Chapter 1: Bravery
“You should be in Ravenclaw! You’re absolutely brilliant!”
This wasn't the first time a Ravenclaw has told Charles Xavier this, he's been hearing it for the past five years. When he had first come to Hogwarts when he was a short eleven year old boy with dark brown hair, bright blue eyes, and a map of freckles on the bridge of his nose, he had expected to be sorted into Ravenclaw.
All the books he managed to read as a child, his love for learning and passion to know as much as possible all pointed to him being sorted into Ravenclaw. But when the sorting hat was placed on his head, it had shouted Gryffindor and not Ravenclaw. This had bothered Charles for a few days after the sorting, Gryffindor was a very noble house, of course, but Charles had felt cheated.
That was until he became better acquainted with Remus Lupin, a fellow Gryffindor who was also just as bookish and excited to learn as Charles was. Remus was taller than he was, with sandy hair, shabby clothes, and a kind smile that always made Charles smile back.
They grew very close over their first year together. They were both top in their class and had read as many books in the library as they could get their hands on over the course of one school year. But Charles grew concerned for his new friend, he was often ill.
It was still September when Remus was out sick for a whole week. Charles didn't think much of it at first, not until October rolled around and Remus was out sick again. He had tried to confront his taller friend about it but Remus told him it was ‘nothing to worry about’ and that he ‘was fine’. This however, only made Charles more determined to figure out what was wrong with his new friend.
He started to write down little things he noticed about Remus, how he always seemed to become very nervous before falling ill, how he was always very tired when he came back to class, or how he always seemed to have new cuts up his arms and sometimes his neck.
Since he spent so much time with Remus when he wasn't sick, the only times he could get to the library alone was when Remus was out sick. He had read through most of the medical books that Hogwarts had on their shelves, but he couldn't find anything that seemed to be what Remus was suffering from.
It finally clicked in early April. Remus had gone off to the hospital wing and Charles lay in his bed in their dormitory staring out the window at the full moon that was slowly making its way up the dark canvas of bright stars.
He opened his journal he had been using to track his friend’s illness and he pulled out a muggle calendar he had that also showed the patterns of the moon. Charles flipped his journal to the page he had filled out with all the dates of when Remus would be off at hospital, he then checked them with their month and date on his calendar checking to see the moon patterns as well.
The first one fit - it could be a coincidence, so he checked the second. That one also fit. He checked the third and fourth and fifth. They all fit. He closed his journal and set it down on his bed. His best friend was a werewolf.
Charles had waited three weeks before confronting Remus about his findings. Being April, the days were warmer than they had been so he and Remus sat under a tree with light jackets reading whatever book they had pulled from the shelves for that week.
“Remus…” Charles voice was quiet and nervous when he looked up from his book to look at his friend. The taller boy's eyes met his and he raised an eyebrow.
“Don't be cross with me, ‘cause I would be devastated to lose you as a friend, but I do believe I've figured out your illness…” Charles bit his lip, waiting.
Remus’ face grew a little pale and he closed his book and set it on his lap. He didn't speak, so Charles opened his mouth again.
“I've been writing down all the dates of when you’re ill and well, I've been looking into it and I think I finally understand why.” He paused looking away from his friend and down at his hands. He lowered his voice to just a whisper.
“I think you’re a werewolf, Remus.”
The taller boy's eyes grew wide and a breath caught in his throat. He looked about to cry. Charles didn't understand how Remus didn't cry all the time. He was so young. All the books that mention lycanthropy talked about how painful the transformation was and how difficult it was mentally to turn into a blood lusting animal once a month. Remus had to be the bravest person Charles had ever meet.
“You’re...you’re not scared of me?” Remus asked in a hushed voiced, tears finally starting to well in his eyes.
“Of course not, you’re still Remus. You’re still my best mate, furry problem or not. I just want you to know I'm here for you, always.” Charles gave him a bright smile and patted him on the shoulder.
Now five years later, Charles was proud to be in the same house as Remus. Who was smart, brave, and a textbook example of a true Gryffindor.
Charles had been in the prefect compartment when the fifth year Ravenclaw, Cairbre Gibbs, had told him he should be in his house. Charles had been named a prefect when he had received his school list for that year. His father would have been proud of him if he had still been alive. Brian Xavier had died before Charles got his Hogwarts letter. Both of Charles parents were muggles, so they didn't have a single strand of magic in their veins, but his father was always proud of his son. He was proud of how bookish and kind his son was growing up to be. His mother on the other hand….
Charles pushed thoughts of his mother out of his head as he walked the halls of the Hogwarts express in search of the compartment containing his best friend. They had both grown a lot since their first year at the school. Charles grew a little taller every year but nowhere near as much as Remus had. Remus was still tall and gangly, his arms and legs still growing a lot over the years.
Charles peered into a half empty compartment and noticed a head of familiar sandy hair. He pushed open the compartment and took a seat next to his friend. Remus’ green eyes flicked up to meet his blue ones over the top of his fifth year text book.
“How was it?” He asked rather quietly.
Charles was confused as to why he was whispering, until he noticed there was another boy in the compartment with them. Charles had never seen him around Hogwarts before. He looked about their year, taller than Charles but shorter than Remus. His hair was cut short and looked a reddish brown. The new comers head was turned towards the window, so Charles couldn't make out his eye color. Who was this boy and why hadn't Charles seen him before?
“It was fine.” He managed to say, eyes still on the stranger.
He gave Remus a look that said ‘who is that?’.
After being friends for five years now, they managed to come up with a kind of code made of facial expressions so that they could attempt communications from across rooms or just for fun.
Remus gave him a face back that said something along the lines of ‘don't know, been too scared to ask’.
