Disclaimer: The following is not purely original fiction, but rather characters, settings, and situations as created by J.K. Rowling. No money is being made of this piece of fanfiction and can not be reproduced for any purposes but strictly private entertainment.
A/N: 'Sent to Conventry' - means silent treatment. Worked hard to make the boys sound like teenagers, especially to capture Sirius's thoughts with as much canonical characterisation as possible. Let me know how I did with that in particular.
And also, you'll have to trust me. It's a strong PG-13, this is, but there is no sex. Have faith in me in that regard when things look as though I might be a liar.
'Can't believe you, Padfoot,' Peter said from where he was bent over, hastily writing a note to his mother. 'All day you complain you're bored, then you get to talking with some pretty girl, and then you brush her off.'
'She was boring,' scowled Sirius in matter-of-fact tones.
'My ears deceive me.'
'That's right, Prongs. Your ears are liars. You should teach them a lesson and cut them off.' Sirius was listless and defying all laws of male adolescence by poking at his food and eating very little of it.
'You? Found a girl boring?' Peter elaborated.
For a moment, Sirius considered ignoring him. It would be easy enough to pretend he hadn't heard; the Great Hall was noisy and Peter was a seat or two down on the other side of James. Then he slammed down his fork on his plate (making Peter jump), pushed back against the table so that his chair slid out, and sighed.
'That's right,' he said. 'She was pretty. Very pretty. A looker. And she had brains enough to fill an inkstand. You just wanted to sit her down somewhere and order her to stay there but to not open her mouth.'
'Stop complaining,' muttered James, wistfully, but only so that Sirius could hear, and Sirius doubted even he was supposed to. Like a good friend, he changed the subject, although this was not exactly an example of true altruism. Sirius had been changing the subject all day in a desperate attempt to find something to hold his attention. A great part of this was knowing that summer holiday was just around the corner, and he'd be cooped in that wretched house. He wanted to enjoy every moment left of term that he could, and the more he tried to do it, the more frustrated he grew with the lack of action.
'Upstairs,' Peter said, meaning their dormitory and they all knew it. 'Says he has a headache.'
'Of course he does, studying all day - wait, you know what!' Sirius shouted the last few words as he stood up, not caring that everyone was looking at him. Rather enjoying it than otherwise. 'He's sulking, isn't he!'
'Well, his last moody fit was two months ago, so I s'pose he's due,' James said.
There was no rhyme or reason to Remus's 'moody fits' that Sirius could see. That Remus was a werewolf was the easiest thing to accept about him. At least his transformations were predictable, regular as clockwork. It was everything else about him that Sirius couldn't fathom. Such as why the 'moody fits' had come on. Sirius couldn't remember Remus being anything other than a cheerful, agreeable, and sunnily optimistic comrade for the past four years. Why everything had fallen to pieces this year was beyond his comprehension, but Remus spent a lot of time alone and brooding as of late.
But that was okay. Sirius knew a way that almost always brought Remus back to his senses, and after that airhead Agnes or Angel or whoever, he was more than ready to snog someone who could actually carry on a conversation inbetweentimes.
'Well, I'm done,' Sirius said, abruptly cheery in manner.
'You haven't eaten anything,' commented Peter. James, who had more tact and who knew that discretion was the better part of friendship, nudged him.
Sirius bounded up the Tower, impatient with all the twisting and turning. He hollered and whooped just to break the silence, and occasionally broke into a run ending in a tumble. Sometimes he landed on his feet; sometimes he didn't. In any case, it didn't last long: he was feeling much too apathetic for that much energy, and ever since this year he had always been checking to make sure no one was around to see him go schizo like that.
But nearly everyone was at dinner and no one was around to see him bound about, or give the password - 'six broken crystal balls' - to the Fat Lady. Some in the common room saw him, but they were in a dreadful state over exams and didn't even bother to look up at him. His way to their dormitory was clear.
Sirius loved their dormitory. Back in first year he had said to his new friend James Potter that this was home away from home and that their dorm had to be fantastic. By fifth year they had accomplished that and more.
