"Well it's not my fault, although I'd be happy to take the blame," Fae hummed idly, chewing on a piece of bread and jam and staring happily out over the Grand Hall. What a magnificent sight.

"You're a bad influence, clearly," Brock Klein teased.

"Yeah, I know," she said happily. "But I don't see what all the fuss is about."

"The girls. Wearing trousers," Regulus said, voice stiff.

"Trousers are warmer and easier to move in," Romilly interjected.

"You would say that," Regulus argued. He had a point - Romilly was literally wearing trousers at the moment. As were Lily Evans, Molly Hammond, Ellorie Majors, Marlene McKinnon, Sarah Tillman, and several other girls in all four houses. Fae had never seen another girl wear trousers except for herself, starting as a joke to mess with her brother and then becoming a comfy habit that she indulged in a few times a week, weather pending.

There were no rules against it - the only rules for women's uniforms were more about hemlines and proper stockings and shoes and such. She supposed people just hadn't considered it til now, or had the balls to wear trousers instead of a skirt and withstand the teasing and bullying. People had made fun of her at first - calling her boyish and all, which was nothing to Fae. She quite liked her mix of masculinity and femininity, thank you. Then it might've been that they just didn't have trousers to wear - until coming back from winter hols, evidently. Now there were girls in trousers everywhere and Fae just had to say, ass looked so good in proper trousers as opposed to thick, floofy skirts. She was a fan. A big fan. Regulus was just upset because it offended his delicate, proper sensibilities.

"Well, Fae makes them look good. Trousers," Brock said, cheeks flushing.

Fae blinked and then looked at him. In fact, everybody was looking at him. "Come again?"

"They fit your legs nicely, s'all," he added, sending her a wink.

"Oh. Thank you. I've been doing lots of sprints lately." Fae grinned.

She wasn't sure if it was some elaborate prank or a dare by his brother, but Brock was very chatty that week. He said hi to her whenever they were in the same vicinity and always had something nice to say about her hair or her pen twirling skills or her nail polish. It was always nice to hear compliments and it was rather sweet of him. She told him so a few days later and when he blushed really brightly, was shoved teasingly in the ribs by Brandon, and looked incredibly pleased with himself, something occurred to Fae.

"Oh! You're flirting with me," she said.

Brandon burst out laughing and Brock turned firetruck red, but to his credit, didn't run away. Instead he chewed his bottom lip, cast glances at her out of the sides of his eyes, and rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "Have been for weeks, thanks for noticing," he said.

"Huh," Fae said, and then she gave him a sweet smile. That was so cute, he had a little crush on her.

Suddenly Romilly and Regulus stood up abruptly, taking Fae's plate of food with them. "I just remembered that I needed to talk to Marley. I think she got into my chocolate stash," Romilly said, heading off to the Hufflepuff table.

Fae frowned and followed after the two. "The nerve! How dare she. You know, she has had cravings lately I think, the way she's been going on about Honeydukes and Hogsmeade."

Marley wasn't at the Hufflepuff table, but they all sat down anyway. And then sat there for the next day or two at every meal, which was kind of astounding because Regulus usually didn't venture far from the Slytherin table, despite the friends and rivals he'd made in Hufflepuff as a result of Spoons nights. It was a nice change of pace, she supposed. And came with some good luck, as it happened.

"Hey Fae, do you want this last chocolate croissant?" Ivan Wellesly asked, holding out the gorgeous, flaky golden pastry to her.

"Of course, what kind of question is that?" Fae said cheerfully, taking the croissant. It was gone in seconds. They were rare finds at Hogwarts breakfasts, especially at the Hufflepuff table and considering Fae was usually one of the last in for breakfast on account of running every morning.

"Yes, silly question of course," Ivan laughed. "I remembered they were your favorite and saved one for you," he said.

"Oh wow, thanks!"

The next day, Regulus insisted on eating in the library. Romilly agreed, stating they had a crucial test in Transfiguration at the end of the week and it wouldn't be bad to actually study for once. Why they had to do that at breakfast, Fae didn't know, but she went along with it. People had been talking to her a lot lately and the quiet would be welcome. And then it turned out that the Ravenclaws were feeling friendly as well.