Charles looked back over at the boy -- he did look a little intimidating. If Charles thoughts were right and the boy was only 15, then he was a very fit 5th year indeed. The boy’s arm muscles were visible through his tight fitting muggle t-shirt. The boy's jawline was also sharp and strong, as if he could take a bite out of you if he so wished.
“Anyway, who else is prefect?” Remus asked, forcing Charles to stop goggling the new boy.
“Lily, naturally. She didn't seem very surprised herself actually. I think she's known Dumbledore would make her prefect for years. Two muggleborn prefects, the Slytherins are going to be steaming.”
“You both are top in our year, they’re always angry about that. When they care to think about grades anyway. Half of them don't even seem to be trying to get good grades. They had better try this year, OWLs and all.”
Charles was rather excited at the thought of that years exams. He had already started studying over the summer break.
“It's going to be quite exciting, isn't it? I bet you, me, and Lily end up with the best marks in our whole year!”
The rest of the trip to Hogwarts went on with slight small talk and no movement from the new boy at all. Charles tried to keep an eye on him as they left the train and made their way up to the castle, but he lost him by the carriages.
“Does Hogwarts take transfer students?” He asked Remus as they climbed into a self pulling carriage that will take them up to the stone grey castle.
“You know, I was thinking the same thing. I haven't heard of one while we’ve been here. But he must be a transfer, I've never seen him around and he has to be our year.” Remus looked lost in thought before he opened his mouth again.
“How does sorting work if you come into the school in the middle of your seven years here?”
“Maybe they take him aside before the first years are sorted?”
They discussed the possibility the whole way to the castle. It was a rather clear night and the ceiling in the great hall was lit up with constellations and several visible planets. They took a seat next to each other at the Gryffindor table and chatted quietly to each other before Dumbledore stood up at the teacher's table. Usually, the first years would be marched into the great hall by Professor McGonagall and queued up before the sorting.
“Welcome back everyone!” His voice called loudly around the hall, creating silence in its wake.
“I am sure you are all wondering why I am addressing you all before the first years are brought in and sorted. This year, however, I am pleased to tell you that we have a fifth year transfer student from Germany.”
Charles and Remus gave each other a look before glancing back to Dumbledore.
“Since he is a fifth year, he was sorted quietly and privately accompanied by Professor McGonagall. I am ecstatic to tell you all that our new addition, Erik Lehnsherr, has been sorted into Gryffindor house. I hope you all give him a warm welcome and treat him as one of your own.”
The headmaster's eyes fixed on a spot at the Gryffindor table, not too far away from where Charles and Remus sat. They moved a bit to get a look at the boy. Since Remus was significantly taller, he told Charles what the boy was doing.
“He's just sitting there staring stone-faced towards the front of the room. Like, no emotions at all.” Remus spoke quietly in Charles ear.
There was definitely something off about this new boy. Judging by what Charles had seen and how he was acting now, it seemed like he should be a Slytherin, not a Gryffindor.
The sorting passed without any more odd interruptions. The headmaster stood again to tell them to all “dig in” before the tables were filled with tons and tons of food. Since everyone was now focused on their food, Charles now had a clear view of the new boy, Erik. He couldn't help but keep glancing over at him while he ate his steak and kidney pie. The German boy was pushing around potatoes on his plate, his face still showing no emotion at all. Charles was just thinking about how odd this boy was and how lonely he looked when the boys grayish- blue eyes met his. The gaze was intense, but he couldn't look away, as if drawn to those gray eyes. Without warning, Erik's face shifted into a rather large grin, showing an absurd amount of teeth. Charles’ heart skipped a beat and he turned back to his food.
‘Maybe he does want to take a bite out of me.’ He thought to himself, not daring to look back over at the German boy.
Chapter 2: Embarrassed
Thanks for all the positive feed back on the first chapter everyone!
I meant for this chapter to just be Remus' POV, but it's split between Remus and Charles. From here on i'm going to stick with one POV per chapter.
Charles hadn't stopped talking about the new boy since they got to their small dorm room. The room belonged to only Charles and Remus -- Dumbledore thought it best to keep Remus out of the main dorm for boys of their year. It would keep anyone else from finding out what Remus was.
He didn't mind, he liked it just being Charles and himself. That and the other boys in their year weren't exactly...agreeable.
“I swear, Remus, he looked like he wanted to eat me!” Charles said for the third time since they got to the room.
“He looks almost half shark or something!” The shorter boy was sitting on his four- poster bed, sorting through the books he had pulled out of his trunk.
“You’ve said, Charles.” Charles was making it seem like he was creeped out by the German boy, but Remus knew better. He could tell that his best mate was fascinated by this Lehnsherr boy. As if he was a puzzle that Charles desperately needed to solve, just like he had solved Remus’ puzzle.
“I wonder how he’s getting on in the other room with Potter and Black. He doesn't seem like much of a pranks and jokes kinda guy.” Remus threw him a look.
“You haven't even said one word to the boy, how on earth could you know if he’s like those idiots or not?” The werewolf didn't much care for Potter or Black. They were both rather arrogant and thought themselves rather funny and amusing. They were the most annoying boys in their whole house.
“It was just a thought, since he was so stone-faced the whole feast except for when he flashed me his teeth.” The shorter boy was now staring at the floor.
Remus rolled his eyes. Charles had acted like this once before the year previous with a seventh year Hufflepuff boy he became very obsessed with. The boy in question had picked up a book that Charles had dropped and handed it back to him with a smile. But Charles had fallen head over heals for the boy, not that he had spoken to him at all and didn't even get a chance before the year was up and the Hufflepuff graduated.
The younger boy was an ‘admirer from afar’ type of person -- Charles’ words not Remus’, but he hadn't shut up about the boy for that whole year even though he knew next to nothing about him except that he was tall and had black hair.
