A Missing/Non-Pensieve Moment from Acceptance: Seventeen-year-old Remus Lupin has the raging hormones of any other bloke his age, and then some. It's the 'and then some' that has him worried, but a trip to the greenhouses helps him see that self-denial can only get you so far in life.
Disclaimer: This story is based on the stories and characters created by J.K. Rowling and I am in no monetary way profiting from it.
A blank sheet of parchment could be a beautiful thing -- rich with the possibilities of topics to write and ideas to express. Unless, of course, you had a five-foot Potions essay to write. Then a blank parchment could be the most daunting thing in the world. At least, that was what Remus thought. He sat in the Marauder's Corner on a rare sunny Saturday afternoon in September. The place was near empty as most students were taking advantage of the weather while it lasted. Remus knew that this essay had to have priority for him. He couldn't afford to put things off with the moon waxing toward full. So now he was looking from his notes to his textbook to his parchment and drawing a complete blank on where to begin.
"You're not usually alone here." A feminine voice interrupted his lack of thought.
Remus looked up into the smiling brown eyes of Beatrice Bennet. He couldn't keep his eyebrows from shooting up in surprise. After making her interest fairly obvious on the first day of term, Beatrice had retreated to the protection of her friends. Aside from the occasional furtive glance down the Gryffindor table at meals and a shy smile or two in the weekly Prefect's meetings, she had made no further attempt to advance their relationship. Or rather, advance them into any sort of relationship at all.
"She's waiting for you to do something, mate," Sirius had told him. "So are you going to or not?"
The truth was, Remus initially had every intention of doing something. He had noted the undeniable scent of arousal on her when the train had jostled them together in the Prefect's car on the Hogwarts Express. The look she had given him from beneath her dark lashes made it clear that it was directed towards him. His reaction had been immediate. His blood had surged, his nerve endings had tingled and he had suddenly been very glad he had already put his robes on. It had only been a couple of days since the full moon, and he had barely been making it through with a Pepper-Up Potion, or he might have done something ill-advised right then. As it was, he could barely feign interest in what James and Lily were going on about as Head Boy and Girl. That evening, after the announcement of the Ghoul's Ball and Beatrice's initial flirtation, he had been certain that he would make a move on her once he regained his strength.
As he recovered from the transformation, the twin voices of reason and caution that ruled his life sounded louder than ever. If his nose was any indication, she desired him. That alone had been a huge turn-on. Since then, he noticed other things, too. Like how silky her brown hair looked when she tucked it behind her ear and how nicely curved her calves looked when he caught a glimpse as she shifted her robes and tucked her legs beneath her to read on the couch in front of the fire. He didn't know how long he could keep his raging teenage hormones in check with a willing participant. He could only imagine what Sirius's response would be to that.
"'So what's the problem, mate? Just shag her and be done with it!'"
Sirius sometimes forgot that the first girl Remus 'shagged' would be the last.
So, instead of voicing his concerns to his friends, Remus had spouted some nonsense about keeping his options open. Sirius had congratulated him for his caddish outlook and Peter had agreed with the approach. James had narrowed his eyes at Remus before commenting, "That works better if you actually show an interest in the other options."
True enough. James was too astute for his own good. Except, of course, when it came to Lily. Remus had thought about actively pursuing someone else, but in the end he found himself looking back in the Great Hall and smiling in return at the Prefects' meeting, and doing absolutely nothing else. He thought if he just didn't talk to her she would give up and lose interest, though he hoped she wouldn't. Apparently, she hadn't yet.
"So, where are your mates?" she asked, sitting across from him in the seat Sirius usually occupied.
"James is at Quidditch practice and Peter's watching," he answered, looking down at his parchment and thinking, 'Please go away and stop tempting me.'
"And Sirius?" she pressed, apparently no Legilimens.
He shrugged noncommittally, keeping his head down.
"Oh, I see." She sounded amused. "He's out doing something illegal and you don't want to tell me because I'm a Prefect."
"I'm a Prefect!" he protested, finally looking up at her.
She grinned at him. "Of course you are, but you don't want to rat out your friend."
He silently agreed. "Would you?" he asked.
She laughed. "Well, my friends don't exactly pursue the sort of mischief yours do," she began thoughtfully, "but I suppose I'd look the other way as long as they weren't doing anything too dangerous."
Remus felt a heavy weight in his chest. "How dangerous is too dangerous?" he asked.