She'd been retrieving a book, one of her favorites, a big, old leather thing that contained a decent history of the Forbidden Forest. There was a map, although slightly outdated, in it that she had been looking at a lot lately, planning out a good ward zone for their upcoming full moon excursions. And really, she ought to request special permission to keep it for awhile, because getting it down off the sixth shelf up every other day was getting annoying. She stared up at it, sighed, and went for her wand. Then a large, warm body pressed against her back and reached above her, nabbing the book with ease and bringing it down for her. She whirled around and grinned up at Gilbert. His friends in Ravenclaw called him the Jolly Green Giant because he was nearly 7 ft tall and had green eyes brighter even than Lily's. He was also really nice. And yeah, so tall. Like a tree.

"Thanks a bunch!" Fae told him, smiling sweetly way up at him.

He blushed lightly and shrugged. "I'm here to help, whenever you need it," he said, voice low and smooth.

"Oh, have you become a library assistant like Marjorie?"

He stuttered. "N-no. I just meant. Um. Hey Fae, I was hoping to ask you something?"

"Shoot."

"Well, I, you see, you're pretty cool," Gilbert said, fidgeting madly. And hey, he was still standing pretty close wasn't he? His breath smelled minty.

"The coolest, thank you. You're not so bad yourself," Fae agreed.

"Really? You think so?"

"Yeah, sure."

He absolutely beamed at that. "Great. Well I was thinking, with next weekend and all, that we could-"

"What's taking you so long?" Romilly demanded, yanking Fae from between the bookshelf and Gilbert's towering form.

"Come on, we're going to be late to Charms!" Regulus continued, already trying to herd them away.

"Hold on a second," Fae said, digging her feet into the ground. Nobody was moving her if she didn't want to be moved. "You guys have been really in sync lately, you know? Anyways, what were you sayin' Gil?"

"N-nothing. Nevermind it."

It began to get really obvious after that. Regulus and Romilly had leveled up to blatantly glaring at everybody in sight that got near them and having meals in increasingly isolated places. When people couldn't talk to Fae, they took to leaving little notes and gifts in her chairs and at her desks. She even found a few taped to her door in Hufflepuff. And delivered to her by Peter.

You have a great laugh was in her Potions textbook.

I love the way you are always smiling taped to her book bag.

You look touched in the head, staring off into space like that. Quit it before you walk down a flight of stairs. Oh wait, that one was from Remus. Accompanied by chocolate, the utter sweetheart.

By end of day Thursday, Fae finally realized that Valentine's Day was next weekend, on a Hogsmeade weekend no less. And apparently, she had gained some fans. Looking at the pile of chocolates and treats and sweet notes, some signed, some not, on her bed, she decided to have some fun with it.

"What are you wearing?" Regulus practically screeched when she joined them at the doors to the Grand Hall the next morning.

Fae grinned. She was wearing trousers, but not James'. No, these were skin tight and hugged high up on her hips and waist. Her shirt, also much smaller and form fitting for once, was properly tucked in with the tie loose and a few buttons undone to show off her collarbones. Beneath the rolled up skinny ends of her pants, she had on a pair of lace-up boots with thick, three inch heels. Her hair was down, freshly washed, and in well-managed waves for once. Her make-up, courtesy of Sirius, was on point, sharp eyeliner and bright red lips lining gleaming, sharp white teeth. "Oh, just felt like dressing up today. Happy Friyay and all. Say, do you think I'll get any more notes or chocolates today?"

Regulus gaped and then Romilly sighed deeply and laughed. "Fae, you are despicable," she said, having caught on.

"Less despicable if I share?" Fae offered, hoping her two friends would quit chasing people away.

"...Considerably less, I suppose," Romilly said, linking arms and walking off to the Slytherin table with a spluttering Regulus following behind, whining that Fae was being cruel.

She had to admit, the attention was nice. It felt good to get the looks and admiring stares and the free gifts and seemingly endless compliments. Sure, there was annoyingly near constant adjustments to be made to her outfit and hair and all that, but the mountain of sweets at the end of the day was worth it.

And with Romilly backing down, Regulus had no choice but to give up as well. Instead they proved themselves her best friends and started making guesses and bets on who would ask her out, how they would do it, and so on. They literally started scoring each person on a scale of 1 to 10, nasty blighters. They seemed relieved that Fae was turning each and every single one down. Gently, sweetly, and honestly of course. It was a crazy difficult and brave thing to do, telling someone your feelings. And sure, she was provoking interest on account of getting free sweets, but she didn't have to be a dick about rejecting people. She just wasn't interested in dating right now and it had nothing to do with anybody personally.