“What do you think our schedule is going to look like?” Remus asked wanting to change the subject.
The next morning, McGonagall found them at breakfast and gave them their schedules for that term.
“Chin up, boys. It looks like a lot of classes but I know for a fact you both will do just fine.” She spoke before walking over to the next group of people at the table.
Remus looked down at his schedule and then glanced at Charles’ and frowned.
“I thought you were going to take Runes with me this year?” He asked frowning down at his shorter friend.
“Oh! I forgot to tell you! I wanted to take magical theory! I got an okay to take it a year early.” He gave Remus a sad smile. “I'm sorry, my friend. I completely forgot to tell you.”
“It's okay, it will just be weird not having all our classes together.” He looked back down at his paper. “At least we both have a study period right after, so we can meet at the library after our classes. Deal?”
Charles gave him a smile and nodded.
“Let's get going, we have Slughorn first thing.” They both packed up their schedules into their bags and headed towards the dungeons.
No matter what time of year it was, it was always freezing once they entered the dark torch-lit corridors. It always smelled musty and damp. They were the first to arrive outside the potions classroom, which was usually the case when it came to their first class of the day. Charles liked being early when he could. Remus yawned and pressed his back against the cold stone wall. He didn't particularly like potions, but it wasn't his least favorite class. But sadly they shared their potions time with the Slytherins, which always made Potter and Black unbearable since they always tried to start a fight every other class. Remus was about to open his mouth to ask ‘how many points do you think we'll lose today from those idiots?’ When Charles made an awkward squeak from next to him.
He turned to Charles with a question on his face, but Charles was staring down the hall. Remus turned to follow Charles’ gaze and it landed on the German boy. Lehnsherr was walking down the hall with none other than Potter, Black, and a boy who was following closely behind Potter. The new boy was about the same height as Potter who was only a little bit taller than Black. Potter was a messy, black-haired boy with round glasses and a constant smug look on his face and his friend was no better. Black had long brown hair that fell haphazardly around his face and he always wore his uniform messily, tie half undone with his shirt tails sticking out from under his gray vest. Their friend who was following Potter like a shadow was Pettigrew, a short, mousey haired boy who didn’t talk very much and seemed rather out of place walking down the hall with the other boys.
They were laughing at something the German boy had said. Lehnsherr’s face wasn't made of stone, as it had appeared the night before, but he wore a genuine looking smile as he spoke with the smug boys while they walked closer towards them. The new arrivals finally glanced up at Remus and Charles and Remus heard him take a deep breath.
“Good morning, chaps.” Black said with a smile, moving closer and leaning against the opposite wall.
Remus and Charles didn't say anything as the other boys moved over to stand next to their friend.
The werewolf glanced at Lehnsherr again, who was staring directly at Charles. Charles, however, was rummaging through his bag, no doubt looking for a distraction.
“Have you both met Erik yet?” Potter asked gesturing his thumb to the German boy.
“They were in the same compartment as me on the train. Didn't speak to me though.” Lehnsherr spoke with a soft german accent, still looking at Charles who was now looking at his bag like he had never seen it before.
“That was rude of them. Thought you had more manners than that, Lupin.” Black said crossing his arms.
“You wouldn't know the first thing about manners, Black.” Remus spat back, becoming more annoyed as Black just smiled widely back at him.
“Not fighting, are we? I thought Gryffindors all loved each other?” Said a slimy voice from the hall.
Severus Snape was smirking at them with his group of Slytherins. Snape was a pale, scrawny boy with greasy black hair and a pointed nose.
“Shove off, Snivellus.” Black glared at him.
Snape opened his mouth to retort, but was cut off by the classroom door opening and the arrival of Slughorn.
Charles rushed into the classroom the moment the door was opened, leaving Remus standing alone. Snape and his group walked by him and into the classroom. They all gave him smirking looks as they passed.
“Your friend seems a bit fidgety.”
Remus turned his head and found Lehnsherr standing right in front of him, the three other boys still leaning against the wall, watching them.
“He's just...antsy about class.” The german boy gave him a smile before tilting his head a little to the left.
“If you say so.” He walked past Remus and into the classroom with the others at his heels.
Charles was freaking out. He had picked a table at the front of the classroom. He was fumbling with his books and cauldron, his palms sweaty and unable to hold anything without it slipping and falling to the table.
Why did this Erik boy keep staring at him? It was unnerving. Charles could actually feel his gaze on him while they were in the hall. He had finally managed to get his books out of his bag when the feeling was back. He glanced across the room and found those grey eyes on him again. Erik walked into the room with his friends right behind him.
Where on earth was Remus? Charles turned back around and stared down at his potions book. Why was that boy’s gaze so unnerving? Why was it so intense?
“Thanks for waiting for me.” He jumped. He hadn't heard Remus sit down at the table next to him.
“I'm sorry, it's just...he makes me so nervous. It's like, I can feel him looking at me.” He whispered to Remus breathily.
Remus rolled his eyes at him. “Why are you the most dramatic person I know?”
Charles frowned. “No really! It's like I know he's looking. I can't explain it. Maybe there's something in the library about it.”
“Please, Charl. Don't let this boy run your thoughts like that guy did last year.” Remus’ voice seemed annoyed.
“I don't know what you’re talking about. I didn't let the handsome Hufflepuff run my life last year. He just kept showing up -- hard to ignore someone when they keep showing up.”
“He kept showing up because you always went looking for him!” Charles shot his friend a look.
“I did not!” So Charles may have stalked the 7th year a little, but he wasn't going to tell Remus that. He wasn't going to stalk Erik -- it felt like Erik was going to stalk him.
Once the rest of the class had filed into the room, Slughorn started the class by telling them how important OWLs are for their futures and how they better start taking his class seriously. This caused a table in the back of the room to snicker loudly.
