It started with three words. Just three, not significant except for the meaning of one.
"Oh Merlin, Remus I love you," Sirius breathed when Remus pulled his completed essay out of his bag. It wasn't hard for him to do, it had been on his nightstand when they had rushed out for breakfast, and he'd just… grabbed it as he left.
"If you really love me, you'll pass over the bacon," he manages, and doesn't think about the implications of what Sirius said. He was just joking, it wasn't even the first time he'd said that in the last week, so why would it be surprising?
Remus had a theory that Sirius loved just saying he loved people, as if to emphasize how different they all were to his family.
"Ah, I have won the heart of our beloved Moony! He has been wooed, by the wonders of bacon!" Sirius presented the platter with a flourish, grinning from ear to ear. Remus rolled his eyes when he added, "And my rather wonderful charms, of course."
"Of course," he agreed easily, and that was the end of it.
Or it should have been.
"I love you!" Sirius gushed, over the new gloves Remus had bought him for Quidditch. He'd been wanting them, and it was Christmas after all. He didn't respond this time, focusing instead on James attempting to gift Lily Evans, who had stayed behind this year for unknown reasons, with a sprig of mistletoe that would keep any two people under it stuck until they kissed. She was less-than-enthused, especially as, by holding it above his head as he presented it, she couldn't get away from him.
"No, really, we should get married, I'm clearly going to be ruined forever for others if you keep spoiling me by being utterly perfect," Sirius continued, sitting close and leaning on his shoulder, as they both watched Lily grudgingly kiss James on the cheek. His face lit up with total awe for a moment.
"I'll think about agreeing when you manage to keep your part of the dorm clean for more than a week, Pads," Remus said dryly, as Lily then blasted James across the Common Room for trapping her in the first place.
"You set such high demands! Never fear, though, one day I will be worthy of such devotion!" Sirius declared, to the general amusement of the few others in the room.
Remus noticed that despite her enraged face, Lily tucked the mistletoe into her bag carefully before leaving to eat breakfast.
"Have I told you lately that I love you?" Sirius moaned, as Remus snuck more contraband food out of his bag. They were sitting in the Hospital Wing, and Sirius was stuck until the end of the night, presumably, as Madam Pomfrey had glared when he asked when he could go. But she was a touch paranoid about mystery potion spills, so he was staying for observation.
"Only when I give you things. I think you may be rather materialistic, Pads," Remus teased, settling into the chair beside him, a flagon of pumpkin juice in each hand, a small feast set out on the bed. Sirius merely grinned, batting his eyelashes at him.
"Don't worry, dearest Moony! I value you for more than what you can give me. Though that is a lovely bonus," he jokingly looked Remus up and down, before grinning at him again, taking the flagon. Remus swatted him lightly on the head.
"Just remember, look but don't touch." Sirius poked him in the arm.
"Or what? Will I have to take you home? Break it and buy it, right?" Remus scoffed, pointedly avoiding the next jab.
"I'm more than you can afford," he said, sticking his nose in the air snottily. Sirius laughed, and dug into the food like the dog he occasionally was.
"Sure, sure, Moony. You're priceless," and that little phrase makes something in Remus feel like he's floating, because him? He's damaged goods at best, a werewolf isn't exactly something people want to associate with. But the way Sirius says it, with total honesty, like it was something everyone knew, made him glow.
"Man, I love all of you guys," Sirius crooned to all of them, seated on the floor of their dorm room with a bottle of Firewhiskey in-between them. James was listing to the side, giggling, and Peter was staring at the bottle in concentration, face red, as though if he looked hard enough the answers to life would appear. Or the world would stop spinning, it was always hard to tell with Peter, if he was thinking or trying not to throw up whatever he had just drunk.
"'Specially Moony, sorry Jamesy, but he's the love of my heart," Sirius continued, patting James on the shoulder. Well, trying, he ended up reaching his ear instead, which James seemed to find funnier still, as he continued giggling, falling further over until he hit the floor.
"I'd believe you more if you were sober," Remus noted, leaning against the trunk behind him to take a pull from the bottle, letting it burn down his throat. He had a higher tolerance for alcohol, and blamed his lycanthropy. It allowed him to watch his friends act ridiculous, though, so there was that.