"Oh no, not my sister," James argued vehemently.

It was the usual Saturday post-run picnic and the Marauders had decided that the Gryffindor Common Room would do for this week. Sirius and Peter had teamed up to attempt to tease Fae about her popularity that week and about all her potential boyfriends and girlfriends. James was not having it.

"The hell does that mean?" Fae asked.

"It means you are not going out with any of these boys or girls for Valentine's Day in Hogsmeade next weekend, no way."

Fae arched her eyebrows at him. Sirius and Peter leaned their heads close together, eyes flashing and likely making bets. "Uhm, excuse you. I love you James, but you don't get to make that call," she said rather sharply.

James flinched at that and held up his hands in surrender. "Then I'm asking you, please, don't go saying yes to any of these...these floozies!"

"Floozies?" Fae said. She shared a look with Sirius and Peter before all three burst out laughing.

"Yes! You don't know any of them or what they could be after!" James argued.

"After? After what? Like after-" Fae laughed, then leaned in and whispered, "the sex?"

Remus spat out tea all over them all and nearly fell off the couch he'd been lounging on while Peter and Sirius started crying from laughing so hard, literally writhing on the floor.

James crossed his arms. "Not funny Fae. I just don't think it's a good idea to go running around Hogsmeade with some stranger," he said, everything extremely un-fun and serious about him. She didn't like seeing James so fussy, nor did she like his implication.

"You know, a lot of the people who've asked me out are good, decent people that I'm at least friendly with. People you are friends with!" she reminded him. "And besides, you know me. It's not like I'd ever let anybody do anything that I wasn't okay with. Even if you don't trust somebody else, don't you trust me?"

Her older brother absolutely deflated at that and wrapped an arm around her shoulder, hugging her close. "Of course. Fae, you're your own person and can take care of yourself, I know that," he said, dropping a kiss on her head. "It's just, you're absolutely brilliant and I want you to meet someone who is also brilliant and will make you very happy. It can't be just any ordinary guy or girl, they need to be spectacular and perfect for my little sister."

And well, Fae completely melted at that. Her older brother was such a sweetie sometimes.

Apparently, Lily Evans thought so too. "Wow. That's really sweet and romantic," she said, speaking up from the other side of the room, looking at James with wide, thoughtful eyes. The kind of eyes that interested and amazed women had when they caught a guy they liked doing something attractive.

Fae smiled sweetly. "Yeah, he does that sometimes. My brother can be a real sappy crybaby."

"Is that so?" Lily said, giggling, eyes still on James.

Said teen turned bright red and glared at his younger sister. "Fae!" he growled, completely embarrassed and about to either bodily throw her into the fire or give her a noogie so bad, she'd have to cut the resulting knots out.

"Well I don't think there's anything wrong with being sappy or considerate," Lily said.

"Really?" he asked, immediately hopeful and puppy-like in his eagerness and cheerfulness.

"Yeah," Lily said. Then shrugged and headed for the door, likely to do a Prefect round. "See you 'round?"

James mouth was gaping wide open long after she'd gone so Fae smacked it closed and then laughed wickedly when he bit his own tongue. With a snarl, James leaped at each other and they ended up rolling around for a bit, wrestling, until Fae's superior werewolf strength helped her pin him down. "Here's a tip bro - girls like Lily are plenty strong and aggressive on their own. They like it when guys are thoughtful and kind. It's a balancing thing."

"Oh," he said. "Have you got any more advice?"

"Yeah sure, just quit policing my 'suitors'. You're worse than Romilly and Regulus," Fae said. Then she flicked his nose, stole his glasses, and ran away laughing wickedly and hiding behind Sirius and Peter. Besides, the moon was on the 15th. The extra chocolate was going to be great for it, but she was never really in much mood for company during the moon, other than Remus of course. She wasn't going anywhere for Valentine's Day.

Four days later, she slammed herself down onto the bench next to James at lunch and looked at him pleadingly. "I take it back. Chase them off. It's getting annoying now."

"Had enough of all the lovesick hearts following you everywhere?" Sirius teased.

