"So what do you want for Christmas Padfoot?" Remus asked, looking up at his friend as he lay sprawled over a plush common room chair. It was past one in the morning and, though James and Peter had long ago wandered off to bed, Sirius had been kind enough to stay up and help Remus study for the next day's Potions exam before winter holidays.
"A kiss from you," Sirius slurred sleepily.
Remus snapped his head up, disbelieving his own ears. "What?"
Remus watched as Sirius' eyes grew wide, then a moment later that emotion was gone, replaced with a forced smile and a barking laugh.
"Gotcha Moony, you should've seen the look on your face. Priceless!"
"Wait, Sirius, did you really mean…"
"Priceless!" he repeated, slapping his knee and giving Remus a meaningful stare.
Remus took the hint and dropped it. "Right, you got me. Um, so what do you actually want then?"
Sirius ran a hand through his long black hair and shrugged. "I don't know Moony. Whatever really," he got up from the chair with an over-exaggerated stretch and yawn.
"Helpful as always Padfoot," Remus muttered, cocking an eyebrow. Sirius was acting off and it wasn't just due to the late hour.
"Well, just knit me a sweater or something," Sirius shrugged, walking quickly toward the stair.
"I think you're confusing me with someone's gran," Remus replied, swinging his head to watch his friend creeping away.
"Well goodnight then Gran, I'm off to bed, got to get my beauty sleep and all," Sirius said, saluting Remus before bounding up the stairs two at a time.
Remus was thusly left alone with his books, his thoughts, and his eyebrows furrowed in a highly confused expression.
"Huh," Remus said to no one but himself as he decided it was time to close his books and attempt a few hours of sleep.
Remus muddled over the strange remark as he got ready for bed, knowing that if he brought it up again with Sirius, the other boy was likely to chalk it up to sleep deprivation and the late hour. Yet something about the offhand comment rang strangely true for Remus. It was like suddenly random pieces of a very big-and incredibly gay-puzzle suddenly connected to form a cohesive picture. One Remus was both skeptical of and just a bit confused over.
He recalled many an instance of Sirius acting just a touch more amorous to him than the rest of the Marauders. Sure, he'd put an arm around James and pinch Peter's cheeks after a successful kitchen raid. But it was Remus who constantly found Sirius' head in his lap as they studied on the sofa, Remus who Sirius would pick as a partner on their adventures and mischief, and Remus' bed which Sirius used to crawl into on many occasion when he'd awaken with nightmares.
Furrowing his brow, Remus thought back on the latter. Strangely he could not recall a time this year in which Sirius had sought comfort in his bed as he used to. Then again, they were propper adults finally, and it wasn't too often that seventeen-year old boys crawled into one another's beds. Except for clingy Peter who still seemed keen on spending every moment, asleep or awake, with his idol James. Unfortunately for the chubby boy, Prongs kicked like his namesake, and Peter found himself flat on the floor most nights he tried to make his way into James' four poster.
Sleep evaded Remus as he continued to ponder Sirius' words. He wondered at the fact that the self-proclaimed ladies man had in fact, not spoken of, much less dated, a girl recently. Remus racked his brain trying to recall the last time Sirius had taken anyone to Hogsmeade or gotten detention after getting caught snogging in an empty classroom. It was definitely not within the past year. All the bragging over exploits, the talk of who he had his eyes on next, had apparently completely disappeared. It was highly curious to say the least. With his head full of thoughts of his best friend, rather than the Potions exam he was meant to be thinking on, Remus finally fell into a rather restless sleep.
Groggy and underprepared, Remus lurched like a zombie through the next day of exams. When his wand fell into the calderon during Potions, Remus decided that comparison was quite unfair to zombies. Luckily Sirius was his table mate, and after letting out a small chuckle, the other boy used his own wand to levitate out Remus' sodden one. Now bright pink and glittery, Remus groaned at his wand that would be the envy of any first year witch, and probably even some wizards. When Slughorn's back was turned, Sirius quickly slid beside Remus and dumped a pinch of nargul nose hairs and three spoonfuls of troll toe jelly before walking innocently back to his side of the table. Remus gave a sigh of relief as his potion suddenly turned from pink to orange, matching the rest of the class's caldrons.