He wished his bedroom was like this. If only because Kreacher and his mother would have simultaneous heart attacks, something that Sirius didn't think would be all that much a tragedy. He examined the burning card house on the floor carefully as he came in, wondering if they could perhaps put little figurines in there enchantedly rushing in, out, and about to escape the fire, and then wondering if thoughts like that indicated something wrong with his head. He also noted that someone had turned the train on the Muggle-styled train tracks (that went around the floor, up the walls, and on the ceiling) off.
That someone's curtains were drawn.
Sirius tiptoed to that someone's nightstand quietly as he could and tucked the prefect badge on the train's caboose. Then he cheerfully disregarded the curtains. As he had thought, Remus's eyes weren't even closed.
'Hi, Moony,' he said brightly.
'Hi Padfoot,' was the dull reply. A moody fit indeed.
'No need to guess. You're not half so stealthy as you think you are.'
Sirius pouted his lower lip. 'Fine then,' he said. 'You know. And' - much more happily - 'you know what you have to do to get the prefect badge back.'
This game had started their experiments of a less-than-platonic nature. Sirius had decided on the spur of the moment last November to steal the badge when Remus was in the shower. 'You'll have to kiss me if you ever want to get it again.' And to his surprise, Remus had complied with rather more intensity than Sirius had dared to hope for. It was all casual and non-committal, just very mutually enjoyable.
'Keep it,' Remus replied.
Sirius had not counted on this response, but somehow it wasn't unexpected. 'Move over, will you? Let me pull up a bit of mattress here.'
Remus did so and Sirius sat down on his bed.
'You know,' Sirius attempted, 'you'd feel better if you ate something.'
'I already did, and I'm fine.'
'Then why are you up here?'
'I was studying. Sirius, don't you have some girl's heart to break? Some dangerous illegal scheme to display Gryffindor colours in inappropriate places? A kitchen raid?'
He really demanded tactile exchanges when he was so moodily sarcastic and pensive like that, Sirius thought. 'Not getting rid of me that easily, Moony. You're not studying, and if you were, I'd be yelling at you, because you've been studying for two weeks straight.'
'I was studying. You'll note the past tense.'
'And what're you doing now?' Sirius leaned over and made lazy circles on Remus's chest with his finger.
Remus shifted, dislodging the contact. 'Trying to clear my head so that the words mean something.'
'Will you please stop with the Transfiguration! You'll be fine. You always are. You need to relax.'
That got a slight smile out of him. 'Sirius,' Remus said solemnly, 'no one relaxes around you.'
'Is that so?' Sirius's arm ran along the bed, swimming underneath Remus and pulling him closer once it reached the other side. Remus was unresisting and limp this time. That meant that Sirius was able to hold him so that Remus's head was tucked under his chin, but that Sirius's appetite was diminished by the lack of response. But that was all right. Sirius didn't mind a challenge. 'D'you know what? Your nickname fits you. Listen to the irony - it refers to your marvelously wolfish nature, but it doesn't describe you on the full moon, does it? You're sensible then.' He could feel rather than hear Remus's snort. 'It's the rest of the time that you're so prone to brooding and worrying and being generally moony.'
'Well, one of us has to have a conscience.' Remus was testy.
'Why?' Sirius deadpanned.
Remus sighed into him. 'For reasons that aren't understood if they need to be explained.'
'Mm-hm. Whatever you say,' Sirius said gallantly, knowing that usually bugged people and hoping to get a rise out of him. 'You grew right out of "Lupe" into "Moony" this year.'
'And you have yet to grow out of "mindless git" into "Padfoot",' Remus retorted, but he placed a halfhearted kiss right where Sirius's collar ended and his neck's skin was exposed.
'Now, now, Lupe. Don't waste 'em.' Sirius skillfully brought his head down, running along the side of Remus's face the whole time, tucking under his chin and urging it up, and then maneuvering his mouth over Remus's. Kissing Remus was generally very enjoyable. It was comfortable and close, and Sirius didn't feel as though he had to live up to legendary gossip. And Remus was very obliging. And increasingly talented.
For the moment, though, Remus's mind obviously wasn't on it.
Sirius broke it off, missing Remus's trick of twisting when they parted that immediately made Sirius want to do it again, and used his thumb and forefinger to firmly rub one of Remus's temples, the one that wasn't indisposed by leaning next to him. 'The hell's wrong, Remus?' he asked quietly. 'We'll all be with you Saturday, you know that.'