“Dumbasses” Remus breathed at the interruption. This ongoing joke between Potter and Black had been going on since first year. Anytime anyone said the word ‘serious’ or ‘seriously’, they would break out into a fit of laughter. Even five years later, it was still funny for someone to say ‘serious’ in front of Sirius Black.
Charles thought it was very funny to watch Remus get annoyed at Black. It happened pretty much whenever the long-haired boy opened his mouth. And God forbid Black spoke to Remus -- he would spend the rest of the day steaming and ranting about what an idiot Black was.
They got through the rest of the morning without much else happening. They avoided the other group of boy the best they could, which was fine for both of them. It was finally lunch time and Charles was starving. They sat down at the table in the great hall and Charles immediately grabbed a sandwich and started eating quickly.
“Why are you eating as if you’ve never eaten before in your life?” Remus asked him with a raised eyebrow.
He was about to answer, but a group of tall boys sat down right in front of them. Charles swallowed hard and started coughing. Erik was now sitting in front of him and he was now coughing like an idiot. He was mortified. He turned to Remus who was shoving a goblet of water at him.
“Are you alright?” Asked a German- accented voice which Charles ignored, still turned facing his friend.
A few more sips of the water had done the trick and Charles was now taking deep breaths, feeling sore.
“You alright there, Charlie?” Black asked when the coughing had stopped.
“Don't call me that.” He said, surprised by the roughness of his own voice. He cleared his throat and took a drink of his pumpkin juice.
“What do you prats want?” Remus asked, his concern for Charles was taken over by his annoyance of Black.
“What, we can’t sit at our own table, Lupin? You’ve seemed to have gotten very rude over the summer holiday.” The longer-haired boy joked, smirking at him. Remus just glared back before looking at Potter instead.
“Where’s your other friend anyway?” He asked, noticing the absence of the shorter of their group.
“Wormie’s off researching something for our first prank of the year,” Potter winked before continuing. “It’s going to be really good, you’ll see. Especially since we have Mags here to help.” He gestured to the German boy when he spoke.
“Mags?” Charles questioned, his voice starting to sound like his own again.
“Erik’s middle name is Magnus! Pretty much the coolest middle name I’ve ever heard,” Black spoke up, shoving Erik’s shoulder.
“Yeah, way better than your middle name, huh Pads?” Potter joked, speaking directly to Black now.
“Shut it, James. I’m not afraid to hit you.”
They proceeded to play shove each other, until Erik elbowed them both in the ribs.
“So, Lupin.” Black spoke, massaging his ribs with the palm of his hand. “What class do you have next?”
Charles turned to his friend whose face was wearing a questioning look.
“Why?” Black only smiled at him.
“Just asking, so what is it? It wouldn’t happen to be ancient runes would it?” Remus glared as a response.
“You’re in luck, I’m taking that class as well. Maybe we can study together.” Charles could practically feel the irritation flowing from where Remus sat next to him.
“If by study you mean copy off of me, you can forget it!” The taller boy crossed his arms over his chest. Black’s face fell.
“Don’t be that way, Lupin. I didn’t mean copy, I meant study.” The longer-haired boy gave him a small smile, trying to win Remus over with his ‘charms’ no doubt.
“I said no, Black.” Remus answered rather quietly, his face not meeting Blacks.
“Alright.” He said, a sad look on his face that immediately turned into a wide smile.
“You’ll come around. They always do.” He said, grinning like an idiot. With that, Remus stood up, a slight blush creeping up his neck.
“I’ll see you after next period, Charles.” The werewolf spoke sharply before gathering his things and leaving the hall.
‘What the hell was that about?’ Charles thought, staring over at Black again who was still smiling widely.
“Almost, mate.” Potter shoved at Black one last time before the three of them got to their feet to leave for their classes.
Erik gave Charles another toothy smile before leaving the hall, making the hairs on Charles arms stand on end.
Chapter 3: Brash
Thanks again everyone on your positive feedback, as promised, this chapter is way longer than the previous two.
I'd like to thank my darling Erica again for betaing this fic for me, you're perfect.
The hallway outside the Ancient Runes classroom was deserted. Remus checked his watch; it was ten minutes to the start of class. He sighed angrily and chucked his bag on the ground and sat down next to it.
What was Black playing at taking Runes? Black wasn't dumb -- he got decent grades, but he's not exactly the overachiever type or the type to take a class just because it seems interesting. Not that Remus thought Black was genuinely interested in learning to read Runes. He had to be up to something -- there had to be some reason he was taking this class. Maybe to just make Remus’ life more annoying.
It was five minutes to class when other students started to queue up outside the closed door. Remus got to his feet and joined the other students. He kept his eyes on his feet, making sure he didn't keep scanning the queue for Black -- he would not give him the satisfaction.
Remus took a seat at a table in the middle of the classroom, wishing strongly that Charles has kept his word and was taking this class with him. He had started taking his things out of his bag and someone sat down next to him.
“No, you can't sit here.” Remus looked up at Black who was sitting in the seat next to him.
“Oh come on, don't be silly. I'm really not as bad as you seem to think I am.” He gave Remus an overly confident smile and crossed his arms.
Remus was about to open his mouth to retort, but Professor Marinos had already begun welcoming them to his course.
‘Damn,’ Remus thought -- he can't argue now. He's going to have to put up with sitting next to Black for this class, but he's not putting up with this for the rest of the term.
Black remained silent for the majority of the class -- he didn't seem to be all that interested in listening to the lecture either. The shorter boy was scribbling randomly on the corner of his text book.
He wasn't intentionally being distracting, but Remus was distracted all the same. He kept glancing over at what Black was doing. His handwriting was small and cramped but neat. Remus couldn't make out what he was writing without giving away the fact that he kept looking.