"Thanks," he mouthed silently to Sirius, who gave him that enigmatic half smile before returning to his own work. Remus didn't know what he'd do without him.
Somehow Remus not only survived Potions but received a heartfelt congratulations from Slughorn on not exploding himself or others. He considered the day a roaring success.
So after two more classes and packing their trunks, the four Marauders found themselves on a train car heading home for the long holiday. James and Sirius decided to have a contest on who could eat the most peppermint chocolate frogs and then promptly fell into sugar comas. Long black hair cascaded over Remus' shoulder where Sirius had fallen asleep, nestled warmly against his side.
He decidedly liked it. Not in an I-like-having-friends-around type of way, but something more, something that made Remus feel sort of warm and fuzzy inside. He wondered at that. In all honestly, given his lycanthropy, Remus had never thought he'd have a chance at dating, finding love, or companionship of a romantic sort throughout his life. He shied away from girls other than Lily and simply rolled his eyes when any of the others talked about their sexual exploits. It wasn't for him, not only from a practical standpoint, but he'd never really had those urges toward another person.
But Sirius was different. He wondered what Sirius felt toward him, if those words rang true or were simply spoken out of sleep deprivation. It was curious to him, what the other boy could possibly see in him, especially given how good looking, charismatic, and outgoing Sirius was. Remus always thought his friend would find a like companion, an extroverted girl to laugh along with his jokes and get into trouble with. But maybe that wasn't what Sirius was looking for at all.
Suddenly Sirius started from his sleep, looking up at Remus and freezing before pulling away. Remus was having none of that. Sirius needed to stop acting strangely toward him. They'd be spending the next week together at the Potters and he was not in the mood for any of this suddenly distant behavior. Shaking his head, Remus leaned over, resting his own head on Sirius' shoulder, mirrored to how the other boy had been moments before.
Long seconds went by before Remus felt Sirius relax and pull an arm around him. He smiled behind closed eyes, hoping everything would be alright now before he drifted off to sleep.
Once they arrived at platform 9 ¾ , Sirius seemed much his old self. All the boys were greeted and hugged by James' parents before being whisked off by a nearby floo network to the Potter residence.
After dusting off some stray ash from their clothing, Remus surveyed the grand manor. It was so much different than his parent's humble home, much more luxurious yet still holding the warmth of love and family he was familiar with. Dozens of moving photographs and portraits of the Potters hung from the walls and the furniture was ornate yet worn from generations of magical children causing mischief.
"Alright men," James said, surveying his dusty troops. "Who's up for a bit of skating?"
Remus looked out the window toward the pond, ringed in sunlight and just the slightest bit of ice from a snowfall weeks past.
"A bit warm for it, isn't it? That pond looks more liquid than solid from here."
"Well what are freezing charms for?" James replied as if it were the most obvious answer ever. Which it probably was, though Remus still wasn't used to being an adult and no longer having the underage trace on him.
"Are you perhaps looking for excuses my dear Moony?" Sirius said, siding up to Remus and throwing an arm around him.
"Well...I can't exactly skate," Remus admitted under his breath.
"Er, me neigher," Peter added, looking about as fearful as Remus felt about the matter.
"Don't worry," James said, rummaging around in a closet before pulling out four giant pairs of skates, "we'll get you sorted."
Remus grabbed the pair he was handed and held it up to his foot. "I think you've got me confused with a giant Prongs." Though he had the biggest feet of the bunch, these seemed a full six inches too large.
"Well they're charmed to fit your foot once you've got them on," James replied, throwing his over his shoulder and making for the door.
"No more excuses Moony," Sirius said with a grin, pushing Remus ahead of him toward the awaiting pond.
Remus watched as James sprinted ahead to cast the freezing charm on the lake while Peter struggled to keep up with him.
"So I take it you know how to skate?"
