Author's Note: Yay! Behold the Jamieness! ((pets)) There may be a moment of innocent Remus/James, because I cannot refuse the love-triangle influence creeping into my work. But never fear, for Remus will never love another as he does Sirius (and the aforementioned moment does have an actual purpose to the story). Quite a bit of screen-time for Mr. Potter in this chapter. I love James, although he was an incredible idiot at this time in his life. ...Beware, for more than half of this has been scribbled in the last hour. :) My apologies for the haste.

Many thanks to: lost and by the wind grieved, Dollface786, Apus-Equuleus, and Hannio for their encouraging reviews!

Pretty Things

Chapter 2: Rise And Fall

"Padfoot, please don't..." I whispered breathlessly, arresting the hand that was wandering into dangerous territory.

Sirius, whom had been preoccupied with kissing any patch of my skin that he could find, paused and glanced up at me.

"Moony, why not?"

I swallowed, pushing a hank of my hair from my eyes.

"Because... because... I don't want this to be about that. It is about love."

"And you're afraid that the earnestness of this relationship would become less if we indulged a little." Sirius supplied, understanding my unspoken words.

"I'm sorry." I said softly, biting my lower lip in shame. "Perhaps another time."

Sirius smiled and pressed a kiss to the corner of my mouth, a favorite spot of his.

"Shh, don't fret. It's alright. I can wait."

"Really?" I asked. "I can understand if you wish to le-"

His fingers pressed to my lips, stilling my words. Opalescent eyes glittered in the faint moonlight, like chips of the moon reflected on water.

"Don't you even begin that nonsense. I love you, Remus, and I think that abstinence is a small price to pay for a lover as wonderful as you."

"Hardly. But I will take your word for that."

"What is this 'hardly'? You want to have sex?"

"Certainly not!" A blush rose in my face. "I mean to say, not yet. We are still young, and I remain a bit... scared, I suppose."

"Of me?"

"No. Never of you. I'm scared of... losing things. Once it happens, there is no turning back time and reclaiming our childhood. And besides, can't I become pregnant if we are not careful?"

Sirius nodded, his expression surprised. I guessed that he was taken aback at my knowledge of wizarding pregnancies.

"Moony, I accept your decision completely, but just to inform you: If you were to get with child, I would stay right beside you and try my best to be a good father. And I'd marry you promptly, no matter what those buggery parents of mine had to say."

A true smile blossomed on my features, and I kissed the fingers that remained resting against my mouth. "I haven't a clue how I managed to catch you. It's not everyday that such a bright star falls in my lap." I said.

Sirius grinned, and hugged me close. "You're incredible. If I ever ignore you again, even for a moment, please shove me into the lake."

I laughed and buried my nose in his long sable hair.

"Silly boy. I would never push you in a lake. Unless you wanted me to, of course." I murmured against the musk-scented strands of midnight silk.

"Ha ha, then I'd have a reason to pull you in as well. And believe me, you look gorgeous when wet."

"Pssah. What a ridiculous thing to say. I'm so skinny!"

"You're a waif, true, but it is very becoming."

I made a disbelieving noise into his shoulder, and then giggled as I felt his tongue lap gently at the spot where my pulse beat steadily. So like a pup, my Sirius.

"For the first time in my life, I feel very, very lucky." I sighed contently.

Sirius chuckled, and nuzzled my cheek with his slightly upturned nose.

"You never felt lucky before?"

"I suppose I did, to a certain degree. But not quite like this." I replied contemplatively.

"Maybe you were just wishing on the wrong star."

"That must have been it." I agreed, spying through a crack in the curtains the single star that shone through the narrow space between fabric.

Sirius. The Dog star.

Silently, I made one more wish.

'I wish moments like these would last forever.'

The gray morning light cast shadows into corners, converging with the fleeing night and my equally departing lover. I wished that he could stay, as Juliet longed for her Romeo to not be gone so soon. This practice came and went with each night, a longing for the company that must be broken each day before dawn. Neither of us wanted to leave the warmth and comfort of one another, but for secrecy's sake we must.

"You're sure you don't need me here?" Sirius asked for what I guessed to be the sixth time.

I smiled up at him as he knelt over me, my fingers sliding through the long ebony hair that curtained his handsome face.

"Of course I'm sure. You needn't baby-sit me, Padfoot. I can sleep without you for a few hours."