His notes were lacking. Usually he managed to write down the lecture word for word. And he could always rely on Charles’ notes on the days he'd miss because of the full moon.
Towards the end of the lecture, Remus had stopped taking notes all together and was staring at Black’s writing -- it looked a bit like instructions. He had written things a few times and crossed some out. There were also some names Remus couldn't quite read alongside the instructions. Could this have anything to do with their ‘prank’ James said they were planning?
He risked tilting his head to try and read the names, but Black chuckled quietly. Remus’ eyes snapped to meet his -- he was smirking again. Remus looked away quickly and back down at his notes. A few moments passed, Remus trying to look busy with his notes, but he didn't know what to write since he hadn't been listening to what Marinos had been saying.
The parchment his notes were on shifted slightly to the right, and Black was leaning slightly near him to write something on the paper.
‘Don’t write on my parchment.’
‘Well, I already am. I do believe we’re having a full on parchment conversation.’
‘You weren't taking any notes and I've already told you, you’re not copying off of me.’
‘Judging by your notes, you’re not really taking them either.’
Remus blushed a little. Black’s eyes focused on his book again as he waited for Remus to write back.
‘What are you lot planning anyway?’
‘Very nosy. You’ll see, Lupin. It might take a few months to perfect, but you’ll see.’
When the class was over Black gave him another smile before walking out of the classroom, leaving Remus sitting there. His notes were ruined with Black's cramped handwriting.
“How was he?” Charles asked as Remus sat down at their usual table in the library.
“What?” He only half heard what Charles was saying, preoccupied with thoughts of Black.
“Black -- how was he in class? Did he try and sit next to you? I've been wondering, what's his deal lately? Do you think he knows about your ‘furry problem’ and is trying to get you to do something with their prank or something?” Charles said this all very fast as if he had been thinking about what he was going to say before Remus arrived.
“What- oh!” He hadn't thought about it...what if Black figured it all out and was trying to use Remus for some kind of sick joke? “I hadn't thought of that. I hope he hasn't figured it out.” Why else would he be acting so interested all of a sudden?
They both sat there for a moment thinking it over.
“They’re not that dumb. They wouldn't use me as a prank… would they?”
“I don't know, Remus. I'd hope not. We should keep an eye on them though. Maybe I'll ask Lily to keep an eye out too for whatever this prank is of theirs.”
“Bad idea, sending Lily after Potter like that. He’ll most likely stalk her right back. He practically is, anyway.”
Charles laughed. “He does come on a bit strong doesn't he.” His smile faltered a little before continuing. “You know who else comes on a little too strong?”
Remus gave him a questioning look.
“That Erik boy, he...I think he might fancy me. He's always smiling at me with those teeth. He either likes me or he wants to eat me….”
“Or both,” the taller boy interrupted. Charles’ response was to punch him in the arm.
“I'm serious! It's like, the way he looks at me. It's...like how Potter looks at Lily. I don't know what to think. It's not exactly like he can pursue me or anything -- if anyone found out…. If anyone told my mother, she'd be beside herself! She would….” His voice trailed off, obviously lost in thoughts of what she or his step father would do.
Remus put a hand of his friend's shoulder.
“Calm down, Charles. You don't even know for sure that he's after you that way. Maybe he's just a little too friendly?”
“I don't know, Remus. He keeps showing up in the halls. I keep running into him. Once quite literally -- I walked right into him! He's using the same tactics I used last year on that Hufflepuff boy, Remus!”
“Don't read into it so much. It could just be coincidences?” Remus wasn't sure if it was just coincidences though. It was a bit odd.
Charles was distracted the whole rest of the day, hardly paying attention in their last few classes. Remus kept noticing how Charles would glance over at any table Lehnsherr had been sitting at and more than once, Lehnsherr would already be looking over at Charles.
“I don't think I'm going to go down for dinner,” Charles told him when they stopped by the dorm to drop off their bags.
“Really, Charles? You’re going to let this kid affect your eating habits?”
“I just -- I have to think some things over. I'm not hungry anyway.” He looked worried and confused.
“Fine, but I'm bringing you up some rolls. Knowing you, you’ll be hungry in an hour.”
Remus went down to the Great Hall alone. Maybe he would find Lily and sit next to her for dinner. Remus didn't mind sitting alone, but he didn't want to give Black or the other boys a chance to bother him again. He was still rather put off by the thought of Black knowing he was a werewolf or even wanting to use him for a prank.
He glanced around the table for Lily, but before he managed to spot her, he was being dragged by his forearm to a spot at the far end of the table.
“Oh for the love of--” Sirius Black had his arm in a tight grip, leading him over to his group of friends who were already seated. He was plopped down on an empty spot at the bench. Black squeezed the bench next to him.
Before he had a chance to protest, Lehnsherr’s voice made him turn to look at him.
“Where’s your friend?” The German boy asked, looking towards the large oak doors hopefully.
“He's not coming down -- he wanted to get started on homework.”
“It's only the second day.” His eyes were now fixed on Remus’ -- he looked annoyed.
“Well, he's busy isn't he? And where do you get off following him around all day?” Remus’ temper was spilling over.
Black huffed next to him.
“Told you, Mags. Your tactic isn't working. Charlie probably thinks you want to eat him.”
“I know what I'm doing, Padfoot,” Lehnsherr said back, flicking a pea at Black’s face.
“If you say so.” He raised his hands up in surrender before turning to Remus.
“How was the rest of your day, Remus?” Remus raised an eyebrow at him. Had he just called him Remus?
“Why do you care?” Black frowned.
“Why are you trying so hard to push me away, I'm only trying to be friendly.”
