The East Wing Corridor
Lisa shifted from foot to foot impatiently, as she waited in the cold Saturday morning for the new recruits to show up. Her Chaser uniform wasn't helping to shield her from the cold October air, and she was eager to get on her broom and warm up. They needed a beater, a seeker and a chaser, after Gideon Prewett, Malcolm McGonagall and Sandra Wood had all graduated last year. It would be hard to find someone as fast as Malcolm, or as strong as Gideon, Lisa thought sadly. She couldn't really say she'd miss Sandra though. Between her and James' constant need to show off, it was a miracle they ever won anything at all! She hoped the new Chaser would help her reign in their big-headed Captain and they'd play as a team for once.
"Well, no point of us freezing to death while we wait. Let's have a bit of practice shall we? I need to know if I should keep an eye today for replacements for you lot," James quipped and pushed himself off the ground.
An unbelievable sense of freedom overwhelmed Lisa as she soared through the air. She had played a bit of Quidditch with Frank Longbottom over the holidays, when her father insisted they pay a visit to his sister, Frank's mother. But other than that, her summer was sad and flight-less, as her parents were worried it'd attract too much attention, and no one wanted that these days. You never knew when Death Eaters might walk by and decide you're a blood traitor and the fact that her father wasn't exactly making his sentiments on the matter vague didn't help matters, either. Lisa didn't take James' threat about replacements seriously, but she still felt a knot in her stomach, as she floated across her Captain.
"Alright team, let's start with some standard maneuvers. Right then, Page, go for the Bludger Backbeat, O'Flaherty - a Double Eight Loop. Fawley, you and I can try out a Porskoff Ploy, and then go for a Reverse Pass. Ready?"
Lisa was not feeling ready at all, but she nodded. The guilt and nervousness from not playing all summer weighed in her stomach like lead. Why did James choose such a move combo to perform on their first practice? The Porskoff Ploy was a very easy thing to mess up, required pinpoint timing on the part of the Chasers, not to mention how spectacularly a Reverse Pass could fail. With all the people staring to gather below them, Lisa felt the chances of humiliating herself were rather big. She gripped her broomstick tighter and breathed in and out to calm herself.
Would Remus be watching? No, she wouldn't think about him right now. He probably would be, he's one of James' best mates, and he comes to every game... NO! She would not allow herself to be distracted! 'Concentrate on James' she told herself. 'You have to be completely in sync for this to work'. She glanced over at her bespectacled teammate, purposefully avoiding looking at the stands. He gave her an encouraging smile and spun the Quaffle on his finger cockily. Lisa couldn't help but roll her eyes at that, and the knot in her stomach loosened up a little.
James blew the whistle and whizzed through the air and Lisa flew behind him at a slower pace. Suddenly he pulled up and she picked up her speed, observing his movements like a hawk, as his arm muscles twitched and she accelerated abruptly, flying below him just as the Quaffle he dropped was on her level. She grabbed it and flew towards the rings, doing a twist in the air to avoid the one Bludger they were training with. Trying for the Reverse pass now, she concentrated on her peripheral senses and hearing, attempting to sense if James was behind her. When she thought she could hear the faint flapping of robes that weren't hers, Lisa took a chance and threw the Quaffle over her shoulder, hoping he would catch it, then dove sharply to the left. O'Flaherty, who was zooming back and forth between the rings, dived after her, just as James flew past and scored in the rightmost ring.
Applause erupted from below, and the team looked down to see a small crowd that had formed and was waiting for their turn to try out. There were people on the stands too, but Lisa kept her eyes on her broom.
"I suppose everyone's here now," James said, landing on the ground and surveying the crowd. "Alright you blighty runts, form three piles, chasers here, beaters here and seekers over there."
As the tryouts progressed, Lisa couldn't help but notice how good she and James worked off each other. He usually wasn't one for teamwork, preferring to score as much as he can, but this time, he actually passed. And he was turning out to be a solid leader as well, something that had worried her ever since she learned of his captaincy. A nagging voice in the back of her head had told her all summer that practices would be irregular because of his frequent detentions, and would most likely consist of parties and illegal drinking of Firewhiskey. She was glad she was wrong though, and thought to herself that he seemed to have grown up since last year.
After three hours and a few Bludger bruises, James settled on Felicity Rickett, a blond third year with quick reflexes for a Seeker, Eddie Cornhill, a burly fifth year for a Beater and Adrian Fleet, another fifth year for a Chaser. Lisa and James worked well with Fleet, but he was easily distracted by the crowd and as a result, his accuracy suffered. Still, he was the best that showed up, so they took what they could get.
As James dismissed everyone, his friends came over and Lisa's stomach flipped once she realized Remus was in fact watching the whole thing. She suddenly felt like she was about to throw up her breakfast.
"That was some brilliant flying there, Prongs," Sirius said, clapping a hand over his mate's shoulder. "Almost kept me from falling asleep." James punched his shoulder playfully. "You too, Fawley. I don't remember you ever being so good during an actual game. Were you trying to impress me?" Sirius wiggled his eyebrows suggestively at her.
