Disclaimer: There has never been a story I've ever actually wanted to disclaim. But this... well, people like me shouldn't want to write fluffy man-slash. People like me are, for the record, heterosexual males. I blame it on subtext. I see it, I must write it. Anyway, not mine.
And turn back now if you dislike any of the following: gay!Remus, questioning!Sirius, notanevilbastard!Peter, wrong!James. Thank you.
"Yes he is!"
"He jolly well isn't!"
Sirius Black, the first speaker, and James Potter, the second, were having a mature, thought out discussion on their close friend Remus Lupin in the Gryffindor common room.
"He is too, you nitwit!"
Well, a discussion, at any rate.
"Hey, guys," Peter Pettigrew greeted them, oblivious to their arguing. "How about that Transfiguration essay? Three feet!" He pulled his book from his bag and began searching for information.
"Hey Wormtail," James said suddenly, "tell me something."
"Are you persuaded to believe—"
"Oh, how would he know, James?" Sirius interrupted.
"—that our dear friend Remus J. Lupin—"
"This is ridiculous, and it won't prove anything."
"—is a homosexual?"
A moment of silence. Then, "Yeah. Did you finish your essay already, James?"
"Ha!" Sirius cried in triumph. "I love this boy!"
James scoffed. "Proves nothing."
"You know, you could just go to the hospital wing and ask him," Peter suggested over his book. He was met with confused stares from both his friends. "Fine, forget I said anything."
"So, how to answer this once and for all," Sirius wondered aloud. Peter rolled his eyes behind his Transfiguration book. "We can't just confront him with it, like we did with the werewolf thing. No, this has to be... subtle. At least until we're sure."
"I," James insisted, "am sure. But if you're going to do something crazy, I might as well come along for the ride."
"Beautiful. You know, an idea is already forming in my brilliant mind," Sirius grinned.
"First time for everything."
"But we'll need someone small. Someone who can hide well. Someone with blond hair and an unhealthy addiction to sugar quills."
Peter, who'd only been listening with half an ear, perked up when he heard the words "sugar quills," but his brain then added in the words before it. "I..." he announced, "have to go... er... elsewhere." He moved to run, but Sirius grabbed the back of his robes before he could get anywhere.
"Nice try, Wormtail."
Bloody Animagus form, he muttered in his internal monologue. Stupid bloody Black and Potter, can't let me well enough alone, is it so much to ask that I get a chance to do my bloody essay?
"All right, Wormtail," Sirius' voice said, muffled by the distance between them and the fabric surrounding the student-turned-rodent. "You remember what to do?"
"Why do you bother asking questions when you know full well he can't answer?" James' voice asked.
"Fine. Wormtail, in case you forgot, here's the plan again."
Of course, he knew the plan. It wasn't hard. Wait under Remus' bed, see which photo he picked up first.
They arrived in the hospital wing, where even with his rat vision, he could tell that Remus was almost recovered. Or had transformed into a large African woman with a pink hat. Rodents aren't generally good with distance.
"Moony!" Sirius' voice rang out, getting Remus' attention. He then made a show of stumbling. "Oh, sorry. Shoe came untied." He bent over to tie it, setting Wormtail and a pair of photographs on the floor: one of an attractive man, one of an attractive woman. According to Sirius logic, which is a bit more circuitous than real logic, whichever he picked up first would be the one he preferred. While James kept Remus distracted with chocolate and Quidditch scores, Sirius hissed last minute instructions to Wormtail. "Make sure to pay attention. Don't get distracted by anything."
Wormtail bit him.
"Fine, I get the point." The rat dashed under Remus' bed, watching the photos carefully. Sirius, James, and Remus continued to chatter about nothing at all, really, but then Wormtail heared his name mentioned.
"Where's Peter?" Remus asked suddenly.
"Oh! Er..." Sirius looked to James.
"Er..." James looked to Sirius.
