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Chapter Image by ahoythere @ TDA

Suddenly, it's Like a Battlefield

Once an apology was made, life returned to normal for Remus Lupin and Alice Wood. The two carried on as a couple, growing closer each day despite the obvious disapproval from Sirius Black. As for James Potter, he was too caught up in his pursuit at becoming a man worth of one, Lily Evans, to give the slightest of opinions on Alice. Even Peter Pettigrew had his thoughts, and hands, busy with other matters as he had taken up with a nice Hufflepuff girl by the name of Charity.

Almost a month had passed and the first full moon of the cycle was looming near. Remus hadn't been sleeping well of his own accord because the nightmares were becoming so frequent he had chosen to force himself to stay away. The last two nights he had spent the dark hours working on homework while his roommates slept soundly. Therefore, it was no surprise that the young werewolf began to drift out of consciousness as he and Alice sat in the common room, discussing their Summer plans. Soon enough, the boy's head tilted back and his eyes closed. Alice was in no mind to wake up her boyfriend. She could tell that he was beyond exhausted and wasn't going to be the one to force him awake.

Sirius was the first of the remaining three Marauders to step through the common room entrance. His eyes seemed to instantly draw towards the sleeping boy and a wave of horror flashed over his face. He bounded across the common room, grabbed Remus up by his shoulder and shook him as hard as he could manage. “Remus,” he whispered. When he was greeted by the light blue of Remus' eyes, he released his hold and sat down on the table directly in front of him. “You fell asleep in the common room.”

“Damn it,” Remus spat at himself as he rubbed at his eyes with his palms. “Thanks,” he added, looking up at Sirius and pulling himself to sit forward.

“Why did you let him fall asleep like that?” Sirius asked, staring coldly in Alice's direction.

She blinked, shocked at the sudden chill being sent her way. She glanced at Remus for support.

When it was obvious that Sirius was about to start in again, Remus held up his hand and made an argumentative whine. “Sirius, please don't,” he begged. He yawned loudly and shook his head. “It isn't Alice's job to make sure I don't fall asleep down here. I should have been more careful.”

“It isn't my job either, but I don't let it happen,” Sirius argued.

“What's the big deal?” Alice asked, annoyed at being spoken about as though she weren't there. After a moment to think, she gasped and wrapped her arms around Remus' arm. “Oh, Remus, the nightmare thing. I wasn't even thinking a-”

“Clearly,” Sirius interrupted with a snort.

“Sirius, please don't,” came a desperate whisper from Remus just as Alice spoke too. “You know what, Sirius, I haven't had as much time to get used to the situation as you have.” She narrowed her eyes and took a strained breath in an effort to remain calm. “I'm doing my best here.”

“Then clearly, your best just isn't good enough,” Sirius growled.

At once, Alice was on her feet and staring down daggers at Sirius. “Look you bastard, I am tired of your attitude!”

The small scattering of students around the common room all froze at the sound of Alice's shouts. All eyes were focused on the blonde as Remus desperately tried to pull her back down onto the couch. No one bothered to acknowledge James and Peter as the two entered carrying bags of Honeydukes candies.

Sirius got to his feet and stared up at Alice, uncaring that she had a good foot over him in height. “I'm getting tired of a few things myself. Like the fact that you can't even handle a simple task.”

James' arms were suddenly wrapped around Sirius' chest from behind. The boy struggled to pull his friend back from the ever growing stressful situation. Remus seized the chance to intervene as well and moved in front of Alice. He was stunned when his girlfriend pushed him down onto the couch and charged over the distance that James had managed to put between her and Sirius.

“I've said this before and I'll say it again,” Alice threatened as she neared the object of her anger. “I don't care how horrible you are to me, I don't care what you have to say, I am not going anywhere!”

“Yeah, we'll see about that,” Sirius scoffed, his eyes becoming slits.

“You aren't going to run me off. I love h-” Alice's words were drowned out by Sirius' barking laugh.

“How can you stand there and claim to be in love with someone that you know nothing about?” Sirius asked, his laugh growing cold and condescending. “You think you're so special because you know what his favorite book is or because you like the same music, but you're not. You don't know a damn thing about him.”

“That's enough,” Remus begged as he stepped up beside Alice and tried to push her back. He stared down at Sirius with an indistinguishable look in his eyes. It was almost anger, but not quite; even verging on fear and disappointment.

“How can you put up with him?” Alice snarled at Remus.

Alice's friend Delilah dashed across the room and linked her arm through Alice's. She gave the girl a tug and pleaded for her to calm down.

Sirius' laughter picked up again. “Put up with me? I'm one of his closest mates, you fluffy little moron. What are you, huh? A shag.”