"You have no idea. All these ridiculous notes are starting to get creepy, my chocolate drawer is overflowing and attracting critters, and I can't get two fucking seconds of peace with all these asshats following me everywhere!" Fae getting seriously pissed off. She liked her space and she liked her routines and both were extremely important leading up to the full moon.

"Seriously, they're even showing up when we go running in the morning, wanting to join us because they too, are 'passionate' about running," Remus said, voice drier than a desert.

Fae wasn't the only one annoyed with followers. Remus had his fair share of admirers too - all these girls giggling from behind the library shelves and taking peeks at him constantly. They were so relentless that Fae nearly had to knock over an entire shelf so she and Remus could escape into their library den without being seen.

Or the ones that stopped him in the hallway to compliment him on something he said in class, all the while giving Fae the stink-eye or completely ignoring her presence.

"And don't even get her started on the ones who aren't taking no for an answer," Romilly casually dropped.

Because it wasn't like Fae hadn't tried. She wore her baggiest, comfiest clothes. Her hair was in a three-day-old bun. She stopped bothering with make up or smiles or remotely lady-like manners. She practically clung to Regulus and Romilly, constantly cuddled up to either of them in the hopes that people would understand she had two people in her life and was not interested in anybody else, as a friend or more. That and Regulus and Romilly had cheerfully taken up their posts as guards and antagonizers again. Of course, Fae was still nice when rejecting someone, the first time at least.

"Sorry, what was that?"

Regulus and Romilly were given full reign to terrorize anyone who came near them and would be rewarded with whatever gifts they wanted from her stash. That took care of class times and made the week much more bearable. And really, she loved them so much. It felt good to be able to return the favor as well when a few girls had come up to Regulus looking for a date on Valentine's Day. Regulus had looked so damn panicked.

Fae had shoved her head in her arms and was slumped over her desk in Charms with Romilly petting her hair when a girl had come up to them.

"Um.. hi.. I was wondering if-"

"Haha no. Don't even think about it. Fae's sleeping right now," Regulus had deadpanned. Fae had to try desperately not to snicker or let her shoulders move with silent laughter so she wouldn't make a liar out of him.

And then Fae almost burst out laughing completely when the shy girl startled and then said, "Oh! No, um, you see. I wanted to see if you might want to g-go to Hogsm-meade with me?"

"Me?"

Fae just had to see his expression so she moved her head just a tad to peek through her hair at his completely slack and horrified face. He gaped at her, turned red, looked at Romilly and Fae pleadingly, looked back at her, sputtered a little, and then Romilly came to his rescue. "Sorry honey, Regulus is busy that day," she said kindly.

"Yeah! Busy! With- stuff!"

Then Romilly shifted forward to lean over the desk, sweetly grinning face pillowed on her hand as she checked out their visitor. To be fair, she was a pretty cute girl - small, graceful, smooth skin and big eyes and a pouty mouth and refined make up. "Me, on the other hand, I'd love to go out with you. Tell me, are you more of a Puddifoot's, a Honeyduke's, or a Three Broomstick's kind of girl?"

The girl squealed and ran away. Regulus spluttered some more. Fae fell out of her chair laughing. Romilly smirked and leaned back haughtily. What was even funnier was the third girl to ask Regulus out and receive the same treatment. Lucky lady number 3, Jenna, just checked Romilly out in return, smirked, and said 'Honeyduke's at 2. Don't be late." Then curled a finger down Romilly's jaw, winked, twirled away, and walked off. Regulus and Fae nearly suffocated from laughing so hard and she thought Romilly was going to flip a table out of sheer panic.

"Fuck me."

Jenna Greene was a Slytherin in the year above them, most known for her skill with Divination and supposedly correctly predicting the outcomes of every quidditch game she'd ever attended. She was smooth, sexy, and tricksy, and her parents were well-known Gryffin breeders. Fae had a feeling that Romilly would end up enjoying their little date, once Fae managed to force her out the door and into Hogsmeade.

As for the more insistent of Fae's suitors, James and Fae made a deal. James put the fear of the Gods in them, however he wished, and in return, Fae had to help him figure out how to get Lily to go out with him for Valentine's Day. At least, she wasn't alone in it. Remus had made a similar deal, although asking James to somehow gently persuade the girls to put their interests in someone else.