Beatrice's grin faded. "I think this conversation is getting too dangerous -- but without making you break any confidences, I'd just have to say Sirius can probably take care of himself."
Remus let out a half snort. "That's true enough," he agreed. Then he looked down at his parchment again, wondering if he should say something more or just ignore her in hopes she would give up.
"So," she started again, proving she wasn't the giving up type. "You're not with Sirius to give yourself plausible deniability to whatever he's up to in the unlikely event he gets caught. Why not join Peter watching James? Don't you like Quidditch?"
"Sometimes," he answered. "But I've got this essay to do." He waved his hand over the empty parchment.
She leaned over the table and looked intently at the blank sheet, then she raised her eyes to him, forcing him to meet her gaze. There was a teasing glint in the otherwise soft brown depths. "Making much progress?" she asked with mock innocence.
"No, and it's strange," he answered honestly, fighting the urge to grin in response to her teasing. It was a short step from harmless teasing to outright flirtation - and from there, this thing between them could escalate beyond his control far too quickly.
"How strange?" She pressed him.
"Well, I've got my notes and done all my research. I thought for once Potions would be a piece of cake -- but I just can't seem to figure out how to start."
She nodded sympathetically. "What's the topic?"
"The properties and usage of Lady's Veil."
Her head jerked a bit in surprise. "There are potions that use Lady's Veil?"
He nodded. "A few. You'll learn about them when you reach N.E.W.T. level. They're not often used because lady's veil is so rare. The HAG doesn't even have any in the dungeons. That's why the essay is so critical, we can't observe its practical use."
'The HAG' was how most students referred to Professor Hecuba A. Gloveychuck, the Potions mistress.
"But Professor Sprout's growing some in Greenhouse Three," Beatrice said.
Remus couldn't contain his surprise. "Really?" he asked.
She nodded. "She showed it to the fifth years last week. We talked about its effect on elves and faeries -- you know, how it makes them drunk? But she never mentioned other potions. Do you suppose she's hiding it from the HAG?"
Remus considered this suggestion for a moment. "It's possible," he responded slowly. "She may be saving it as a bargaining chip. It could be a 'get-out-of-detention-free' card for a generation of Hufflepuffs." The more he thought about it, the more it made sense. Professor Sprout was the youngest of the heads of house and though it seemed like an un-Hufflepuff thing to do, he certainly didn't blame her for doing whatever it took to get an edge, especially over the HAG.
"You should go and look at it," Beatrice declared rather abruptly, apparently unconcerned with the underhanded politics he'd just suggested one of the Professors was employing. He wondered if she was thinking, 'Good for Sprout!' right along with him.
He looked across the table at her. "You think so?"
"Absolutely. It could provide you with just the inspiration you need. Plus, it's the perfect excuse to get out of the castle on such a glorious day -- especially with a dreary Scottish winter just around the corner. As a matter of fact," here she stood suddenly, "I was on my way down there to do a mandrake transfer for my O.W.L. Herbology project. Why don't you join me?" She looked down at him expectantly.
Remus knew he was gaping at her, and could only hope he didn't look as stupid doing it as he felt. He noticed, looking at her fully now, that she was wearing her cloak and had her Gryffindor scarf draped over her shoulders. She didn't appear to be lying about being on her way out, and she couldn't possibly have known he might have a reason to join her. Still, she had just brazenly invited him to the greenhouses, a known popular spot for snogging. Once he himself had used it with Georgia Antworthy in fifth year, though that had only been on a dare from Sirius -- one that had proved very educational. The way his heart was pounding at the very idea of kissing Beatrice, however, made it clear to him he absolutely should not be alone with her in the greenhouses.
"Sounds like a good plan," he heard himself saying. He rolled up his parchment and gathered his other things before standing up and offering her his arm.
She reached to take it, and then hesitated. "Don't you want to get your cloak?"
Getting his cloak would be a good idea; it would give reason a chance to take control again. He could think of a good excuse not to go, or, if none came to mind, he could just hide out in the boys' dormitories until nightfall. How very un-Gryffindor that would be. Besides, he knew deep down he didn't want to escape, and he wasn't going to let himself try.
"On a glorious day like today?" he asked with a smile. "It's only a short walk outside, and then it will be warm in the greenhouses."
How warm remained to be seen, he thought, but judging from the wave of heat that washed over him when she smiled and took his