"Do say it when 'm sober!" Sirius insisted, frowning in confusion. Peter took his gaze off of where the bottle had been sitting to look at him, clearly wondering why he was speaking so loudly. Then he looked back down, red fading to a rather ugly shade of green. Nauseous, then.
"Of course you do," he answered absently, because it was true, he supposed, but it wasn't as though he meant it any more than he did now. Sirius seemed content with this, and lay on his side, still staring at Remus, grinning happily.
"Loooove you, wanna pr'pose and live in a house of choc'late…" he trailed off, arms gesturing vaguely. Remus chuckled, watching him.
"Filled with chocolate, or made of it?"
"Both!" Sirius continued to describe the house, which seemed to have never-ending space as well, as there was a pool, Quidditch pitch, and an entire forest within its' walls. He fell asleep as he began to get to the bedroom. Remus was thankful, as he wasn't sure if he wanted to know what Sirius' mind would come up for that.
"Ugh… what did I do last night?" Sirius asked, looking around confused. He was in his bed, in no clothes; he didn't remember taking anything off last night before the bottle came out, had he stripped or something?
"Wanted to get married and live in a chocolate house. Nothing horrible, really," Peter answered from where he was walking out of the bathroom, rubbing at his eyes with one hand. James and Remus were both still asleep, judging by the lumps on each bed. Sirius groaned, flopping backwards.
"Then why do I feel like I ran around the bloody Quidditch Pitch or something? I should not be this sore," he complained, sitting up and wincing at the pain in his back. Thank Merlin they had such awesome curtains on the windows, or the light of the sun would probably have killed him.
"That would be the sex marathon we had after the others fell asleep," a voice called from Remus' bed. He sat up, stretching, and revealing rather obviously that he was shirtless. And ripped, but that might just be Sirius' bias showing. Probably.
"What? I finally got you laid and I don't even remember it?" Sirius whined, grinning at the rather horrified look Peter gave him, and the groan from James' bed.
"If you two start flirting this early, I will kill you, I swear to Godric Gryffindor himself." Remus snorted, climbing out of bed, and oh, apparently he'd slept in his boxers. Well, Sirius thought, flopping backwards, he didn't need that blood anywhere else anyway.
"I doubt it, Prongs, you can barely make it out of bed at the moment. Plenty of time, really," Sirius pointed out, watching with amusement as the lump that was James shifted enough for an arm to reach out and gesture crudely before disappearing back into the sheets.
"You didn't want to get into bed. Or out of your clothes, which would have been uncomfortable, so they had to go," Remus added, though Sirius supposed this was the more truthful part of the story.
"I think that's the first time I've ever heard those words referencing Sirius, and the last time, probably," Peter mused, as he pulled a shirt over his head. Remus let out a laugh, and went into the bathroom himself.
Sirius didn't watch his arse. Not at all; that would be creepy.
Did watch his legs, though. Very toned.
Remus looked up, to see a slab of Honeydukes Finest before him, and let out a pleased groan, sitting up enough to see who had given it to him.
"Pads, I think I love you," he said, as Sirius grinned, clearly pleased at his reaction, before sliding in next to him at the table in the Common Room, which had several books already laid out on it.
"Glad to hear my affections are returned. Should've known it would take chocolate to do it," Sirius joked, but with a soft voice. It was the night after the full moon, and Remus was exhausted.
"It was only a matter of time before I fell for your charms, of course." Remus reached forward to unwrap the bar, breaking off a piece and offering it to Sirius.
"For my dashing hero, who delivered this wondrous treasure in my time of need," he said loftily, smiling when Sirius took the piece.
"My love, it is a clear sign of your warmth that you would offer such a bounty for me," he declared, swooning backwards in his chair. Remus rolled his eyes and went back to his work.
"Keep doing that, and I might have to marry you," Remus moaned, as Sirius massaged away the kinks in his neck. Sirius didn't answer from where he stood behind him, but James laughed from where he was seated, a few feet away in the library.