“Trying a bit too hard,” James snorted into his goblet.
What the hell were they all up to?
“Why do you want to be friends?” Remus asked bluntly.
Worry passed over Black’s face for a split second.
“We have a class together.”
“We’ve had classes together for years.”
“Yes well, I had only thought --” Black began, but he cut him off.
“I don't know what you’re up to -- any of you --.” he turned to look at the rest of the group in turn.
“-- But if it you plan to bully me or Charles into being involved in your stupid pranks, you can forget it.” He crossed his arms, staring daggers at Black now.
“What? That's not what this is about...I just --” Black was tripping over his words. “I just wanted to get to know you...a bit….” Once the words spilled out, Black looked like he wanted nothing more than to take them back.
Remus looked at his friends inquisitively, but there were just looking at Black almost pityingly.
“What do you-?”
“It's nothing. Just leave it.” Black was on his feet before Remus could call him back. He was hurrying past the Ravenclaw table and was out the door, never looking back.
“Well, that was smooth.” Potter cringed, shoving the rest of his dinner in his mouth.
“I guess I’ll go do some damage control,” he said, getting to his feet and following Black out the door.
Remus didn't eat any food while he sat at the table. Peter and the German boy must have left without him noticing -- he was too busy thinking about what Black had said. Why did he want to get to know Remus better? Get to know him better how? Black wasn't usually the person to stumble over his words or to look nervous. Black usually exuded confidence and self-assurance. It was common knowledge that Black asked out a new girl every other month. He was notorious for striding right up to girls and asking for a snog -- and it usually worked.
Black was arrogant and paraded around like he could do whatever he wanted. So why was he acting so oddly towards Remus? Why was he suddenly interested in getting to know Remus, in a friendly sense? Or was it romantic? Certainly not -- Black couldn't be interested in Remus romantically. Could he?
“Remus?” A soft girl's voice made him jump. Lily Evans was standing next to him with a concerned look on her face. The Great Hall was just about empty by now, the food on the tables had vanished.
“Are you alright? Where is Charles?” Lily was a sweet girl with dark red hair, around Charles’ height.
“M’fine. He wasn't hungry.” She gave him a look that said she didn't believe him.
“Come on, you’ve been sitting here spacing- out for the last fifteen minutes,” she said, pulling him by the arm to his feet. Lily and him weren't the closest of friends, but Remus still felt that he could confide in her if need be.
They walked up to the common room together and Remus told her about how oddly Black had been behaving and what he had said about ‘wanting to get to know him a bit’. She turned to him as they stopped just a few steps away from the Fat Lady.
“You’re worried that he's just putting you on.”
“What? I... maybe. I don't know. Why would he want to get to know me? It has to be a joke.”
“It might not be, Remus. I mean, it is only the second day of term, but he hasn't flirted with any of my friends yet. Usually he's got his tongue down someone's throat by now.”
Did Lily really think that Black could fancy him? That he could actually be romantically interested? No, it had to be something else.
“I'm not going to believe that for a moment, Lily. Black has never seemed interested in another boy before. Not to mention the fact that I'm not nearly as good looking as he is or anywhere in the range.”
“Oh hush. You’re plenty handsome, Remus.”
“It has to be a joke -- he has to be playing with me for some prank.” He wasn't handsome -- he was thin, peaky, and tired- looking. That's what he heard all the girls say about him.
“Whatever you say.” Lily rolled her eyes and gave the Fat Lady the password to the common room.
“Biscuits?” Charles called when Remus opened the door to their room.
“What? Oh -- no, I forgot.” He hadn't even remembered to eat himself, let alone remember to take food for Charles.
His shorter friend groaned and slumped back down on his bed, staring up at the ceiling. Remus followed and sat down on Charles’ bed next to him. How had this happened? How had the year been turned on its head before it even got truly started. Remus’ plans for this school year was to focus on school work and their exams, but it's only the second day and he can't think of anything but Sirius Black.
The pair of them sat like that for a while before the grumble of Charles’ stomach brought them both back to reality.
“It's only 8 -- we could go down to the kitchens, pretend I have prefect duty down there?”
“Charles Xavier, are you actually thinking about breaking into the kitchens and lying? Who are you and what have you done with my best friend?” Remus joked. It felt nice to joke -- it felt normal.
“Oh please. I'm not always a saint, Remus. Come on, let's go before it gets too late.” He was pretty hungry and the trip might get his mind off of things.
They walked through the crowded common room and out the portrait hole. They continued quietly towards the kitchens -- well, as quietly as they could with Charles’ stomach growling every ten minutes. That and his constant ‘maybe we should go back?’ or ‘did you hear that?’
“Really, Charles. This was your idea,” Remus repeated as he peered around a corner, keeping an eye out for Filch.
“I know, but now that we're so close I'm nervous we'll be found out.”
They stopped at the end of a hallway for Remus to peer around the corner before moving forward.
“Oh -- ” He pulled on Charles’ arm, pulling him back around the corner.
Halfway down the hallway, right in front of the picture of the bowl of fruit that concealed the door to the kitchens, was James Potter and Sirius Black. They hadn't seemed to notice the split second Charles was visible in the hallway.
“Come on, Prongs. I don't want to talk about it. Let's just get some food and head back up to the room, yeah?” Their voices carried down the hall so that Charles and Remus could hear them.
“Sirius, we have to talk about it if you’re going to be a sad sack for the rest of your life. You can't blame him for thinking it’s a joke. It's not exactly like you’ve been this friendly with him before.”
They could hear Black give a small groan.
“Yeah, okay. But I don't know what else to do. He thinks I'm messing with him -- and I'm not -- and I all but told him I'm interested and he's not dumb, James. He definitely caught on or is on the verge of catching on. I've embarrassed myself in front of him and it's not like I can just play it off.”