The sharp sound of Alice's hand bashing across Sirius' face brought a gasp out of everyone standing near by. Sirius' hand jumped to his cheek and his face was in shock that the girl had just struck him. The blonde girl was staring at Sirius with fire in her eyes and a clear indication of having enjoyed what she just did to him.

“Alice don't,” Delilah begged of her friend. “He isn't worth it, alright. He's just jealous that Remus has someone who cares about him.”

“Oh, he's jealous of someone alright!” Alice yelled, her eyes locked cold onto Sirius'. She pulled out of Delilah's grip and leaned over, bringing her face near Sirius'. “He's jealous of me,” she hissed quietly before giving a dramatic turn and bashing from the common room up the girls' staircase.

Sirius' face hardened and his eyes cut straight to Remus. “Mo-”

“Don't,” Remus whispered, shaking his head. “Just don't.” He rubbed his face and slowly pulled himself up the boys' staircase to lay down.

Sirius growled in frustration and threw himself down onto the nearest couch. He brought his feet up onto the cushion and wrapped his arms around his knees, assuming a child-like stance of sulking. James stared at his friend in consideration for a moment before turning to Peter. He sent the other boy upstairs to check on Remus, then took a seat on the couch in front of Sirius.

“You can say what you want about Alice,” James began in a quiet voice as though he were making simple conversation. “But she's pretty observant.”

“I don't know what you're talking about,” Sirius rolled his eyes and tugged at a loose string on the sleeve hem of his jumper.

“Of course you don't.” James casually pulled some of his Honeydukes purchases from his pocket and focused on opening the bag. “Love isn't easy to understand. I'd imagine it'd be loads harder if you find yourself falling in love with one of your best guy mates.” He held out the now opened bag of Ice Mice and smiled.

Sirius batted away his friend's offering and scoffed. “I am not in love with Remus.”

“Certainly not. Don't know why I'd say such a preposterous thing,” James said, not bothering to hide his sarcasm. “It isn't like you're always finding some reason to put you arm around him or sit right next to him.” He tipped his hand up and took several of the ice mice into his mouth, then continued to speak over the soft squeaking. “You definitely don't stare at him when you think he isn't looking and I've never once caught you with wandering eyes after the full moon.” He smirked in delight as he could see his words making Sirius rather uncomfortable looking. “Then there's the way that the very sight of seeing him with Alice makes you physically ill or so mad you start childish fights.”

Sirius put his face down and stared at his hands. “That isn't what's going on. I just don't like the idea of him falling for some bunny.”

“You don't like the idea of him falling for anyone.”

Soft squeaking from James' mouth was all that could be heard between the boys for a while. Sirius continued to stare down at his loose jumper string and tug at it until it had become much longer. “Even if you were doesn't matter. Remus really likes Alice.”

James smiled at his minor victory and clapped Sirius on the shoulder. “That he does, mate.” He leaned forward and dropped his voice to a whisper. “But I don't hear him screaming Alice's name at night.” He let his hazel eyes find Sirius' grey and gave the boy a comforting smile. Before his friend could say another word on the matter, James was out the door, offering up a candy to a flash of red hair.

Sirius groaned loudly and got up from the couch, then schlepped himself up the stairs to the bedroom. He flinched as he saw that the curtains were fully closed around Remus' bed. “Remus?” he called out, taking a spot next to the bed. The silence prompted him to pull open the curtain. When Remus' eyes met his, he frowned. “You didn't answer.”

Remus stared up at Sirius in silence.

“Look, I'm sorry. I know that I was out of line down there and I've been a total jerk to Alice, but it ends here.”

More silence.

“I swear, Moony!” Sirius dropped onto his knees and bit his bottom lip. “I will never say another word to her. Not a single one. Unless you want me to apologize to her, then I'll do it. I will. I'll crawl across the floor and beg fo-”

“Don't be so dramatic, Padfoot,” Remus whispered, a small smirk coming to his lips.

Sirius' face lit up with excitement. “I mean it, okay? I'll stay away from her.”

Remus nodded and gave the boy a smile. He sat up and punched at his pillow, then shifted to get more comfortable on the bed. Sirius ran off to get a shower and to change for bed. He was the last to head to his bed that night, so he was walking by wand light. He slid between his sheets and pulled the curtains closed on each side of the bed except the one facing Remus.

Sirius looked across at his sleeping friend and smiled. “Good night, Moony,” he whispered as he lay back on his pillow. “Nox.”

Remus smiled into the dark and pulled his blanket up higher on his shoulders. “Good night, Padfoot,” he whispered back.

A Note From the Author: Thank you for reading. --Jenna

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