Sirius flashed a small hesitant grin.

"It's not like you'd get much sleep, anyway."

"Sirius Black!" I scolded playfully, swatting his bare arm.

He laughed softly and leaned down to kiss my forehead.

"If we're going to be married, you ought to at least learn not to be squeamish about my lecherous behavior."

"Unless I am very much mistaken, you're a virgin." I said skeptically.

Sirius arched an eyebrow.

"And so are you. Or did greasy old Snape shag you in some broom closet?"

"Sirius!" I growled, glaring.

The corners of my companion's mouth twitched, attempting and failing to suppress a smile of mirth. Sirius knew that I hated to be teased about my tentative friendship with Severus Snape, as even I had noticed the Slytherin's peculiar behavior regarding me (also known as acting as if he fancied me).

"Leave poor Severus out of this conversation. And please don't put 'shag' and 'Snape' in the same paragraph." I reprimanded more gently.

"I wholly agree. Nasty rubbish thought, that."

"Not to mention that sex isn't a subject to be taken lightly. I am not sure why it seems to pop up in our conversations so often."

Sirius' smile left abruptly and he reached out to cup my cheek in his hand.

"I'll be your first, right?"

"Why would you even ask? Wasn't I just a few hours ago denying you for that very reason?" I replied, somewhat disgruntled and yet also touched over his possessiveness.

His wide opalescent eyes pleaded for an answer, if only to hear the words aloud.

"Of course, Sirius. Of course you will be." I reassured.

A relieved grin spread over his features.

I felt a strange pang of hurt, wondering why it was that he seemed so unsure of my sincerity. He knew that I loved him, did he not?

"You had better get into your own bed. James might have another of his sudden bathroom urges." I said softly, tearing my gaze away from my best friend with effort.

"Right." Sirius agreed, and from the edge of my gaze I could see that there was a glaze of sadness frosting his pale eyes.

I turned my head to gaze fully at him once more.

"I love you, Padfoot. Please know that. I am not sure what to say to convince you, and really I believe that it is up to you to convince yourself. All I can do is mean it when I say I love you."

Sirius swallowed, his thumb brushing against my lips in that intimate way that foretold a kiss.

"I know you do."

Dipping his head down, he placed a lingering kiss on my mouth. I accepted and returned it, knowing that soon I would forget precisely how it felt... but never how wonderful this was.

We parted ways, and the few feet between our beds felt like a distance of leagues. I walked with him to his own four-poster, kneeling on the coverlet and pressing a gentle kiss to his soft lips as he settled inside the blankets. He clung to my fingers until the distance became too great, and we were forced to relinquish our touch as I retired to my own bed.

I lay in the cooling sheets, watching the golden veil of sunlight begin to dust the tops of the Forest. I wondered if Sirius lay awake, also. Thinking thoughts as I did, of wonderment and ache and all the silly things that could be found so endearing. But I could not look to see if he was contemplating, for then I would be overtaken by a wistful yearning that could not be satisfied while we lay silent and apart.

"Moony! Moooonnyyyy!"

I groaned and burrowed beneath my blankets like a pursued rabbit down his hole.

"Oi, you've slept since yesterday evening! You can't possibly be tired!" James continued enthusiastically, tugging at the scarlet quilt that I was so desperately clinging to.

"I hate morning people." I grumbled, shoving blindly at my friend's nimble form.

James dodged my resistant flailing with well-practiced ease.

"And I hate you buggers that just lay about all day." My friend replied tartly, issuing a sharp poke to my shoulder.

"Mrmph." I protested, rolling away from his seeking hands.

"Jamie, for Gods-damned sakes, SHUT UP!" Sirius shouted from the next bed over, his disposition even less pleasant than mine in the early hours.

"No. You may have spent all night snogging your lass, but Remus can have no more sleep! It's time to get up on this lovely Thursday morning!"

"James." I whispered, summoning with great regret my acquired gift for deception. "I'm not feeling well."

At the soft, weak tone of my voice, I felt James relax and lower his arms.

"Okay, Moony. I'll come back later."

I smiled sadly within my cocoon on blankets, reflecting that James could be very gentle when he wished to be. Perhaps if he had displayed more often this facet of his personality, Lily would have been less inclined to hex him. I silently apologized for lying to my dear friend, and swore silently to compensate for this sacrilege.

