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Her mind was swirling and a wave of emotions overtook her, and yet, only one thought echoed in her head….

They made a bet?! On me?! 

Automatically, she criticized herself for even giving him another chance, when she had felt, when she had known he could not have been sincere.

He had lied—he did have an ulterior motive. And he wasn’t trying to be good; he was trying to get her to fall for him. She felt nauseous as she realized she had fallen right into his trap—she had believed him, enjoyed his company.

Her head swam and her vision became slightly blurred. She turned away from the door and leaned against the wall, feeling very dizzy. The chatter inside the room stopped, and Alex held her breath, beseeching God, Merlin, or whatever other deity she could think of, for them not to come out and check the staircase. As the conversation recommenced (something about the other half of the bet, which made her face screw up in anger and disgust), she slowly let it out, but did not stay to listen in any longer. Gathering what strength she had left, Alex sprinted down the stairs and out of the common room, ignoring the Fat Lady’s remarks about it being after hours. Whispering Lumos, her wand lit up, and she ran as fast as she could away from the Gryffindor dormitory. She didn’t know where she was going, nor did she care. All she knew was that she had to get away.

You always run, right? 

Darcy’s words echoed in her mind as she kept running through the dark, deserted corridors, hoping she would not get caught by any of the patrolling professors or prefects, Lily or Remus in particular. Up the spiraling steps and through a large oak door, she reached the tallest tower. She stopped once across the threshold, outside in the cool night air. She welcomed the gust of wind which blew into her face. Thunder rumbled in the distance and somewhere even further, lightning flashed in the sky. Alex approached the edge of the tower, leaning against the half-wall. The fierce wind slowly blew the dark storm clouds towards the castle. Looking at the approaching lightning, and taking deep breaths, she was finally calm enough to try and re-evaluate the situation. But no sooner than she thought the name ‘Sirius Black’ than she started to curse him into the oblivion, yelling out loud.

“He can’t just toy with my emotions like this! If he thinks I’ll just be another notch on his bedpost then he has something else coming! HOW DARE HE MAKE A BET LIKE THAT! I’ll show him. No one treats me like that. Not even the ‘almighty, oh so charming and seductive Sirius Black’!” she spat. She continued muttering under her breath, pacing the tower. When she finally felt a little bit calmer, she decided to just watch the lightning. She had always liked to do that.

Leaning against the half wall again, she let the wind blow through her hair, and she watched as the lightning crackled through the sky, and thunder boomed, echoing throughout her body. The storm seemed to be gaining momentum the closer it got to Hogwarts, and it was coming quickly and steadily. Even through the loud thunder, however, she was still able to hear the quiet footsteps behind her.

“You know, students aren’t allowed up here after curfew.”

Not even looking at him, she replied, “But you won’t turn me in, will you, Remus?”

“Depends on why you’re here.”

Alex shrugged, not entirely sure what to answer. Though she always felt like she could be honest with him, this was a different situation. One with many unknowns…Afterall, he was a Marauder…Was he in on the bet? Would he tell James and Sirius she knew? “I like watching the lightning.”

“Not good enough,” Remus answered, sounding a little bit amused. “Now I need a better answer, or its detention.”

A smile tugged at Alex’s lips, but it faded as she said, with as much distaste as she could muster, “Sirius.”

“Ah, of course. Well, that’s a valid reason. What did he do?” Remus asked, this time sounding concerned.

“Nothing really, just something he said,” Alex said, still unsure of how much she could tell him. Then as an afterthought, she added, “Don’t tell him though.”

He nodded solemnly. After a small pause, he said, “You know, Sirius isn’t really as bad as he seems.”

Alex laughed dryly.

“No, really. I mean it. Sometimes he is pig headed and can be a real jerk, but he has his heart in the right place."

That earned Remus a look of doom. “I’m not so sure he even has a heart,” she scoffed. “And why are you defending him? Especially when you just said you know he’s a jerk.”

“I said he can be a jerk,” Remus corrected. “He’s my friend, Alex. He sticks with me when I’m in trouble and I have to do the same for him. Besides, someone has to look out for him if he won’t for himself. Why do you think there isn’t a group dedicated to killing him? Believe there would be more than enough members.”

“Perhaps I should start one then, seeing as he already has a fan club,” Alex retorted. She looked up to the sky, and saw the last bit of clear sky become covered with menacing clouds. She looked at Remus, and lightning reflected in her eyes as she said in an undertone, “There’s a storm coming.”

“I noticed that,” Remus said, catching her double meaning, and a little startled at the utter hate in her voice and the gleam of revenge in her eyes. With the wind blowing her hair into her face, and the overall effect of the thunder and lightning, he did not doubt that she was a force to be reckoned with. Remus couldn’t suppress a shudder as she smirked, completing the entire look of evil vengeful genius out to kill. “Calm down, Alex. I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

“I’m sure it will be too, after I make him pay.”

Her entire body seemed to shake with anger, and Remus hesitated. He was, for the first time, at a loss for what to do. Alex turned away from him, and looked out at the storm again. Slowly, he reached out his hand and touched hers. He felt her jump at his touch, and carefully, as if not to frighten her, he reached across with his other hand and took her shoulder, slowly turning her towards him. Though she did not resist, it seemed she was determined not to look at him. Thunder rumbled in the background, as a few, sparse drops of rain started to fall.