"Maybe I was. Did it work?" Lisa joked, meeting Remus' eyes for only a second.
"Maybe it did. Go out with me and I'll tell you for sure," Sirius shot back, making her laugh.
"What, and thrill our parents that we're keeping the bloodline pure? I don't think so," she said, earning a bark-like laughter from him.
"Damn me and my vow make my mother as miserable as possible! How about a secret date then?"
"Nope, still a pureblood. I don't think I could live with myself."
"I'm not saying we should start shagging like bloody rabbits! Unless, you want to, of course." He winked and everyone within earshot laughed as Lisa's face turned crimson.
"Dream on, Black."
"I think I'll take you up on that. I'll see you in my dreams tonight, Fawley. Wear something... less comfortable," he smirked.
She shoved passed him and hurried to Gryffindor Tower, eager to get out of the uniform and take a shower, before she died from embarrassment.
A few hours later, Lisa happily made her way to the Library. Happily, because Marlene McKinnon showered her with questions about the incredibly fast-spreading rumors that her and Sirius were dating, not helped by the fact that Sirius had wolf-whistled after her as she came down to the common room to escape. The Library was usually empty on a Saturday on the third week of term, so she headed there to avoid her housemates. She needed some peace and quiet right now, to think over some things. Okay, to think over one thing. Ever since Remus started pulling away, she had been more... aware of him. Whenever he was around, she found it hard to look anywhere else and to pay attention to anything that didn't involve him. Lisa even caught herself thinking about him at night and wishing, wanting things to go back to the way there were before. Back when he wasn't avoiding her. Back when he didn't drop his eyes as soon as they crossed hers and back when he was kind and helpful and smiled at her. She hadn't realized how much she'd miss that smile.
She thought of how desperately she was starting to want to fix it, to do something, anything about it. But what could she do? Talking to him about it didn't yield anything, and his attitude was different exclusively towards her, so most people hadn't even noticed it. Lisa even asked James before tryouts if he was feeling aright, but all she got as a response was 'Yeah, why wouldn't he be?'. She considered taking Sirius up on that date offer for a moment to thoroughly interrogate him, but dismissed the idea just as quickly. James hadn't told her anything, and he didn't have a reason to hide it, if he knew. And as self-absorbed as he could be, his best friend was ten times worse.
'Enough is enough!' Lisa told herself firmly, feeling an all too familiar fire in her gut. If he had a problem, he should take it up with her! As Dorcas said, they weren't kids anymore and she deserved an explanation at least, or a chance to apologize, if...
A loud THUDD snapped her from her thoughts. She hadn't even realized when she had gotten to the Library. Making a cautious left turn at the Invisibility Section she peeked around the corner and there, at the bottom of the row were two blokes, one pushing the other against the back wall.
"I know your secret," said Severus Snape in a low growl, clutching the front of Remus Lupin's robes.
Lisa's heart went up to her throat, then plummeted to the depths of her stomach.
"He can't keep me quiet forever. And when I tell everyone, you and your tosser friends will be expelled," Snape drawled, every word dripping with poison and twisted delight. "I wonder if they'll send you to Azkaban... For someone like you to relive their worst memory over and over again... how long do you think you'll last before you go mad?"
Remus was staring right at the Slytherin, face white and eyes wide with horror. Before she knew what was happening, Lisa jumped out from around the bookshelf.
"There you are! I've been looking all over for you!" she exclaimed, as Snape let go of Remus' shirt. "You said to wait for you in the Charms Section, right? What're you doing way out here?" she continued merrily, wrapping her hand around his and pulling him away from Snape. The boys gaped at her in confusion, and she took that chance to head to the exit, chattering about charms and homework to keep it going.
"He can't stop me," Snape added menacingly out of nowhere, just as they were about to leave. "You and your little friends, you think you own the school, that the rules don't apply to you because, you're so great, but I-" he stopped abruptly, as Lisa's wand pressed against his throat. All pretense of cheerfulness was gone from her eyes, as she glared venomously at Snape. Her blood was thumping in her ears, her rage threatening to blind her.
"If I were you, I wouldn't keep my tongue so loose, Snivellus," she said, her voice cool as steel. "I will warn you, but only once. If you ever come this close to Remus or his friends again, I will hex you so badly, even your Death Eater buddies won't be able to recognize you. The only reason I'm letting you go scot free now, is Lily." Snape's upper lip curled into a snarl, but he kept his eyes on the wand and kept quiet.
With a final glare at the Slytherin, Lisa put her wand down and dragged Remus off with her without another word.
She just kept walking, her insides boiling with anger. It was true that the Marauders often bullied Snape, but as hard as she tried, she could never imagine any of them sinking as low as he just had. They may have pulled pranks, but they would never revel in the thought of someone going crazy in Azkaban! And how DARE Snape take it out on Remus, who to Lisa's knowledge had never so much as lifted a wand against him, nor called him by that demeaning nickname, given to him by James and Sirius! Remus, who was never anything but courteous, even to those he disliked-...
