When writing this, I decided that it kind of belongs with this story so this is where it'll be posted even if it takes place somewhere between the top and lower half of chapter 2. I may add more to this story later on to include more of their progress, but no promises made.
This chapter is for Lojosmom; hopefully it will bring you some comfort and takes your mind of off things for a little bit.
"Hmmm?" blearily James opened his eyes and shifted in bed to face his best friend's silhouette standing beside his bed.
"I need your help."
"What is it?" At the slight urgency in Sirius' voice, James immediately sat up.
"I figured out what kind of animal I'll be," came the cryptic answer, making James frown as he fumbled to turn on the oil lamp on his nightstand.
"Now? It's the middle of...Merlin!" abruptly James felt wide awake as the light finally turned on and his best friend was revealed, or more accurately, the black dog ears on top of his head became clearly visible.
"H-how..." unable to take his eyes off of the ears, he simply stared as Sirius sighed miserably but didn't move.
"I don't know, I woke up to a burning sensation and they were just there. I can't get rid of them."
"Have you taken a photo yet?" James finally broke out of his stupor and reached out to touch the ears, making it twitch at the lightest touch and emitting a soft breathy chuckle from his best friend.
"That tickles," a faint smile crept over Sirius' lips. "And it was the first thing I did after the initial panic."
"Sorry," James made an effort to look away from the ears and to his best friend, fighting the urge to start petting those soft looking ears. "So you are a canine type of Animagus...judging by your ears, you could be a wolf."
"I'm a dog, I think," Sirius flushed and shifted. "I...ah...I have a matching tail."
"You're kidding!" As his best friend turned slightly, James spotted the thick black tail swaying behind Sirius and his resolve broke, gesturing to the dark ears. "Can I?"
"Sure, it can't really get more mortifying," immediately he flushed even deeper as the tail began to waggle happily as James brushed a hand over the soft ears, even softer than he'd imagined them to be. "Scratch that."
"Well, it's cute?" James tried to comfort him, biting his lip as his hand shot out to pull Sirius into his side when the other looked like he considered running away.
"Yes, that is exactly what any fourteen year old boy wants to hear; that he's got a cute tail," Sirius raised an eyebrow as James' fingers buried almost automatically in the fluffy tail without him even realising.
"Ah...A cute and fluffy tail with...well, adorable ears?"
"You really aren't helping, James," despite the whine, Sirius leaned into the touch, his tail happily waggling as James brushed his other hand over the soft ears again, examining them more thoroughly.
"It's true, though," James argued lightly, sitting up on his knees to get a better look at the ears. "They are sensitive to touch...can you hear out of them?"
"Yes, I don't seem to be having my own ears at the moment," at the words, James' eyes snapped down to realise his best friend was right. Insanely enough, James hadn't even realised Sirius' own ears were missing.
"Huh," running a finger over the spot where Sirius' ears normally should be, he found smooth skin and although it should look weird and unnatural, James found that it really didn't and the black dog ears looked as natural as dog ears ever could on a human's head. "And the tail?"
"Haven't really noticed anything special from that end, but my eyes are better and I can smell a whole lot better, too," Sirius admitted.
Looking more closely at his best friend's face, James was unable to detect any other differences. "How much better?"
"About four times better for hearing, smell and sight, which is rather odd because dogs aren't supposed to see so many colours or so far," which explained the headache his friend was clearly experiencing if his slightly narrowed eyes and the way he was turning away from the light were any indication so James leaned back to turn the oil lamp a little lower.
"We'll look that up, tomorrow. How enhanced are your smell and hearing?" James tried to retain a scientific approach to their project, even though he wanted nothing more than to curl up with Sirius and keep petting him.
"The Fat Lady is snoring in her portrait, there's someone with a serious cough in one of the other dorms and...uh...other things," Sirius flushed; embarrassment flashing over his features. "The sounds are coming from everywhere and I can't seem to concentrate enough to cast a silencing charm to block it out properly."
"Right," retrieving his wand from his nightstand, James quickly cast the charm and noticed that Sirius seemed to immediately deflate in tension. "And smell?"
