, sounding a bit masculine, but my brain did not process what was going on. I was too tired.

“Why am I here?” Another voiced asked grumpily. Okay, that one was definitely male.

“Padfoot, we are in this together. Not quite whining and help me wake up Ronnie.” Padfoot? Ronnie? My eyes flashed open, only to see James and Sirius standing on either side of my bed. James had on a smile that rivaled the Cheshire Cat, while Sirius obviously did not want to be here. He reminded me of a toddler about to throw a temper tantrum.

“What the hell?!?” I shouted, horrified. How did those two idiots get into the Hufflepuff girl’s dormitory? I quickly looked around and was slightly relieved to find that all of my other roommates have left for breakfast. But that relief was short lived when I glanced down and saw my blanket on the floor, revealing my makeshift pajamas, a bra and panties. The ones covered in pineapples. “GET OUT!”

“I guess she’s not a morning person,” James commented to his friend, as if I wasn’t in the room. Sirius just rolled his eyes, and for once, I whole heartedly agreed with his annoyance.

Frustration bubbled inside me. “Why are you here? How did you get up here?” Unlike other common rooms, Hufflepuff didn’t have any special riddle or password to get inside. No one really cared enough about us to want to break in. Still, you’d think someone would see Potter and Black and think “Gee! Those two prats aren’t supposed to be here!”

James just laughed, “You are spending the day with us! We thought about ambushing you during breakfast to tell you the good news, but you never came down.” I glanced at the clock and saw that it was 11:27 and I had slept through the first meal of the day. “But before you get all pissy and start protesting, you are going to hang out with us today. No question about it.” I stared at him in horror. Breakfast earlier this week was hard enough, and that was about 15 minutes. I would not be able to last until dinner.

“No.” James thought he was getting the final say in this, he was so wrong. Sirius laughed at my protest, but I shot him a murderous look. “The last time we ‘hung out,’ I broke your nose. So unless you want much worse to happen to a much more sensitive region of your body, I suggest you let me go back to sleep.” That shut him up.

Unfortunately, James wasn’t as easily persuaded. He jumped onto my bed and put on his infamous puppy dog face. “Please? Remus will be there!” As if that was supposed to persuade me.

“Really?” I feigned excitement. “I don’t care about Remus! I don’t like him, and he doesn’t like me, so stop trying to be a matchmaker!”

“That’s not true!” James protested. “Yesterday he basically said he fancied you.”

“No he didn’t.” Black and I shot back at the same time, although his was out of confusion and mine out of annoyance.

“Well when I asked him what he thought of you, he said ‘she’s a nice girl.’” James acted as if that was a profession of love.

I rolled my eyes. “Oh! Well if that’s the case, that you better start planning the wedding!” My voice oozed with sarcasm.

“Veronica Susanne Ross, get off of your lazy arse and take a shower or so help me Merlin!” He yelled sternly before throwing a towel in my direction. Then, he opened up my wardrobe and started eyeing up my clothing selection with severe distaste. “Maybe we can nick some stuff from her roommates,” he whispered to Sirius.

As much as I wanted this to all go away, I knew I’d never be able to get back to sleep, even if the boys left. So, I slid out of my bed, grabbed the towel, and stomped into the bathroom. As much as I hated to admit it, a shower seemed perfect right about now; something to wash away the sleep. I turned on the water and slipped in. Outside of the bathroom I heard “Don’t forget to shave your legs!”

“Fuck you!” I yelled back. There was a few seconds of silence before he responded, “Above the knee, too!” A frustrated groan escaped my lips. How did I get myself into this mess?

After a refreshing 20 minute shower, I wrapped myself in a towel, hesitant to go back into the dorm. They had already seen me in my underwear, and a towel was more coverage, but I was still self-conscious. I had nothing to be ashamed of, and as I liked to remind myself on a daily basis, I looked perfect because I was a strong, independent woman. But that didn’t mean I wanted everyone and their mother seeing me exposed.

I padded back into my dorm room to find what seemed to be a robbery, if I hadn’t known better. My entire wardrobe was scattered on the floor and the assorted cosmetics I owned were piled onto my desk. Sirius was lounging on my bed, flipping nonchalantly through the latest issue of Witch Weekly. I hadn’t even read that yet!

Sirius looked up from the magazine with a smirk donning his lips. “Nice singing in the shower. The high notes were a bit pitchy, but overall I’d give it a 7.” He had heard that? Damn it! I can’t help it if the warm water brings out my inner rock star.

James, on the other hand, was assembling outfits and holding them up for Sirius’s judgment. “How about this one?” He asked, referring to a button up shirt tucked into jeans, and with a cardigan to top it off.

“Too preppy,” Black responded, showing his disapproval all over his face. He then turned back to the magazine and scanned an article. “It says here that button ups are out and peasant tops are in. Do you own any peasant tops?”

I frown in disgust. “You couldn’t catch me in one of those flowy shirts even if I was paid.”

“How about this? The blue would really make your eyes pop.” James held up a pair of dark gray jeans, and a bright blue short-sleeve shirt. I hate to admit it, but it wasn’t half bad. Sirius gave a thumbs up, indicating his approval. The outfit was thrown at me, but thanks to my cat-like reflexes, I caught it. “Change into this and then we’ll attempt to work with… that,” James ordered, looking thoughtfully at my face and hair. I returned to the bathroom and slipped on the outfit. In the time I took to change, the boys had used magic to return all of my clothes into their proper places. Now it was time for makeup.

“Now, your hair is unruly, but it gives you that whole sexy bed head image. We just need to put an anti-frizz charm on it and then we can move on,” James spoke with the tone of a hair stylist, not a seventeen year old boy. Sirius read aloud the charm from the magazine, and the next thing I knew my mahogany brown curls were sleek and bouncy, not its usual bird’s nest.

The two then proceeded to apply lotions and potions on my skin, some that were no doubt stolen from my roommates. Every few minutes, I questioned why I was allowing them to make me over for a day that wasn’t even a date with a guy that I didn’t even like. But I learned it was better to accept it and move on than ask questions.

“Voila! My masterpiece is finished.” Sirius spun me to face the mirror while James bowed and blew kisses to an imaginary crowd. The makeup wasn’t too heavy, but there was a noticeable difference and you could tell I was wearing it. “Now put on these sneakers and let’s go down to lunch before it’s over.” James handed me my trusty red converse and I laced them up, ready to make up for the meal I skipped. “Oh, and don’t bring a jacket,” he added.

“But it’s late October!” I protested, slightly confused. He just winked and claim that he “had me covered.” Whatever that means.

We headed down to the Great Hall for lunch and upon arrival, earn quite a few odd looks from fellow students. I knew that they didn’t expect to see me with 2 of the 4 Marauders; a week ago I wouldn’t have either. But there’s a first time for everything, right?

“There you two are! Where have you been all morning? After breakfast you just disappeared,” Remus exclaimed when seeing James and Sirius. He was already seated at the Gryffindor table, along with Peter Pettigrew who was gnawing away at a chicken wing. 

“We just had some stuff to do,” James answered vaguely. I tried to suppress a laugh because what would the world think if they knew that the stuff he was doing was my hair and makeup. “But, look at who we bumped into on our way down here?” He gestured to me. “Ronnie will be joining us for lunch and our post-lunch/pre-dinner activities.”

“Hello Veronica,” Remus nodded as we got ourselves situated. He leaned in a bit, studying my face before saying “You look nice today.”

“Um, thanks,” was all I could muster before James started hitting me excitedly. Remus and Peter looked at him half concerned, half judgmental because of his bizarre behavior.

“There was a, um, a bug on her arm,” James tried to explain, lowering his voice to compensate for his overly-feminine actions. Our table mates didn’t look completely convinced, sans Sirius, who looked very amused, so I was hit again. “There, it’s dead now.”

“You’re an idiot,” I muttered, plate in hand, ready to stack it with today’s lunch. I grabbed a ham sandwich and some mashed potatoes with gravy. As I sat down, my stomach grumbled in protest, so I reached for another sandwich. One for breakfast and one for lunch.

“That’s a lot of food…” Peter commented, eyeing my plate in half awe, half disgust. The others looked just as shocked.

“I didn’t have breakfast, calm down!” Great, now they probably thought I was so fat pig. But, my worries about my image would have to wait, because I had a sandwich that was calling my name and another one after that.

The Marauders chatted on animatedly, taking pauses to laugh, eat, and gesture wildly. Not that I didn’t have any input on the topic they were discussing, but I felt better just observing on the side lines. They were planning some elaborate prank against the Slytherins (surprise surprise). From what I gathered, it involves 200 balloons, 5 gallons of honey, and 30 packs of dung bombs. It’s all supposed to go down Tuesday night, after classes, so I guess we’ll see how this turns out.

“What do you think, Ronnie?” Remus asked, pulling me out of my daze. Unfortunately, I had no idea what they were talking about and what I was supposed to be thinking about.

They all looked at me expectantly. “Um, what?” Smooth.

“Sirius was just saying how Madam Pudifoots is the worst place to visit in Hogsmede.” James explained, his mouth full of mashed potatoes. “Personally, I like their tea cakes, but they should really tone down the frilly pink.

“I’ve never been there before, so no opinion…?” I’ve heard stories about the café from my roommates, both good and bad, but I personally can’t say. But it doesn’t really sound like my cup of tea.

“You’ve never been to Madam Pudifoots? Lucky, lucky girl. My last girlfriend was in love with the place so we went every single time there was a Hogsmede trip. And on Valentine’s Day? Don’t even get me started. Cupids everywhere.” The memory of it seemed enough to cause Sirius to vomit up his lunch, and I can’t say I blame him. It sounds like a horrible place.

“Well, Marauders plus one,” James glanced at me as he stood up. “Time to have an adventure! Rule the school! Make this the best Saturday afternoon in history!” I looked over a Remus, who rolled his eyes but was smiling at the same time.

“He always does this,” he whispered to me. “You’ll get used to it.”

“Let’s head down to the usual spot,” Sirius suggested, heading out the door with James. I wasn’t close to finishing my food, I wasn’t exactly a fast eater, but got up and followed them anyway, Remus next to me. We’ll see what the day brings.

Chapter 3: Scary Stories for the Light-Hearted
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 “I’m fucking freezing, James! This is your entire fault!” I glared at him, and if I could shoot lasers from my eyes, I honestly would. It was late October and the frost was already starting to form on the grass. The crystallized ground would have been interesting and beautiful on any other occasion, but because I was sitting on it and my bum was soaking wet, it lost most of its appeal. Although I wore long pants, my short sleeves exposed the majority of my arms, which were now shivering from the cold. What on earth was I thinking, taking fashion advice from Potter and Black?

“How is this my fault? I didn’t force you not to bring a jacket!” He protested, snuggling into his downy, extremely warm looking coat. Curse him.

“That’s exactly what you did! You said, and I quote, ‘Don’t bring a jacket, I’ve got you covered!’ And unless you meant covered in frost, which I happen to be, then you lied!” I jabbed his chest with my finger, enunciating every word to make my point stronger.

“Don’t worry, I’ll just get Remus to give you his jumper,” James responded. “Oi! Remus! Givmmerhoafapfdbjjsdmm,” He was interrupted when my hand flew over his mouth, muffling his words.

“You did this on purpose, you jackass! I am not wearing Remus’s jumper!” I whispered in a menacingly low voice, my face contorted in anger.

“But you’re cold and he has a jacket he’d be willing to part with if you asked!” James looked confused by my objections, as if I was supposed to be grateful.

“It’s the principle of it! I don’t want to go out with Remus and he doesn’t want to go out with, so why don’t you stop trying to play cupid at the expense of my health and mental well-being?” I hissed, frustrated that he just didn’t understand.

“Oh, lighten up Ronnie!” He laughed, then turned his attention back to the others, who were attempting to build a fire muggle style. I had to give them credit for trying without magic.

“I swear, this is how they create a spark without matches!” Sirius growled in frustration while rubbing two sticks together vigorously. If he tried any harder, I’m positive his arms would fall off. Peter looked on in anticipation, but Remus seemed skeptical.

The whole situation seemed hilarious, and I began laughing at their attempt. “The only time that works is in the movies. If you really want to create a fire, you’d have to use two pieces of flint stone, but I highly doubt we’d be able to find any here.” The boys looked disappointed and put out, especially Sirius. “If you really want a fire…” I put together a pile of sticks in the teepee fashion that my mother told me, and then pulled out a scratched, silver lighter from my pocket.

“What’s that?” James questioned, referring to the muggle device I held in my hands.

“It’s a lighter. You’ve never seen one before?” Sirius, Peter, and James all shook their heads but Remus nodded. I flicked on the lighter so that the flame appeared, and while the three boys watched in awe, I touched it to the kindling and the fire quickly spread.

“Can I try?” Sirius asked excitedly. I tossed it to him and he started flicking it on and off, James peering over his shoulder. I wonder if that’s how the cavemen reacted when they first created fire.

I scooted closer to the flames, taking in its warmth while it lasted. “Here, take my jumper. The fire can only keep you so warm,” Remus sat down next to me and handed me his sweater, now only in a white tee shirt. My first instinct was to refuse, but he insisted, and it looked so fluffy and oversized that I couldn’t say no. But first, I peered over my shoulder to make sure James was too preoccupied to notice that his plan had worked. Then I slipped it on, taking in the warmth. “So, I’m guessing you’re a muggle born, since you have a lighter and know how to build a campfire and all.” Remus commented, sparking a light conversation.

“Half blood, but I’m guessing you’re a muggle born, knowing what lighters are and all,” I slightly mocked him. He chuckled a bit, so I nudged his knee with mine, solely meant to be a friendly gesture.

“Both my parents are wizards, but my mum is a muggle born and my dad is a half blood, so I picked up some tips and tricks along the way,” he smiled, shivering slightly and folding his arms as a breeze blew past. Mmm, that’s some nice muscle definition for someone on the skinnier side. Just making an observation, nothing more. Remus turned to me and said, “Now let’s get that lighter back before they burn down the entire castles.”

I looked over at the boys, who seemed to be doing some sort of ritualistic dance with the fire, only enhancing my original cavemen thought. I swear I’ll never understand them. Remus noticed and shot me an apologetic look. “Alright boys, lighter time is over!” I announced, standing up. Holding out my hand towards Sirius, who had the contraption, I looked him sternly in the eyes and said, “Give it here.” Of course, I didn’t think it would be that easy, as it took some tackling to the ground, which turned into a unnecessarily complex game of “Capture the Lighter,” Remus and me against Peter, James, and Sirius. It took a while, but with the right strategy, the lighter eventually made its way back into my jean pocket. I’ll have to admit, Sirius can pull off the puppy dog eyes much better than James. I better make note of that for future reference.

“Well now what do we do?” James whined, flopping down on the ground like a bored five year old. The sun was starting to set and I realized that we had been outside for much longer than I expected. I blame the winter nights in Europe, where everything is dark by 5 and everything is cold by October.

“We could tell scary stories and make smores, you know, camp fire activities,” I suggested, gesturing to the still burning fire. Even though it was made the muggle way, I decided to put a Lasting Charm on it so that it would burn out before we wanted it to. The atmosphere was perfect for a gathering around the campfire; a dark, clear sky with the stars becoming visible. The temperature had dropped about 10 degrees, but there was barely any wind and the heat from the flames would keep us warm.

James, Sirius, and Peter decided to head back to the castle and sneak into the kitchen for some supplies, leaving Remus and me alone, much to my protest and James’s begging. We sat under a massive oak tree, crowding around the fire. Every now and then, one of us made a comment, but overall, we just sat in a comfortable silence. I wasn’t sure if this is what having a friend was like, but if it was, I could really get used to it.

Eventually, the boys returned and with much difficulty, I was able to set everyone up with a marshmallow to roast over the fire. You’d think that poking a fluffy ball of powdery white sugar with a pointy stick wasn’t complicated, but the Marauders had a way of making everything harder than it needed to be. It took some trial and error, but after almost half of our supply had either set fire or fallen to the ground, the boys were able to properly roast a marshmallow for the perfect smores. I was very entertained by their struggle to sandwich the chocolate and graham crackers together. There was also the problem of preventing Remus from eating all of the chocolate bars. But, after a good amount of time, we were ready for some scary stories.

“This is a story I heard one time at summer camp when I was going into, I don’t know, fourth grade? Anyway, it scared the shit out of me then,” I was rudely interrupted by various shouts asking what summer camp was. These boys had seriously deprived childhoods. I gave a brief explanation of summer camp than quickly returned to my story. “So this high school girl was babysitting her neighbor’s kids while they were out to dinner. In the living room, there was a creepy clown statue standing in the corner with a menacing grin on its face. She tried to ignore it when playing with the kids, but every time she looked over; it seemed to have moved slightly, only a centimeter or two. Finally, after she put the kids to bed, she couldn’t stand having to see it, so she called the kid’s parents. But when she asked if she could put a sheet over top of their clown statue, the parents simply replied, what clown statue?” I sat, back letting the story sink in. When I had first heard it, I was terrified to be around any sort of statue for months.