"Transfiguration," James decided, at the same time that Sirius said, "Detention."
"He got a detention with McGonagall," Sirius explained quickly. "But he told us to send you his love."
I most certainly did not, Wormtail thought. You're the one who put the firewhiskey in her tea.
They continued to chatter, until finally Sirius and James left.
Now he just had to wait until Remus noticed the pictures. He kept focused on his task, if only because he knew he wouldn't hear the end of it from Sirius and James if he looked away when Remus made his choice.
He did admirably well. Until he heard the breathing.
"All right, give me your so called evidence again," James insisted.
"Okay. For one, he's sensitive."
"A lot of straight men are sensitive, Padfoot," said James in a patronising voice.
"I'm not done. Did I say I was done? No," Sirius snapped. "He never dates. Not even casually. And—"
Sirius never got to say what his next point was, as a rat ran, squeaking and scrambling, out of the hospital wing and up James' leg. It was followed by a cat which leapt straight at James. He deftly caught it in mid-air like a hissing, spitting, scratching Quaffle, and sent it on its merry way. Or drop-kicked it on its merry way. "That wasn't very nice, James," Sirius chided absently.
"It was trying to eat Wormtail. And more importantly, scratch me." He pulled the quivering rat from his pocket as well as the Marauders' Map.
"I solemnly swear I am up to no good," Sirius promised as he tapped the map with his wand, making sure no one was in the immediate area so Wormtail could change. "Go ahead."
After a moment of morphic confusion, Peter Pettigrew stood before them. He was still shaking slightly, and out of breath.
"So I take it you didn't find out," Sirius said. Peter glared at him.
"Padfoot, shut up," James said absently. "All right, Peter?"
"'M fine," Peter breathed. "Why didn't we just use the Cloak?"
James and Sirius exchanged a look, then shrugged. "You'd think we'd have thought of that," James said.
"Sorry, Wormtail," Sirius said sincerely, or at least as sincerely as Sirius ever sounded. "Come on, I'll help you with that essay."
"Right after we figure out our little dilemma."
Later that night, James and Sirius were discussing their next idea before bed. Peter wasn't sure, but he thought he heard the words "rat" and "dinner plate." Their discussion died instantly, though, as Remus entered the room. "What's up?" he asked, noticing the lack of speech.
"Nothing much," Sirius said smoothly. "Hey Peter, do you think you could fit inside a roast chicken?"
No way in Hell. "Remus, James and Sirius would like to know if you like boys or girls," Peter said suddenly.
"Wormtail!" said James and Sirius accusingly, but Remus just blushed.
"Ah," he said.
"Er," he said.
"Um," he said.
"Boys," he decided finally.
No one spoke for a whole minute, until Sirius exclaimed, "I TOLD YOU! PETER! WE TOLD HIM!"
"Any reason you were chatting about my sexuality?" Remus asked accusingly.
"Padfoot brought it up, didn't you Padfoot?" James insisted defensively.
"I did. Yes I did," Sirius said, still in his victorious glee. Peter rolled his eyes and went to bed.
"So," Sirius said after James had fallen asleep, "any boy in particular?"
Remus opened his mouth to answer, then shook his head. "I think I've bared my soul enough for one decade."
Sirius nodded. "Can I ask one more question, though?"
"When'd you figure out that you were, you know...?"
"Well, when I was very young," Remus started sarcastically, "I was bitten by a homosexual and every full moon I found myself redecorating my room and listening to Muggle torch songs."
"Ha bloody ha."
"I don't know. I suppose it was the dreams. I kept having vivid dreams about... someone... that felt so real, and when I woke up—"
"—you'd keep your eyes closed for a moment just to remember him," Sirius finished. He became aware of the awkward pause between them, and shut his curtain. "Night, Moony."
"Good night, Sirius."
Seriously. Like, don't say stuff like "Can't wait for the next chapter." Although it would techincally be true, as you can't wait for stuff that isn't happening.