There was no way Lily was going to say yes if James asked her straight out. Remus knew that she'd be down in Hogsmeade, shopping for some books, but only for that and then back up to Hogwarts. So James had a very narrow window in which he would run into Lily and desperately request her help in finding Fae, who he feared had been tricked onto a date because he hadn't seen her all day and now he was worried sick. He was a very concerned brother who just wanted to make sure his darling little sister was okay and maybe, Lily had seen her or could help him?

"I'm sure she's fine, you know how my sister is. I would just feel a lot better if I could see it, you know?" James said, then rubbed the back of his head and looked away shyly. "I suppose I'm being a little ridiculous," he said softly.

Remus and Fae, hiding under the Invisibility Cloak, stuck out their arms from behind Lily to give James a thumbs up for his performance. Lily looked absolutely shellshocked and smitten.

"You're not being ridiculous! I think it's really nice that you care so much. Of course, I'll help you look for her."

"Thank you, Lily. I really appreciate it."

Remus and Fae shared a smug look, and then nearly tripped James with a quick, subtle spell to wipe the far-too-triumphant look off his face before he gave himself away.

Part of the deal was not just to get Lily to spend time with James on Valentine's Day, but to make sure he didn't fuck it up. Thus, the two werewolves were pressed together under the Invisibility Cloak, traipsing after the two Gryffindors for the next hour or two. It was a good thing they ran together so often. Their movements were in sync and it made it significantly easier to stay hidden while they crept.

James did an okay job, to his credit. Fae really only had to fly him a note four or five times, reminding him to be kind and thoughtful and not stare at her mouth while she talked. Remus sent a few more than that, being that he knew Lily better and knew great places James could take her to make her happy. It was all really cute.

And while Fae would rather spend the day before the full moon out running, at least she had Remus close. Remus always made her feel at ease, calmer, less tetchy and dying to jump out of her skin. Remus seemed to feel the same and they both had good moods while they followed their friends around, laughing at James' poor attempts at chivalry or Lily's fond exasperation. Or the time they dumped a bunch of snow off a sign onto the two, causing them to fall in a rather romantic, albeit freezing, pile onto the ground. James had gone so red - it was brilliant.

After two hours, it was time for Sirius' part - he hadn't wanted anything to do with this in the beginning, wrapped up as he was in his own date. He'd scored a day with a cute boy from his Alchemy classes and was far too nervous to bother helping James. He sang a bit of a different tune when Fae offered to help him with his make-up and his outfit, because their other friends were quite useless in that department. He agreed and delivered his line easily when James and Lily spotted him.

"What do you mean, have I seen her? It's Saturday - she's doing the usual. Running 'round the lake and then lunch picnic with the fam. Although, since Peter and I have dates and you're here, it's probably just her and Remus dorking out over some book, or still running since no one was there to stop them with food - those complete nutters."

James pretended to be really embarrassed and sheepish as he apologized to Lily for getting all worried for nothing. Lily melted and then offered to walk with James back to Gryffindor since she was going that way anyways. James absolutely beamed.

And that was Fae and Remus' cue to hightail it back, finally getting to run. Remus, beautiful Remus, trusted Fae's instincts completely as she led them at breakneck speeds through the pitch black passageway between Honeyduke's and the castle. They made it back in 20 minutes, which Fae was proud to claim as a new record.

Fae followed Remus to Gryffindor and then up to his shared dorm room so they could drop off the cloak and change into comfier clothes. Feeling chilly after a few hours walking in Hogsmeade, Fae swiped her favorite of Remus' many sweaters - a thick dark red knit with yellow suns and stars in little patterns towards the bottom hem, which hung halfway down her thighs. She made sweater paws and snuggled deep into it, shamelessly enjoying the vanilla-y bookish smell in the threads.

"I want that back eventually," Remus said, coming up behind her and helping pull her hair out of the collar.

"You'll get it back. Eventually," Fae said, all teeth and playful eyes.

They grabbed up their books and the sandwiches and treats they'd had prepared before heading down to lounge on the couch in front of the fire. Leaning against opposite sides, their legs tangled in the middle because Remus was so damned tall. The two werewolves settled down as if they'd been there for hours. Tea on Remus' side table, coffee on Fae's. A pile of books and a few plates with crumbs on the ground beside the couch. Scene set, the two peeked over their books at each other and snickered.