"Peter didn't take a shower before bed and the sock Remus lost last week is hidden under the closet, which cements the fact that he's just too lazy to retrieve it since I know he can smell where it is. I can smell all the different kinds of candy and chocolate they keep and you need to deliver your Quidditch training outfit to the elves for washing," Sirius swallowed as James cast a quick glance at the outfit he'd dumped to the side that evening before bed. "I can't believe Remus deals with all these smells all the time and has not been driven insane."
"He's used to it while it's completely new to you," James wrapped an arm around his best friend's shoulder while subtly casting a spell to clean his training set at least a little.
"Thanks," Sirius half curled into his side, the soft ears brushing against James' jaw.
"It is rather fitting, though, don't you think?"
"How so?" James' hands twitched as Sirius straightened and turned his head sidewards in confusion.
It was something he had always done, but the normally cute effect was tenfolded by the ears peeking out of the short hair and James had to force himself not to squeal in delight.
"Well, dogs are known to be extremely loyal and protective of their loved ones. Playful, loving and great companions while at the same time they are guardians and protectors. That are all things you are as well," James smiled as Sirius curled back up against him. "And they love to cuddle."
"Cuddles are good," Sirius hummed in agreement. "But although I like cuddles, they don't help me get rid of the ears and tail. I've already tried everything we used to take Pete's tail and your antlers away."
"I guess we'll just have to go to the library, we can ask Slughorn for a new permission slip at breakfast so we can hit the Forbidden Section."
"Are we going to blame a failed Polyjuice potion to explain away the ears? I can hide the tail, but not the ears," Sirius twitched, his face scrunching up in disgust and he rubbed his hands over his face. "I should know what to do now, but I can't..."
"Sensory overload," James shifted so that he could pull Sirius more into his side, immediately knowing he'd done the right thing as Sirius buried his nose into the fabric of his shirt to block out everything else as much as he could. "The Polyjuice would be a good idea. We're not allowed to wear caps during class and I don't dare to transfigure them when we don't know exactly how you transformed them in the first place."
"I'm going to have to avoid Professor M as much as I can, though."
"I don't know, she might just find you as adorable as I do and give us a slack from detentions," James teased, running a light finger over the tip of the nearest ear.
"Very funny," Sirius' yawn was muffled by James' clothing, but he made no attempt to move. "Who says she doesn't actually hate dogs? She is a cat Animagus."
"And you'll be a dog Animagus, yet I know for a fact that you love cats," James countered.
"Fair enough," Sirius readily gave in as he made himself more comfortable against James. "What do we tell Remus?"
"He won't buy into us making a mistake like that?" James carefully shifted so that he could lean against the headboard without dislodging Sirius.
"He might, but what if it happens again? We're not usually stupid enough to make the same mistake twice, let alone repeatedly."
"That might indeed be a problem," James agreed. "What if we say it is part of our Polyjuice project? He thinks we're trying to find other uses for it anyway, so it'll cover us overall when something like this might come up again."
"We could carry around Muggle notebooks to take down people's reactions to me, acting like we're taking data as if we have done it on purpose," Sirius nodded. "It will be a bit humiliating, but it should fool him."
"We'll have a look at your memories of last night tomorrow, see if we can't figure out what you've done to cause this transformation," James smiled as the fluffy tail had stilled on his thigh, running a hand over it softly since it clearly didn't bother Sirius. "It is kind of ironic, isn't it?"
"That you will turn into my favourite animal and I in yours," James reached up to scratch behind the dog ear closest to him.
"I would say that it is a coincidence, but I think that when it comes to us, it is just meant to be," Sirius smiled, the ear James was scratching behind twitched. "Could you scratch a little to the left...yes, there."
Laughing as grey eyes closed in pure bliss, James dropped a kiss into his hair. "All right, that is just adorable. I can't wait to see how Remus will react to seeing you like this."
"Remus doesn't love dogs like you do," Sirius paused, a small smile playing on his lips. "Well, no one loves dogs as much as you do, but Remus isn't too crazy about animals in general."