"Are you doubting my skills dear Moony? I'll have you know, there's nothing I've tried that I do not excel at."
"Except maybe modesty," Remus replied, earning an elbow to the ribs and a shake of Sirius' head. "Really Padfoot, I have shite balance. I'm going to end up with at least a sore bum if not a broken nose."
"Don't worry your pretty little head Moony, I won't let anything happen to you," Sirius grinned as they neared the edge of the now icy pond.
"Aww shucks Padfoot, you think I'm pretty?" Remus teased in a sing-songy voice before realizing his friend had turned bright red. Ducking his head, Sirius worried his lip between his teeth as he was caught apparently speechless.
Remus laughed off the tension, kicking a rock toward Sirius' feet. "Don't worry Sirius, I'm only kidding. Your reputation as a ladies man is still very much intact."
"Yeah, of course," Sirius murmured before sitting down on a large rock and paying very close attention to tying his skates.
Shaking his head at Sirius' silence, Remus did up his own skates and by the time they resized and he looked up, Sirius had already joined James and Peter on the ice. The two dark haired boys seemed quite adept at the sport, skating elegant circles around a flailing Peter who had fallen on his ass at least twice in the time it took Remus to skate five feet. And then it was his turn to fall.
Luckily it was a slow fall and Remus was able to catch himself with his hands before faceplanting spectacularly onto the hard surface. Pushing himself shakily to his knees, Remus was surprised to find a hand outstretched to help him up.
"At least I'm better than Wormtail," Remus muttered and Sirius snorted, holding his hand closer. Remus gaze swung from Sirius' hand to his eyes and he cocked an eyebrow. "Will you have to turn in your masculinity card if you hold my hand as we skate?"
Sirius blushed momentarily before grabbing onto Remus and smoothly hauling him to his feet. "Nope, but you definitely will need to check yours at the door my damsel in distress."
"Splendid," Remus sighed, gripping Sirius' gloved fingers tight and taking slow slides forward on the ice.
Sirius interlaced their fingers and pulled Remus along beside him, catching him with a firm grip each time Remus began to flounder. Slowly they made their way across the ice, and Remus began to grow both in confidence and in acceptance of how well Sirius' hand fit in his own. It was a thought that flickered in an out of his mind between the sudden panic of constantly losing his balance, a thought he wasn't able to dwell upon until Sirius let go to help push Peter back to his feet. James was currently summoning a pillow from his bedroom window, and between he and Sirius, they had affixed the fluffy padding to Peter's abused rear.
"You didn't use a permanent sticking charm, did you?" Peter squeaked as he felt up his newly padded bum.
"Is there any other kind?" James mused, admiring their handywork.
"But this is my best pair of trousers!" Peter bemoaned as the other boys laughed.
"Don't worry Pete, I bet the ladies will all line up to give your new and improved rump a feel," Remus laughed as he held his arms stiffly out to the sides, steadying himself as Sirius skated gracefully back over and took his hand again. Remus let out a sigh of relief and Sirius cocked an eyebrow.
"Miss me already Moony?"
"Not as much as I miss solid ground," he muttered.
They did a lap or two, Remus slowly growing in confidence, even letting go of Sirius' hand momentarily on a couple of occasions before grabbing back almost immediately. Sirius for his part would scold him and call him a princess, but all in good fun.
Unfortunately Peter, though more daring than Remus upon the ice, was still not quite grasping the balancing aspect of skating. So when James challenged him to a race across the pond, Remus knew it was a recipe for disaster even before Peter lost his footing and sideswiped him sharply on his mad dash for glory.
Time slowed for Remus as he began to fall, the cold hard surface of the ice rising up before he could even throw his arms out to brace himself. But instead of unforgiving ice, Remus found his body cushioned by a warm chest and two strong arms holding him tight. Sirius let out a pained cough as Remus crashed down onto him. Momentarily at a loss for words and breath, Remus blinked in surprised relief before he raised his neck to look into Sirius' own startled grey eyes. Only after staring for seconds that seemed to last an eternity did Remus realize he was probably squishing his best friend. Strangely Sirius didn't seem to care as he continued to wrap his arms around Remus, only loosening his hold enough for Remus to eventually reach out a hand, bracing it on the ice beside Sirius' head.