“Alex…” he started, his voice lacking its usual confidence. “Alex, look at me.”

Slowly, she raised her head and their eyes met. His doubts vanished as he looked into her beautiful, troubled eyes, and his expression softened as he realized she was holding back tears. Tears that were not there only a couple of seconds ago. How does her mood change so quickly? Not a minute ago she would have killed him on the spot, and now she’s on the verge of tears? he thought. And what, what could Sirius have done to put her into such a state...? 

“It’s alright to cry,” he said softly, still holding her.

“No, it’s not,” she said, her voice barely audible, but still strong and determined. “There’s no point in crying over someone who won’t cry over me. I’m not wasting any tears.”

Remus pulled her into him, and let her rest her head on his shoulder, slowly stroking her hair in a calming way. Just as the rain started to fall more heavily, he finally felt her body relax. He had to admit though, she was iron-willed: she did not shed a single tear. A couple more minutes passed, and the both of them had not moved, both of their feelings totally jumbled. Remus, standing there, comforting the one girl everybody had their eye on. The girl who makes him realize how lucky he was and truly makes him feel special. And Alex, being held tightly by the one guy she had felt comfortable with from the start, the one who understood her without her explaining herself. The one who made her smile and feel better every time she was down... offering a helping hand. The one she already had feelings for in the first place… 

Slowly, Alex pushed herself away from him, but only enough to be able to look up into his eyes. They were both wet already, and raindrops clung to her eyelashes and lips, and rolled off his nose. Remus looked at her fondly, silently marveling at her beauty and character. She smiled as she whispered, “This day was a total waste of make-up.”

“Not quite,” he said, closing the distance between them and kissing her softly on the lips, his heart acting instead of his mind. When he didn’t feel her respond, he gently pulled away. But Alex, who was at first too shocked that he had initiated the kiss, did not let him leave. She clasped her hands around his neck as she deepened the kiss. The rain pattered around them, and the wind howled around the castle, but they did not feel it. It wasn’t until a crack of lightning and a particularly loud bolt of thunder that they broke away.

“I can’t, Alex,” Remus said, finally regaining control over himself, when Alex had tried to re-initiate the kiss.

“Why?” she asked, sounding hurt and confused.

“I just can’t, I’m sorry…I shouldn’t have done that,” he replied, gently pushing her away.

“Don’t be,” Alex said, letting go of his neck. “After all, someone smart once told me you can’t dwell on whether or not you made the right choice, because you can’t fix that now. Let’s get out of the rain, huh?”

“I’m sorry,” Remus repeated, leading her towards the door.

“For what, Remus? You haven’t done anything wrong.”

“I just feel like I took… advantage of you, or something. You weren’t… in the right state to be kissed…” he stumbled over his words.

“On the contrary, it made me realize how stupid I am to be worrying over Sirius. Don’t be silly,” she said, as Remus mumbled another apology. “You’re not to blame, and really, I should be apologizing to you for making you stand out in that rain.”

“Alex, I am truly sorry. You might not understand it, but we just can’t. Not now, or ever. It’s not right…”

“I may not understand it, but I can respect whatever it is you’re feeling or your reasons are.” He never said he didn’t like me, just that it’s not right, she thought. Another Marauder, another ulterior motive. “Whenever you’re ready to tell me, I promise you right now that there’s no way I’ll think of you any differently.”

He gave her a quizzical look at this, for a second suspicious of her wording…Does she know about me? he wondered. “And what happened right now, that doesn’t change anything between us?”

“Of course not. It was only a kiss.” She made it sound like it was no big deal, but in truth she felt disappointed, and crushed by Remus’ reaction. And he was no fool not to see through her words. Once inside, they took out their wands and dried themselves off, and then lighting them, made their way towards Gryffindor tower, silent most of the way. Soon enough, they were inside the common room, and standing on the landing of the stairwell.

“Don’t mention any of this to Sirius, please,” Alex whispered.

“Don’t worry,” he replied. He opened his mouth to say yet another apology, but Alex put a finger to his lips.

“Not another apology, Remus, or I will never forgive you, and you can be sure to never hear from me again,” she said, sounding dead-serious. When no response came, her voice trembled a little as she added, “Unless, of course…that is what you want?”

“No!” Remus exclaimed. “I’d rather have you as a friend than not at all.”

“Well then no more apologies.” Taking a deep breath, she said “Thank you. You have, once again, saved me. You truly are my knight in shining armour.” When she received only a sad look of apology and sincere friendship, she couldn’t stand it. “Remus, please, please, please smile. It’s a curve that can straighten out a lot of things. I’ll see you in the morning.”

She gave him a small kiss on the cheek, like those she always gave Dev and Adrian, before turning and heading up the stairs to her dormitory, leaving Remus standing there. He sighed, as he realized that may have been his only chance. Even worse, he had hurt her, unintentionally, trying to protect her. But…it’s for the better. 

 



Author's Note:  uh...to all Remus fans out there...don't kill me...
Hope you liked it anyways...let me know what you thought, please!
As always, thanks to all readers, reviewers and of course, Dead's Cooler than Holey.

*Overused Cliche:  Remus goes self-sacrificial and never gets the girl...

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