“I don’t get it,” Sirius looked truly confused. “Why couldn’t she just hex the clown statue then? Was it a cursed object or a real person or…?” I sighed, realizing that the story was too muggle-centric for this certain audience. They didn’t know how non-magic people lived, or how terrifying that would be to them.

James yawned dramatically, “Boooring. Have you guys heard the one about CeCe Shepard?” We all collectively shook our head and he continued. “So CeCe was a seventh year in Hogwarts a long time ago. Like when my parents went to school here. Anyway, CeCe had had a boyfriend for a while now, and one night, she was planning to profess her love for him and a little bit more, if you know what I mean,” James and Sirius starting giggling profusely. They are such 5 year olds. “So, CeCe had everything prepared up in the Astronomy Tower, a nice candle lit picnic with rose petal, the whole shebang. But at the time she told him to meet her, he didn’t show up. CeCe waited all night and finally went to search the castle looking for her boyfriend. She did find him, hooking up with her best friend in a broom closet. CeCe was so distraught that she ran up to the Astronomy Tower and flung herself off it. On the anniversary of her death, her ghost waits all night in the tower, and if you go up and say “CeCe, he doesn’t love you,” she’ll push you off and you’ll fall to your death.”

“Well that’s not scary at all!” I complained, rather bluntly.  But then again, James did trash my story. “Oh no, I guess I’ll never say that on the anniversary of her death!” He looked all offended, but the others were nodding their heads in agreement.

“How about this one,” Remus offered, and we all shifted our attention to him. “There was a group of friends a while back who were messing around by the lake at night. The lake was frozen over due to the winter, and everyone dared this one boy to cross the lake on top of the ice. He was a Gryffindor, which obviously meant he had to complete the dare, so he started off. At first, the ice held up, but when he reached the middle it started to crack. Before he could try to get away, the ice gave through and he fell in. None of his friends knew what to do and none of them even attempted to save him. They ran away and the boy drowned, trapped under layers of ice. By the time spring came around and the lake had melted, the body was nowhere to be found. It’s said if you go swimming in the Black Lake at night, he’ll grab your ankles and pull you down under.” Remus finished, and even though the story was nothing more than an urban legend, it gave me chills.

I looked over at James, who had a menacing smile on his face. I knew this meant no good. “Well, it’s obvious what we have to do now.” He received a blank look from Peter, but the rest of us could guess what was going through his mind. “Last one in is a hippogriff!” James then took off running, stripping pieces of clothing off as he headed towards the Black Lake. Peter and Sirius we right behind him, but Remus lagged behind, waiting for me. I was currently glued to my spot, not making any move towards the water.

“C’mon Ronnie!” Remus smiled warmly and suddenly I felt an obligation to at least follow him to the lake. I could sit by the sidelines and watch, but I was not going in. The boys had all jumped off the dock, performing elaborate dives and cannonballs. I sat down on the edge cautiously, rolling up my pants legs until they were at my knees. Then, one by one, I dipped my feet into the water, wincing at the freezing temperature. If I got hypothermia, they will pay.

“Why aren’t you in the water? Are you scared?” Sirius mocked, creating a giant wave that splashed all over me.

“I’m perfectly content sitting on the dock,” I forced a smile, wiping the lake water off of my face. No amount of teasing will get me into the water.

“Don’t be such a baby,” James rolled his eyes and pulled out his wand. Remus gave him a warning look, but he ignored it and pointed his wand at me. Before I could comprehend what he was doing, James said, “Levicorpus.”

The next thing I knew, I was upside down, floating in the air over the lake. James and Sirius were snickering at my failing attempts to get down. “JAMES POTTER PUT ME DOWN RIGHT NOW!” I shouted, done with his antics.

“If you say so,” he shrugged, before lowering his wand and letting my body drop from the air and into the water.

The initial shock of hitting the water made my body go rigid. It seemed ten times colder now, then when just my feet were dipped in. Not having been prepared, my mouth swallowed large amounts of water and it filled my lungs. I tried coughing, but that worsened the situation. Little air bubbles escape from my mouth and floated to the surface. I followed them with great difficulty. It felt as though there was an anchor tied to my feet, preventing me from reaching air. Finally, I reach above water, sputtering and coughing. My hand waved around madly, trying to reach the edge of the dock. Finally, they hit something wooden and hard. I latched onto it, and pulled myself onto the surface. Bouts of water escaped my lips and I hacked onto the dock, hands and knees on the ground. I was soaked to the bone, my dripping hair fell in front of my face.

“Are you okay?” I’m pretty sure it was Remus’s voice, but I didn’t look up to check. A hand touched my shoulder, but I whacked it away. I stood up, not looking any of the boys in the eye out of pure embarrassment.

“I’m going back to the castle,” I rushed, collecting my shoes and turning swiftly in the other direction. I heard someone call out my name, but I ran away, not looking back. 

Chapter 4: Broom Cupboard Confessions
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 “Um, Veronica?” I timid voice came from the other side of my dormitory. I looked up to see a third year standing next to the door frame, knuckles in mid-knock. “There’s a boy downstairs who wants to see you.”

            I swear, if it’s James Potter I will hexed him into the next century. “Tell him to go away,” I groaned angrily, my voice muffled from the pillow I currently had my face shoved onto. I stop trying to sleep about five minutes after I started. I was too shaken up by my fall into the lake and too filled with anger at James for dropping me in. So I settled for rolling around on my bed and groaning about my life. I’d been currently doing this for about half an hour or so and to be honest, it was getting a bit boring. I can’t swim, I can’t go to sleep, I can’t even wallow in self-pity correctly!

            The messenger girl, who had previously scampered off after hearing my complaint, returned, this time bearing worse news than before. “He says he’s not leaving until you come down.” This caused me to groan and roll right off of my bed. The ground was uncarpeted and rock solid, sending aches up and down my body

            I pulled myself off of the floor and surveyed the room surrounding me. No one was there, which meant the other seventh year girls were hanging out in the common room, since dinner ended not too long ago. When I returned to the castle after my fall, I briefly considered going down to the Great Hall and grabbing a quick bite to eat (smores, while delicious, are not a substantial dinner), but I was soaking wet and didn’t want to create a scene. Plus, the Marauders might of gone there looking for me, and I did not want to see any of them.

            But, of course that didn’t stop James from seeking me out. I studied my reflection in the bathroom mirror, stalling for as long as I could. I dried myself off, but unfortunately that anti frizz charm wore out and I was back to having the home of a family of birds on my head. Now all I needed were a flock of owls and I’d become one of those crazy owl ladies you see wandering the streets.

            I trudged down the stair leading from the girl’s dormitories to the common room, going at about the pace of a turtle or snail. Near the bottom step, I started grumbling, half to myself, half in the hopes that James would hear. “At least give me the allotted 24 hour period to get over you almost drowning me, Potter.” I looked up, not to see James, but Remus standing awkwardly, hands in his pockets. “Oh, you’re not Potter,” I exclaimed in surprise.

            “He was going to come, but decided to give you some space so that you didn’t rip his head off or anything,” Remus explained, staring at me in an expression I couldn’t quite name.

“Smart boy,” I rolled my eyes. Suddenly, I became conscious of my attire, which included my fluffiest pair of socks, dark blue flannel pajama pants, and just my luck, the sweater Remus had given to me outside only a few hours ago. I hadn’t been fully aware that the jumper was Remus’s, all I had acknowledged was that it was cream colored, completely over-sized, and comfy, which was something I so desperately needed. My cheeks began to fill with a deep red blush. “Oh, I suppose you want this back.”

            “No, no, you can keep it.” Remus insisted, developing a blush that almost out did mine. “It looks better on you anyway.”

            I had no idea what he meant by that, seeing as the jumper fit me like a potato sack. It hung loosely on my smallish frame, the sleeves reaching the tips of my fingers and the neckline almost falling off my shoulders, revealing bare skin and my collar bone. “Thanks,” I muttered, looking down at my polka dot socks in embarrassment. Right then my stomach let out a long, loud growl due to the lack of food I have eat today, only adding on to the humiliation.

            Unfortunately, Remus heard the noise, and instead of ignoring it like a polite person, he chuckled a bit before saying, “Come on, let’s go down to the kitchens and get you some food.” He turned towards the door and against my better instincts to just run back to my bed and lie there for the rest of the night, I followed him.

            “I have this philosophy,” Remus started, handing me a mug and then sipping from his own, “that chocolate makes everything better.” I took a sip of the hot chocolate which truly lived up to its name and was scalding. But the heat was a nice contrast to the unusually cold and drafty air in the castle. I nodded enthusiastically to his theory, nursing my mug in my chilled hands. A swarm of miniature marshmallows bobbed up and down, sloshing from side to side and leaving behind trails of powdery white.

I looked up to see Remus staring at me again, in an analytical way, almost as if he was trying to solve a puzzle or code. “Are you sure you’re okay? Physically, I mean. Because we can go to the Hospital Wing if you need to.”

“I’m fine,” I sighed, trying not to make a big deal out of things. Maybe if I downplayed it, Remus wouldn’t ask anymore questions. He decided not to push it and instead asked a passing house elf for leftovers from tonight’s dinner. I gave him a questioning look and he explained that he noticed I hadn’t been down for dinner and didn’t want me to miss another meal. I smiled slightly at his thoughtful gesture, glad that I had him as a friend, if we were friends. That whole part was still a bit foggy to me. “I’ve just never been good with water, you know, the whole swimming part. I’ve never been given a proper lesson, so I usually try to avoid the lake,” I explained, feeling the heat rushing to my cheeks. Who’s heard of an almost eighteen year old girl not knowing how to swim?

“You’ve never been swimming before?” He asked, surprised, as if I was testing his credulity, not pouring out one of my deepest secrets. I felt myself blushing even more. He was going to laugh, tell me what a loser I was. I barely knew Remus, after all, and he could secretly be even more of an asshole than his stupid friends. “I don’t know how to ride a bicycle.” He said this suddenly, taking me completely by surprise. I looked up to see him grinning like an idiot, which made me smile slightly.

“It’s true!” He insisted, laughing a bit. “The one time my dad tried to me when I was seven, I ran the bike into a stop sign! It was scarring moment and I’ve never attempted to ride again.” I tried to imagine little Remus, crashing into a pole, and a giggle escaped my lips.

“There’s really nothing to be embarrassed about,” he said, smiling at me while I laughed. I have to admit, I did feel better about not being able to swim. It was a bit stupid, now that I think about it.

The house elf returned with a rather unappetizing lump of cold Shepard’s Pie, which I accepted, wearing a forced grin on my face. When he left, I turned towards the leftovers, unable to hide the disgust I felt. Remus saw my expression and started to laugh. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t taste much better.” I picked up my fork and poked the almost unidentifiable mass and it jiggled in response. I’m pretty sure mashed potatoes aren’t supposed to be gelatinous life forms.

“I am actually not that hungry, now that I think about it,” I lied, keeping a cautious eye on the food. In Hogwarts you learn to expect inanimate objects to move randomly.  Remus nodded and handed the plate to a passing house elf. We had both finished up our mugs of hot chocolate so it was about time we headed back to our respective common rooms. Once outside the kitchens, the Hufflepuff and Gryffindor dorms were in the opposite directions, but Remus didn’t seem to have the intention of leaving my side.

“I’ll walk you to your common room,” he offered, despite my protests of being fully capable of walking back alone. I was a bit offended that Remus thought I couldn’t make it without being attacked by a group of Slytherins or something and I voiced my opinion, but he only laughed. “Oh, I’m positive you could teach them a lesson, rough ‘em up a bit. But if you get caught by a patrolling prefect or Filch, and I’m not there to get detention with you, I wouldn’t be a gentleman, would I? Then you’d have to polish trophies without any company.”

“More likely, I’d whine and moan about my detention and make you feel guilty about abandoning me,” I responded, a slight smile gracing my lips. I’ve done detentions in the trophy room before, and my arms always ached afterwards.

We headed off to the Hufflepuff common room, our footsteps synchronizing until it sounded like one person, not two, was walking down the corridors. Since it was after hours, I made an attempt to tread lightly so that no one would hear, imagining myself as a spy. Remus, though, with those boyish feet of his, clomped along as most boys did without even realizing it. I’m probably being too harsh on him, because I’m sure that his footsteps aren’t that loud, but in the silent corridors it’s about equivalent to knocking over a display case of blowing a fog horn.

Unfortunately, Filch thought so too, because we were just about to round the bend when we heard him talking to his cat. What a pathetic guy. “What’s that, Ms. Norris? Students roaming around MY corridor after curfew?!”

When I heard this, I was positive I’d faint right there on the spot. I go on about being a bad-ass spy who breaks the rules and sneaks around at night, but that’s all in my head. I’m a Hufflepuff for Merlin’s sake! The only time I get detentions is when I do stupid things, like not doing homework or being late to class, which I never do on purpose, so I can’t claim that I’m a rule breaker to the core. Plus, Filch kind of scares me in a greasy old man way.

“C’mon, this way,” Remus whispered, pull my arm as he backtracked down the corridor. Filch’s footsteps increased, growing louder and louder as he made his way towards us. Lucky for us, there was a broom cupboard close by, and Remus opened the door and pushed me in.

“Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit,” I whispered as the footsteps progressed, growing closer and closer until he was almost at the closet. Remus put his hand over my mouth to muffle the miniature freak out I was currently having. Filch stopped right in front of the door and I could hear him breathing heavily on the other side. My eyes widened in fear and I glanced at Remus, who had a panicked expression on his face, but much less panicked than I felt.

There was a pause of silence and I was positive that Filch would swing open the broom cupboard door and bust us. But that didn’t happen. Instead, we waited, and Ms. Norris meowed. “You said they went this way, Ms. Norris? Okay, let’s go.” Then, they continued walking, and I couldn’t help but let out a huge sigh in relief. Thank Merlin for Filch’s delusional ability to communicate with his cat.

“Well that was extremely close,” Remus whispered, and enough though the cupboard was pitch black, I could tell there was a smile on his face. I nodded in agreement, quickly realizing afterward that he couldn’t see me. “I think they’ll be gone by now. Let’s get out of here.” I was closest to the door, so I reached for the handle and slowly opened it. It opened only wide enough to stick a hand through before it hit something. I pushed harder, but the door wouldn’t budge. What the hell? “What’s wrong?” Remus asked, obviously hearing my struggle.

“I don’t know! It’s stuck!” I exclaimed, continuing to violently shake the door. I peered through the crack, hoping to see what was barricading the door shut, but instead of seeing furniture blocking the exit, I saw Hogwarts’ very own poltergeist.

“Ickle students want to romp in the cupboards? Then you’ll stay here till dawn!” Peeves laughed, before closing the cupboard door completely and locking us in. I sat in a stunned silence, my mind processing the events that just happened.

“What? What’s going on?” Remus questioned frantically, obviously not enjoying being out of the loop. I didn’t answer, instead taking out my wand and hopelessly trying to open the door with “alohamora,” which didn’t work. This was too frustrating.

            I hated being the bearer of bad news, so I purposely avoided telling him that we were stuck in here until tomorrow. Instead, I made a light with my wand and surveyed where we would we residing for the night. “Wow, broom cupboards are really cramped.” We were both sitting on the ground, knees bent, and there still wasn’t enough space unless our sides were pressed to each other.

            “I’m guessing you’ve never been in one before?” Remus questioned, shifting slightly so in a desperate attempt to be more comfortable, but to no avail.

            “All the time,” I answered, my voice etched with sarcasm. “Couldn’t you tell by the long line of potential suitors that follow me around on a daily basis? It’s a bit annoying at times, but I make them do my homework for me, so it’s not a total loss. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why I get horrible grades in all of my classes!” I wasn’t particularly angry, but there was a moment of silence after my mocking reply. “Come here often?”

            By the light of my wand, I could see his face was full of confusion by my question. I meant it in a funny ice breaker sort of way, but I realized that it could be taken as me inquiring on the number of girls he traffics through various cupboards. It would only be common sense to correct myself, make it clearer on my intentions when saying that, but he opened his mouth, ready to respond, and curiosity overcame me.

            “Oh, I’m not in here for ‘recreational’ purposes,” he mumbled, using air quotes and everything. His embarrassment was obvious and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a bit cute, but that’s from a totally non-subjective, third party point of view. “Usually it’s just hiding from Filch, like now. You’d be surprised how much I break the rules. I blame my friends; they’re a bad influence on me.”

            “Oh wow, a bad boy,” I laughed, feeling slightly relieved. Why was I relieved? I definitely wasn’t worried about Remus snogging girls. James even said he never dated anyone. I wasn’t relieved. I didn’t care, just passing the time.

            “Come to think of it,” Remus started, “I was locked in a broom closet with McKenna Collins in fifth year by James and Sirius. They have this weird obsession with finding me a girlfriend. The actually seek out girls and try to get them to go out with me! Isn’t that ridiculous?”

             I looked at him, trying to contain the guilt rising up my throat. I should have told him right then and there what had happened that week. We’d laugh it off, share stories about how immature his friends were, and get over the whole set up thing. That’s what Hufflepuffs do. But, instead of honoring my house, I lied. “So ridiculous.” More like obstruction of the truth.

            “Finally someone agrees with me!” he sighed, slumping against the wall. Well now I couldn’t tell him! It’d break his cute little heart.