'It's not that,' replied Remus, sounding even gloomier. 'And I'll know you'll be with me.'
'Well, sorry for burdening you.'
'No, no.' Remus was contrite. 'I appreciate it. You know that. But it is burdening. That's the very problem.'
'How so?' Sirius was unable to resist the temptation to kiss that temple, and then to finger and play with the sun-warmed brown hair around it.
'Let's just say that life used to be simple. Then the proverbial spider came along - three spiders. And they made things extremely complex.'
'I'll bet life was a lot more boring when it was simpler,' Sirius grinned. Another thing that made Remus enjoyable. He couldn't find anyone who would talk about spiders and call him a mindless git while snogging. You never knew what exactly would come out of Remus's mouth next, which was probably the reason Sirius, James, and Peter had been interested enough in him to become friends in the first place.
'It was,' admitted Remus. 'It was boring and lonely and monotonous.'
'Which is why you put up with the spiders?'
Sirius had hoped that the conversation was turning lighter, but Remus sighed again and replied, 'They really made a mistake, making a prefect of the one who's in debt to his spider-roommates.'
'Non-sequitur,' Sirius accused in a singsong voice.
Another sigh, one of his patented, patient ones. 'Sirius, get what you came up here to do over with and go away.'
Sirius knew that Remus could not be entirely serious and took that as an invitation.
'And shut the curtains, would you?' Remus tacked on impatiently before they had gotten fairly underway.
That finally sent a signal to Sirius. 'Aren't we touchy today.'
'We wouldn't want your spotless reputation soiled,' said Remus sarcastically.
'Nor yours,' Sirius shrugged. 'Listen, Remus, if you're going to be miserable about this…'
'No, stop worrying.' Remus's face was still screwed up in a frighteningly derisive manner. 'It's my duty to let you do with me as you like, since you're desperate right now.'
'What?' Sirius was lost and beginning to wish he'd stayed in the Great Hall.
Another patient sigh. 'Sirius, just kiss me.'
He was acting as badly as some of Sirius's more temperamental girlfriends, but Sirius didn't disobey the order. For the next few moments Remus was rather more passive than his norm but gentle and pleasant. Perhaps because he wasn't in the position to be able to speak much.
Finally Sirius cut things off, troubled by the previous conversation and unable to completely push it to the back of his mind. He gently pushed Remus back against the pillows but didn't descend with him, instead choosing to kneel. He leaned against his hands, palm-down on either side of Remus, and straddled Remus's waist with his knees. 'What do you mean, in debt to us?' He didn't wait for an answer. 'Don't be thick. You're not in debt to us.'
Remus made a noise in his throat that indicated disagreement. 'D'you remember the beginning of the year, when James started trying to get Lily Evans's attention by harassing that cat of hers? And how he eventually kidnapped it and took it to our dormitory? I gave him a day to return it and when he didn't I gave him a detention?'
'Oh come on what? He stole someone's pet.'
'That's not - '
'Yes it is. "Disrespect of the property of students." When that property is animate, then it's actually worth three detentions, so I let him off rather lightly. All the same, James and Peter both sent me to Coventry for about a week, and you - '
He broke off, fighting accelerated breathing. But he didn't have to go on, because Sirius could remember what he was getting at now.
Sirius had been indignant on James's behalf and had yelled at Remus.
'Listen, I'm sorry.'
Remus attempted to shrug, although that was difficult when horizontal and pinned by Sirius. 'Something about how you put in three years' worth of work and your freedom on the line to help me and this was the thanks you got. I can take a hint, Sirius.'
Sirius blinked. 'I said that?'
'It's not something I'd easily forget. Yes, you did.'
Actually, Sirius could remember saying it too, although for a moment he couldn't believe he honestly had. And now Remus's previous comment about prefectship and debt started falling in place. 'So why're you brooding about this now?' he asked defencively.
'That you have to ask shows how royally messed up this is,' Remus frowned.
'What?' Irritation was thick and heavy in his voice.
Remus rolled his eyes heavenward - or, rather, to the headboard. 'Let's see. Before lunch. Outside. Sirius, bored. Snape. James, wand. Is this ringing a bell, or do you need a few more keywords?'