"Maybe not, but he already has trouble resisting your puppy dog look on a good day, he won't stand a chance now that they're matched with these ears," James yelped as Sirius dug his elbow into his side, shifting away with a laugh even as his best friend yawned again.
"I think we should leave figuring out a solution until tomorrow, don't you think?" As Sirius made to pull away, James tightened his hold.
"And where do you think you're going?"
"I can't really control the tail, what if I slap you with it during the night?"
"With how cocooned you usually end up in the blankets, there's little chance of that. And even if you did, you really think I'd let you leave my side when there's a tail on you that I can cuddle with?" James grinned unashamedly while magically pulling the blankets up over them, making Sirius laugh. "It was clever to make a hole in your pyjama bottoms, by the way."
"When I realised I would not be getting rid of it so easily, I figured I could at least make it more comfortable," Sirius made himself comfortable again. "But we'll have to figure out a way to hide it tomorrow if we don't want to bring Professor M's suspicion onto us. Ears can happen, but a matching tail is just asking for trouble."
"We got away with holding that Mandrake leaf in our mouth for a month without anyone noticing, so I think we'll manage this as well," James tested the flexibility of the tail and found it could curl all the way around Sirius' slender frame. "Does that hurt?"
"It's not particularly comfortable, but it doesn't hurt," Sirius looked down. "Do you think that we might be able to bind it to my body so it won't be able to waggle?"
"We will test that out in the morning, too. I refuse to let you be uncomfortable, especially as we don't know how long it might take us to get rid of it," James tried to determine the length of the tail. "If the tail is any indication, you will probably be a fairly big dog."
"A stag and a dog," Sirius nodded. "Between the two of us, we should be able to match Moony's strength when needed. And Peter is small enough to act as a distraction, maybe make him chase him to tire him out a little if we're not."
"We'll think about all of that later, for now we should get some more sleep," James decided and without further argument Sirius curled back against his side, his tail slightly curling around James as well.
"I can hear you squealing, you know?" Sirius' grumble made James bite his lip to try and stop himself from finding his best friend utterly adorable.
"Sorry, it's just...your Animagus form really, really makes sense," James beamed as Sirius glanced down, his ears twitching as he seemed to realise what he meant.
"We'll figure it out," James tried to reassure him while glancing at Peter's sleeping form on the other end of the dorm, the normal charms keeping his snoring from reaching them. But as expected, the other hadn't so much as stirred by their conversation or the light.
"I know, and at least the ears aren't sharp like your antlers were," Sirius smiled up to him before muffling another yawn against James' side and snuggled further into him.
"Thank Merlin for that," James breathed out relieved. "But we really should get some sleep so we'll be rested enough for when Remus returns from the Shack and discovers you."
"I'm done for," Sirius groaned. "While you can't stop petting me, he's going to be a completely mother hen."
"Sorry," James was forced to admit that he was once again petting the fluffy ears and quickly withdrew his hand to wrap it back around Sirius' waist.
"I would probably be the same if you were to get bambi ears," Sirius teased.
Now it was James' turn to groan. "You're never going to let me live that down, are you?"
"Never," Sirius grinned, cocooning himself deeper into the blanket until only the tips of the dog ears were still visible. "Night, James."
Shifting slightly onto his side so that he could wrap his other arm around Sirius as well, James closed his eyes. "Night Siri."
He was quick to return to sleep with the familiarity of Sirius' warm body curled up beside him, only waking when a high squeal of delighted shock startled them both awake.
It seemed that Remus' indifference to animals in general did not in fact include Sirius' doggy appearance and the other couldn't stop reaching out to pet his ears or brush a hand over his tail.
Sharing a bemused eye roll with Peter as the other tried to hide his amusement, Sirius resigned himself to James and Remus' delight and let them both pet his ears and tail to their heart's content.
"One day, I am going to pet the living daylight out of Moony," he threatened Remus. "And there will be nothing you can do to stop me."
"I'll even roll over and let you rub my stomach, if that day ever comes," Remus cheerfully declared when his hand once more found itself in the soft hairs of Sirius' tail.