"You're practically married anyway. You ought to make an honest man out of Pads there," he pointed out, laughing again at the looks he received from the pair of them. Remus looked mildly annoyed, Sirius a mixture of horror and panic, though his hands never stopped.
Honestly, neither of them were particularly subtle; he hoped someone made a move, before he was forced to lock the pair in a broom cupboard.
"Aw, don't worry, I love you," Remus consoled, as James wandered away in a 'Lily' daze. She'd agreed to a date, for the first time, and Remus was fairly sure James would never recover from the shock. Sirius just pouted, settling further into the cushions of the couch.
"I thought you wanted them to get together anyway," Remus added, wrapping an arm around Sirius' shoulders. As much as he was joking, he got the feeling that Sirius was actually jealous. James was his best friend, after all, it wouldn't be strange for him to miss all the time they spent together, right?
"Yeah, so he'd stop moping all over the place like a puppy. That's my thing, he's not very good at it," Sirius muttered, slouching further, before leaning sideways and resting his head on Remus' chest.
"But you said you love me, so it's all okay. He'll recover eventually," Sirius said, smiling brightly at the thought. Remus snorted, and continued to watch as James bumped into a table on his way to the stairs.
"Dance with me?" Sirius looked up at Remus, who held out a hand. They sat at the wedding of one of Remus' distant cousins, in France.
"Mate, I love you. If I sit here any longer, your cousins will eat me alive. How do you have so many single relatives?" Remus laughed, and pulled him into the chaotic dancing without even looking.
"Luck. Peter'll be jealous that I invited you, you know. James is already, and he's dating Lily." Sirius shrugged, and took Remus' waist, smirking at Remus' annoyed expression.
"Yes, I'll no doubt appreciate it when we're not surrounded by Veelas," Sirius said, steering them into a quick dance. He'd had formal training in dance, but Remus' family seemed more inclined to simply twirl and jump without a set pattern. It was definitely more fun, but tricky to follow.
"They're not Veelas, they're just blond. And you need to relax, this isn't that complicated," Remus directed, as they ended up near the center of the dancers, near Remus' newly-wed cousin Rosaline. She smiled brightly at them both, before turning back to her husband, who gave them a grin as well. Then, behind Rosaline's head, he made a gesture that made Sirius choke, almost tripping.
"What?" Remus asked, looking at him closely. Sirius shook his head, wondering how obvious he was being.
"Nothing; you cousin-in-law is making faces behind his bride."
"Babe, I love you," Sirius simpered, batting his eyelashes at Remus, who rolled his eyes, but took both of his hands to look deeply in his eyes.
"You complete me," he crooned back, biting back a grin. Behind them, Peter made the appropriate gagging sounds, while a few booths away, the couple they were imitating continued on, apparently unaware they were being mocked.
"How did our best mate get replaced with such a sap, anyway?" Peter whined out, frowning into his Butterbeer as though it held the answers.
"Forget that, we always knew he was a softie inside; I want to know why my pranking buddy has gone to the straight and narrow. He loved tossing dung bombs before he was dating Lily, it's not like she didn't know that when she agreed," Sirius complained, gesturing wildly. Remus rolled his eyes again, sipping his own drink.
"He hasn't stopped entirely, you know. He just didn't want to smell like dung before his date. Besides, I have an idea for something that'll even catch him by surprise. Think about it; he'll get caught with everyone else, nobody'll think it was us," Remus proposed, leaning in close to the other two, who both grinned and leaned forward as well. They had plotting to do.
"Remus, I fucking love you!" Sirius shouted as they ran down the hall, as behind them there were the loud sounds of fireworks. They'd been set up around the Great Hall, covering the entire ceiling with glittering stars and dragons. This wouldn't necessarily be a problem if the examiners for the OWLs and NEWTs hadn't been visiting at the time, leading to the teachers being more on edge, as well as the fifth and seventh years. There were a large horde of them looking for the perpetrator. James was just as shocked as everyone else, and had been hit by a particularly large explosion that had splattered him in pudding.
