Remus Lupin - A One-Shot

Today, March 20, is David Thewlis' birthday. In honor of this amazing actor and his wonderful character Remus Lupin, I have decided to attempt a one-shot featuring everyone's favorite werewolf. Wish me luck! David, this is for you.

Chapter 1

What Are Friends For?

Remus Lupin stared at the base of the tree, stunned speechless, and thought to himself, Thanks, Sirius. That was subtle.

Sitting slumped on the ground beneath the Whomping Willow, tied up and knocked unconscious, was the pretty fifth-year Gryffindor girl he had had a crush on for as long as he could remember. Sirius and James had figured it out somehow a few years back and had been pressuring him ever since to ask her out. He had always refused - he didn't even know her name, for crying out loud! He had only ever seen her from a distance, but even so, he appreciated her lively spirit and kind nature. So many Gryffindor girls were overbearing in their strength and courage, but this one was different. And Remus appreciated that.

Now, the boys were evidently tired of his indecisiveness. This was most likely Sirius' work, a not-so-subtle way to try and get them together. There was no one around; the girl was safe from the Willow's branches, but when she woke she would disturb the temperamental tree; and only the Marauders knew the secret to calm it down. Putting two and two together, Remus surmised that he was supposed to rescue her from the clutches of the evil tree which held her captive, catching her eye with his shining armour. Yeah. Real subtle, Sirius.

Looking around for something he could use, he picking up a long branch lying at his feet and stepped as close as he dared without awakening the Willow's wrath. Stretching his arm as far as he could, he succeeded in pressing the knot which would keep the tree sedate. Propping the other end of the stick in the ground, he gingerly knelt down in the dirt next to the girl. He put an arm around her shoulders and another under her knees, preparing to pick her up and carry her back into the castle where he could quietly untie her and wake her up. Before he could, though, everything began to happen at once. A spell flew out of the branches above them, hitting the girl and waking her up suddenly. Her eyes snapped open just in time to see a figure drop from the tree, land in front of them, and point something their direction. A flash and a click; Remus was suddenly blinded, but he didn't have to see to know what was happening. A triumphant yell confirmed his suspicions - "I got it! Ah, Moony, we owe you so much for this one! You'll never live it down!"

Two more thuds sounded, and Remus' eyes were adjusted sufficiently to see Sirius standing waving a camera excitedly over his head, with James and Peter high-fiving nearby. Remus smiled wryly and opened his mouth, then realized awkwardly that he was still holding the girl and she was still tied up. An idea flashed through his mind, and he suddenly stood, carrying the girl. "No, no, Padfoot, I owe you. Trust me, that picture will come in handy - don't think you're the only one who has purposes for it." With that he turned and began walking toward the castle. The girl watched the trio behind them for a minute, then turned her head to look at Remus. He blushed a little; he didn't want to know what she thought of him right now, but at the same time, the Marauders would see right through his bluff if he let her down now. So he steeled himself and kept walking.

The second they were inside and out of view of the other boys, Remus gently set her on her feet and began working at the ropes holding her arms to her sides. He could feel her eyes on him the whole time, and it took all his self-control to keel from blurting out explanations and excuses. As long as you're here anyway, remember what Sirius taught you - don't talk her ear off, don't make excuses, don't act apologetic. Act cool, be confident, don't apologize for anything... Even as his mental monologue continued, he was vaguely cognizant of his voice saying, "Hey, sorry about all of that. I don't know what got into them, they're not always like that, I promise...well, most of the time they are, but usually their pranks don't actually put anyone in danger, and usually I would have just untied you out there, but that's what they expected me to do, and I guess I was trying to save face, but all it did was put you in a weird position, and I'm really sorry, I wasn't thinking..." The last rope fell to the ground, and Remus mentally slapped himself and said sarcastically, Congratulations, you've broken every single rule Sirius taught you. Well done.

All the time the girl had just been watching him. She didn't seem to notice when she was finally loose; she just said quietly, "No, thank you, Remus. That tree could have killed me, if I'd woken up disoriented and made it mad. So really, you saved my life." Remus blushed and looked away. "I didn't do anything," he muttered, embarrassed. "If it wasn't for me, you wouldn't have been under the tree in the first place, because Sirius and James wouldn't have had any reason to kidnap you."

The girl cocked her head a little to the side. "Why do you say so?" she asked. Remus shut his eyes and mentally slapped himself again. "Um...no reason, just...you know, they like to play on my weaknesses, and I hate seeing people helpless...." He stopped. Her eyes were just watching him with an all-too-knowing look. And now the cat's out of the bag. Smooth, Remus. Suddenly he almost fell over backward - she had stepped forward and given him a soft hug. For a minute it didn't register; he just stood staring blankly down at the top of her head. Then he hesitantly put an arm around her shoulders, which caused her to look up and smile into his eyes. "Thanks," she said quietly. So now she knew about his five-year-long crush...and she was ok with it. Suddenly Remus realized something. "Hey. You know my name," he said, surprised. She stepped back with a laugh. "Of course!" she said. "Who doesn't? I know more about you than you think, Remus John Lupin. I know you're a whiz at Defense and Charms, though of course there's not a class you aren't good at. I know you're a Marauder, though anyone could figure that out, and I know you spend your holidays at James' house." At his stunned expression, she smiled and said quietly, "One learns things when one pays attention. And you and your friends catch my attention quite a bit." Remus had nothing to say to that. They stood in silence for a minute, then the girl asked, "Hey, would you mind if I sat with you guys tonight at dinner?"

Remus' head was spinning. "Um. No! Not at all. Sure. That'd be great. Yeah. We sit about halfway down on the Hufflepuff side -"

"Oh, don't worry. Everyone knows where you guys sit. The famous Marauders..." She smiled mischievously, and Remus found himself smiling back. She turned and began to walk away. Remus just stared after her. Suddenly his mind caught up with him. "Hey!" he yelled. She turned back and looked at him. "What's your name?" he asked. To his surprise, she just gave him a sly smile. "That's for me to know and you to find out," she said with a wink. Then she turned and continued on her way.

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