As January came Hogwarts became covered in a snowy white blanket. The students' breaths now came out in cool mists as they brought out winter undergarments to keep them moderately warm in the freezing castle. During potions the first years would huddle close to their cauldrons to keep warm as the dungeons now almost had ice floors. Herbology was awfully cold, the greenhouses not providing much warmth. Teeth chattering, the first years drew their cloaks tightly round themselves and managed to not freeze to death.
"C-can they n-not put heating ch-charms on this s-school!?" James exclaimed one particularly cold morning.
"We c-could cast one on our d-d-dorm." Remus managed.
"D-do you know how?"
Once they established that they were only first years and they didn't know much they just proceeded to wrap themselves in numerous blankets.
"Remus, t-tomorrow go to the library and t-take out a b-book on charms." James managed through chattering teeth.
"Why can't you g-go do it yourself?" Remus said, slightly annoyed.
"I can't b-be seen in the library!" James faked shock. "It's social suicide!"
"Thanks." Remus replied dryly.
The next day Remus went to the library to try and find a book on charms. He really wished he'd worn gloves when his fingers felt numb as he touched the edges of books. He picked up two heavy books on simple charms and sat down. He opened the first page and sighed slightly, thinking about his boring task. What he didn't notice was that a certain red-headed girl was sitting next to him. He inwardly cursed, knowing how much James and Sirius annoyed her and how angry she could get. He slowly started to edge away when she said something.
"Remus, can you help me with the defense homework?" Lily asked.
"Errr, ok." He replied, unsure.
"Here, I don't know the basic facts."
Remus helped Lily with her essay, not really knowing why she asked him to help. After all, he was friends with James and Sirius, the two people she held a deep hatred for. While he helped her he realised that she actually wasn't that bad and he quickly worked up the courage to ask her about heating charms.
"Do you know any books with a heating charm in them?" He asked.
"Yes, here, I'll help you find it." She got up and started looking through the shelves. "It's here somewhere..." She muttered.
"Have you used one before then?" He asked.
"Yeah, Marlene sent me for our dorm." Lily rolled her eyes affectionately.
"James sent me as well."
She stood up and looked at him with piercing green eyes.
"Why are you friends with them?" She asked.
"Well, once you get to know them they're not that bad..."
"But they're mean and arrogant and you're kind and smart!" She ranted. "They think they're so cool." Her eyes narrowed as she remembered their History of Magic lesson the day before when James and Sirius had attempted to put a flying charm on a paper airplane but accidentally set it on fire.
"I'm not really-"
"Oh stop being so modest!" She swatted his arm. "Although I can see why they like you, I just don't know why you like them."
Remus stayed silent, thinking of the night when Sirius got that howler.
"Here it is!" Lily emerged from under a book case with a newish looking book.
"Don't mention it."
Over the course of January and February Lily and Remus became friends. Most days they would be in the library together, studying. They never planned anything, they just happened to be there. Despite Lily's hatred for his friends, they found their friendship quite nice and enjoyed each other's company. Unfortunately, Lily decided to introduce Remus to her friend, Severus Snape.
Remus had come to the library earlier than Lily that day and was already doing homework. He looked up when he heard her voice.
"Remus, I'd like to introduce you to Severus." She said, with Snape standing behind her with a sour expression.
"Hello, I'm Remus." He said in his most friendly voice.
Snape stayed silent.
"Sev! Why are you being rude?" Lily scolded him.
Snape rolled his eyes. "Hello Lupin."
Lily sighed and sat down opposite Remus with Snape by her side. Snape eyes him with great distaste, the hatred obvious in his expression. Lily seemed oblivious to this as she did her homework, occasionally asking Remus for help. When she got up to find a book Snape spoke for the first time.
"I know your secret Lupin."
Remus' blood went cold. No, he couldn't, he can't know.
I've been so careful, he can't know.
"I don't know what you're talking about." Remus' voice came out as a tremble.
"Oh you know."
Snape smirked at him, happy that he'd unnerved him. He didn't really know where Lupin went, he just knew he left once month but he hadn't quite got the answer. Lily came back with a book and asked Remus what was wrong.
"You suddenly look really pale." She said, concerned.
"I'm fine, really." He reassured her.
"I think you should go to the Hospital wing."
"It's ok, I'll just go back to my dorm."
Remus gathered up his possessions and left swiftly. As he walked back up to Griffyndoor Tower his breaths came out in short pants. He doesn't know, he doesn't know, Remus kept telling himself. It was all in vain, however as Snape would never say anything like that if he didn't know. Remus remembered his previous lie to his friends two weeks ago.
"It's my mum, she's sick and I have to go visit her." He said quietly.
Their eyes filled with pity.
"Are you ok?" Asked James sympathetically.
Remus nodded silently.
"How ill is she? Do you have to visit her a lot?" Asked Peter.
"While I'm at Hogwarts she might..." His voice broke.
"You should have told us." Sirius said with a comforting smile. "We'll help you."
Remus had never felt so guilty in his life. Lying about his mother being ill was an awful thing to do, but he had to. He didn't know how Snape could know, he was an awful liar, but he'd been so careful. Unless Snape timed when he left and connected up the points. But no one could be that obsessive. Surely not.