            As the hours passed, we both grew weary and ceased our attempts to break out of the closet. Instead, we conversed mindlessly about everything from our favorite subject to which Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans is the worst. I argued earthworm, but Remus hates the soap flacor with a burning passion. We passed the time and it was about 1 am give or take an hour, when I truly felt tired enough to go to sleep sitting up. I could barely keep my eyes open, and my mouth wasn’t exactly attached to my mouth. Staying up late had the same effect that laughing gas did when the dentists give it to you so they could take out your wisdom teeth. Everything was kind of blurry and very funny.

            “You should probably go to sleep now,” Remus spoke up, sounding an awful like my responsible mum. But I couldn’t protest due to my exhaustion.

            “Remus,” I yawned tiredly, causing it to sound more like Remahhhhus. “We’re friends, right?”

            “Of course,” he replied, sounding about confused on where this was going.

            “And friends tell each other things, right?” I continued, my eyelids drooping slightly. He made a conformational noise, so I went on. “You should really smile more. It suits you.”

            Remus kind of laughed. “Goodnight Veronica.” I half responded before drifting off into a deep sleep.

Chapter 5: James's Sincere (Almost) Apology
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             “It’s not that hard, just apologize already!” I heard furious whispering coming from in front of me. I was currently relishing my breakfast and the normalcy it contained up until this moment. Last night had been anything but average, being trapped by Peeves inside a broom cupboard with Remus. It definitely wasn’t what I had scheduled for my nighttime activities.

            But, even though the poltergeist did trap us in a tiny room for hours on end, he was honest. At dawn, just as Peeves had said, the closet door opened, revealing the rising sun, which was quite a shock to my eyes that were adjusted to complete darkness. I woke up to find I was resting my head on Remus’s shoulder. He hadn’t woken yet, so it wasn’t too awkward. Plus, he is surprisingly comfortable, not that I’d ever tell him that.

            When I realized that we were freed from our prison-like cell, I basically fell onto the ground of the corridor, my joints stiff from a night of being scrunched up. The air was cool and fresh, unlike the warm, stale atmosphere the closet contained. I gasped for breath, lying on the floor in a dramatic fashion. “Oh how I missed open spaces! They’re so… open!” I cried joyfully, basking in the dim sunlight that shone through the window adjacent to the cupboard.

            “Nice use of *insert yawn here* adjectives,” a voice came from within, and Remus climbed out, stumbling a bit. He stood up tall and stretched out his sore limbs, raising his arms above his head. This caused his shirt to ride up the teensiest bit, revealing a toned stomach, and let me tell you, I wasn’t complaining. “Finally we got out of there,” he sighed, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.

            “I think I’ll head back to my dorm, grab a quick shower, maybe sleep a few minutes in a real bed, before getting breakfast,” I informed him, standing up from my surprisingly comfortable position on the ground. He nodded in agreement and I started towards the Hufflepuff common room.

            After freshening up a bit and changing into a new uniform (my other one was wrinkled and smelled a bit like sweat), I decided to make my way down to the Great Hall. I nixed the idea of a cat nap, knowing that I’d be too tired to get up and 20 minutes would turn into an hour and so on until I’ve slept till dinner! It was Sunday, but because of my excursion yesterday with the Marauders, I needed to catch up on forgotten homework and studying. Today was going to be all about me.

            The breakfast they were serving consisted of just about every delicious food imaginable. It was like my birthday morning when my mum would cook all of my favorite dishes. There were pancakes, waffles, sausage, eggs, quiches, pastries, oatmeal, muffins, toast, and loads of pumpkin juice. The enormous selection confused me, but then again, it was only 7:30, and I usually don’t make it down to Sunday breakfasts until 10, at the earliest. Maybe I should just be waking up earlier.

            And everything was going fine; I was loading my plate with multiple servings of waffles and deeply enjoying them, when I was rudely interrupted by the incessant whispering of unknown people. Although, if I had to guess, I could tell you who they were. It is the third time it’s happened this week, after all.

            “Do it.” I heard a command, which sounded similar to Remus’s voice. I looked up and saw him pushing James towards where I was sitting. James looked reluctant, which was a bit ironic, considering Gryffindors are supposed to be brave and all.

            “Merlin, why did you do this to me? I just wanted one ‘me’ day. One single day, and I couldn’t even have that,” I sighed, putting my head in my hands. I’ve spent the past 24 hours with at least one Marauder at all times and it is exhausting.

            “Hey Ronnie, long time no see!” James approached the table like you’d approach a ticking time bomb or wild lion, with heaps of caution. I glared in response, which apparently is the new invitation to continue speaking. “Well, about the whole Lake thing, pretty crazy, right?” I continued to glare and he looked back at Remus, who shooed him on.  “Yeah, um, sorry about that. So we good?”

            I stared at him for a few moments; he had a dopey expression on his face and was running his hand through his untamable hair. “As sincere as that was, I’m going to have to say no, we’re not good. In fact, we bad!” I mocked him. I knew that eventually I’d forgive him, I’m terrible at holding grudges. But it would be nice to see him actually apologize and grovel for his dignity a bit.

            “Oh, you want sincere?” James asked in a challenging way and I didn’t exactly like where this was going. “I’ll show you sincere.” And then he climbed on top of the Hufflepuff table, grabbing a goblet and spoon as he stood up.

            “Hi, can I have everyone’s attention? Hello!” James yelled, clanging the spoon against the goblet. “Oi! Look up here! Yeah, even you two, snogging at the Ravenclaw table. Okay, thanks, this will only take a moment. I am up here to make a formal apology to Miss Veronica Susanne Ross. Wave to the people, Ronnie.” He gestured at me and suddenly I was on the spotlight, being looked at curiously by the entire population of Hogwarts. Talk about embarrassing. “I was a total arse, a complete jerk to Ronnie and I feel the obligation to apologize to her. I’m sorry that I pushed you into the Black Lake and all of the other stupid, annoying things I’ve done to you. Of course, this doesn’t mean I won’t do more stupid and annoying things in the future, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Anyway, I am truly sorry, Ronnie, and I will also stop badgering you to do that one thing, even though you totally should to it because it be so great. Friends?” He looked down at me expectantly, along with everyone else in the Great Hall. Even though he sort of embarrassed me, he embarrassed himself even more, so I felt like I should accept his apology.

            “Friends,” I nodded and James hopped down from the table. “On one condition! No one can bother me today, many you four, because today is a me day.” He seemed okay with that and headed back to the others. Now I could finally finish my breakfast, the first time I’ve been able to finish a whole meal since Friday night.

            After breakfast, I decided to collect my books from my dorm and do my homework in the library. The library was a good study spot, not too crowded, resources at your fingertips, and quiet. In fact, I probably spent more time in the library than in my common room. Merlin! I was becoming a Ravenclaw. Of course, a majority of the time I’m not actually doing work. I have this problem with goofing off and day dreaming. I prefer to say I’m imaginative.

            Two hours had passed and I had just finished up my Charms essay on animating objects, which in all actuality should have taken me 45 minutes max. And I still had to study for a Transfiguration test coming up and write a Defense Against the Dark Arts essay. By the time I would be finished, it’d be late afternoon. But that’s why I needed a “me day,” not a “me two hours.”

            “Um, it’s Veronica, right?” I looked up to a familiar redhead standing a bit awkwardly in front of my table with a questioning look on her face. Why was the infamous Head Girl Lily Evans, object of James’s affection, seeking me? We’ve literally never spoken before.

            “I go by Ronnie,” I replied, although that is completely untruthful. No one has called me Ronnie up until James and Sirius gave me that nickname. But I guess if I’m going to go and have friends, I might as well use the title I’ve been given.

            Lily sat down and sighed, not responding, so I unsurely asked, “Can I help you?” I was cautious of the red head, having heard tales of her infamous temper.

            “Not to be rude or anything, but I need to ask you a question. What’s the deal between you and James?” Lily asked timidly, almost as if she was embarrassed to even utter those words.

            Me and James? Did she think there was something going on between us? The mere thought made me want to laugh and vomit simultaneously. But I felt like that would be a bit rude and I should just answer the poor girl’s question. “We’re… friends? I guess?”

            “You guess?” She questioned, worry written all over her face. Did she think we were friends with benefits or something equally as disgusting?

            “If that,” I assured Lily, which seemed to calm her down a bit. Why was Lily getting so worked up over the relationships of a boy she supposedly loathes? Unless… The idea was borderline ridiculous, a shot in the dark, really. “Do you,” I paused, wondering if I should even dare to continue. “like James?”

            The color seemed to drain from her faces, giving her skin a sickly green tint that clashed horribly with her hair. “No! Merlin no!” She protested in  a shout, causing the librarian shoot the evil eye and shush her. I raised a single eyebrow, a feat I was extremely proud of, and Lily’s complexion quickly turned tomato red. “It’s his fault, really.” I began to explained, angrily. “He has these qudditch biceps that are just so toned I can’t deal with it. And Merlin, that hair! I basically defies gravity!” Lily pause for a breath of air, looking extremely flustered.

            “His hair is really messy,” I mused, thinking about the raven mop that stood upright. As for the muscles, I never thought about them and hoped I would never have to again.

            Lily continued with her rant, picking up speed as she went along. “I honestly just find him attractive. I can’t help it! I’m a teenage girl with hormones running wild! Stupid puberty.” She cursed underneath her breath. “But I certainly do not like James Potter.”

            I was entirely unconvinced; every word that left her mouth was a show of complete denial. “Mmhmm.” Out of all the things Lily Evans was, she was not a good liar.

            “I don’t even know why I’m trying to convince you. I don’t even know you!” She glared at me as if I had somehow forced her to like James Potter.

            “Seems more like you’re trying to convince yourself.” I nodded knowingly, which only earned me some daggers. “I think that you just don’t want to admit it. Why else would you seek out a complete stranger, just to make sure I wasn’t involved with James?” My logic was spot on, and if I were alone, I’d give myself a high five. Unfortunately, I was in company so I had to settle for a mental high five, which was much less satisfying. But Lily’s next words quickly made them up.

            “I don’t know, okay? Are you happy now?” She exclaimed dramatically, and I almost felt sorry for her, guilty that I was putting her under such emotional stress. But instead, in a sick twisted way, I enjoyed breaking her into confessing her love for James. This deeply concerned me, and in the future I’d have to try harder to suppress my inner Slytherin. Maybe the reason I’m in Hufflepuff is because I’m doing all of this not for my benefit, but to help Lily and James. I’ll go with that.

            “Boys are too mentally straining,” Lily sighed, slumping in her chair. “For the past six years I’ve been completely satisfied with focusing on my studies and my friends. I’ve never even had a boyfriend before.” She whispered the last part as if it were some sort of major scandal. “Of course James has always shown an interest in me, but it was so much easier to reject him in the beginning, seeing as I just wasn’t looking to date. And then, as time went on, he became more persistent and annoying, so I was rejecting him because he was an obnoxious git. Anyway, I was planning on making through my entire seven years at Hogwarts unscathed, but all of the sudden, it’s like my hormones have caught up to me. Now, every time I see a couple, I feel jealous and lonely. And whenever I see Potter, instead of finding him repulsive, I’m attracted to him! I’ve spent the past six years loathing him and now I can’t look at him with wanting to snog his face off!”

            She seemed so distressed, so I tried to help. “So you’re only attracted to him… physically?”

            Lily sighed again. “That’s just it. I thought so at first, but this year he’s been so much more bearable. At Head meetings, in class, even at meals he doesn’t even ask me out! Plus he’s been spending time with, even talking about you with Sirius. I guess I’ve been a bit jealous.”

            “Honey, you can have him,” I assured her. “The whole reason he’s even become friends with me is because he wanted to set me up with Remus.” I’m not sure why I was confessing this to her, but she told me a secret, so I felt like I owed her one in return.

            “Again?” She exclaimed in surprise. “They said they would stop after Helen Podge last year. Those to will never learn.”

            “Well, after my constant complaining and threats, James decided to stop. Remus is great and all, but I prefer to form relationships on my own, but forced by others.” I conceded.

            Lily pondered for a moment before giving her unnecessary opinion, “You and Remus would look cute together…”

            I felt a involuntary blush coming on. “Stop right there.” I held out my hand in protest. “You are hear because of James, not Remus.”

            She let out a sigh, “What am I going to do?”

            “You could always drag him into the nearest broom cupboard and snog him senseless.” My suggestion earned me a smack on the arm and a fierce glare. “Okay, okay! If you want, I could always talk to him for you.”


A/N: Hey guys! Thanks for sticking with me this far. There is more to come soon and I'd love to hear feedback, positive or negative.

Chapter 6: There's A New Matchmaker In Town
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             I had only known Lily Evans for two whole days, and yet I was beginning to understand why James Potter was so obsessed with her. She was much more than a pretty face, although anyone who’s ever met her could tell you that. She had some of the best qualities from each Hogwart’s house; the intelligence of a Ravenclaw, the kindness of Hufflepuff, the ambition of a Slytherin, and the courage of a Gryffindor. But this didn’t mean she didn’t have her faults. Lily was truly a stickler for the rules, which could get a bit bothersome at times. She was also incredibly stubborn, always standing by her ideas, even if they were wrong. And she had a temper to match her fiery head of hair. But overall, Lily Evans was someone I wanted to be friends with.

            Monday evening, during dinner, Lily joined me at the Hufflepuff table to talk strategy. She wanted to devise a structured plan including scripted conversations, diversions, distractions, and two more back up plans. That girl was determined to get James to ask her out. On the other hand, I thought the whole plan to have a plan was entirely unnecessary and suggested winging it. Lily’s stubbornness kicked in, so I decided she could plan all she wanted to, but couldn’t stop me from being spontaneous when it was time to go. Overall, we came to an agreement that the whole goal of everything was to find out James’s true feelings for Lily. Even that seemed a bit ridiculous to me. Even a blind person could see that James was head over heels for the girl. He had expressed his love for her enough to make it clear he wasn’t joking around, while simultaneously publicly humiliating himself. But I guess Lily was either self-conscious or completely daft. I’m going with the former, but maybe she’s not as smart as I thought she was. Either way, Lily wanted solid proof that James liked her; proof that apparently I could obtain because, according to her, I was “close enough with him,” and therefore could find out his secrets and exploit them to the world. I didn’t know that a week long friendship was classified as “close,” but then again, what did I know about relationships with other people.

            Everything was supposed to go down on Tuesday, after classes and dinner were over, so when the time arrived, Lily and I headed to the Gryffindor common room, where the Marauders were currently residing. When Lily gave The Fat Lady the passcode, she eyed me warily, as if someone from another house has never entered the common room before. But Lily assured her I was okay, and we entered.

            The decorum of the Gryffindor common room was so different than the Hufflepuff common room that I had to pause upon entering and look around. Besides the color scheme being scarlet and gold, there were massive tapestries donning the walls and lavish rugs gracing the normally wooden floors. All of the furniture seemed so plush and comfortable, couches and armchairs with cushions that could swallow a first year whole. The fireplace was currently lit ablaze, which only added to the welcoming atmosphere that the room created. It was, I decided, much better than the Hufflepuff common room and I would have to convince my new Gryffindor friends to take me there more often.

            “There he is!” Lily whispered furiously, smacking my arm to enunciate each word she spoke. I turned to where she was referring to, and lo and behold, the infamous Marauders were in fact lounging on the various sofas that were assembled around the fire. “Ugh, look at James, with that smug smirk on his face. It’s like he thinks he’s a god or something. Why do I find that so attractive? I fucking hate him.” Lily went through an array of emotions when referring to James, and they almost always ended with hatred and anger.

            “Okay, I’ll head over and you sit tight at a table. Take out some books and pretend to look studious,” I commanded, pushing her towards an empty desk nearby. She shouted something about following the plan, so I nodded in agreement. Then Lily sat down, pulled out a scroll, and started scribbling on it. I could tell she wasn’t actually doing homework because her left leg was jiggling up and down, one of her nervous habits. I just rolled my eyes, knowing that her being on edge was natural, but there was really nothing to worry about. I get things done.

            I started towards the boys, only to have Sirius look up and notice me. “Hey, Ross! How’d you get in here? Last time I checked, there was a password to the entrance.” The others turned around with confused looks on their faces.

            I was about to say Lily let me in, but I could just blow my cover and throw her under the bus like that. Instead, I answered with the most nebulous response I could think of, “I have my ways.” This answer seemed to satisfy 75% of my company, leaving Remus, the only one with half a brain, questioning. He shot me an inquisitive look, but I just shook my head, mouthing that I’d explain later.

            “And why have you graced us with your presence on this fine evening?” James inquired as I situated myself on the armrest of the sofa he was lying on.

             “I am actually here to talk to you,” I pointed at James and he feigned shock and surprise. “So,” I paused, mulling over how I would deliver the next line. I couldn’t make it obvious that Lily had sent me on a mission. I had to be as subtle as the ‘b’ in subtle. “Lily Evans, huh?” Perfect.

            “What did you do?” Sirius gasped in horror, alarmed at my question. I didn’t understand why he was so opposed of my conversational topic until I realized how James was reacting.