'Oh, come on - '
'Peter told me the story of why you call him Snivellus.'
'Did he now.' Sirius had never been ashamed of that particular event before, not in the least, but somehow, with Remus's eyes fixed on his own from beneath him, he began to think the incident showed a rather immature (and possibly sadistic) version of himself. One with perhaps a smidgen too much time on his hands. 'So are you saying that for today James and I deserved another detention? And what does Snape get for calling Lily Evans a Mudblood?'
'Yes, and a warning.'
'He's called more people than her Mudbloods and you know that. Listen, all right, so the Snivellus incident was a little harsh, but you can't pretend he's completely innocent and undeserving.'
There was a short pause. 'A little harsh?' Remus repeated quietly.
Sirius grimaced. 'Yeah, a little harsh,' he replied shortly.
'I've been tormented till I cried, too,' Remus said steadily, not breaking eye contact.
'Who?' demanded Sirius hotly.
Remus ignored the question. 'I suppose I'm very fortunate that when - afterwards - I met the three of you that you chose me as a friend rather than enemy.'
'Yeah, we did that because you're decent and clever and nice, all right? There's a world of difference between you and Snape, and anyway, you said for you it was before you met us, you were little - '
'Little? Oh yes.' Remus laughed hollowly. 'A world of difference between ten and eleven, isn't there?'
'Ten?' And Remus never cried, not even after transformations that had made Sirius physically sick the first few times he'd witnessed it. 'The hell was this bastard, Remus?'
'It was someone at the Registry.' The angrier Sirius grew, the calmer Remus grew; it was the inversion in their personality that made them such an unlikely pairing of friends, but one that worked so well all the same. 'I'd ask you to promise me that you'll never be like that person, but…'
Sirius growled low in his throat, leaning closer to Remus without thinking. 'I'd never be like that! But what? Do you think I'd do that?!'
'Shh.' Remus reached up and stroked his cheekbone. 'Shh.'
'I'll never ever do that,' Sirius said in a low, fierce hiss. He found he was panting. 'I'd never pick on some little kid, all right? I will promise you. Never ever. That's a whole different Quidditch match, got it? The hell kind of monster do you think I am?'
Remus was reaching around, drawing him into an embrace. 'Lay off Snape, would you?' he asked softly. 'I don't mean don't give him what's due, but stop going overboard. Like today.'
Hungry for more contact, thrilling at how their bodies were so close and aligned, Sirius would have promised anything. 'Fine. All right.'
He was rewarded when Remus began to run a few fingers through his hair, brushing and rubbing at his scalp and the nape of his throat.
'Let's clear up one more thing,' Sirius said, his mouth just a few inches askew from dead on Remus's ear. 'You said something about it being your duty to let me' - play? snog? be kissy-kissy? - 'well, do this with you. You don't do this just because you feel that's paying off your' - he made a face that Remus couldn't see, but his tone of voice was disgusted enough for Remus to get the point - 'debt to us, me in particular - right?'
There was a patient smile as an answer. 'Hardly. What, do you honestly think I don't like this?'
'Well, I don't know what you meant.'
'I meant that you were desperate enough to come to me.'
'What's that - ?'
'It just means that I know my place in your hectic love life. I'm the one you come to when there's no one better available.' Remus spoke with a little laugh.
Sirius went rather rigid. 'Don't talk like that.'
'I just know that I'm not competing with your oh-so-lovely girlfriends. I'm hardly attractive.'
'Yeah, but when I close my eyes I don't notice that,' Sirius said wickedly, testing the waters again.
'That's a problem solved,' replied Remus, and his voice held a smile in it, so Sirius felt they were on safe ground again.
'Listen, don't put yourself down. You have a lot of advantages over the masses. Sometimes I really just want to freeze some of those girls. Sit 'em down and tell them, don't talk, don't say a word, it ruins the pretty picture you make. They're nice as a tablepiece, but not as the person sharing breakfast.'
'I just get a little jealous watching you with them sometimes.'
With Remus, Sirius knew, the words just and a little and sometimes were understatements of what he really felt, and suddenly Sirius was alarmed. 'You know that you can see people too,' he said hastily.