"Well that was exciting," Fae said.

"Indeed."

"Think he'll be okay?"

"In the half an hour it takes them to walk back without us? Nothing else around, just scenery and empty air to fill with any possible topic?" Remus considered it thoughtfully. "I'm sure he'll be fine," he said, grinning.

Fae laughed. "Well I hope they get back fast - I'm dying to get running," she said, stamping her feet in quick succession on the cushions, jostling his legs.

He smiled. "This isn't so bad is it?"

She smiled back. "No, not at all."

There was a long moment of comfortable silence and Fae thought they'd be settling down into their books until James came back, but instead Remus looked fidgety about something and then said, "Honestly I… I'm happy I got to spend the day with you. I feel like we haven't really hung out much lately."

"We run together twice a day, every day? And we study in the library at least a few times a week?" Fae said, laughing lightly. She saw Remus every day, thank Merlin. Calm, level-headed, mischievous, kind Remus. She had no clue what she'd do without him.

Remus shifted his eyes away and fiddled with his sleeves. "Well yes. And I'm not unhappy with having that time together, at all! It's just lately," he trailed off. Fae's smile faded at seeing him so apprehensive. He was really being serious here.

He continued rather quickly, picking more intensely at a fraying strand of his shirt. "Peter or James are usually there when we run and when they aren't, all those random people were showing up. And at the library, there were all those annoying bints and we couldn't even get to our normal spot."

Fae huffed, feeling annoyed at just the thought of it. "Yeah, you're right. It's been driving me nuts too, having all these extra people around."

Remus smiled slightly. "I just feel like you and I haven't really had a chance to hang out, just the two of us, in a long time. You're always so busy with James or Sirius or Regulus or Romilly or whoever else is trying to get your attention," he said.

"There are a lot of those lately, aren't there? I know exactly what you mean, it was really testing my patience this week. I love them, most of them, to bits, but everything just gets so overwhelming and they don't get it, not like you do," Fae said, setting aside her book to address him with her undivided attention. She'd had no clue Remus had been feeling this way and she felt terrible. He enjoyed people way less than she did, and Fae had been driven nuts this week. Poor Remus must've been stressed to hell, and she hadn't even asked.

"And now.. Now Sirius, James, and Peter are going to be animagus. Which is great! Amazing. I'm so touched that they would do that for us… but," he trailed off, staring at his hands, only flicking his eyes up at her for a second, so shy and hesitant.

It's just less time I get to spend with just you.

And Fae got it - he wasn't just irritated by having their time interrupted and intruded on, he just missed her and missed having her attention all to himself, which was a huge thing for Remus Lupin, who never wanted attention solely on him. But they were werewolves and best friends and it was soul-deep, the connection they shared. She couldn't even imagine how long this had been bothering him for him to actually say something.

"It's silly of me, I know. Merlin, I sound like some jealous, clingy-"

Fae launched herself across the couch, settling herself on top of legs, chest to chest, hands coming up to cup his red cheeks. "No! No, not at all. You're completely right. I have been really busy lately… I miss you too, you know?" she said, pressing their foreheads together so he'd quit shying away from her gaze.

Then wrapped her arms around his shoulders and hugged him close, layering her head over his and smoothing her hand in circles over his back, like she knew he loved. "Remus, there is nobody like you in my life, except you. Nobody who understands like you do, nobody who listens like you do, nobody who puts me at ease no matter how restless or pissy I am like you do. Certainly nobody who can keep up with me running like you do."

They shared a laugh at that and Fae sat back, unhooking her sweater paws to rest lightly on his shoulders. He was already so much more at ease and able to look her in the eyes, smiling sweetly and listening, trusting.

"I'm sorry I haven't made time for you lately," she said.

"No! No it's not your fault!"

Fae shrugged. "I know, but still. You're important to me and I should always make time for the things that are most important."

He looked extremely startled by that, albeit pleased, and once again, shy. Pleased, more than anything, which is how he should always look.

"Tell you what - Sundays will be ours from now on," she promised, grinning brightly.

He arched an eyebrow. "Oh, and what will we do with them?"