            Over the past week, I’ve learned that messes up the brain. Lily Evans and James Potter are two completely average wizards, capable of normal metal and physical functions. But when the other’s name is mentioned, things become weird. Lily, upon seeing or hearing about James, becomes madly in love with him, emphasis on the mad. She starts yelling and ranting about his muscles and hair, saying things like, “How dare he look so attractive, that git!” and “How could he have the nerve to be in the same room as her looking like that!”

            James, on the other hand, becomes a big pile of mush at the mention of her name. In public he plays it “cool,” which means acting like an obnoxious prick. But in private, his tough guy composure melts away, revealing a little girl. He gushes about how “her eyes are the color of a meadow,” and that “she’s the smartest person he’s ever met.” The fact that their personalities change so drastically was concerning, but it was nothing that couldn’t be fixed.

            “And one time she helped a first year with his Potions essay. She’s just so kind and selfless.” James was currently hugging a pillow, starring off into space with a dreamy expression on his face. His transformation into a preteen girl, talking about her crush at a sleepover, was almost complete.

            “C’mon Prongs! We went over this before!” Sirius cried in distress. “Think manly thoughts! Meat and potatoes! Quidditch! Fist fights! Sweat! Mud!” As he tried coaching James into restoring his manliness, I watched on in amusement.

            “This happens more often than you’d think,” Remus whispered to me as Sirius yelled something in the background about chest hair.

            Apparently the manliness coaching wasn’t working, so Sirius pulled back his arm and back handed James on the cheek. “You feel that?” he yelled as James rubbed his tender and red face. “It’s pain. And I will continue to hit you in the face until you become yourself again. I will even kick you in the balls if I have to.”

            The last part seemed to snap James out of his daze and he started protesting, “I’m good! I’m good!” while blocking his privates from on oncoming kick from his friend with the pillow he was cuddling with moments ago.

            “No! Don’t stop!” I exclaimed in a frenzy, an idea popping into my head. “This is good. All this,” I gestures to James’s expression and blabberings, “is great.” The boys looked at me with confused expressions so I elaborated. “Girls like sensitive, nice guys. How you normally act around Lily, you know, big headed and mean, is off putting. That’s why she keeps rejecting you. But just then, you were sincere and vulnerable, and I can assure you that if you repeat those things to her, she’ll want to go out with you.”

            James, Remus, and Peter looked thoughtful, if not a bit skeptical, but Sirius just scoffed. “Bull.” He declared, folding his arms in a challenge like fashion. “Girls like bad boys. They’re attracted to cool rule breakers, not sensitive pansies. Trust me, I would know.”

            His satisfaction was obvious by the smirk on his face. I felt a need to knock him down a peg or two. “Girls who want a thrill, a one-time hookup, like bad boys. So they go to you. But Lily’s not a slag. James wants to be her boyfriend, and if her shows emotion and vulnerability, he’ll be boyfriend material,” I finished, my logic quite accurate.

            “How would you know?” Sirius scoffed, but I could tell he was less certain about the argument now.

            “Well, if you haven’t noticed, Black, I am a girl. I do know things.” He laughed in response, which irritated me slightly. “Don’t make me break your nose again,” I threatened, which seemed to shut him up.

            “Wait,” Remus piped in from the arm chair he was sitting on, “Again? Were you the one who broke his nose last week?”

            This question put me in a very sticky situation. If I told Remus the truth, he would delve further into why I was throwing punches in the first place. I doubt he’d believe me if I said I occasionally lost control of my right fist, which means I’d have to spill the whole truth, something I didn’t want to get into yet. “What? Again? I’ve never broken Sirius’s nose before! Where would you get that insane idea from?” As I laughed nervously, I made a mental note to become a better liar. Then I made a note to screw the first note because lying was deceitful and wasn’t going to get me anywhere good.

            Remus didn’t seem convinced, but there were more important matters at hand than whose fist connected to whose nose. I shifted my focus back to James, knowing I’d have to deal with the sandy haired boy at a later time. I hated lying to Remus, but right now it was necessary. “Just go talk to Lily. Be sincere and tell her who you feel. Worst case scenario, you’ll be no better off than you are now. Best case scenario, Lily Evans will be your girlfriend and snog you senseless. Now go.” I pushed James off of the couch and shooed him towards Lily, who was anticipating his arrival in the corner of her eye.

            “It’s not going to work,” Sirius sang teasingly. I was about to shoot back an insult but Remus came to my rescue first.

            “I don’t know, it seems to make sense,” he concluded as we avidly watched James approach Lily, all of us poking our heads over the back of the couch.

            “Make sense! It’s common sense! People like to surround themselves with others who are nice and enjoy their company, not jerks that go around insulting everyone. I don’t know why boys find this so hard to comprehend,” I ranted, eyes still glued to James, who was currently standing in front of Lily, eventually sitting down. The four of us were spying on the soon-to-be-couple’s conversation, although it was impossible to hear what was being said unless you were an expert lip reader.

            “5 galleons Lily will reject him and slap him across the face,” Sirius muttered.

            “5 galleons? That’s ridiculous! I don’t have 5 galleons in the excess,” I exclaimed, to which he just laughed.

            “Think you’re going to lose the bet then?” he smirked. I was 100% sure I would win. Well, maybe more like 90% sure, James had a way of screwing things up. But, I felt the need to prove Sirius wrong, and my wallet was a bit empty, so I took the bet, countering with a claim that Lily would become his girlfriend and start snogging him in the middle of the room. Remus and Peter took spots and soon the sides were evenly stacked.

            After about 3 minutes of tense waiting, James stopped talking and there was a moment of anticipation. I don’t know about the others, but I held my breath. I tried to get a good look at Lily’s face so I could gauge her reaction, but when I did, she looked more than angry. Furious even. Sirius must have seen this too, because he started to whisper, “Yes, yes, yes…”

            Disappointment over took me and I was positive James had somehow fucked up his speech, angering Lily. But, then something completely and wonderfully unexpected happened. Lily grabbed James by the shirt and started full on snogging him, right in the middle of the Gryffindor common room.

            “Victory!” I shouted, jumping up from our hiding spot while pumping my fist in the air. Sirius let out a groan of disappointment, but still had a wide grin on his face. After all, his best mate had finally gotten the girl, even if that did mean he lost 5 galleons.

            Even after my outburst, the couple didn’t come up for air. As endearing as the scene was, it was also a bit gross and my appetite was completely lost. Others in the common room noticed the two going at it and instead of protests, there was shouts of congratulations. I guess everyone was waiting for the day James and Lily finally got together.

            “This is one for the history books,” Remus whistled, turning away from the overly public display of affection. He then raised his voice considerably as to get everyone’s attention. “Let it be known to all, that after six longs years of failure, James Potter has finally convinced Lily Evans to be his girlfriend!” This was followed by various cheers from around the room. Remus then got down from the couch he was standing on, and in a normal tone of voice said to me, “All thanks to you.”

            “It would of happened eventually,” I blushed. “I barely did anything, just catalyzed the process.”

            “So modest,” he teased, causing me to laugh. That was one word that hasn’t been used to describe me before. I leaned back onto the couch and put my feet up on the coffee table. My work here was done.

A/N: Okay, so this chapter is a bit lame, but trust me, it's all part of the bigger picture

Chapter 7: My Plot To Rule The World With... Love?
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             Friday morning, upon my arrival in the Great Hall, I was waved over to the Gryffindor table by the Marauders plus Lily. She was currently sitting next to her boyfriend, almost close enough to be considered sitting on his lap, which was partially endearing and partially disgusting. But I gave them a pass because it’s the first week and they’re still in the lovey-dovey  honeymoon phase.

            “I’m glad we caught you before tonight!” Lily smiled, James’s arm resting comfortably around her shoulder. They both looked so happy, I couldn’t help smiling. “C’mon, sit,” she nodded across the table at Remus, who immediately scooted over, creating a space for me.

            “We haven’t seen you at breakfast at all this week,” Remus noted as I loaded my plate with the delicacies this morning had to offer.

            “Oh, see I have this thing where I sleep in until the latest possible moment,” I laughed, applying copious amounts of butter on my toast. It was true; I had a problem with waking up in time for breakfast. It might have something to do with the fact that I went to bed at an irresponsible time, but carpe noctum and all. “So what’s happening tonight?” I ventured, referring to Lily’s comment earlier.

            “Just thought we’d throw a little get together for Halloween,” James and the other Marauders smirked, causing Lily to laugh in a cynical way.

            “By ‘little get together,’ he means every student in the school not in Slytherin,” she rolled her eyes. “The Marauders are infamous for their wild parties, among other things.”

            “We always have a costume party to celebrate the holiday, but this year we’re a bit last minute on the planning,” Sirius explained. “This one,” he nodded to James, “has been a bit busy this week, so we haven’t even started thinking about it until last night.”

            “You’re invited, of course,” Remus added, in case it wasn’t obvious. To be invited to their party was lovely and all, but I was a bit unsure about accepting it.

            “I don’t know,” I shrugged, thinking about it. “I’m not exactly fit enough to dress up as a slutty fairy of something.” The thought of me showing ample amounts of cleavage and leg was laughable.

            Lily scoffed at my weak excuse. “Oh come off it, Ronnie. You’re coming, and you don’t have to wear a slag costume.” She assured me, although that didn’t exactly settle the uneasy feeling in my stomach.

            “What? Don’t listen to her, Ronnie. You can wear a slutty costume if you want to,” Sirius exclaimed, and although the content of his protest was extremely creepy, I could tell he was completely joking. But that didn’t stop me, and about everyone else we were sitting with glare at him. “Okay, okay, I’m sorry. Go as a sack of potatoes for all I care,” he apologized, and I knew that was the best I would get from him, so I took it and dropped the subject.

            “These blueberry muffins are amazing!” I gushed, picking up one of the pastries and taking a huge bite from it. The others starred at me oddly for a moment, but I guess they’ve fully accepted my idiosyncrasies. I hope.

            Just as I was taking another mouthful of the surprisingly moist muffin, Teresa Phillips came walking, no, sauntering, towards our group. To be more specific, Sirius Black. She leaned over to him and whispered, in an attempt to be seductive, “So, did you think about my offer, Black?”

            Sirius, like the rest of us, was completely terrified out of his mind. It was a bit humorous to see, considering Black likes to think of himself as a smooth ladies man. I’ve actually seen him reject 5 girls this past week alone. But then again, Teresa Phillips isn’t exactly your average girl. At 6’ 2” she towers over the rest of the female population. The Ravenclaw beater usually wears her blond hair in two plaits braided tight to her skull. I wouldn’t say she’s fat, because I doubt her body fat percentage is anything higher than 7%. But she sure is big. Her bicep is about the size of my upper thigh, and I’m no stick myself. I’m not surprised that Sirius was shaking slightly as she tried to seduce him. She could most likely break him in half with her bare hands.

            Apparently his silence was an answer enough for her, because she smiled and informed him, “The next Hogsmede weekend is next Saturday. Meet me at the entrance at noon for our date.” Then, she sauntered off, flipping one of her braids over her shoulder. I swear those things could be used as whips.

            After we all took a moment to recover from what happened, a wicked smile spread across James’s face. “Hot date for Hogsmede, huh Padfoot?” Sirius shot him a glare and we all exploded into laughter.

            “Maybe, if you two get intimate,” I gasped through laughter, “she’ll start bench pressing you.” Cue more laughter. Blood rushed to his cheeks, and eventually, after a few more good hearted jabs at Sirius’s stake, the laughter died down.

            “C’mon guys! She asked me out the other day and I was too scared to reject her. How do I tell her no without being strangled to death?!? Ronnie, what am I supposed to do?” His question was crazily enough, aimed at me. Ever since I sort of got Lily and James together (I honestly wouldn’t have done anything if Lily hadn’t come to be and planned it all out), James and Sirius regarded me as some sort of know-all-be-all love guru. Now, whenever they need advice or have questions about the opposite sex, I’m the one they come to. It’s a bit ironic, considering only a week ago those two were trying to set me up with Remus and scoffing at me dating history, or lack thereof. I’m really not at all qualified for the job, except all of their inquiries and problems are so simple, any girl with half a brain could answer them. What do I say if Lily asked if she looks fat? Why do girls hate when I just snog them in the broom closet but not date them? What is PMS?

            The whole problem with Teresa wasn’t one that I was familiar with. Having never rejected, nor been rejected, I wasn’t so sure how to deal with it. But, if I were going to be turned down on a date, I’d want it to be quick and painless, like tearing off a band aid. Of course, tearing off a band aid is usually never very quick or painless, but you get the idea. And he’d have to be nice, because if a girl like Teresa is dumped painfully, someone will be seriously injured.

            “Just say it kindly. ‘Teresa, you seem like a great person, but I’m really not looking for a serious commitment right now and I don’t like you that way.’ But don’t use the cliché, ‘We could still be friends,’ because she might take you up on that offer and I doubt you want that,” I concluded, nodding sagely at my advice. I even threw in a chin stroke to make it look believable.

            “Oh, that’s good,” Sirius mused. “I should have written that down.” I glanced at Lily and we both rolled our eyes. Boys were impressed by the simplest, most moronic things.

            “I have an idea!” James sang and we all looked at him skeptically. “No, really, this is an amazing idea!” I’ve learned that James’s “amazing ideas” usually end up in someone getting hurt or detention. It was one of his ideas to set me up with Remus and we all know how that turned out. But I’ve also learned that it’s better to let James say his ideas rather than keep it all bottled up.

            The silence of our group was an invitation for him to continue, so he started laying out his thoughts like he was pitching an idea to a board of CEOs in a corporation. “Imagine, a few years from now. Ronnie has graduated Hogwarts and, I don’t know, spent some time traveling the world. Now, she has to settle down, get a real job, and make a living. So, she opens up her own practice called ‘Veronica Ross, Love Doctor.’ She takes in patients and gives them advice about their love lives! It’s perfects!” He exclaimed. Everything about that idea was ridiculous. I don’t even know if “love doctors” exist! But apparently Sirius thought it was a good idea, because he took it and ran.

            “Oh!” Black added, “She’ll be a matchmaker too! Help poor, lonely souls find their match.” Soon, as the boys consorted, I went from having a humble business to being the leader of my own empire of love. I’d write a series of self-help books, create a line of love potions, and go on world tours, hosting singles conventions and speak to massive crowds about finding love. Honestly, this all sounded beyond amazing. They had a better grasp of what I’d do with my life than I did. But there was one obvious loophole in their plan.

            “As much as I like this,” I started, getting the scheming boys’ attentions, “And trust me I do. I have to point out the glaringly obvious. I would be a bit hypocritical of me to lecture people on love when I’ve never actually had a boyfriend, don’t you think?”

            “Ugh, you should really get on that, Ronnie,” James sighed in fake annoyance, then started to glance suggestively at me and Remus. He was even trying to wiggle his eyebrows, I think, but it looked more like he was having a stroke. I shot him glare, as if to say “Cut it out, you idiot,” then sneakily glanced at Remus, to see if he noticed James’s inappropriate suggestiveness. Either he hadn’t seen, or he was pretending not to (here’s hoping it’s the former), but there was a slight red tint to his cheeks causing me to believe it was the latter. The fact that he was embarrassed by the thought of dating me embarrassed me immensely, and I was glad that breakfast decided to end right then, so nothing could further humiliate me.

            We all collected our various parchments and books, and then split on our merry ways. And even though James and Sirius were headed to Charms, which was in the opposite direction of my next class, Potions, I had to ask them something.

            “Did either of you tell Remus about how you tried to set us up?” I asked when I finally caught up to their surprisingly quick pace.

            “Why would we do that? He would only be cross at us for breaking our promise,” James ventured, a bit confused at my question.

            “It’s just that at breakfast, when you,” I nodded at James, “were looking suggestively between me and him, you should learn to be more subtle, he looked all embarrassed and started to blush. I thought that maybe you had told him before and now he’s all disgusted of the idea of going out with me.”

            My deductions skill apparently are subpar, because Sirius snorted and muttered something along the lines of, “That’s about the opposite of what he feels,” which earned him a hard jab in the ribs by James, who then gave him a knowing glare.

            Then, James turned to me and smiled. “I didn’t tell him anything, so you must have been imagining things. Besides, I think Moony’s a bit sunburnt, so that’s what you saw,” he explained, which seemed rational enough. So, I bid the farewell and started heading towards Potions class.

            Later on in the day, Lily approached me in Transfiguration. Up until that week, neither of us realized we were in the same class, but then again, we never knew each other until Sunday. Unfortunately, our seats were already set for the term, so I was stuck sitting next to Arnold Ardsley, the obnoxious and slimy, everything a good Slytherin should be. But, Lily and I were still able to communicate through looks and tossing note. Surprisingly, Lily is much more lenient with her work ethics than I expected. Obviously she’s still a straight O student, but I always thought she’d be a bit more Ravenclaw when it came to homework and classes.

            “So, Ronnie,” Lily slid into Arnold’s seat. He was nowhere to be found, thank Merlin, but then again, class hadn’t officially started yet. Fingers crossed. “Excited for tonight?”