"DON'T YOU DARE! I'M BLOODY TIRED!" Sirius screamed, his tones of distress softened slightly by the thick cloth shrouding my fetal-curled form.

"Leave Sirius be. I woke him with my nightmares last night." I said, poking my head cautiously from within the blankets.

James stopped in mid-smack of Sirius' rumpled dark head, his hazel eyes questioning behind his spectacles.

"You're a bunch o' dunderheads." Prongs sighed, wilting to the floor as if we had deprived him of his livelihood.

"That we are." I yawned, flopping backward onto my pillows and shutting my eyes tight against the rude sunlight.

Sirius made an indignant noise, but offered no comment besides.

I was still rather fatigued, however I found sleep to be far from my grasp. James had wakened me, and now I couldn't fathom even ten minutes more. I scrubbed my aching eyes with fists that I was sure had bacteria from more than one person's saliva all over them. This thought made me pause, and I chose to blink the sleep away instead.

"Are you getting up?" James asked hopefully (from some place on the floorboards).

"Fatigue is not to be reckoned with, but neither is my sleep cycle. I'm awake." I responded sadly.

My late-hour companion, however, was lying half out of his bed and deep in slumber.

"I think if we let him have a sleep cycle, he'd be permanently comatose." James commented, thumping the top (or rather bottom, as his head was hanging over the edge of the bed) of Sirius' skull.

"MYARR! I didn' do i'!" Sirius yelped, abruptly springing into a sitting position.

His wide gray-blue eyes were half-lidded and puffy with sleep, and his shaggy hair in a worse state than James', but I was certain I'd never seen anything more beautiful.

I flushed when he began to stare at me, realizing that I had been transfixed. James, who remained spread-eagle on the floor, raised a hand to point at me.

"Blushing, Moony. Blushing like a schoolgirl."

I scowled, searching the dormitory for something else to gaze at, while Sirius hid a fond grin.

"How are you feeling?" James asked me lightly, his mouth filled with half-chewed toast.

"Close your mouth, Prongs." I ordered automatically, and my friend complied obediently.

When he swallowed properly, the back of his hand pressed to my brow. I felt a mighty blush rise in my cheeks, as he leaned close to examine my face.

"You look a little pale." James commented in a worried tone.

"I'm always pale, Jamie." I reminded, though my attention was more focused on his narrow hazel eyes and their warm glass-like sparkle.

"Hmm..." James responded, his nose nearly touching mine as he frowned at me. "You're sure you shouldn't stay in bed today? You may get ill if you aren't careful. Unless you already are?"

"I'm completely well, Prongs." I breathed, wishing he would withdraw before I found myself doing something foolish.

"If you're sure..." James assented, letting his hand drop as he sat back.

I inhaled deeply, uncomfortable with the warm electricity that was humming through my veins. I felt guilty for it, as if I were a whore throwing myself at the most easily accessible men (which happened to be my two best friends). As I raised my guilty eyes from my lap, I met Sirius' eyes at the opposite side of the table. I managed a tender smile, which he returned weakly. My intuition told me that he was thinking more of my reaction to James than was the truth. I would have to speak with him at a later date.

Or not.

My fork slipped from my fingers oh-so-accidentally, and I scuttled under the table to retrieve it. I took a great risk with this sudden plan, but I was willing to take a gamble. I crawled quickly across the distance to the other side of the table, and touched Sirius' knee to capture his attention. His leg jerked on impulse, but was soon followed by the triple-tap of his foot that meant he was listening.

"Don't worry. Whatever you are thinking is most likely an overreaction. I love you." I whispered, my quiet tone lost among the loud talk of the other students.

But Sirius heard me, as I knew he would. Another triple-tap, signaling that he had received the message. Smiling hopefully, I left him and emerged from beneath the table with lost fork in hand.

Settling into my seat, I glanced across the table at the beautiful young man that I loved so deeply. He smiled, the puppyish grin that I knew well, and I returned the fond look. I was forgiven for my moment of strangeness, whatever it might have been worth. To others, our smiles might have appeared to be a simple exchange of silent greetings between friends.

But to Remus Lupin and Sirius Black, it spoke volumes.

Author's Note To Readers: Despite that I have the plot pre-planned to some extent, I surmised that it might be exciting to request response from the readers. Is there anything in particular that you might like to see in this story? Some occurance, complication, or bit of fluff? I would very much like to hear from you:)