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Title: Charcoal and Parchment
Category: Fanfiction
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters/Pairing: James/Lily, Remus/Lily [friendship], Marauders
Rating: G
WC: 920
AN: Borrowed very briefly from [info]fernwithy's Lupin canon (the bit about his summers). Also, it's sad that every time I post something here, I have to c/p the intro format from another entry. Also, this is going up at DW, too.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters.



Remus finished sketching an arcing line in his drawing and glanced up as a shadow passed over the parchment. Lily smiled as she sat beside him in the warm grass, tucking her legs beneath her and leaning heavily on her right hand. Remus returned to his drawing but was keenly aware of Lily’s eyes watching him.

“Yes, Ms. Evans?” He cast a side-long glance in her direction and she shook her head.

“Nothing. Just admiring your work.” She turned her attention to the boys he was busy sketching – James, Sirius, and Peter – and rolled her eyes as they tossed jinxes at one another’s feet.

Remus was enjoying the warm, rare sunlight and hoped it would aid in his recovery of a nasty cold and of course, the recent full moon. He closed his eyes, his face tilted upward toward the sun, and listened to the world going on around him. Peter’s squeaky protestations as James and Sirius attempted to transfigure him into a squirrel, the incessant giggles from a couple of daring fourth years who were desperate for Sirius’s attention, the birds chattering in a nearby tree. Remus knew he would miss this, the constant contact with his best friends and the comforting security he felt at Hogwarts. During the summers, he felt the gnawing ache of loneliness as his family traipsed around the world chasing rainbows. Only ‘rainbows’ was too pleasant a word for what they chased. Remus had swallowed numerous foul-smelling and fouler-tasting potions in his lifetime and none of them helped. None of them cured. Many of them made him ill, weakened him, and all of it, every single moment of it, ate away at what little his family had left.

“Remus? You all right?” Lily’s hand rested light and warm against his bare forearm. Remus opened his eyes and nodded with a faint smile.

“Just fine.”

“Oi, Lupin! Keep your hands off my woman, you git!” James raised his wand in Remus’s direction but before either of them could react, Lily’s wand was out and James was flat on his back.

“I am not your property, James Potter!” She kept her wand pointed at him for a long moment, long enough to silence the giggling Sirius Fan Club, and then narrowed her eyes at Sirius as she returned her wand to her pocket. “Bloody prat.” She mumbled, smoothing her hair and straightening her blouse.

Remus chuckled. “Prat or not, he’s mad for you.” And it was true. When Lily was not present, and Sirius was too occupied with girls or picking on first years, James spent a lot of time talking about Lily and how smart she was, how capable, how kind, how beautiful. Remus and Peter always nodded in agreement; Remus was a direct recipient of Lily’s kindness and had been from the moment they met. She saw a person as whole, even a person like him, who was far from whole. He hoped, quietly and only to himself, that someday he would find his own Lily, a woman who would see him a complete man, capable and human, instead of a monster.

Lily’s cheeks pinked and she picked at several blades of grass. “He wants to marry me, Remus.” She glanced up at him for a split second before casting her gaze back down at the grass, the color in her cheeks deepening.

“I know.” Remus reached out and patted the back of Lily’s busy hand. His fingers left a smudge of charcoal on her knuckles. “Sorry. Hazard of the hobby.”

Lily looked up again, her eyes meeting his, and then grabbed the leather portfolio off his lap. “When are you going to do a drawing of me?” She fingered through the pages, pausing every few to admire Remus’s work. Normally he was overprotective of his drawings and never let the portfolio into the hands of anyone but himself. Lily was different and he knew that she wouldn’t laugh or make jokes when his sketches of individuals far missed the mark.

“I have,” he leaned over, flipped forward several pages and tapped the piece of parchment with his index finger. “You and James.”

Lily studied it for a moment, then suddenly leaned over and threw her arms around Remus’s neck. “It’s beautiful.” He hugged her back awkwardly, one arm crossing her back and the other supporting his weight against the ground. He thought he could do his friends a much greater justice than that particular sketch but after she pulled away from the hug, Lily loosened the sheet of parchment from the binding and traced her fingers over the drawing with a smile on her face. “I’m keeping this.”

“I gathered.” He smiled and tied the portfolio closed as Peter, Sirius, and James walked over. They dropped down into the grass and stretched out on their backs, eyes closed. After several minutes of companionable silence, Lily got to her feet, followed quickly by James. Remus watched them as they walked away, James with his arm around Lily’s shoulders. A smile found its way to his lips when he saw Lily offer the piece of parchment to James, who took it and glanced back over his shoulder. His eyes caught Remus’s and he nodded, the corners of his mouth twitching up into a smile.

Remus hated, when he stopped to think about it or when he allowed himself a spare moment with bare bits of parchment and stubs of charcoal, that the simple, hasty sketch ever made its way back into his hands.

© 2009

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December 2009

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