"I know! Now come on, before they catch us!" They ducked into an alcove covered by a tapestry, and listened as a few sets of feet ran past, still yelling. Only afterwards did they realize they were chest to chest, still panting. They drew apart, grinning, and slipped out of the alcove.
"Bit of a dramatic reaction to some fireworks, yeah?" Remus asked, glancing down the corridor where the group had run.
"We've been quiet for a while, maybe they thought we'd turned a fresh leaf," Sirius mused, before they both burst into laughter again.
Even from where they were, they could hear the sounds of shock as Peter threw the second phase of the plan, huge explosions of glitter that would stick to everything that was already wet. Which, given the fact that most of the fireworks had gone off near food, was just about everything.
"Sometimes I think we should just get married and have done with it," Sirius sighed, as James joined Lily across the pub. Peter was on a date in that horrid teashop down the street, leaving the two of them alone in their corner table.
"Romantic, Padfoot. Really, I'm swooning," Remus replied, not looking up from his Butterbeer. Sirius slipped out of his seat, kneeling on the ground next to Remus.
"Oh my love, would you do me the honor of marrying me? For you are my light in the darkness, the sun to my stars, and all that I could hope for," he called out loudly, drawing the attention of the others in the pub.
"Oh, is he proposing? How romantic, on Valentines Day!" One witch whispered, holding her hands to her heart. Madam Rosmerta, used to their antics, ignored them, but others in the pub started cheering and congratulating the pair, to the amusement of James and Lily from the other side of the pub.
"How long until one of them cracks, do you think?" Lily whispered, as someone bought a round of Butterbeer 'for the happy couple.'
"At this point? They'd go through with a wedding before admitting it was a joke; Remus does hate to disappoint," James murmured back, mindful of his friends' normally enhanced hearing.
Besides, he thought to himself, Sirius likes to pretend.
"Can I just say that I love you?" Remus asked, as Sirius handed him the large box. He held it carefully, as though whatever was in the box was delicate.
"You don't even know what I got you," Sirius pointed out, releasing the package and sitting back to watch Remus open it. Behind him, James and Peter were sitting on the their own beds, gifts in their laps.
"I see where we stand, Pete; second rate to anything Sirius manages," James lamented, falling back onto the sheets with a dramatic sigh. Peter nodded knowingly.
"It's because they're both dogs, you know; canines stick together," he said, causing James to sit up with a cry of "Speciesist!"
"That isn't a word," Remus noted, beginning to open the box. Underneath the ribbon, there were… holes.
"Sirius, is whatever is in here alive?" He asked, almost dreading the answer.
"Such a tone of distrust! I thought you loved me," Sirius whined, pouting at him. Remus rolled his eyes and got the paper loose, pulling the box open.
"Mew?" They all froze, except Sirius, who laughed as a small furry head poked its way out of the box.
"You got me a kitten," Remus said, disbelievingly, and pulled the kitten out of the box entirely. It had dust-colored fur, and yellow-gold eyes. Remus lifted it up, and noted absently, "It's a girl."
"Is it? Didn't want to check," Sirius asked. He was grinning ear to ear, at the sheer wonder in Remus' eyes. Animals didn't always react well to a werewolf, but the kitten was rubbing her head against his hand as he pet her. Remus looked dazed.
"Well, we're beat. Dunno how we could top that," James sighed, gesturing at Remus and the kitten.
"What're you going to name her?" Peter asked, leaning forward.
"Artemis, I think," Remus answered, before looking at Sirius, eyes bright. Nobody called him on it.
"Thank you. Thank you. Where did you find a kitten that wouldn't react to my… furry little problem?" Sirius shrugged, but a look of pride crossed his face.
"I asked around, Hagrid knew a few people who breed animals that don't react to lycanthropy, and found this lovely lady. Artemis, really? Aren't there enough myth references in this room?" He gestured to himself, and then at Remus.
"Sirius, the dog star. Remus, twin of Romulus, raised by wolves. Lupin, literally means wold. And Artemis, a hunter goddess. Really?" Remus grinned, holding up his new kitten so Sirius was face to face with her.
"Isn't she a powerful hunter, Sirius?" Artemis mewed, batting at Sirius' face.