“Who is he talking about?” Charles whispered in his ear.
Remus was standing there with his mouth open listening closely to every word Black was saying.
“You couldn't play it off even if he did believe you. You’d still be drooling all over him, Pads. Plus you have a class alone with him -- it's not like you can hide behind me and Erik for that one.”
Charles turned back towards Remus, hand over his mouth. Remus didn't look at him --he was still staring at the opposite wall, listening.
“I’ll just drop-” Black started to speak, but a loud rumbling sound stopped him mid-sentence. Charles squeaked next to him and grabbed his grumbling stomach. But before they had a chance to run, Black was rounding the corner with his wand out.
Charles jumped backwards and tripped, falling with a crash to the floor. Remus just stood, staring at a point over Black's shoulder, unable to look at him.
Black didn't say anything either, just stared at Charles down on the floor, then back up to Remus.
“Who…? Oh!” James appeared behind Black.
“What are you two doing here?” Potter asked, side glancing at Black who was now looking at his feet.
Charles got to his feet mumbling that they were hungry. An awkward silence was thickening the air around them. Remus didn't dare move his eyes away from the spot on the wall above Black’s shoulder.
“How much did you hear?” Black asked quietly.
“We didn't-” Charles started.
“Everything.” Remus blurted out, daring to look at Black’s face. He tensed up at Remus’ words.
“Well, now you know,” the shorter boy whispered, glancing up and meeting his eyes. He looked different like this -- he looked scared and small, nothing like the loud confident boy he always was. He gave Remus a look, as if daring him to laugh. But he didn't, he felt more like crying than laughing. His stomach felt hot -- he wasn't hungry anymore.
“I'm sorry….” Remus was surprised to hear his own voice. “I'm sorry -- I thought you were having a go at me. I thought the worst of you and that was wrong of me.” A small smile appeared on Black's face, then turned into a smirk.
“So, are you saying you fancy me too?” Black asked, all cockiness back in his voice. Remus rolled his eyes.
“I didn't say that.”
“You didn't shoot me down either.” He took a step closer.
“You’re unbelievable…” Remus spoke, standing his ground, but the heat in his stomach was making him nervous and his palms had begun to sweat.
Black took a step back and crossed his arms, still smirking. “You’ll find that out first hand if you let me, Remus.” A blush crept up Remus’ neck, his face felt as hot as his stomach now.
“M-maybe…” Remus responded quietly, not knowing what else to say. He had wanted to flat out say yes, but Charles and Potter were right there and he was uncertain about how he felt about Black -- he hadn't really given it much thought until today.
Sirius gave him a wide smile and grabbed his forearm, giving it a small squeeze before letting it go and walking past them back towards Gryffindor tower. James gave him a thumbs up as he followed his friend down the corridor.
“Are you really going to date him?” Charles asked when they were safely back in their dorm.
“What? I'd didn't say I would date him.”
“I'm pretty sure you did. I'm pretty sure he propositioned you and you said maybe.”
“He didn't proposition me.”
“Yeah he did, Remus, he blatantly flirted that he could show you a good time, and you basically told him you’d think about it.” Charles was giving him a look that Remus couldn't read. Is that how it had looked? At the time it hadn't felt like a proposition, but looking back, that's exactly what it was. He had said ‘maybe’ to Sirius pursuing him.
“Shit, maybe I did.” He was beyond confused. Did he want to date Sirius Black? Did he even like guys like that? Did he even really like girls for that matter? He hadn't really thought of any of this before this moment. Over the last few years he was only ever concerned about his grades.
“Do you find him attractive?” The shorter boy asked, that same odd look on his face.
“I don't know -- I mean, he's handsome, but everyone thinks that, don't they?”
“Well, do you feel butterflies when you think about him?” What kind of question is that?
“Butterflies -- what?” Charles rolled his eyes at him.
“Does your stomach feel weird when you think about how close he was just a bit ago, how he was right in front of you?” It did -- his stomach felt hot again like it had before. He thought about how close Sirius was, how if he had just leaned in they could have….
“Oh…” His face felt hot again.
“Is this really your first crush ever, Remus? I get new crushes like every other week.” It was true -- over the summer Charles would write him letters about random boys and girls that he had met and thought were cute.
“I guess... I've never really had the opportunity to develop a crush on anyone.” Not even during the summer. The Lupins lived on the countryside, the closest neighbor miles and miles away. His parents had always thought it was best, considering his condition. They would occasionally visit the nearest town if his mother wanted to see a muggle film or if they fancied going to a restaurant.
“Well, go with it! This is your chance! You already know he likes you back!”
“Don't be nervous, Remus. Black may have snogged half our year, but I don't think he's ever snogged a boy before! So he'll be just as nervous as you are, I'm sure.” Charles seemed more excited about this whole situation then Remus did -- Remus just felt nervous and scared.
They were both starving when breakfast rolled around the next day. They dressed quickly and silently before heading down to the Great Hall for a well needed breakfast. Remus had nearly finished his eggs when Sirius Black sat down at an empty plate on his right. Charles gave him a knowing look and disappeared behind that morning's issue of the Daily Prophet.
“Hey.” Sirius smiled while he loaded his plate full of scrambled eggs and toast.
“Hey,” Remus said back, watching him spread jam on three pieces of toast. He watched Sirius eat quietly, unsure of what to say.
Charles eventually emerged from behind the Prophet and set it down in front of him, looking bored.
“Where are your friends anyway?” Charles asked Sirius who had just stuffed a whole piece of toast in his mouth. He tried to speak, but crumbs just flew out of his mouth so he pointed towards the end of the table to where they all could clearly see Erik looking at Charles.