            My face scrunched up like I had just drunk expired milk. Excited wasn’t exactly the word I’d use to describe my feelings for the party. I’d go more with queasy, anxious, borderline terrified. “About the party…” I ventured slowly, “is it really necessary that I go? No one will even miss me if I don’t show up.”

            “No, no, no! You are going to this party, missy!” Lily voiced sternly, sounding a frightening amount like my mother. “I am not watching over four drunken idiots by myself. Merlin knows James will be hard enough to handle on his own.”

            “Wow, you’re making this sound so much more enticing,” I said sarcastically, but there was a seed of guilt. I didn’t know that Lily was so adamant about me attending and I didn’t want to abandon her.

            “It’ll fun! There’s going to be, I don’t know, dancing? Candy? Floating pumpkins? What more could you possibly want?” She pleaded, desperation in her eyes.

             “Well I wouldn’t know, considering I’ve never actually been to a raging teenage party before!” I exclaimed, earning some annoyed glances from fellow students. I mouthed and apology before turning my attention back to Lily, who looked both astonished and amused.

            “Never? Really?” She asked in disbelief, and suddenly I felt like a total loser.

            “Well, us badgers aren’t exactly party animals,” I joked cornily, nudging her shoulder.

            “That was honestly terrible,” She deadpanned, then cracked a smile. “But now you definitely have to come! Going to a party is like some sort of teenage rite of passage. There’s nothing to be worried about, they aren’t half as bad as those parties you see in American movies with the beer pong and red solo cups. Gryffindors affairs seem tame in comparison. Plus, there will be a bunch of fit blokes in costume! I’m off the market, but that doesn’t mean you can’t browse around, if you know what I’m saying,” it was her turn to nudge me, and I snorted with laughter at the very idea. “Maybe there’s one bloke in particular you’d like to see?” Lily chanced, looking at me with expectance. It seemed more like a hint than a question, and the confusion must have been written all over my face. She just shook her head and smiled.

            “Good afternoon class! Everyone please take their seats and open their textbooks to chapter 6.” Professor McGonagall glided into the room and Lily quickly slid out of Arnold’s seat.

            “Don’t forget to wear a costume!” she whispered before hurrying back to the front of the class and taking a seat next to some random girl from Ravenclaw. Looks like I was going after all.

A/N: I know this one's a bit short, but the next few chapters I've written out are longer and that's really when all of the juicy action starts! So, please review and give me feedback!

Chapter 8: That Cliched Halloween Chapter
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Yeah guys, I'm actually J.K. Rowling and i have nothing better to do with my time than write fanfiction 

 “Halloween.” It was 8:27, which meant that it was almost half an hour after the party started. But then again, if I was going to pretend like I was a veteran party goer, I’d have to show up fashionably late. That was my excuse, anyway. The real reason I hadn’t gotten to the Gryffindor common room until now is something more along the lines of nerves. No exaggeration, it feels like my next door neighbor, Mr. Bishop, let his beloved lawn mower loose in my stomach. I had passed butterflies a long time ago. Also, getting together a last minute costume is surprisingly hard and time consuming.

            I was currently standing in front of the painting of the Fat Lady, patiently awaiting my access into the party. Unfortunately, when I gave her that password into the common room, she just smirked and went back to examining her nails. “Halloween,” I repeated, trying not to get frustrated. The first time Lily tried to bring me to her common room, it took a bit of cajoling on our part to let me through.

            “And what are you supposed to be,” she leered, eyeing me up and down. I self-consciously folded my arms and shifted foot, growing irritable at her changing subjects.

            “I know the password is Halloween.” I didn’t answer her question, attempting to shift focus back to my original task. It’s like she couldn’t hear me! I’m glad Hufflepuff didn’t have an obnoxious guardian to our entrance of the common room, because apparently paintings have some sort of grudge held against me. “Halloween,” I sounded out the word, like I was speaking to a toddler. Immediately, I regretted saying it so harshly, as she had clearly taken offense. I didn’t blame her for being so bitter. She’s spent hundreds of years opening and closing doors and she’s called the “Fat” lady! “I’m sorry, please let me in?” I tried again, a hopeful look in my eyes. “Halloween?”

            She eyed me critically, but finally sighed and swung open her portrait. I like to think it was because I apologized and asked nicely, but more likely her was under a strict set of rules to allow access to anyone who knew the password. Either way, I was finally in the party, and once taking one step, I had to physically stop myself from turning back around and leaving.

            The Gryffindor common room was one big sensory overload. The pounding baseline to whatever song was playing made it almost impossible to hear. Most of the furniture had been moved aside to create a makeshift dance floor, which was completely packed. A stench wafted to my nose that was strongly reminiscent of pumpkin spice, firewhiskey, and sweat, which is not a pleasant combination. The lights were dimmed a bit, and like a dance club, flashing in all different colors. The only hint that this was a Halloween party was a few floating pumpkins here and there (obviously borrowed from the Great Hall), candies bowls filled with assorted goodies, and the fact that everyone was in costume. Or some sort of lingerie, when it came to the majority of the female population.

            I survey the room, trying to find someone to talk to so I wasn’t that awkward girl who sat alone all night and drowned her sorrows in butterbeer and chocolate frogs. Thankfully, I spotted Remus and Sirius standing by what I assume to be a bar. It was really just a long table with some sixth year standing behind it, but there were stacks of liquor bottles and a growing line in front. I decided to make my way over, shifting through the crowd of drunken cowboys, fairies, healers, pirates, and mermaids, until I finally reach the other side of the room.

            “Ronnie!” Sirius exclaimed, engulfing me in a tight bear hug. I could smell the firewhiskey on his breath and started to gag until he released me. “See, Moony? I told you she’d come!” He leaned in secretively and whispered in a very loud voice, “He was all worried you wouldn’t show up.”

            “Oh!” I glanced at Remus, who was shaking his head and mouthing ‘I don’t know what he’s talking about.’ Sirius obviously was a bit too intoxicated to be taken, well, seriously. “You’ve been drinking, haven’t you?”

            “How’d you guess?” Sirius asked, astonished at my deduction skills, which apparently are more impressive once you’ve had a few shots of firewhiskey. “You should really get on my level! Get a drink!” He reached to a brand new bottle of who-knows-what, fumbling with the screw cap.

            “No, I’m good,” I grabbed the bottle out of his hands so he wouldn’t drop it, and placed it back on the bar. I was not cleaning up after him.

            “You two are no fun,” Sirius pouted, crossing his arms. “I’m gonna go dance.” He then started to walk away, simultaneously busting a move, which meant waving his arms around like he was on fire. Very attractive. I can tell why so many girls like him.

            “He’s a fun drunk,” I mused, walking towards Remus while still watching Sirius make a fool out of himself.

            “It only gets better as the night goes on,” Remus promised, taking a swig from his butterbeer. “I reckon in an hour or two, he’ll show off his not so amazing karaoke skills.”

            “Oh, and his costume suits him perfectly,” I added, referring to his muggle prisoner costume. He had on a black and white striped shirt and pants, plus one of those boards you hold when getting your mug shot hanging around his neck.

            “James is dressed up as a muggle cop, to go along with him being a crook,” Remus stated, and I laughed at the idea of James and Sirius doing a couple’s costume. What did Lily think?

            “Are you sure James and Sirius aren’t the two that are dating?” I jokingly asked, before grabbing a bottle of butterbeer from the bar behind us.

            “I ask myself that way too often,” Remus replied, shaking his head in mock seriousness. He then looked at my chosen nonalcoholic drink and asked, “So you don’t drink?”

            “I don’t see the point in making a fool of myself more than necessary. Besides, the only time I’ve ever gotten drunk was with my cousins at a holiday party in fourth year. I woke up with a killer hangover and I decided the ends didn’t justify the means.” I explained, remembering that fateful night. All of our parents had already hit the liquor, so it wasn’t that hard to swipe a few bottles here and there. I didn’t even like being drunk; it was too weird seeing double. Plus, I was more clumsy than normal, and woke up with an odd set of bruises on my arms and legs. Merlin only knows how many times I tripped trying to get up the stairs.

            “I’m usually the designated sober friend when it comes to these parties.” He chimed in, referring to his own bottle of butterbeer. “I make sure Sirius doesn’t do anything too incriminating, life threatening, or humiliating, although I’m usually more lenient with the last one. And normally, I have to stop James from bugging Lily too much, but I guess since they’re dating, he’s not my problem anymore! And Peter is such a lightweight. He passes out after one firewhiskey,” Remus motioned to an armchair by the fireplace, which was occupied by a snoring Peter, who was curled up in a ball, occasionally nibbling at his hand, like some sort of rodent. Weird. “Well now we get to sit back and watch everyone else act like total morons. It’s honestly the best entertainment of the night.”

            “Cheers to that!” We clinked our bottles in a celebratory fashion then leaned against the bar in satisfaction. “Say, what are you dressed up as, anyway?”

            Remus had on an all-white outfit, white shirt, white pants, and white shoes, complete with what looked like a fine layer of baby powder covering his skin, face, and hair. He looked at me, astounded that I didn’t know what his costume was, but I was drawing a complete blank. “I’m a ghost!” He exclaimed, and the pieces started coming together.

            “Ok, I can see it. It’s a bit lame, but I give you points for effort and commitment,” I nodded, looking over his ensemble again. “I feel like you’d be more recognizable if you just wore a sheet over your head with eye holes cut out.”

            “Hurtful,” he mocked offense, before laughing. “And your costume is any better? What are you, a shadow?”

            “I’m a ninja!” I protested, glancing down at my half assed outfit. I basically just threw on everything I owned that was black; a black jumper, and black pair of pants, a black pair of boots, and a black bandana wrapped around my forehead in a ninja like fashion. I was wearing basically the opposite of Remus. “Maybe it’d be better if I had been given more than a 24 hour notice. We don’t all pack a spare Halloween costume in their trunk every year.”

            “No, I think it’s very creative,” he teased. “But tell me the truth. Did you wear that so you wouldn’t be caught when you had to sneak back to your dorm after curfew?”

            “No,” I mumbled, looking down at the toes of my boots. That boy knew me too well, it was creepy. And in my defense, the fact that ninjas are good at sneaking around was only a plus to the costume, not the main reason I chose it. The main reason was I had nothing else to wear.

            “Mmhhmm,” he scoffed, a smirk gracing his lips. But the slight smile quickly morphed into a frown, his brows furrowing in shock. “Oh Merlin, not again,” he began, looking not at me, but over my shoulder. I turned around, following his gaze, only to see a scary scene unfold.

            Sirius, because what sort of scene would it be without Sirius participating I some way, had drunkenly climbed at top a pushed aside table, constantly gripping the edge for support. He then proceeded in removing his costume shirt. This took about 2 minutes, because it got stuck around his head and he started to shout about being blind. But finally, after being half naked, much to the female population’s joy and the male population chagrin, he boomed, “Let’s get this party started!” The crowd, who was watching him since his struggle with his shirt, started to cheer wildly. I decided that Remus and I must be the only two sober, sane people in the entire room. But then again, don’t those two go hand in hand?

            Remus sighed, watching Sirius with both amusement and annoyance. “I should probably stop him before he does…that.” Black had jumped from the table, screaming “CROWD SURFING!” Unfortunately, the crowd that was so enthusiastic just moments ago, parted quickly, letting Sirius fall flat on the ground.

            “Oh shit!” I whispered, and we both raced to the scene of the crime, where he laid, face first, on the ground. I observed that if there was a chalk outline around his body, everything would be complete. I then mentally scolded myself for thinking that and knelt down and poked Sirius’s arm. “Are you ok?”

            “Owwww,” he moaned in response, rolling over onto his back. “Everything hurts.”

            That’s probably be because he threw himself off of a table, but I didn’t say that out loud. “Is anything broken?” I asked tentatively. Remus knelt down next to me, studying his hurt friend.

            “My pride,” Sirius whimpered, sitting up and stretching out his legs. He dramatically rubbed his back and moaned a bit more for effect.

            “He’s okay,” Remus stated, standing up and pulling me up after him. “Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time he’s attempted crowd surfing and failed. You’d think he’d learn, but this is Sirius we’re talking about.”

            I nodded in sage agreement, when who else would appear but a striking ginger cowgirl with her tipsy muggle cop boyfriend in tow! “Lily! How are you surviving the night?”

            She shot me a weary smile and stepped over Sirius, who was still situated on the ground, glancing at him for a quick moment. “Better that Black, although, not by much.”

            I studied her annoyed, tired face then looked behind her at James, whose fake mustache was crooked and falling off. “Is he that bad?”

            “He’s not,” she paused, searching for the right words, “terrible. He’s even kind of cute when he’s drunk. Definitely amusing. But he keeps asking me out and it’s getting really weird.”

            “Oi! Lilykins!” James shouted, right on cue. “I think you’re really pretty and your hair is like fire and your eyes are like grass and you smell really nice, like cinnamon. Do you wanna go on a date with me?” His words slurred together so everything was just one big, run on sentence.

            Lily rolled her eyes and sighed before putting on a large, slightly evil smile and turning towards him. “Oh, I’m sorry. I actually have a boyfriend, James Potter. Do you know him? He’s a really big, strong bloke, super jealous. You don’t want to mess with him. So I’m sorry, but no.” He looked completely crestfallen by her response, even though she basically just said he would beat up himself. He was beyond wasted right now.

            “Don’t you think that was a bit harsh?” I asked, referring to her boyfriend, who had lain down next to his friend and was starring wistfully at the ceiling.

            She just scoffed and rolled her eyes. Lily rolled her eyes way too often for it to be healthy. I was worried that someday she’ll roll her eyes and they’ll get stuck that way. Then, she can only look at the sky and how unfortunate would that be? Anyway, she leaned in close and confided, “I tried to explain to him that we are actually dating, but after the 5th time, I decided it was hopeless. Besides, if he wants to get super wasted at a party and make me take care of him, then I should be able to exploit his impaired judgment and vision for my own entertainment.” She had an excellent point.

            “Go, take advantage of James. I approve,” I nodded, pushing her towards her boyfriend.

            “Sirius, why are we on the ground?” James questioned, his voice seemed dazed. Sirius just shrugged and continued starring at the ceiling like it held the answers to life and the reason why he’s single.

            “C’mon, big boy,” Lily grabbed his hand and forcefully yanked him off of the floor. “Let’s go dance or something.” She then proceeded to pull James onto the dance floor with him waving goodbye to us.

            “Should we do something about him?” I gestured towards Sirius, who was still lying on the ground, making a bunch of nonsensical noises and groans.

            “He’ll be ok,” Remus assured me. I had a feeling that this is how parties usually ended up, with Sirius on the floor in pain. It was a bit concerning, but he was a grown up, he could take care of himself.

            After deciding that neither of us has the skill or the desire to dance, Remus and I made our way over to the only calm(ish) place in the entire common room, which was the fireplace. Of course, Peter had already claimed the armchair to himself and he was still passed out, despite the deafening music that quite literally made the entire room shake. I nudged him a bit with my foot, to make sure he wasn’t dead, but he just swatted it away and mumbled something in his sleep.

            “You’re friends are really a piece of work, aren’t they,” I judged, thinking of the past hour and what had happened.

            “Hey!” Remus protested indignantly. “Don’t try putting this all on me! They’re your friends too, you know.” I didn’t think that having friends who failed at crowd surfing, ask out their girlfriend, and pass out after one firewhiskey were exactly the crowd I wanted to roll with, but it still made my smile.  

            “If you told me I’d be friends with these boneheads at the beginning of the year, I would have laughed in your face,” I admitted sheepishly, chuckling a bit. Remus, on the other hand, did not look amused. His face was etched with confusion.

            “Wait,” he paused, thinking furiously, “The day that we met, James and Sirius said something about not having seen you in forever. I just assumed that you had been friends for a while.”

            There it was. Remus had caught onto my continuation error and called me out on it. Internally, I was mortified, embarrassed beyond compare. But I held my composure. I guess now is as good of a time as any for the truth to come out, since he doesn’t know it already. It’s no big deal, anyway. We’ll have a good laugh about it. He might get a bit cross at James and Sirius, but it’s their fault in the first place. Besides, I have to say I’m impressed that Remus could remember such minute details about meeting me for the first time.

            “If you count one day prior as a long lasting friendship, then I’d say we’re old mates.” I laughed nervously, but Remus didn’t respond, only looked more confused. “Confession time! Your brilliant friends saw it fit to set us up and that’s why they introduced you to me. Completely against my will, mind you. Eventually they dropped the whole idea and just let me be, but by then I was in too deep. Forged too many friendships and what not.”

            After my short blabbering rant/apology, I piped up, anxiously awaiting his reaction. How I figured it, he could A) spontaneously combust with anger, yelling, screaming, breaking fragile object in a fit, B) laugh the whole thing off, confiding that he knew all along and didn’t want to say anything, or C) do exactly what he was doing now, which was remain silent with an impassive expression on his face. Personally, I’d much prefer option B over anything, but right now, even option A would have been better than this waiting.

            “Did you break Sirius’s nose?” He asked quietly, after a few minutes of contemplative silence. “Because he came into the dorm one night with it bleeding everywhere and I had to fix it. Plus you keep making not so subtle threats about it breaking again.”