'Of course I do - watching you, how could I not figure that one out? It's all right, really. I don't want to bother doing it, there's too much else to worry about. I'm satisfied with the occasional bit of fun with you.' He eyed Sirius knowingly. 'Don't get worked up. That's what it is to me, same as you, very fun, and I don't have to feel nervous or self-conscious. I feel secure with you. That's all.'
Sirius calmed. Remus had described exactly what he felt, and he was relieved that they were on the same wavelength. 'In that case, let's stop procrastinating, shall we? Dinner won't last forever.'
Remus gave him a wan smile; Sirius was unable to determine if it were tired or unenthusiastic and settled for the former. It proved to seem an accurate supposition, as Remus warmed up quite nicely and initiated some contact that sent agreeable shivers through Sirius and reminded him that while touching Remus was pleasant, being touched by Remus was pleasurable. For a while they savoured each deep taste of the other, each shift of an angle that made each repetition of what they'd already done new and delicious again, each painless burst of heat that made clothes botheringly restrictive.
Sirius was content with this for a while and when it was no longer satisfactorys he distracted himself by seeing how much of a reaction he could draw from his controlled and contained partner who was unable to control or contain little noises and small moans as they delved deeper into each other's mouths or an occasional thready, breathy pant as Sirius's fingers stroked his throat.
But then even this fell short of what his hormones were screaming, and Sirius's hand smoothly ran down along Remus's side, drawing a startled, pleasured gasp from the side's owner.
Sirius surveyed Remus's normally pallid face, now flushed with crazed colour, and congratulated himself. No one else could do this to Remus. Remus would allow no one else to try. The thought increased his arousal.
When Sirius cupped Remus's hips with his hands, Remus seemed to become boneless, sinking into the mattress and Sirius's grip.
'Please, Sirius - no,' Remus said in a strangled, hoarse voice.
'Stop. Not fair. No.' Remus's coherency had sprouted wings and was learning to use them.
It took Sirius a moment to register those words and regrip the English language himself. 'Oh, 'lright. I'll stop' - a strong, firm hand massaged Remus's thigh - 'if you're really sure you're not enjoying it…'
Remus's eyes were closed and his lips were parted. Weakly, he insisted, 'I'm sure I want you to stop.' Sirius took his hands away, awkwardly in the air. He wanted to take advantage of that opened mouth but doubted his ability to stop there. Fortunately, Remus opened his eyes and sat up a little. 'Sorry, but' - a deep inhale - 'casual sex is an oxymoron' - deep exhale - 'in my book.'
'Your book?' Sirius forced his voice back to normalcy. 'Which of your books?' He rolled over, releasing Remus from his straddle and ignoring the prickling feeling that had started to slowly recede. He snatched the book from the nightstand and held it up. 'Not this book? Look, Moony, it's coming apart at the seams. You're wearing the poor volume out.' Feeling rather disoriented and not quite certain as to what he was playing at, he parted the curtains and randomly threw Intermediate Transfiguration across the room.
It hit the lid of Peter's opened chest, fell squarely in (on top of something that started playing off-key music). The lid fell down due to the force of the blow. Sirius and Remus exchanged a quizzical sort of did you see what I just saw? glance.
'Very nice,' Remus said. 'I didn't know you had that sort of aim.'
'Thank you, thank you,' said Sirius, trying to bow while on his knees on a rather unstable mattress. 'Autographs by the side door; girls, please don't glomp.' Then he glanced apologetically at Remus. 'I think I have to stop.'
Remus nodded. 'Probably for the best.'
'I just had this amazing fantasy, though,' Sirius said frankly, 'of you shagging me in my bedroom in none other than the physical adobe of the House of Black.' He grinned at Remus grew somewhat more pink than he already was. 'An act of defiance, and damn enjoyable into the bargain.'
'Yes, well,' Remus started to reply, and then abruptly changed course: 'Hand me my wand, would you?'
'I'm too lazy to go fetch the book again.'
Sirius shook a finger annoyingly but reached for the nightstand again. 'Accio book.' He frowned and handed it to Remus, having hoped that Remus's wand would have had some sort of result for him. He knew well enough that using another's wand generally didn't bring around top-notch magic, but he'd hoped that they were at least a little compatible. Apparently not. 'Your wand doesn't like me.'