Remus and Sirius both looked over at Charles who was blushing. He swiftly finished his already cold eggs and got to his feet. “I’ll see you in Charms, forgot something in the dorm.”
He was lying, obviously, plus Charles always double checked whether he had all this books before leaving the tower. He nodded to his friend anyway who was clearly looking for an escape. So the shorter boy left, leaving Remus alone at the table with Sirius who was still eating.
“Not subtle, is he?” Sirius asked with his mouth full of eggs.
“My mate, Erik. He's not subtle is he? I swear, he's going to scare Charlie away if he keeps this up.” He downed the rest of his pumpkin juice and shifted in the seat slightly to face Remus.
“No, he's not. I'm not quite sure what Charles thinks of him either.” This was only half true of course -- he knew Charles was interested, but he was also pretty sure Charles was scared of the boy. It's a little creepy for Erik to always be watching Charles’ every move. It might have been flattering at first, but now it must be more than uncomfortable.
“You’ll have to tell Erik to calm down, ‘cause when I do he just tells me ‘I know what I'm doing’.” Sirius did an impression of the German boy that was pretty spot on.
“Was that supposed to be me?” They both turned around to find Erik, James and Peter standing behind them.
“Yes it was, and it was spot on, right Remus?” He turned to Remus who couldn't help but smile.
“It was pretty good, if I'm being honest.”
“Ha! See?” He stuck his tongue out at Erik and gently elbowed Remus in the ribs.
“We should get going to Charms.” He grabbed his own bag and then bent down to take Remus’ as well.
“I want to. Come on.” Sirius cut him off and gestured for him to start walking towards the door.
The walk to Charms wasn't as bad as Remus had originally expected. Erik, James and Peter remained a few steps behind him and Sirius and only calling up occasionally to make fun of something Sirius had said which would actually make Remus laugh in spite of himself.
Charles was already in the classroom when they walked in. Sirius dropped his bag at the seat next to Charles, gave Remus a wink and dropped his own things on the table behind them where James had already taken a seat. Charles gave a small sigh of relief at the fact that James was behind him and not Erik. Remus had made a comment to Erik on the walk to class about needing to ‘tone it down a bit’.
The class went as well as expected. Remus still rolled his eyes at the random snickering he heard from the table behind him. Also, it was a little distracting that Sirius had his feet on the bottom of Remus chair -- he could randomly feel him tapping his feet from time to time.
Their next class was Herbology, and Remus was surprised to see that Charles walked with them. Of course he stayed closer to Remus then he did Erik, but maybe Erik letting up a bit would work after all. The rest of the morning went on about the same -- it was less awkward than expected and a lot funnier. Sirius and James were just genuinely funny, they had even laughed a few times at Remus’ retorts and told him he ‘had good comedic timing’.
They were walking to lunch when Remus noticed that Charles and Erik were further behind them than James and Peter were. The pair of them were walking slowly and Charles was laughing at something Erik had said.
“Wow, I can't believe he actually managed it. He wouldn't have without your help, but still!” Sirius laughed -- he had turned around and was walking backwards.
Remus smiled at him.
“You’re going to run into something if you don't turn back around.”
“Won't you be my eyes for me, Remus?” He asked giving him a smirk.
“Alright.” Remus laughed. After a moment or two, Remus gave Sirius a fake look of ‘watch out’ to which the shorter boy panicked and whirled around so quickly that he banged his shoulder into the nearby wall.
“Whoops, I was mistaken, there was nothing there.” Remus said, keeping his face as free of laughter as he possibly could.
“Nice one, Lupin! The idiot actually fell for it!” James laughed, patting Remus on the shoulder.
Sirius rubbed his shoulder and flicked his head to get the hair out of his eyes.
“You know, you’re going to have to pay for that one, Remus.” He said giving Remus a playful but mischievous smile.
He gave him a smile in return. It was so odd to compare the events of today with yesterday. If you had asked Remus Lupin yesterday if he would be joking with Sirius Black and his mates today, he would have told you you were mental.
Lunch was interesting -- he continued to talk and joke with Sirius and his friends, but the strangest part was that Charles and Erik sat very close together and talked quietly. Neither of them looked up all of lunch.
“What do you reckon they’re talking about?” Sirius whispered so only Remus and James could hear him.
“Mags is probably using all his lines on poor Charlie. But he seems to be eating it all up.” James responded, laughing slightly.
The two in question didn't even look like they were talking, it mostly just looked like they were staring into each other's eyes.
“Kinda creepy, have they even blinked? What do you think Wormie? Is it weird sitting next to them? Have they morphed into one person yet?” Sirius asked loud enough for Charles and Erik to hear them. Charles jumped slightly at being pulled back to reality.
“Oh look, they’re actually two people. Could have fooled me,” the long haired boy joked again.
“Shove off, Padfoot.” Erik growled at him, baring his shark-like teeth.
James and Sirius just laughed at him. Sirius stretched and yawned loudly.
“We’d better get going to class, Remus. I almost got lost on the way there yesterday.”
“Okay.” Remus gave Charles a glance, but Charles’ face was bright red and he was looking down at his hands.
He followed Sirius out of the Great Hall and up the stairs to their Ancient Runes classroom.
They sat down at the same table they sat at yesterday. Sirius pulled out a piece of parchment and set it down in between them on the table. The moment the lecture started, he scribbled on the parchment.
‘Hey’ Remus smiled down at the word on the parchment.
‘I was worried Charlie and mags were going to start eating each others faces during lunch.’
‘It was rather awkward, wasn't it?’
‘It was very, very awkward. We might have to banish them from the group if they keep it up.’
‘Are Charles and I in your little group now?’
‘I can't speak on behalf of Charlie, but you’re definitely in the group now, Remus.’ Sirius had drawn a little smily face at the end of his sentence.