            That’s what he got out of the conversation? That I broke Sirius’s nose? I couldn’t even tell if he was mad. “Um, yeah.” I confessed warily. “He made an arseheaded comment and I might have just punched him? I don’t know, I wasn’t really thinking it through… Are you mad?”

            Remus looked at me oddly, like I was speaking gibberish. “At you?” He looked at me incredulously. “It’s not really your fault. My mates are just idiots, but I feel like they’ve gotten what they deserve. Broken noses are punishment enough.”

            “But, but,” I stammered, surprised he wasn’t the slightest bit angry. “I could have told you. That night in the cupboard, I could have said something about it.”

            “It feels like you want me to be mad at you…” he laughed at my shocked expression. “I could always pick a fight with you but I’m afraid you’d win. You have a killer right hook.”

            “I’m usually a pacifist,” I muttered, a bit embarrassed. Granted, it was a nice compliment. If I ever get mugged, I know what to do. Just rough him up a bit. “No hard feelings?”

            “Nope. I just have to tell James and Sirius to stop being so nosy and evasive.” Remus laughed, shooting me a shy smile. The amount of relief I felt was copious. I hadn’t even realized how guilty I felt for lying to him. Again, I really am a terrible liar.

            “Oh shit!” I gasped, getting a glance outside the window into the night sky. There was no moon in sight, enhancing the appearance of the stars and constellations they created. I never missed out on new moons. Ever.

            “Is ‘oh shit’ you’re catch phrase or something?” Remus joked, not understanding why I was shocked and surprised by the goings on outside. I didn’t want to be rude by ditching him here to dash off and stare at the stars, but I couldn’t not go.

            I paused a moment, mulling over my choices, before turning to my friend with an adventurous smile on my face. “Do you want to see something?”

            “I bet now you’re glad that I’m dressed as a ninja. It would have been virtually impossible to get up here without my sneaky moves and natural stealth. I should quit being a witch and transfer to ninja school. Except I’d be teaching the classes because I’m that good.” I had dragged Remus through the hallways, determined to avoid Filch on our journey.

            “We’re in the Astronomy Tower. It’s on the same floor as the Gryffindor common room. We basically just walked five feet,” he corrected me, looking around at his surroundings with confusion. On our journey to the Tower, I may have shushed him every time he question where we were going, so I don’t exactly blame him for being a bit snippy.

            “Another reason why your common room is in a prime location,” I wistfully sighed, then turned my head and looked out into the night in a dramatic fashion like they do in the movies. “Then again,” I perked up, “We are closer to the kitchens in our common room.”

            “So is there a reason you brought me up here? You’re not going to seduce me, are you?” Remus joked, although he didn’t look like he was joking. He looked more nervous than anything, which was a bit rude and only reiterated the idea that he was embarrassed/disgusted by the idea of dating me. Rude.

            “That would be great,” I nodded, mimicking his jovial tone. “But I’ve actually brought you up here to murder you. Sorry, but from the moment we met I’ve despised you. I was actually planning to push you off the tower and make it look like an accident, but if you’d rather I’d kill you in a seductive way…?”

            “Odd, I have this weird feeling to never go near a ledge ever again,” he spoke with confusion.

            “Ha ha ha, stop it, you’re killing me with your sharp wit and outstanding humor,” my voice was about as flat as a board. Instead of answering his original question, walked over to the area of the Astronomy Tower were there was no ceiling, the best spot for stargazing, and lay down, like I had, so many times in the past years.

            “That looks comfortable,” Remus mused, referring to the stone. He was obviously being sarcastic because it was terrible and made my back hurt something terrible. But it was all worth it when you saw the view. No pain no gain.

            “I guess you’ll just have to lie down and see for yourself,” I murmured, too caught up on the emerging stars to actually look at him. Ever since I discovered my secret nerdy love for stars, planets, constellations, the whole deal, and that the Astronomy tower is the best place to study them (duh), I’d make a trek up here on the new moon and just observe. It was sort of magical, and that’s coming from an actual witch who uses magic.

            I realized how much time had passed filled with silence when Remus spoke, “You’re really into this stuff?” The sound of his voice so close made me jump and I looked over to see him lying next to me. In my daze I hadn’t even notice that he had moved from his standing spot. His question could have been mocking, but he said it in such an earnest way, so I just nodded and continued looking.

            “Sometimes I come up here when I’m upset and it puts everything into perspective, I guess. It sounds weird, but I can’t really be too sad or angry when I’m looking at the sky. Look at all those stars! It’s a powerful thing. Like, if I’m worried about getting an O on my potions essay, losing 5 pounds, or getting a boyfriend, it all puts me in my place. I realize that the world doesn’t revolve around me, that I’m part of a bigger picture. It’s kind of silly…but hey! It works.” He was silent after my little heart-pouring-out session and I was too. I just started mentally pointing out the constellations and stars visible, also mentally hoping Remus wasn’t about to burst out laughing or was thinking that I was a complete idiot.

            And there’s Sirius, the stars Sirius is named after, or I’m assuming. It makes up the Canis Major. There’s Gemini and Taurus and Pegasus and I had to look at him. I had to see the expression on his face, to know what he was thinking.

            Silently, moving my eyes first, then my entire head, I saw Remus. Although it was close to being pitch black, I could tell he wasn’t looking at the stars. His head was turned towards mine, making me wonder how long had it been like that. The expression on his face was faint, barely visible, but I could tell it was one I saw on him a lot. Like when we were drinking hot cocoa in the kitchens. It was a calculating, thinking expression, but there was something else to it. Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

            As I turned my head away, I was thankful for the darkness. Now he couldn’t see me blush.

A/N: I'm sorry that this chapter is so cliche! There's always a Halloween party, but Halloween is my favorite holiday and its my story, so i thought, why the hell not?

Chapter 9: The Day I Realized Feelings Suck
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         What I am not is JK Rowling. What I am is freaking excited for Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them. 



                “Should we… wake her up?” That inappropriately loud voice brought me out of a deep slumber. I was having a surprisingly enjoyable dream about ruling the world with my love guru empire. Don’t need to tell James and Sirius about that. The interrupting voice sounded familiar, but my sleep hazed brain couldn’t fit the pieces together.


            “No! We can’t! She’s sleeping.” I totally agree with the second, which was also familiar sounding voice. In fact, this entire situation seemed familiar. De ja vu?


            “Is it because she looks so peaceful when she sleeps?” Even though that was in a mocking tone, I’d like to think that there was so truth behind First Voice’s taunts. I hope I do look like a peaceful, lovely angel.


            “Stop. We were up late last night.” We? As in both Second Voice and I? I was hanging out with Second Voice last night?


            “Oooohhh” The implements of that ooohhhh were neither appropriate nor correct. Whatever Second Voice and I did last night does not deserve an ooohhhh. Wait, what did I do last night?


            “Not like that, you idiot!” You tell ‘em, Second Voice. Who was… Remus?


            “I just feel like if she’s completely sober, she doesn’t get to sleep in past a hung over person.” That argument is so illogical on so many levels. The voice and the stupidity clicked. It was definitely James. No doubt about it.


            “The majority of the entire castle is still asleep.” Thank you, Remus. I’d enjoy being one of the many.


            “Yeah, but I’m awake. Ronnie, get up you lazy bum!” This was followed by some violent poking to my stomach, but I still didn’t open my eyes. I just countered with some lazy slaps in the air, hoping to make contact with something solid, like James’s face.


            “Getting out of my dorm!” I growled, shoving my face into a pillow to block out the sound of obnoxious laughter. Of course, my mouth was attached to my sleep deprived brain, so I continued with a muffled, “I don’t want another makeover!”


            “A makeover?” This, I’m assuming came from Remus, although I wasn’t completely sure, since my ability to identify voices was momentarily impaired by the pillow over my ears. Wait, this doesn’t smell like my pillow. My pillow smells like, I don’t know, me? This phony imposter, although quite good smelling, had more of a manly scent. Like soap and man. I don’t know, my brain wasn’t working properly.


            Not only was I using a foreign pillow, but the bed I was sleeping on, I had come to realize, wasn’t my bed at all. It wasn’t even a bed! It was too plush and luxurious, covered in soft velvet. My eyes snapped open, taking in the unfamiliar surroundings. Well, as unfamiliar as the Gryffindor common room is. I was lying on the couch and who but James and Remus, sitting in the armchairs next to me!


            “What, what am I,” insert a yawn here, “why am I,” cue another yawn, “I’m confused. What’s happening?” I demanded. I didn’t take kindly to being abducted and waking up not in my bed; even if my friends were the culprits. Squinting because of the blinding light, I sat up and tried looking around the room. To my dismay, everything was blurry. Surprise, surprise!


“Moony, this is your doings. Explain to the young lady,” This was James, but everything was still blurry, so all I saw was two indistinct, fuzzy shapes. I think the taller one was Remus, but I couldn’t be sure, so I rubbed my watering eyes.


            My vision cleared up in time to see Remus looking nervous and a bit sweaty. “Um, about that,” he started, eyes darting around the room, never actually meeting my eyes. It was like he was searching for the answer to my question. Well newsflash, it’s not going to be written on the wallpaper, buddy. “Last night, when we were up in the tower, you were… tired?” This seemed like more of a question than an answer, but he obviously wasn’t lying about me being tired. It sounds accurate. “You want to go to your dorm, that’s right. You wanted to go to your dorm, but it was too far and you would have been caught! So I suggested you crash on the couch for the night?”


            The nonsense Remus just spewed was such an obvious lie. He couldn’t lie to save his life, and that’s coming from me. I’d have to remind him late never to play poker. But despite that fact that he was lying, I didn’t call him out for it. Maybe it was because, if properly delivered, the lie would have been totally believable. It sounded exactly like something that would happen. But I think I let him slid because I trusted Remus and I knew he would tell me if anything unsavory happened. Besides, how else would I have gotten down from the Astronomy Tower? Remus carrying me? Like that would happen.


            They both looked at me expectantly, and I didn’t want to hold that poor boy on any longer, so I just nodded me head and said, “Okay.” That magic word, the magic confirmation as you will, relieved Remus of all his lying worries and he looked considerable more at ease since then. He was a strange boy, to say the least.


            “Wait,” I paused, thinking of something, honestly not related to the lie. But Remus stiffened up anyway. I turned to James, looking at him when I spoke the next question. “How are you not currently dying of a hangover right now?  You were pretty drunk last night.”


            “I was not!” he protested indignantly. Outrage appeared on his face and he sat up taller in the armchair, as is sitting up straight would magically make last night not have happened.


            I shot him a stern are-you-kidding-me look before relaying a list of his follies the night before, due to his drunken behavior. “You asked Lily out like 20 times. Then, you got upset when she rejected you because she said she was dating you. And you were lying on the floor for a bit, not really sure what all that was about. Remus is a witness, he was there.” Right on cue, Remus nodded, confirming what I had just said.


            “That’s not that bad… at least I didn’t sing karaoke.” James laughed nervously and then stopped abruptly and looked panicked. “I didn’t sing karaoke, did I?”


            I just shrugged. “Not that I remember, but then again, I left the party pretty early. Who knows what happened after that? Maybe a rendition of the latest Weird Sisters single? Only time will tell,” I smiled evilly, hoping that my torturous jabs were actually true. “But, seriously, how are you not hungover?”


            “There’s this brilliant little concoction I like to call the Hangover potion. Just drink it after a long night of partying and you wake up the next morning feeling fresh as a daisy! No headaches, no nausea, no hassle. Patent pending.” James shot me a self-satisfied smile and leaned back, taking in a breath of the morning air.


            Surprisingly, the common room was in much better shape than I would have guessed after an all-night party. Granted, it still looked trashed, but the broken pumpkins was minimal and all that really needed to be done was take down the drooping decorations and pick up all of the cups strewn onto the floor. Nothing a time and elbow grease couldn’t fix. Or, knowing the Marauders, a little magic couldn’t fix.


            Remus interrupted me survey of the area with a very pressing question. “We were just about to head down to the Great Hall for some breakfast, want to come along?” This was perfectly timed, considering my stomach was emitting loud grumble. I figured it must be later than I thought, even though the entire castle was still asleep.


            I readily agreed and stood up from the couch, only to find a problem in my apparel. While the two boys were freshly showered and wearing new, sensible outfits, I was still dressed in my ninja costume. Technically, the costume was lame enough that it could pass as day clothes, sans the bandana, but I didn’t really want to give off the all black goth vibe. Plus, judging by the fact that I slept on a couch last night, my hair was most likely a rat’s nest. Even if there’s barely anyone down for breakfast, I have some dignity.


            “Change of plans,” I reported to my company, “I’ll meet you there after I take a shower and change into some decent clothes.” I then bid them farewell and rushed off to the Hufflepuff common room, hoping I wouldn’t run into any poor, unsuspecting souls. They’d probably die of shock when seeing me, considering I looked deranged.


            My dormmates were all fast asleep upon my entrance. I saw the majority of them at the party last night, and suspected they were sleeping off hangovers. So, I tried being quiet, tiptoeing around the room and such. I even refrained from singing in the shower, which was difficult because I got a voice that just won’t quit. But it was doable. The shower was refreshing, to say the least. I definitely felt more awake and I hoped that my hair looked more maintained now.


            Due to my fast showering skills, only about 10 minutes had passed. So I headed down to the Great Hall, hoping Remus and James haven’t finished eating already. That would be impressive, actually, if they were able to shovel down an entire meal in less than 10 minutes. It would also be a bit insulting, considering that means they didn’t politely wait for me like sane friend, but impressive nonetheless.


            Turns out that neither of them were finished, nor had even really started eating. In fact, James and Remus, who were the only students in the Hall other than a group of Ravenclaw first years, didn’t even notice me come in. They seemed deep in a serious conversation, the two taking turns speaking in considerably loud voices. Loud enough to carry across the Hall and reach my ears.


            “Well why the hell not?” that one was James. From what I could tell, he looked beyond frustrated.


            “You know why, okay? I can’t tell her because of who I am. I don’t deserve someone like her!” This came from Remus, and although his back was to me so I couldn’t see his expression, his tone was passionate with anger and sadness. I approached the two slowly, not sure if I should let them continue arguing or interrupt before things got too heated.


 My footsteps caught James’s attention, because he looked over Remus’s shoulder and exclaimed in an urgent, stop talking voice, “Look Remus! Ronnie’s here!” Remus turned his head so quickly I thought it was going to snap off. I paused for a moment, thinking he was going to say something, but there was only silence.


“Is everything okay?” I approached the table with the caution you’d use if you were walking up to a sleeping tiger. Or maybe a really surprised tiger that might bite your head off if you walk too fast. James and Remus sat on one side of the table, so I slowly lowered myself on to the bench opposite of them.


“Everything’s fi-“ Remus started, but James quickly interrupted him.


“Not fine. Everything’s not fine,” He looked somber and Remus shot him a disbelieving look. “Remus needs your expertise. Your amazing advice. You are the love guru, after all.”


This again? I thought they would have gotten over my ability to give horrible advice. Remus seemed equally as shocked and continued giving James unreadable looks. But James powered on, continuing to somewhat explain everything. “So, Remus has his eye on this girl.”


“Who is she?” I demanded, surprisingly harsh. Both of their eyes widened I paused. Where the hell did that come from? Why did I suddenly care so much about who Remus liked? I softened my tone and tried again. “I mean… who is the girl?”


“You don’t know her,” Remus automatically responded, and even though it was a weak answer, it was most likely true. The number of students in Hogwarts that I know by name can easily be counted on two hands and maybe one foot. I’ve never really tried, but I’ll have to get on that.


“Her identity doesn’t matter at the moment. Either way, Remus likes her, a lot, and he thinks that she deserves better than him. Please do your advice mumbo jumbo and make him see the light.” James was making my advice giving sound like Professor Malkins, the Divination teacher. Maybe I should just borrow her multicolored turban and stare into a crystal ball to give love guidance.


“Well,” I started off, not exactly sure what to say. How does one convince a guy to like another girl? “Remus, you’re smart and funny and nice and, um, you know, visually appealing?” Visually appealing? What am I doing, trying to sell furniture? Why don’t I just write down a list of everything amazing about Remus? That’s not extremely creepy or anything! “And any girl would be lucky to have you. In fact, the girl you like probably doesn’t deserve you. Cause you’re great. And yeah.” I ended lamely. I do have such a way with words. In fact, I should become the Minister of Magic’s next speech writer!


“Just drop it,” Remus shot back, in a snappy manner. Normally I would have taken offense, but he’s been acting really un-Remus all morning and we all have our off days, so I decided to do as I was told and drop it.


The rest of breakfast was silent and awkward. The tension in the air was almost palpable, I felt like I could cut it with my butter knife. We all just ate our food, or in my case, pushed my scrambled eggs around on my plate, cutting them into tiny pieces. Truth be told, I’m not particularly fond of eggs, but I couldn’t stomach them this morning for a different reason altogether. In fact, I’ve felt a bit queasy ever since I gave love advice to Remus. I needed to splash some water into my face and snap myself out of this.


“I’m going to the bathroom,” I mumbled almost incoherently, pushing my plate aside and standing up. Remus and James just sort of nodded in response, not looking up from their oh so fascinating meals.