"Of course," he said, but from James seat, he wasn't just looking at the kitten.
"This is sickeningly adorable, really," James complained, and tossed his gift into Remus' lap. Remus laughed, and set Artemis in Sirius' arms to take the package.
"Sirius, this is getting ridiculous. Just tell him, would you?" James said, gesturing at Remus, who was sitting at the other end of the room, helping Peter with a Transfiguration essay. Despite his tone, James kept his voice low, so Remus couldn't hear him.
"I do!" Sirius pointed out, grinning at him, and called out across the room, "Remus, I love you darling!" Remus glanced up at him, and smiled.
"Love you too," he called back, and turned back to Peter.
"See?" Sirius said, turning back to James, who groaned and dropped his head into his hands, wondering if locking the two in a broom cupboard was still an option.
"Sirius?" Remus asked in surprise, looking around as if to confirm that they were, in fact, standing in front of Remus' house. Sirius grinned, holding his arms out wide.
"Your letter said you missed me! I couldn't let that go, could I?" He had a bag over his shoulder, and under his grin he looked a bit nervous, as though he wasn't sure this was a good idea.
"No," Remus agreed after a moment, "I suppose you couldn't." He snorted through his nose, before laughing out loud, throwing his head back with a wide smile.
"Have I told you lately that I love you?" Remus questioned, as he led the way back indoors, out of the bright sun, leaving Sirius' bike in the drive.
"Maybe once or twice," Sirius answered, as he followed Remus inside.
"Reeeemuuuuus," Sirius whined, leaning into his side, while Remus moved his book slightly to allow him to lay there.
"I'm busy Sirius, is this important?" Remus asked, not bothering to look down at him.
"Yes! I'm bored, why don't we go and charm all the toilets to sing or something?" Sirius suggested, rolling his head onto Remus' shoulder to peer at him. Remus made a show of reading a few more pages, reaching the end of the chapter, before marking his page and closing the book.
"Christmas carols or drinking songs?" Sirius cheered loudly, and leapt off of the couch.
"Remus, I love you!"
"I love him, James! More than anything!" Sirius proclaimed, holding tightly to Remus, who looked bemused. James groaned, and continued brewing the antidote to the love potion he'd been slipped. Why it had centered on Remus instead of the person who had made it, none of them knew.
"I know Sirius," Remus placated, "but do you remember taking a drink from anyone recently?" Sirius paused in rubbing his nose against Remus' collarbone, before shrugging and continuing.
"Maybe? That girl in Hufflepuff, who we have Potions with, she gave me a drink after Quidditch practice. Why?" James remembered her, thinking about the girl, whose name was Pamela Anders. She didn't seem the type, but she had given Sirius water after practice.
"No reason. James, do you know why it wouldn't center on her?" James shook his head, adding a dozen lacewing flies to the bubbling potion.
"If she messed up, maybe. You need essence of the person, usually, so if she dropped your hair in it or something, that could do it." Peter spoke up, from where he was sitting across the room. Sirius had knocked him over to get to Remus earlier, and he was watching him with a wounded look on his face.
"Why, though? Was it on purpose? Cause love potions are supposed to be really tricky, that seems like a stupid mistake to make," he pointed out, and smiled a bit when Remus pushed Sirius back a bit to look into his eyes. Sirius moped for a moment, before swiftly taking Remus' hand from his chest and kissing him deeply. They toppled over onto the floor. James looked torn between stopping them and laughing. While Remus was strong enough to push Sirius off, he didn't seem inclined to do so.
"Want any help, there, Remus?" James asked anyway, as he watched the antidote turn a periwinkle blue. Remus' free hand waved him off, before he pushed Sirius to the side.
"Remus?" Sirius whimpered, honest-to-god whimpered, and James winced at the tone. He sounded like a kicked puppy.
"Not in front of our friends, Sirius, I'm not an exhibitionist," Remus admonished, which seemed to placate him. Sirius quickly pulled himself up and back to Remus' side, cuddling happily. Remus rolled his eyes at the others.
James noticed he was blushing, just a bit.