Her grin turned sharp and wild and devilish. "Disappear. We'll do whatever we want. Row a boat to the center of the lake and read books all day, hide in the library den, make pillow forts in the kitchens, build a secret treehouse, sneak off to Hogsmeade, anything."

Remus' smile widened in amusement and she could see the gears turning in his head, a mirror of the way her mind was already racing.

"We'll disappear at dawn and come back only when we feel like it. And maybe I can finally convince you to take on some sensory training. How's that sound?"

"Sounds perfect."

James and Lily showed up half an hour later, finding them both still on the couch. Fae had spun around and settled herself between Remus' legs, dozing lightly on his chest while he read aloud from one of their favorite books - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The two werewolves gave them vague waves and let them handle themselves. Lily didn't look pissed and James looked resplendent, so she figured their walk had gone well. Her brother's extremely awkward and bumbling goodbye made Fae giggle, but she was happy.

As comfortable as she was, the second Lily and James were gone, Remus and Fae were bolting off the couch and racing for the lake. The two sprinted joyfully through a good few miles, pushing until the last second when the sun began to set. No matter how sweaty Fae got, she refused to take off the sweater she'd stolen. The full moon was lovely and lively and Fae had to seriously restrain herself not to peek out of the shack and make a game plan for the next month.

As promised, they spent all of Sunday together, albeit the first few hours of it were in the infirmary. They were getting better faster though, properly wearing themselves out in the night and actually getting an hour or two of sleep before the change woke them again. Having expected them to sleep longer, James, Sirius, and Peter were mystified to find Fae and Remus already gone from Madam Pomfrey's before 11. And Remus was right - it was hilarious watching them run 'round in circles, searching for them in the library.

Later, they ran off to Hogsmeade, enjoyed hot drinks in Remus' favorite bookshop, and indulged in all of the clearance sale Valentine's chocolate. Remus had to give her a piggyback ride home after eating so much - impressive considering it was the day immediately following the moon. It kind of pissed her off a little, how quickly he recovered these days. Faster than her, for sure. Mostly, she was just happy for him and the progress he'd made, even if he'd made it going at a fucking turtle's pace.

When she got back to her dorm much later that night, Fae felt completely blissful and barely heard a word of Romilly's long rant about how simultaneously awful and wonderful her date had been. Not that it mattered - the blonde was kind of freaking out in her own little world and repeated all of it to Regulus the next day at breakfast anyways. Fae dragged them over to Gryffindor for the week.

Thankfully, most of the hype from Valentine's Day disappeared as soon as the day was over. Things were back to normal, except for one or two followers that popped up in the mornings. Apparently, Mary Thomlinson and Hamish Abernthy really were just passionate about running and there was no such club at Hogwarts.

It was good though, that Fae got her space again. That they all got space again - because Peter, James, and Sirius had completed animagus potions. Now, all they needed was a thunderstorm and a space where nobody would find them. Near the end of February, they got their chance.

The wind had been whipping like crazy all day and little droplets had been spitting, causing Fae and her brothers to practically bounce on their toes in excitement. Peter and Remus were more, understandably, anxious and nervous. The storm didn't properly hit until the middle of the night and Fae was waiting awake, already ready to go when Sirius tapped on her window at 3 in the morning. They all sprinted through the dark, hoping speed would make up for lack of invisibility because no way could all of them fit under the cloak.

They transformed behind the greenhouses. First was Peter, then James, and finally Sirius. A cute little rat, a majestically and ridiculously large stag, and a gorgeous black dog. They changed back and forth a few times and ran around through the storm, getting soaked and muddy and thoroughly enjoying it. Fae refused to end the night before James let her ride on his back.

Remus looked like he didn't know how to feel, other than overwhelmed with affection and wonder for his friends. It was a good look on him. As was the look of determination he wore a week later when he asked Fae to show him the Forbidden Forest. She'd been asking what he wanted to do for his birthday because surprises were okay for her brothers, but not for jumpy, sweet Remus. It was with a deep breath and a squaring of his shoulders that he asked for her to teach him how to traverse the forest safely. James and them had done their part, now he would do his, and Fae would be free to roam during transformations again. And maybe, just maybe, he'd learn to be awake for it too.

Fae had been overjoyed and had wanted to skip classes the day of his birthday. Hell, she'd wanted to skip classes the whole week, with all the things she couldn't wait to show him. She couldn't wait to discover it with him.