As I quickly escaped the Great Hall, heading towards the girl’s lavatory, thoughts rushed through my head. Why was I so upset? Was it about Remus fancying a girl? Why? How could I possibly be upset? He’s my friend, I should be happy for him! Not brooding for Merlin knows what reason!


I certainly knew one reason it wasn’t. I didn’t fancy Remus. It was impossible! How could I have the audacity to be interested in him after I was so vehemently against being set up with him by James and Sirius? After I scowled when Lily said we’d make a cute couple? Why would I want a relationship with him now? Because he’s not available? Because he’s not showing interest in me? No. I couldn’t possibly fancy Remus. That wasn’t it.


Or maybe it was.


It’s just like me to go and fuck everything up. Right when everything’s dandy, I have to get involved and make a mess. My first real friendship in this school and I have to develop feelings for the bloke, complicating everything. Way to go, Veronica. Way to go.


I was pacing so much in the empty bathroom that I was going to wear a hole in the floor. Plus my legs were starting to ache, so I stopped in front of a sink and ran the cold water, hoping it could bring me to my sense. So what if I slightly fancied Remus? It’s obviously a trivial school girl crush and it would go away as soon as it came. I wasn’t going to let it ruin our friendship. In fact, I’m not going to do anything about it. I’d just have to keep my lips shut and suffer in silence. Soon, I’ll realize that liking Remus is stupid and he can go off and date whomever he chooses and I’ll be happy for him.


Splashing water in my face didn’t really help, but the visit to the loo aided me in sorting out my priorities. When I returned to the Great Hall, my seat was still open, but Sirius and Peter were sitting on either side. Lily, also having joined the party, was sitting next to James. The couple seemed to be in a very heated debate, using large hand gestures and loud voices.


“Are you serious?” Lily asked dubiously. She seemed on the edge of unleashing her infamous fury.


“Of course I’m serious, why the hell would I joke about something important like this?” James responded angrily.


“This is so stupid! Why are we arguing about this?” Lily asked, which apparently only offended him even more. There seemed to be trouble in paradise already.


“Stupid? This is a big part of my life, Lily. This is who I am.” Whatever they were arguing about seemed like pretty heavy stuff.


“Well then you’re stupid!” Lily retorted, sticking her tongue out.


“No you’re stupid!” These two were fighting like a pair of five year olds.


“What’s happening?” I asked cautiously, lowering myself into my seat carefully.


“I so kindly offered Lily a piece of bacon, like the good boyfriend I am, and she,” James pointed his finger accusingly at her, “said she doesn’t like bacon.” The way he said it made it sound like Lily had announced she hated adorable fluffy puppies, not fried pork.


“Lies and slander!” Lily exclaimed angrily. “I never said that. I just said that I prefer turkey bacon to regular bacon! But I guess that makes me the devil incarnate? Maybe you should sue me!”


James scoffed, “It’s basically the same thing. And I don’t know if I can date a bacon hater.” This was like an intense tennis match and I think all of our heads were going to snap off from turning them so quickly.


“If you really love bacon so much, I will personally make you a pan of bacon every single day until your arteries get clogged up and you die of a heart attack, if that’s what you want.” The prospect of bacon made James perk up.


“You are the absolute best girlfriend ever.” He smiled, kissing her passionately. The fact that his mood changed so quickly due to the idea of daily bacon mildly concerned me.


After their lips parted she blurted out, “Too bad I’m a terrible cook! Ha!” Their relationship was the weirdest I’d ever seen. Honestly, they’re perfect for each, but I also worry for their sanity. Also their lives.

I glanced over at Remus to see if he was watching the fight/makeup along with the rest of us but instead he was moodily stabbing the French toast on his plate. I wondered if he was still mad at the whole advice giving incident. The idea of talking to him, trying to cheer him up, came to mind, but I stopped myself. I needed hold myself back so I didn’t do anything rash. If this crush was going to dissipate, I’d need to distance myself from him. This was going to be challenging. 

A/N: And the feelings come out! But wait, there's a conflict! Who would have guessed? But, besides that obvious plotpoint, thanks for the reviews for last chapter! Keep on giving me your opinion, good or bad, because I want to hear it anyway!

Chapter 10: Silence In The Library
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 “It’s official!” I announced loudly while slamming my textbook shut, earning a very severe shush from the very austere Madam Pince. She glared at me with her sharp eagle eyes, making me cringe and mouth an apology. I then turned back to Lily, who was sitting across from me at our Library table and continued with my dramatic giving up speech. “I hate Potions. Absolutely abhor it! And I’m pretty sure it hates me too.”

Lily just rolled her eyes and chided, “You’re over exaggerating it. Just because you’re having some difficulties doesn’t mean it hates you.”

“Easy for you to say! You’re completely brilliant at Potions! Me on the other hand, not so much. It more than hates me, it’s out to get me! These instructions are going to make me brain implode. Then you won’t be laughing.”

“You’re such a drama queen. Potions is exactly like baking a cake or cooking dinner. You just follow the instructions and use the proper ingredients and voila! Perfection!” She made this seem like a piece of cake. But last time I checked, you didn’t have to stir cake batter for an entire hour underneath the full moon of July or whatever crazy rules you have to follow.

“Oh! This is coming from the girl who can’t cook to save her life? Or were you lying when you told James you couldn’t make bacon?” She scowled, but didn’t answer, so I pressed on. “Besides, there’s motivation in baking food. You get to eat the final result, whereas in Potions, you don’t want to ingest to final product, especially since half of the potions we make are poisonous!”

“Oh boo who. You want to see tough? Try taking Ancient Ruins. I have no idea what all these symbols mean.” She thrusted her paper into my face, which was covered in a bunch of nonsense scribbles. I admit, it looked difficult, but that doesn’t mean that Potions was easier.

“I give you my deepest sympathies.” I bowed my head somberly before continuing to complain about the bane of my existence. “But in all seriousness, if Potions were a person, I’d kill it.”

“Hmm,” Lily clucked her tongue disapprovingly. “That’s not very Hufflepuff of you.”

“Oh, sorry Lily, but we can’t all be the human embodiment of our House,” I retorted hotly. She may be a perfect Gryffindor, but that doesn’t mean I have to be super nice all the time.

“Nenenenene,” she mimicked what I said in a mocking tone. It’s official. My friend is a five year old stuck in the body of a 17 year old girl. “Besides,” she sighed, her voice back to its normal, reprimanding tone, “You’re in NEWT level Potions. Obviously you’re good enough to be taking the class or you wouldn’t have been accepted.3”

“Ha, funny story about that,” I laughed, although nothing about it was particularly amusing, “I’m 99% sure that Ol’ Sluggy was drinking a bit too much firewhiskey the night he accepted people, if you know what I mean.”

“Slughorn was not drunk when he chose the students for his class. You got in on talent and hard work and stop trying to degrade yourself.” Lily insisted firmly, making it clear that my whining on the subject was over. “Besides,” she glanced around the room a moment, searching for something. “I think Remus just walked in and went to the Defense Against the Dark Arts section. He’ll be more than happy to help you with your homework.”

The mention of his name made me stiffen up. My brain went on red alert, trying to make sure that Remus didn’t possibly come over and help with my essay. “You know, what, I actually think that I understand the potion know, so no need to inconvenience anyone. In fact, I don’t even know why I thought this subject was so challenging in the first place!” I forcefully laughed, though my words were as phony as Jenny Peterson’s nose. Everyone knows she got it redone after it was broken by that stray Bludger last spring.

“Your textbook isn’t even open!” Lily exclaimed furiously, before pausing and taking a deep breath. Her anger morphed into concern as she inquired, “Are you okay? You’ve been acting kind of weird the past week or two.”

“I’m not acting weird. You’re acting weird.” I snapped defensively. Look who’s the five year old now. Congratulations at your supreme arguing skills, Ronnie.

Lily held her hands in the air as a sign of defeat, then dropped the subject and returned to translating her wacky symbols. I felt guilty for snapping at her, because in all honestly, I had been acting weird. Ever since my epiphany in the girl’s loo almost two weeks ago, where I realized that I could possibly have an infinitesimal crush on Remus even though he basically admitted to fancying another girl only moments before, I’ve been actively trying to avoid him. I’ve also come to realize, in the past two weeks, that avoiding Remus was impossible. It might have to do with the fact that all of my friends were also his friends, which complicated things quite a bit. If I wanted to hang out with Lily, James was usually there, which meant that the other Marauders, including Remus, where usually there too. They were like an unbreakable chain. In fact, the only time I’d be able to hang out with Lily alone would be if we were studying in the Library. The other boys avoided it like the black plague, except for, you guessed it, Remus. Since creating my plan, I’ve then modified it to avoiding spending any one on one time with He Who Must Not Be Named. And that’s not The Dark Lord I’m talking about, although I try not to hang out with him alone, either.

Unfortunately, even that was a difficult task. Remus was always offering to help me study, and carry my books, and walk me to my next class. He was too damn nice, which was not helping me get over him. In fact, it only made me like him more. Why couldn’t he be a decent bloke and call me fat or ugly? Besides, shouldn’t he be attempting to woo the girl he likes instead of me? Unless, of course, he’s trying out his moves on me first, to make sure they work. That would be particularly cruel, but I guess he doesn’t realize that I have a small kindling of a crush on him. He doesn’t know he’s leading me on. Or maybe he does. Maybe I’m actually a terrible judge of character and he’s really vindictive and acrimonious. Either way, I should go yell at him for it.

This, of course means that I won’t do anything. I fancy him too much to yell at him. Which I completely blame him for. I mean, it’s like he’s trying to seduce me or something! Like when he stands up and stretches, causing his shirt to ride up and show a tiny bit of his toned stomach. What a slag. He should really get longer shirts. Oh, any don’t get me started on his hair! It’s such a perfectly sandy color that flops in just the right way. There’s this one cowlick that just won’t stay flat, no matter how many times he tries. And he has these ridiculously long eyelashes which only make him more attractive. Blokes shouldn’t be gifted with long eyelashes! It’s just not fair! Remus Lupin is such a perfect specimen and I hate him for it.

Merlin, I was turning into Lily before she got together with James. I know understand why she’d rant on and on about how much she hated his physical attributes. I was in deeper than I thought. Damn it.

“Oh hey, look Ronnie! It’s Remus!” Lily suddenly cried out, bursting my bubble of thought. I looked up and saw the person I was trying to avoid, walking right over to our table. I then realized that Lily was waving him over and I felt like smacking her for her wrong doings.

“Hey guys,” Remus greeted once he reached us, smiling warmly at me. This caused my stomach to do a little flip, which wasn’t exactly proactive in my mission to get over him. Curse you Remus, and your charming smile.

“We were just talking about you!” Lily brought up, like it was some weird coincidence that I told her not to get Remus and then moments later she calls him over to our table. I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing; Lily Evans, but I can assure you it ends now.

Remus looked surprised that he was brought up in our previous conversation and Lily, that traitor, only egged him on. “Yeah, Ronnie was having some difficulties with her Potions essay and I said that you should help her! Isn’t that right, Ronnie?” I responded with a noncommittal grunt and a secretive death glare at my ex best friend.

“Um, okay I guess,” Remus said uncertainly and sat down in the chair next to me. I fear he may have caught sight of my death glare and figure that I wasn’t happy to see him. But the problem wasn’t that I wasn’t happy to see him, but that I was happy to see him. Too happy, in fact, which wasn’t helping me get over him.

“Oh no. I need to find a book for my Ancient Ruins translation. Guess I’ll have to leave.” Lily was truly a horrible actress. I could tell she was leaving me alone with Remus on purpose, partially because her lack of conviction in her tone and partially because she winked to me before walking away. Remind me to kill her later on.

“So,” Remus started, diverting my attention from my murderous plans. “What parts exactly are you having trouble with?” He was looking through my notes and essay, concentrating in a way that made his brows furrow. Wait, are those freckles? Damn it, they are! He had a faint sprinkling of freckles on his cheeks. They almost blended into his lightly tanned skin, but I was close enough to spot them. Why does this boy need yet another thing that makes him adorable?

“Ronnie?” He asked again, snapping me out of my mental freckle rant. He looked at me expectantly and I knew that I couldn’t take this anymore.

“Lily didn’t know what she was talking about when she said I need help. Honestly, I’m fine doing this on my own. Sorry for the hassle.” I sighed, knowing that I was deliberately hurting his feelings by so forcefully making him leave.

Remus must have picked up on my abrupt tone, because he blushed and stood up. “Um, no problem. I guess I’ll just see you around then.” Then he scurried off without letting me do so much as nod my head in agreement. I was too frustrated to mentally cope with anything, so I put my head down on the table in defeat.

“That was fast…” Lily mused, having returned to the table once Remus left. Most likely she was hiding in a bookshelf, spying on us the entire time. I don’t know what she was hoping to see accomplished, but I doubt me scaring him away was it.

I kept my head in the desk, mulling things over. This infatuation I had with Remus seemed to be more than a school girl crush, much to my dismay. I didn’t want to admit it, but I think I liked him. Although, never having liked a boy before in a romantical sense, it was difficult to separate my feelings into categories. It was time to ask for help.

“Lily,” I started innocently, lifting my head up and flashing her my biggest eyes. “At what exact time did you figure out that you weren’t just physically attracted to James? Like, when did you realize that it wasn’t some silly school girl crush?”

This obviously was not a question Lily expected me to ask due to the surprised look on her face. She paused for a moment, mulling over my inquiry before opening her mouth, her eyes a bit starry looking. “Well, I guess if I had to pinpoint the exact moment, it had to be our first rounds as Head Girl and Boy. I was yelling at him for some reason or another. Looking back, he probably didn’t even do anything wrong, but I yelled at him a lot, as a coping method. It was either blowing off steam by screaming my head off or snogging him senseless. Obviously I couldn’t do the latter.”

“Interesting tactics…” I mused, earning me a glare from Lily.

“Anyway,” she continued, waiting for me to shut up. “He just laughed and called me a firecracker. And instead of angering me further, my stomach did these little flips. Of course, I yelled at him anyway, but by then, I realized that I was in this for the long haul.”

“Oh shit,” I muttered underneath my breath. If Lily knew she liked James because her stomach was doing flips then where does that leave me? Every time I even think of Remus I feel like I’m going to vomit because my stomach is doing some sort of elaborate gymnastics routine. So elaborate that it would win a gold medal in the Olympics.

“What do you mean by ‘oh shit’?” Lily pressed in full on thinking mode. I didn’t even bother to answer because it’ll only take a few moments for her to put the pieces together. She’s a smart girl. And judging by the astonished look on her face, she had just completed the puzzle. “Veronica Ross, please for the love of everything good in this world do not lie to me. Now, tell me, do you like Remus Lupin?”

I winced at the mention of his name. Lying was obviously not an option, but who said I couldn’t bend the truth a bit? Or just confuse the hell out of her. “Yes. No. Maybe. Kind of, but only sort of. I’m not sure. Help me.”

“No way! You do! This is great!” Lily was just full of smiles and excitement. Couldn’t she see that I was physically breaking down over here? Nothing about this predicament I had gotten myself into was “great.” I thought of the mystery girl Remus was so infatuated with and cringed, wanting to go hide in a hole until all of these feelings blew over. No, this wasn’t great at all.

“Hardly,” I groaned. “Besides, it’s honestly nothing. Everything I feel for Remus is insignificant and stupid. In a week I’ll be completely over him. The thought of even liking him will make me crack up. I’m just waiting until that moment comes. So you can’t tell anyone. Not a single living soul. And don’t go blabbing to any dead souls either. The less people that know about this, the better. That way I can get over this silly crush sooner. I wasn’t even going to tell you, but you figured it out anyway.” My little speech weirdly disappointed Lily, although I wasn’t particularly positive why. I know she was secretly rooting for us to be a couple ever since she found out about the attempted matchmaking by James and Sirius, but all hopes of that diminished when Remus developed feelings for some random girl. So I’m not the one to blame here.

“Okay,” Lily said slowly, thinking something through. “On a scale of one to ten, where would you say you are with you Remus crush?”

“Well, I guess that depends what the limits are. Like, is one hating Remus or just wanting to be friends?” This scale needed serious clarification.

She looked thoughtful for a moment before deciding, “One is ‘I like you as a friend, but if you were the only male left in the world then I wouldn’t mind procreating with you.’”

“And ten is?”

“Ten is ‘Wow, I’m in love with you, borderline obsessed and I really want you to be the father of my children.’” She added.

I thought for a moment. I certainly wasn’t a full ten, but my feelings were definitely past one. “I think it’d be a six.” This declaration seemed too high due to the excited look on Lily’s face, so I changed my mind. “No. Four. Maybe a five. No higher than 5 and a half.”

“That’s still fairly high…” Lily ventured, looking a bit smug. “I bet that you and Remus will be together by next week.”

Her silly notion made me burst out into cynical laughter. She wouldn’t be saying that if she understood exactly why I didn’t want to like Remus. “I doubt that will happen, considering he likes someone else.”