"Um... Lisa? Where are we going?" Remus' voice snapped her out of her musings. She was still holding his hand in hers, she realized, as she had pulled him behind her all the way to the East Wing on the sixth floor, three floors above the Library. She stopped walking and let go of him, turning around to face him.
"S-Sorry," she murmured, as a hundred searing questions were racing through her mind. She wanted to ask them, to find out what in the world Remus Lupin had to hide that could possibly land him in Azkaban, but just the thought of his blanched face and the idea that he could look at her like that, it made her sick to her stomach. 'I won't ask' she decided firmly.
"Thank you," he said quietly. "I don't know why I froze up like that. It's a bit embarrassing, actually."
She wanted so badly to meet his eyes, but she couldn't bring herself to do it. So she did what she always did when she was nervous: she babbled.
"Yeah, I mean, that's what I thought too, right, because you're brilliant in Defense, and everyone'd think you can take that git in a fight, right, so I wasn't even sure it was you he was talking to, but I'm sure if it was a fair duel you'd cream him, not that I wouldn't have, but Lily, you know, and she did end things last year, but I get this feeling she'd be upset with me, but I did want to hex him, I mean you never did anything to him personally, but I suppose he's always been obsessed with you and your friends and how DARE he do that in the Library where I go to read, now every time I look at a book about invisibility I'll get angry, and if that's on my N.E.W.T.s next year I'll turn him into a Flobberworm and-"
A soft chuckle brought her out of it and her eyes snapped to meet his. And he was standing there, smiling at her, with that same warmth in his eyes, as if they were back in fifth year. She couldn't help but return it, as fireworks were crackling in her stomach at the sight of him looking at her like that again.
"You're rambling," he said.
"Yeah, I do that," she blushed. "Damn Snape. If I go back to the Library, I might end up breaking something! So much for my plan," she muttered mostly to herself. Remus gave her a questioning look. "I was trying to escape the common room," she explained.
"Did Sirius and James throw Dungbombs in there again?" he asked tiredly, making her laugh.
"No, but I might've preferred that to wolf whistles. A rumor started about me and Sirius after that joke at tryouts."
Remus made a face and she laughed again.
"Listen, are you busy right now?" Lisa shot before she could stop herself. "I don't want to go back, and like I said, the Library is no longer an option, so... do you want to... walk around with me for a little bit?"
Remus' good humor dissipated almost immediately. He tensed up and she could practically feel the warmth fade from his voice.
"I don't think that's such a good idea," he said.
The smile faded from her face as well and she couldn't believe that he could make her feel so happy one second, then turn around and make her want to cry the next. She felt like he was slipping, like she had him back for a brief moment, but now he was sliding into indifference again.
"Why?" she asked, more bravely than she felt. "Did I do something wrong?"
He looked taken aback, but when he spoke, his voice was perfectly measured and business-like.
"Of course not. I just think that you don't need anymore rumors floating around about you."
"Don't give me that rubbish!" she snapped suddenly, feeling hot anger burning through her. "You've been avoiding me since the year started! You tell me right now why you don't want to walk with me!" Lisa shouted in the empty corridor. She hadn't meant to lose it, but her sadness turned into anger surprisingly quickly.
"I haven't been avoiding you," he shot back.
"Yeah? Then you wouldn't have minded spending time in my company, would you? Unless I'm too boring and unpleasant for you to lose your valuable time with, in which case, I would like you to clarify it so I'd know why you don't want to talk to me!" she yelled again, as he stared at her in shock.
"I never said-"
"You might as well have! If you think I'm boring or loud or a chore to be around, come out and say it! I've put up with it for weeks, with your indifference and your coldness, but don't just stand here and tell me it's not happening or that it's for my sake!" She looked away, feeling her eyes finally well up with tears.
Remus stood there dumbstruck, as if a whole piano had been dropped on his head. He'd made her cry, he thought, and loathed himself for it. It hadn't even occurred to him that she would come to believe he saw her as unpleasant. Oh, the irony of it all! Maybe he had been wrong to deny he avoided her, or maybe he should've been better at hiding it altogether.
"Lisa, I didn't think... I never meant..." he started, but had no idea what to say to make it better.
"You didn't think what? That I'd notice? That I won't see that you can't even look at me anymore? Merlin, Remus, we've known each other for years! If I did something to offend you, or-"
"You didn't do anything!" he interjected hotly, taking a step toward her. He couldn't believe she would actually think she could do anything to offend him, when just a flash of her smile made him feel better when someone else did. But he couldn't tell her, he had to hold back, he had to, or they'd both regret it.
"Then why?" she asked quietly, slipping back into sadness. She looked up at him, tears streaming down her cheeks, but she no longer cared that he'd see them. "What did I do wrong?"
Remus felt like his heart was bound by a dozen metal rings that tightened painfully as he looked into her eyes. Those eyes that had laughed at his jokes, those eyes that were full of life, full of hope... And at that moment, the part of his brain that enabled him to keep himself in check, cracked under the weight of her tears and broke down. He scooped her in his arms and passionately met her lips with his.