'You just can't do the charm properly,' Remus retorted lightly. 'Stop thinking that everyone goes to the bother of disliking you.'
'What, some just snog with me instead of going to the trouble of disliking me?'
'That's right,' Remus said, but with a small smile. Then the book whizzed into his lap and he started to frown slightly again as he reopened it to Chapter Thirteen, Lesson IV: Why Your Transfigurated Creatures are Always Dead and How to Correct It.
'You can take a break,' suggested Sirius. 'Come down and show your pretty face in the common room, why don't you? You've been getting "E"s in Transfig all year, I don't see why it should stop tomorrow.'
For a moment Remus was going through the review questions, lips moving as he read silently, before turning the page and looking up at Sirius. 'Humour me, won't you? Not all of us are brilliant.'
'You are brilliant. Let's go and get you a girlfriend. Or a boyfriend. Which d'you prefer?'
'Chapter Fourteen. Lesson One. How To Find Vanished Objects and How To Make Them Visible Again. May I remind you that you, oh, what was the term? blacklisted Dorcas Baddock when we started seeing each other, so you might want to stop lecturing.'
Sirius frowned. That was true. But that was totally different. He did want Remus to find someone, someone steady, not a friend to have 'fun' with, and not one as hotheaded and irresponsible as he himself. But Dorcas Baddock wasn't it. She was a Slytherin, and she didn't deserve Remus. Once someone deserving came into picture then he, Sirius, would sing a different tune. Until then… well, like Remus said, he was busy anyway.
'You'll have plenty of time to study this weekend, so won't you take Friday night off? You can worry about everything else in Pomfrey's Prison on Sunday.' Sirius grinned at him. 'After I kick your werewolf arse the night before, that is.'
Another wan smile.
'Don't get a guilt trip on me.' He'd thought that he'd cheered Remus up. Apparently he hadn't; he'd only distracted him temporarily.
'I'll go on a guilt trip if I bloody well see the need for one,' Remus retorted. 'Be thankful I'm too much of a coward to do anything more than that.'
'You're infuriating, Remus. No one expects you to be perfect, you know. Not even Dumbledore - least of all Dumbledore, I'd say.'
Remus sighed. 'If it were only illegal, I'd brush it off, and if it were only dangerous, I'd figure - well, what do we do that isn't? But it's both, so you just leave my uneasy conscience and me alone, all right?'
'Moony, Moony, Moony,' Sirius sighed. 'You never used to be such a downer before this year.'
'Yes, well. You never expressed an interest in snogging me senseless before this year, either.'
Sirius was startled but realised that this was entirely true. Before Remus had started acting so irritatingly conscientious, he had never thought of Remus in that light.
He chose to charge ahead. 'To discuss it with you learnedly and intelligently, do you know that most premature deaths are a direct result of fretfulness and severe stress during a person's time of development?'
'Well, now you learned something new. I'm sure that'll make you happy.'
'I'm more worried about knowing what I already learned, not adding to that,' Remus said, as someone opened the door.
'Still studying, Moony?' James called. 'Such dedication!'
'James, take Padfoot here and throw him on a broom, will you? He's talking about morbid subjects like death.'
'He deserves it,' said James solemnly. 'Abigail Markham is down there contemplating about suicide since our ladies' man disappeared.'
'You mean you failed to comfort her?' Sirius smirked.
'I didn't try to,' James said with dignity.
'That's your story.'
'C'mon, I'll take you up on that broom race offer.'
'Remus made the offer and he said nothing about a race - ' Sirius found himself on the floor; Remus had pushed him off of the bed and was giving him a sardonic smile. 'That's a hint, I take it?'
'Face it, Padfoot, no one likes you,' James said.
'That's right,' agreed Remus. 'Now go before curfew sets in.'
Sirius rubbed his head melodramatically. 'Are you going to sit in here and live up to your nickname?'
'If I do you'll be outside not having to worry about it.'
Defeated, knowing that was a 'yes', Sirius sighed at his failed mission and shuffled out rather leadfootedly.
Within five minutes he was busy exchanging friendly insults with James at a swift rate and anticipating the broomstick race that, inwardly, he was sure to lose and knew it.