Remus had never felt more confused in his life in those slow seconds. He felt so safe, so loved in the other boy's arms, his best friend of almost seven years. The boy who sat next to him on the train as a frightened first year, the boy who had accepted his lycanthropy and become an animagus for him. The boy who had said that he wanted to kiss him.
Sirius watched him with trepidation, an emotion so foreign to the cocky teen that Remus had the overwhelming urge to sooth it away from his furrowed brow. He didn't understand why, but his befuddled feelings suddenly clicked into place as he looked from pleading eye to full lips and realized there was nothing in the world he wanted more than Sirius Black. As the confusion dissipated like his memories of the full moon Remus leaned close, looking all the while at Sirius' eyes as they widened then furrow when he stopped a breath away. Remus wanted this, but not without being sure Sirius felt the same.
Only when warm lips met his own did Remus close his eyes and simply gave in. Even Sirius' tentative kiss made him feel more loved and needed than he ever thought possible. Long fingers slid along his back, burrowing into the thick material of Remus' sweater and pulling them chest to heaving chest. Remus sighed as Sirius' lips parted, a feeling both new and exciting as he decided to do the same, gasping as Sirius' tongue entered his mouth with much more passion than the initial shy kiss had prepared him for. Remus felt like he was melting into the ice and he loved every moment of it.
Long gloved fingers carded through Remus' sandy blond hair, pulling him closer, the warmth of their bodies seeping into one another as the rest of the world faded away. Remus ducked his head shyly as Sirius brough his hand to trace along his jaw, mapping his face, seeing some beauty in his imperfect features that Remus could not possibly fathom. Then Sirius thumb and forefinger captured his chin, pulling Remus' lips back in as both boys surrendered to the heat and want of this strange new beginning.
Until, that is, they were rudely interrupted.
"Ha! I won, and you'll never guess what Peter...Oh!"
Remus turned his head to the side, out of breath and blushing madly as James slid up unexpectedly to them on the ice.
"Damn it, this is just…" James muttered angrily as Remus pushed himself up and off Sirius, both boys stares of confusion turning to anger at their friend's outburst.
"James what…" Peter started, stumbling to a graceless stop beside them as well before his eyes widened and his mouth turned up into a gleeful grin. "Yes! Ha, take that Potter! You might have won this silly race, but you now owe me five galleons!"
Peter promptly fell on his padded behind as James smacked him on the arm.
"Er um," Remus started.
"What…" Sirius frowned at the two boys, dusting ice off himself as he pushed himself to his feet with ease.
"James here bet me five galleons you wouldn't snog until after New Years, but me, I knew…" Peter laughed in triumph.
"You...you were betting we would snog?" Remus blinked bewilderedly, "I didn't even know I wanted to snog him!"
"Well it was pretty obvious to us," James shrugged and punched Sirius goodnaturedly in the shoulder. "Padfoot here has been pining over you since...what fourth year?"
"Third," Sirius mumbled as Remus' eyes widened.
"Damn it!" James yelled at Peter laughed and made a motion for more money. "I bet wrong again!"
"Maybe stop betting on our love lives," Remus suggested as the two other boys went down in flurry, fighting on the cold ice.
"Third year, huh?" Remus asked now that the other two were no longer paying the slightest bit of attention to he and Sirius.
Sirius scratched the back of his neck and shrugged. "Guess I always just knew. What about you, why'd you do it if you hadn't thought about, you know, snogging me before?"
Remus bit his lip. The decision had seemed so right, so perfect that it was hard to describe. So instead he pulled Sirius forward by the shirt collar, kissing him once, deeply, before letting go. Sirius fell back on the ice in a stunned graceless heap, for once the one falling as Remus stood tall and confident.
"Just felt like giving you your Christmas present early Padfoot."