"Peter has a point; did she make a mistake, or did she want him to latch onto Remus? And why?" James wondered, looking at the pair of them. True, it was rather funny, but not that unusual behavior. There wasn't a point in a potion, especially since there was nobody around to see Sirius; if the point was to make him embarrass himself, it wasn't well thought out.
But how could someone make a mistake with a love potion? Hair was the most common element used, so unless she couldn't tell what hair was hers, a mistake would be ridiculous.
"Maybe she made it for someone else, and that's why she made a mistake," Remus mused, looking at James. James shrugged, and the potion turned white, showing it was finished.
"We'll ask later. Sirius, this is a tonic for your hair, here," James poured the antidote into a goblet and handed it over. Sirius didn't hesitate to drink the contents quickly. They waited for a few minute in silence, before Sirius turned to look at them, frowning.
"Why don't I remember how we got to this bathroom?"
(As it turned out, Pamela hadn't made for herself, but another Hufflepuff girl. She wouldn't identify who, but Janice Whitley had a weeks worth of detention with Sprout with no explanation. Neither would say if the hair she had given had been a mistake or not.)
"So I snogged Moony?" Sirius asked, rubbing his forehead. His memories were still fuzzy from when he had taken the potion.
James nodded, looking amused. Sirius groaned, falling backwards onto his bed.
"To be fair, you can say the potion made you do it, but I swear, you need to tell him, because the sexual tension is ridiculous."
"Sexual tension between who?" Remus asked curiously, and both boys heads whipped around to the door, where Remus was just walking into the room. He dropped his bag and fell onto his bed with a sigh, before looking up again.
"Well? Between who?" James looked frantically at Sirius, worried. He wanted them to just get it over with, but he didn't want to potentially ruin the relationship by rushing either of them into something.
Sirius launched himself off of the bed, moving over to Remus and falling beside the bed, clasping his hands on Remus' knees.
"My love, James believes our passion for each other is too great, and that it must be expended in acts of a carnal nature," he declared, ruining the effect of his words with the quirk of his eyebrows, which made Remus laugh, ruffling Sirius' hair.
"He just doesn't understand; Lily wants him to wait until marriage," Remus replied, grinning. Sirius rested his head on Remus' knees now. James threw his hands in the air, exasperated, and left the room, growling to himself.
"Has anyone seen Artemis?" Remus asked, peering around under the beds. Peter shook his head, not even looking up from the book he was closely studying.
"No, but she's smart enough not to wander out of the Common Room, right?" Remus frowned, looking up.
"She had a cut a few days ago. I think she got in a fight with someone else's cat, and she's so small, I'm worried." He explained. Remus knew he was a bit ridiculous about this, but she was important to him.
"I can go ask downstairs, if you want?" Peter asked, looking up from his book.
"No, I can. You're studying, and that's rare enough without me distracting you," he joked, standing and walking towards the door.
"I can go look, anyway, but keep an eye out?" Peter nodded, and Remus walked to the door, striding quickly down the stairs.
The Common Room was empty when he reached the bottom. He could see a few other cats lounging around in the chairs, but none were his, so he continued his search, peering underneath chairs and couches, but he didn't think she was around here, either. Pets were allowed to wander around the school, she could be anywhere in the castle.
"Look who I found!" Sirius sang out as he climbed through the doorway, cradling a furry bundle awkwardly in his arms. It mewed at them both as Remus rushed over.
"Oh Merlin, I love you. Where did you find her? Actually, how did you find her?" Sirius laughed, handing Artemis over to Remus, who checked her over. Besides the older cut, she seemed fine.
"Just in the hall, and I almost tripped over her. She doesn't usually wander out of the Common Room, does she?" Remus settled onto a couch, stroking his cat. Sirius sat next to him.
"No, and she got cut earlier, see the scar here? That's why I was looking around, I was worried."
They ended up sitting there talking until James got back, who took one look at them, groaned, and walked up to the dormitories.
"They're driving me insane!" James complained to Lily, as they watched Remus and Sirius share an armchair, relaxing into each other as they pored over some textbook. Peter sat a few chairs away, working on a paper.