This made Lily pause, frozen with confusion. “What? How do you know this?” She demanded rather urgently, so I filled her in on my juicy advice giving session at breakfast almost two weeks ago. Every second I kept speaking she looked more and more crestfallen. She seemed almost as involved in our non-existent relationship as I was. When I finished the heart breaking tale she looked positively crushed. “But… I was just so sure.”

“So sure of what?” I questioned warily. She wasn’t making any sense now.

“It’s nothing. But is that why you’ve been trying to avoid him?” She ventured, hoping not to tread on too sensitive of a topic. But, alas! She did, which made me feel miserable. I was so miserable that I couldn’t answer verbally. I just nodded, miserably. “Oh Ronnie,” Lily sighed sympathetically, seeing my reaction. “As I always say, boys are too mentally straining.”

I nodded again, this time in agreement, before needing to add, “Do not tell anyone about this conversation, and I’m completely serious when I say it. I don’t want you meddling in my affairs by questioning your boyfriend, trying to find out who Remus does fancy. I trust you with this, so please, please, please do not mess it up.”

She sighed, knowing that I caught her. Lily was a brilliant friend, but did need to learn to keep her trap shut sometimes. “Fine, I won’t do or say anything that could help you in your current situation, because that’s what you want.” When she said it that way, her vow to silence sounded stupid. But it wasn’t. It was completely and utterly necessary. No one would say a word to anyone. That’s why it’s called suffering in silence, after all.

A/N: Wow look! I finally updated! Is it ok to say that I've been busy, cause its definitely not a lie... Please dont stop reading because the chapters are starting to come in slower! Review if you want!

Chapter 11: The Bookworm's Big Mouth
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Life isn’t fair. I’ve heard that saying at least a million times, mostly from my mum, but also from teachers and such. When I was much younger and hadn’t live through nearly as many life changing experiences, my perspective on the world was much nicer. Not to say that I’m a cynic now, but I certainly understand the mechanisms of life much better. Back then, I thought everyone was nice. I thought that everybody would get their turn and get an equal share. I also thought that if you were a good person, good things would happen to you and vice versa. And then someone would scold me, saying “Ronnie, life isn’t always fair.”




Now, at this moment in my life, I have fully come to understand what they were saying. Because this whole situation wasn’t fair. He wasn’t being fair. But I just had to deal with it. Lift my chin up, smack a smile on my face, and go into the world, pretending nothing was wrong.


But, damn it, that’s really hard. Especially since Remus is completely unaware of my attempts at getting over him. Maybe if he knew, he would try to be less of an attractive, amazing, complete and utter git. But then again, that would defeat the whole purpose, if he knew. Why does life have to be so difficult?


Like Wednesday morning, when I came into the Great Hall for breakfast, rather late, I should add, he was sitting there. AND he was keeping me a seat. AND he made sure to save the last blueberry muffin, because he knew how much I adored them. It’s like he is purposefully trying to woo me into being his girlfriend or something like that!


Then, on Thursday, I was struggling rather much with my Potion essay, the one I refused to continue on Tuesday night in the library. So, Remus saunters over, sits down without an invitation of any sort, and starts assisting me! Like I’m some kind of helpless damsel in distress! That, of course only made me think of how nice it’d be to date him, so that I could use him whenever I fancied for homework help and such. It really would be nice to have a Remus at my disposal.


And now, let the record show that this morning, Friday November 14th, Remus J(?) Lupin has the audacity to walk into the Great Hall sick. That’s right. Who gave this boy the right to have a faulty immune system that sometimes takes on various illnesses and ailments, like any other human being?! Does he want me to internally fret over him all day? Is he really that selfish?


Of course, Lily denies that there’s anything wrong with him. When he came in for breakfast, surprisingly later than I did, which is a first, he seemed off. His usually lightly tanned skin was a sickly shade of green and there were massive dark circles underneath his eyes like he hadn’t slept a wink his entire life. Everything about him seemed tired, involuntarily lethargic if you will. It was blatantly obvious; I knew I couldn’t be the only one to see it.


“Hey, Lily,” I whispered secretively, as he approached the table. “Does Remus look sick to you? Do you think he’s okay?”


She glanced at me for a moment, then at him, then back at me, before shrugging. Her nonchalance wasn’t exactly the reaction I was going for. I was expecting a gasp, an exclamation of worry, or at least a mildly surprised expression. “He looks a bit tired, I guess.” She seemed so nonplussed that I couldn’t help but wonder if she was hiding something.


My eyes narrowed at her in suspicion. “Really? Because last time I checked, Remus’s complexion isn’t usually equivalent to the color of dying grass. Merlin, it looks like he’s going to vomit!”


Lily sighed, choosing her next words very carefully. “Look, you really shouldn’t worry so much. Remus is a big boy; he can take care of himself. Besides, what happened to ‘getting over him’?” I felt like I was being lectured by my mum for stealing cookies before dinner.


“Fine,” I scowled, leaning back from my whispering position. “I didn’t know that I wasn’t allowed to worry about my mates’ health, but it’s cool! Whatever. Hey, Lily, you just fell down a flight of stairs and are now bleeding profusely. Are you okay? Oh, wait, shouldn’t ask or else you’ll think I’m making a pass on you!”


“Oh don’t be so dramatic! You know that’s not what I meant,” Lily rolled her eyes at my sarcastic example. “You’re not doing yourself any good by fretting over him. Just sit back and let life happen.”


“I hate life.” I mumbled moodily, looking down at my empty plate in disdain. “It’s stupid and unfair.” That was the utter and complete truth. Plus, it didn’t help that there was nothing good for breakfast that morning. Most important meal of the day and all.


“Okay, why does Ronnie look like she’s about to go on a killing spree or chuck herself off of the North Tower?” Sirius questioned loudly, sitting down at the table


I glanced at Lily, shooting her a don’t-you-dare-say-anything look, before trying to laugh off my misery. “They don’t have any blueberry muffins, only these disgusting cranberry muffins.” I picked up a muffin from the plate, inspecting it carefully before taking a bite and promptly spitting it into a napkin. “Ugh. It tastes like cardboard. I guess I’ll have to settle for toast.”


“No blueberry muffins! What a catastrophe! You know, along with your love empire, you should open a franchise of blueberry muffin bakeries,” James added, taking his usual seat next to Lily. Remus slowly sat down next to him, looking like it was painful. I wanted to ask if he was okay, but thought of Lily and her urgency that he was only sleep deprived, so I kept my lips shut.


“And here I was, thinking I was going to make a difference in the world once I graduated.” I joked sarcastically. “But now I’ll be too busy making baked goods.”


“Hey,” Sirius quipped, “Your blueberry muffins are going to be so good that they will make a difference in the world.” His joke earned suitable amounts of laughter and the conversation continued to flow somewhat smoothly from there.


By somewhat smoothly, I’m referring to the fact that everyone seemed a bit on edge. Maybe it’s my stellar observational skills, or I just have an overactive imagination, but the jokes seem too staged, the laughter too forced. To an outsider, observing us from afar, everything probably seemed to be normal. But from my point of view, it’s like everyone else knows that the world’s going to end and I just didn’t get the memo. Merlin, I hope that’s not it. There aren’t any massive, flaming asteroids hurtling towards Earth that I know of…


The only thing blatantly wrong with the whole situation was Remus. He didn’t even make an effort to laugh at the jokes, even if they were a bit cheesy. Instead, he would smile slightly, but he looked so weary that it came across looking more like a grimace. He barely even followed the conversation, just silently pushed the porridge around in his bowl. I watched during the entire meal and didn’t eat once. But the most infuriatingly irritating part was that no one seemed visibly concerned. It was maddening! How could they not see he was sick? How could they not tell something was wrong? And I know this wasn’t a case of “overly worried crush syndrome,” if such a thing exists.


“Ronnie, you’re looking at that toast like it murdered your entire family,” Lily whispered, leaning in to ensure no one else heard. Her comment pulled me out of my thought filled daze to realize I was, in fact, glaring viciously at the piece of bread in my hand. Well, at least I was able to channel my frustration into my breakfast, instead of shooting the evil eye at the rest of the table.


I sighed, putting down my toast, which I had barely nibbled at. The others were conversing about Merlin knows what, when breakfast ended. I purposefully took my time collecting my books, watching the others trickle out of the Great Hall. I needed to know that Remus wasn’t sick, and even though I thoroughly trust Lily, I needed to hear it from the horse’s mouth.


My target was heading to Charms when I ambushed him, although I did it a bit nicer than that. He was meandering along at a slow pace, so I was able catch up to him and start a leisurely conversation before I popped the question. And by question I don’t mean a marriage proposal.


“You look a bit under the weather…” I started, trying to keep my tone casual and cool. “Lily said you were probably just tired and all, but I wanted to make sure you were okay.” I hoped that didn’t sound too attentive. I didn’t want Remus thinking I was some obsessed stalker girl. Nope, I was just a concerned friend, worried about his wellbeing. Just a friend.


Remus seemed surprised by my question, but hid it quickly. He shot me a sort of strained grin and let out a chuckle, like I was talking nonsense. “I guess I’m just a bit tired, like Lily said. Didn’t get much sleep last night, the usual.” He acted like his current state was no big deal, which reassured me, although not that much.


Eyes narrowing, I studied his worn out face, searching for a sign of false information and lying. “Are you positive? Because if you’re this bad after lack of sleep…” I would hate to see him actually sick, must be horrid.


Instead of looking agitated by my nosiness, Remus looked surprised, if not a bit amused. “Are you concerned about me?” He said this in such a way that instead of a valid question, it became mocking, teasing in a friendly way.


What was he suggesting? That I was too worried? Were the gears turning in his head, clicking together so that he’d realize my crush on him? I had to cover this up, counter with more teasing. “Well it would be dreadful if you died. Then I’d fail Potions for sure,” I bantered, letting out a shaky laugh. He returned it, to the best of his ability.


“Well I have to go to Charms,” he jerked his head to the open doorway and started walking towards it. I gave a mini salute before turning back the corridor I came from, a little skip in my step. Since Remus wasn’t deathly ill, I had nothing to worry about. I could focus all of my attention on classes.


The rest of the day went by smoothly, although I didn’t get a chance to see Remus again. In fact, I didn’t see any of my friends except for Lily during Transfiguration. After classes, I decided to be a good student with honorable work ethics, for once in my life, and tackle the large pile of assignments I had been given for the weekend. This included a star chart for Astronomy, mastering the spell we learned in Transfiguration today, a Charms assignment, and, surprise surprise, another Potions essay. I swear, Slughorn shouldn’t have enough time in the day to read and grade all of the essays he assigns.


Of course, the Potions essay itself took over 3 hours. My lack of concentration skills might also be partially to blame. Either way, it’s a good thing I didn’t put it off until Sunday night, or I wouldn’t have gotten any sleep at all. But by the time I had finished the Potions essay and made my way through the Charms assignment, dinner was almost over. I tend to get caught up in the moment and forget to eat. So, I resolved to pop into the kitchens on my way to the Hufflepuff dorms.


Saturday was a lazy day for the entire castle. No quidditch game, no Hogsmede trip, the weather was too chilly to explore the grounds. It seemed like everyone was just lounging around, not doing anything specific. All in all, just a regular, not exciting day.


“Lily, stop being booooring,” James whined, flopping down on the couch with a sigh. He then leaned over to Lily, the current subject of his complaining and poked her cheek repeatedly. Eyes glued to the book in front of her, she lifted her hand and swatted him away.


“I’m reading,” she mumbled, taking in every printed word. She was such a bookworm; it was remarkable what she wouldn’t notice when reading a book.


“But reading’s booooring,” he responded grumpily. “Is that book really more exciting than your remarkably fit, interesting, and intelligent boyfriend?” Lily slowly nodded in response, still not looking up from her reading material.


“You forgot self-absorbed,” I mused, leaning back into the armchair I was currently situated in. James shot me a joking glare before sitting back down on the sofa. “Where’s everyone else? Maybe they can entertain your small mind.” I hadn’t seen Sirius or Peter since breakfast. Remus wasn’t even there, but I assumed that he was taking the opportunity to sleep in, like I had previously advised.


He shook his head in response. “Sirius and Pete have detention for a few hours and Remus is…” James paused for a moment before continuing. “He’s uh, visiting his aunt for the weekend. She’s been kind of sick recently.”


His aunt was sick? That explains why I hadn’t seen him today. “That’s horrible!” I exclaimed. I wanted to ask if the illness was serious, but I didn’t want to intrude and be nosy. Instead, I inquired, “Is he really close to her?”


My question caught James off guard, immediately making me regret asking it. I really should try not to stick my nose into other people’s business. “Um, yeah. They’re… close.”


I couldn’t imagine being in Remus’s position. The bad news worried me. How was Remus? Did he look so under the weather yesterday because he was going to visit his aunt? I fidgeted nervously, my mind wandering through scenario after scenario of horrible outcomes. James eyes me closely before questioning, “You’re really concerned about Remus, eh?”


Before I got a chance to respond, Lily snorted from her seat. Without removing her eyes from the book, she piped in, “At breakfast yesterday, she wouldn’t stop wondering if he was sick.”


“Hey!” I protested indignantly. “He’s my friend! I’m allowed to worry about my friend’s wellbeing, am I not?”


James looked at me with an amused expression. “You didn’t seem so concerned when I was out of classes last Thursday with the flu? Why weren’t you jumping up and down with concern, trying to visit me in the Hospital Wing?” James was sick last week? Oh, wait, no. I remembered Lily told me something about him having a headache.


“Who says I wasn’t,” I scoffed, even though that was completely untrue. I did tell Lily to convey the message “get better,” when she went up to see him, which I guess is close to the same thing. “Besides,” I added as an afterthought. “You have a girlfriend to fawn all over you and worry whenever you’re not well.”


“Ooohh,” James poked fun at me. “So you’re saying you’re like Remus’s girlfriend?” I knew he was joking, but I was embarrassed all the same.


“Lies!” I gasped, leaning over to smack his arm. “I never said that!”


“But you want to be his girlfriend, right?” James concluded, not being the least bit serious. I know he had no idea about my crush on Remus, since I trusted Lily not to tell him. But still, it was a bit annoying.


“You’re putting words in my mouth!” I exclaimed, picking up a throw pillow from the couch and knocking him with it. Apparently my strength isn’t what it used to be, because James just laughed and ducked when I swung again.


“Lily!” James gasped through laughter. He was obviously getting a kick out of making me mad, which only reiterated the fact that he was truly a five year old boy at heart. “Ronnie wants to be Remus’s girlfriend.” Despite the joking tone of his voice, Lily’s head perked up, breaking eye contact with the book for the first time in about an hour.


“Well I could have told you that,” she stated, obviously not having paid attention to the conversation that was going on prior to James interrupting her. Because, if she had, she would have known that James was just kidding and that he wasn’t privy to the information that she accidently divulged. Stupid Lily.


Having heard this, James froze. He was silent for a moment, piecing the puzzle together. Meanwhile, I made threatening gestures at Lily for her to stop talking, like slashing my hand across my throat. For a moment she looked confused, but then her eyes widened in realization. She started rapidly mouthing apologies, but it was too late. The damage was done.


“You,” James pointed an accusing finger at me. I shot him an angelic expression, as if to say, “who, me?” But he continued on. “You like Remus!”


His volume way borderline outside voice and I quickly looked around the room, checking to see if anyone heard and or cared. “Keep down your voice, you prat!” I hissed, but he ignored me.


“This is great!” He laughed gaily, completely disregarding my protests. How this whole situation could be anything remotely close to great was a mystery to me. In fact, it was the exact opposite of great, which made me think that James Potter had recently suffered some sort of brain damage. Had a stray Bludger conked him in the noggin last practice, causing severe trauma? I wouldn’t doubt it.


Before I was able to smack sense into him, Lily beat me to it. “Are you idiotic? Remus likes another girl, remember?” Each word was followed by a hit with a pillow. James tried his best to shield himself with his arms, but Lily’s strong. She should have tried out for beater, if it weren’t for her deathly fear of flying.


Confusion flashed across her boyfriend’s face, so I decided to remind him of our conversation weeks ago. “You don’t remember? You made me give him dating advice, for Merlin’s sake! Let me see, this was the morning after Halloween. You basically forced me to tell Remus to ask out another girl!” My tone was bitter, as it well should be.


The confusion on James’s face was quickly replaced with guilt. The guilt was then replaced with a sort of excited panic. “Oh, you see, about that –“


“It’s fine, James. You obviously didn’t know, or else you wouldn’t have said anything,” I sighed. It was no use for him to apologize for something that really wasn’t his fault. It was just fate being an ironic bitch.


But my reassurance hadn’t worked as I had hoped, because James still looked positively frantic. “No, you don’t understand. It’s not what –“






“James. It’s fine.” I stated, flat out. I didn’t want to hear another word about this whole Remus thing. It was in the past. “Let’s just drop it. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Just please promise me that you’ll keep your trap shut and not tell anyone about my crush. Please.”

He seemed too conflicted to speak, which worried me. James was trustworthy, right? He’d swear to secrecy, he’d understand. Right? Finally, he let out a long, surrendering sigh. “Fine. If that’s what you want, so be it.” Somehow, he made it sound like keeping the secret was the worst decision to make.  

A/N: Hahaha please don't kill me... Is it cliche to say that I've been busy...?