Nervous and anxious at first, the tall boy blossomed beautifully as she took his hand and held on, guiding him down her favorite trails, into the prettiest flower clearings, round and round the most magnificent trees and little creeks. He relaxed more and more with every step and when they encountered a few Augureys, he didn't run or flinch or worry about scaring them. Thankful for Romilly's random creature knowledge, Fae was able to navigate around the nest with no problems and Remus became enchanted.

When they left, the sun was setting.

"That wasn't so bad," Remus said, breathless and glancing over his shoulder back at the forest.

"It only gets more fun at night," Fae said, rolling her eyes. All that fuss for months, years even, and it had been that easy? Then she paused at the edge and turned to him. "I'm proud of you, you know."

Remus met her gaze head on, and actually straightened up, standing tall and grinning brightly. "I'm proud of me too."

And damn, he looked breathtaking like that. He should always look like that, amazed by himself and proud and happy. Laughing delightedly, Fae held up a hand and gestured for him to lean down. He followed suit and she pulled out her wand, casting a soft Orchideous. A grand crown of white camellias, daisies, and small sunflowers bloomed and tangled around his head, through his tawny hair. Eyes rolling up to see, he beamed brightly at it.

"Happy 16th Birthday Remus."

"Thank you."

Of course, Fae got him specialty chocolate and a first edition of Through the Looking Glass as well. And just beyond the edge of the forest, Sirius, James, Peter, Lily, and a few other Gryffindors and Ravenclaws were waiting at a table surrounded by lights for a nice, fun dinner together to celebrate. Remus smiled all night and didn't let anybody lay a finger on his flower crown. Instead, he put a staying charm on it and wore it for the rest of the week, hexing anybody who dared do anything to it.

A few days later on the 15th, the Marauders joined them for the full moon. Fae signalled them with howling Bruce Springsteen and when the stag, rat, and dog entered into the shack, Remus only growled for a few moments before tumbling into playful puppy wrestling with Sirius. Fae's consciousness lengthened again to a full two hours. They left the shack and felt the fresh air and raced through the trees together. She was the head of their pack, the fastest, the leader, the alpha, as they had all known. Respecting Remus' wishes, they didn't go too far from the shack and were back inside well before the sunrise.

In the morning, Remus shook her awake in the infirmary only an hour or so after they'd been delivered there. Like a kid on Christmas morning, he informed her that he remembered bits and pieces of the night before. It wasn't awareness, but it was something he'd never done before. He saw it like a dream in his head and could remember how it felt, the primal urge to run and chase together. It was that look of pride and happiness and amazed-ness again. Fae made him another flower crown.

And then James demanded a flower crown for his birthday. So Fae made him a cape entirely out of varieties of lilies. She made sure to coach him into giving Lily Evans the Spider Lily, or the hell flower, perfect and lovely for the fiery girl. Lily Evans charmingly blushed the same shade as the flower.

Best of all, Remus couldn't seem to get out of the forest now that he'd been in it. Morning and evening runs, as well as weekends, became dedicated to adventuring and their 'running buddies' weren't quite up to venturing into the woods. It was just them and the creatures.


A/N: It was about time for them to have a moment.

Does anybody here have any notable Valentine's Day stories? Fun, horrific, unexpectedly lukewarm? Please comment below, I love a good story.

And because it's only fair, here's my Valentine's Day story. There was this guy I was super interested in that I worked at a crappy diner with. We kinda hooked up and then he ghosted me and moved out of town for like a year. He came back and was suddenly super interested in me and I decided, eh, why not? We weren't actually dating just yet, but he showed up on Valentine's Day with like three giant poster size sketchbooks, chocolates, a nintendo 3ds game, and a flannel that was exactly like one he wore all the time. He took me to the art gallery, Outback Steakhouse, and a movie.

It was pretty fun, all said. But he was a bit of a loser and after a week, the fluff fizzled out and I got fed up with him wasting his time and money on drugs without telling me. He had no ambition, not even to take care of himself as an adult in any capacity. So I peaced out.

That's it, that's my Valentine's Day story.

Seriously tho, I kind of want to write Romilly's date, Sirius' date, and possibly a hilarious, unplanned intersection. But I need some inspiration.

Cheers ya'll, hope Monday was kind to ya.