"You've been friends with them for years; if they were going to drive you anywhere, they would have already," she said absently, not really paying attention.
"I mean how they act! It's so obvious they want to snog each other senseless a blind kneazle could see it, but neither of them will do anything!" He flopped backwards onto the cushions, barely avoiding Lily's legs. She patted his head absently.
"They'll do something when they want to, just leave them alone," she said, not really bothered.
"It feels like a storm or something, like there's something about to happen and it's hanging over my head." He muttered, but he was calmer now, and he relaxed. Until a lull in other conversations in the room allowed them to hear Remus and Sirius speaking.
"Love you, mate," Remus said, as Sirius pointed out something in the book they were reading.
"I know, because I'm brilliant. If we use this charm base here, and rewrite this, we could…" An explosion from a set of Exploding Snap cut off the rest. James looked up at Lily, who laughed a bit and turned the page.
"Love you," an easy comment before they were to go to the Quidditch pitch, as Remus wished them luck and cast a charm over their goggles to repel the rain.
"You only say that when I do something for you," Remus returned easily, stepping back to let them go onto the pitch.
James mimed barfing behind their backs, as the rest of the team laughed.
"I love you," Sirius said, for what seemed like no reason at all, as they lounged underneath the beech tree on the grounds. Remus grinned at him, before leaning back into the tree and closing his eyes.
"I'm still not giving you the answers to Slughorn's homework, Pads, you'll have to charm someone else," he said quietly. Sirius laughed, falling backwards onto the grass.
"You wound me! … But can you help me with it?" His voice turned pleading, rolling to prop his chin up on Remus' chest.
"I'm terrible with Potions, why would I be able to help anyone?" Remus didn't even open his eyes. Peter giggled, sucking on the end of a sugar quill.
"You're fine with theory, it's just mixing that you have trouble with. Come on, I'll be your partner in class for the next few days, call it even?" Sirius bargained, ignoring James' cry of protest.
"Fine," he sighed after a few minutes of puppy dog eyes. Amid Sirius' victorious crowing, James crossed his arms and scowled. He was taking Lily's advice and not stepping in again, but the whole situation was ridiculous.
"I love you," Remus sighed, as Sirius once again worked out kinks in his neck.
"If you weren't so tense, I wouldn't have to do this all the time," Sirius pointed out, but he didn't stop. Remus moaned, slumping further into the chair.
"Maybe I do it on purpose. You have magic fingers," Remus said, as Sirius finished and moved around to sit next to him.
"I am a wizard," Sirius noted, grinning. He leered at Remus, "I could show you what else my magic fingers could do, if you want." James, from a seat by the fire, rolled his eyes but managed not to actually comment.
"You were right, this is almost sad," Lily whispered, watching Remus and Sirius work in the library a table away. James couldn't see from where he sat, but he was fairly sure they were kicking each other under the table. Or playing footsie, but he wanted to pretend his friends weren't being overly affectionate (read: embarrassing) in the library of all places.
"A bit, yeah," he agreed anyway, avoiding saying specifics. Lily didn't know about Sirius' Animagus form, and he wasn't sure about Remus' lycanthropy either. She was smart, of course, but he wasn't sure, and it was up to the others to tell.
"And you're sure they haven't already done something?" James paused, staring straight ahead for a long moment before looking back at the two, neither of whom seemed to have heard what she said.
"I… There is no way that they wouldn't tell me, is there?" He looked at Lily pleadingly, hoping that she would affirm that his friends wouldn't keep something like this away from him. She shrugged, appearing unconcerned.
"I doubt they would keep a huge secret. Feel free to ask, if you aren't sure." She gestured at the two, and smirked when he almost stood up, before falling heavily into his seat again.
"They wouldn't. We're best mates, they'd tell me if they were dating." He didn't see Remus' head snap in his direction, before looking directly at Sirius, brows drawn.
"I love you," Remus said, and nothing happened, nothing changed. Sirius grinned at him, waiting for the joke, the way he would soften his statement with a sarcastic comment. Remus said nothing, and waited.
Sirius waited, and when nothing happened, his grin dropped a bit. He frowned, glancing at the others sitting nearby. James watched, wondering if they were finally, finally, saying something.
"Love you too," Sirius said finally, smiling still, and Remus relaxed back onto his shoulder, pointing at something in the parchment he was holding up.
"You misspelled this spell, here." James felt a bit like crying, he was so frustrated with them.
"Sirius, I love you, but you are being a bloody moron," Remus growled, angry enough that his eyes were flashing yellow. Sirius glared back, not backing down. Peter was frozen behind them, watching in worry.
"He's still following you around! You think that isn't an issue?" Sirius demanded, arms crossed.
"You think hexing him every other corridor will keep him off our backs? He gets more obsessive every time one of you gets at him, look at what happened in fifth year!" Peter winced, remembering what happened. Sirius showed Snape the secret way through the Whomping Willow. Sirius seemed hurt as well, and he almost took a step back.
"Well, the teachers won't do anything! They didn't then either, until he was almost through the tunnel!" He almost shouted, his eyes bright.
"I know!" Remus did yell, before calming down a bit. He sighed.
"I know. I'm sorry for bringing it up again. But please, Sirius, leave off. I can handle a few stray Slytherins, okay?" He reached forward a bit, and Sirius grasped his wrist, before pulling him into a hug. Peter looked away, to give them a semblance of privacy.
"I don't like it," Sirius muttered, squeezing Remus tightly. The bruises on Remus' ribs, the reason for the fight, ached, but he ignored them.
"I know," he said yet again. Peter relaxed, relieved that this fight had petered out quickly instead of escalating as it had in fifth year. He had said at the time that he had never intended to let Snape actually get into the Shrieking Shack. That by telling Snape, he had believed that he would go to Dumbledore with the information, or another teacher, and then be sworn to secrecy. Barring that, Sirius hadn't thought he would be stupid enough to enter on the full moon.
It had been a huge risk, and neither Remus nor Dumbledore had thought the potential benefit of getting Snape off of Remus' back had been worth it. Peter had thought that their friendship would survive, even when Sirius hadn't been expelled.
Yet now there they were. He didn't know how, exactly they had gotten over Sirius' betrayal, and frankly, he didn't want to. He was just glad he hadn't had to choose sides.
"I love you!"
"Pads, I love you so much right now."
James broke. It had only been a matter of time, really. Lily was surprised it had taken as long as it had, to be perfectly honest. At least it was a fairly private time, when only the Marauders and herself were present in the dormitory.
"Would you two please just own up to fancying each other already? You're driving me barmy!" Everyone turned to look at him, and the two in question frowned, looking at each other in confusion.
"Excuse me?" Remus finally asked, when James just sat there staring at them expectantly.
"You two, and your love confessions every other day, I can't take it anymore! You both fancy each other, you want to snog, shag, what do you want from me? Just date already and please stop with the pining!" He took a deep breath, and settled back, watching them both closely.
Remus and Sirius glanced at each other, before slowly turning back to look at him, expressions matching.
"We… are dating, James." There was abrupt and total silence, as everyone in the room stared at Remus and Sirius, both of whom looked puzzled.
"We've been for months now. You never noticed?" James shook his head, numb. Remus frowned, looking at the other two in the room.
"None of you realized we were dating?" Peter shrugged.
"I figured, but you never said anything, so I didn't, either. Seemed pretty obvious, though," he added, and Sirius nodded along.
"We couldn't have been more obvious if we tried, unless you want us snogging all over the Common Room?" He asked, leering a bit and taking hold of Remus' waist.
"No! I just- really, you never thought to just say it? You two have acted like that for years!" James stuttered out, still clearly shocked. Remus looked at Sirius again, before letting out a laugh.
"Well, that answers why you ask Peter and Mary to go on double dates with the two of you, and leave us hanging around the dormitory alone. We figured you were giving us alone time or something." He laughed again, and soon the rest of them joined in. James felt relieved, but also unbelievably frustrated. He had spent months struggling to either get his friends together or to let them do it themselves.
"Wait. You two have been shagging for months?! In our room? Mate, we sleep in here!"