Disclaimer: The words are mine. The characters are not. Warning for slashiness of the very, very mild sort.
"A Drink and a Dare" was first published on FictionAlley on 27 May, 2004.
"Dating is stupid!"
"Girls are stupid!"
"Slytherin is stupid!"
"Hear… wait, what does that have to do with anything?"
"Peter, my friend," said Sirius Black, holding his glass aloft, "the unmatched stupidity of Slytherin House has everything to do with everything. Once you understand that, you are capable of better understanding the entire universe."
There was a pause.
"Hear, hear!" said Peter. Four glasses clinked together, and within seconds, four sixteen-year-old mouths were experiencing their first taste of firewhiskey.
The common room was nearly empty, as it almost always was at this time of night, and those who made a habit of staying up late all knew better than to disturb the four best friends when they were up to something. And it was always obvious when they were up to something; the usually noisy bunch became hushed and their little four-pointed circle became tighter, effectively shutting out anyone who might have the inclination to bother them.
Not that anyone ever did. It was common knowledge, after all, that Remus Lupin was a prefect, and that if any of his friends did anything seriously wrong, he would sort it out.
On this particular night, the prefect in question was eyeing his glass warily, trying to decide whether or not he enjoyed the taste of firewhiskey. Incidentally, turning in the person who had procured said firewhiskey (one James Potter, to be precise) was the furthest thing from his mind.
"It's a little… weird," Remus decided, looking at each of his friends in turn to see what they thought.
Peter nodded in agreement but promptly took another sip, this one significantly larger than the first. It had been in his honour, after all, that they'd finally decided to open the bottle.
"I like it," proclaimed Sirius, whose first sip had drained half the glass.
"Me too," said James. "So how do you feel, Peter?"
"Mmph," replied Peter, and then swallowed a rather huge gulp of his drink with a slight wince. "Better. Sort of. Except… not really. Only Kitty still won't talk to me at all, and she—"
"Wormtail, Wormtail, that's what this is for." Sirius tipped the half-empty bottle into Peter's glass, refilling it to the brim. "Don't think about that silly bint. Remember? Girls are stupid!"
"Hear, hear!" said Peter emphatically, raising his glass so fast that a large percentage of the contents splashed all over Sirius.
Sirius blinked, James laughed, Peter apologized profusely, and Remus fixed the mess with a quick charm.
"Might want to keep your voices down," suggested Remus. "The first years will get ideas." He inclined his head toward a small knot of younger students who were now watching them with interest.
"Good!" said Sirius, standing up and raising his glass in yet another toast. "Here's to you, little bitty firsties! May you always follow the examples set by those who are older, wiser, and handsomer than you!"
The first years stared, nonplussed, as Sirius took another swig and rejoined his friends on the floor. "Now," he said, "where were we?"
Peter grinned. "You were saying something about girls being stupid."
"So I was," said Sirius. James glared into his glass, but said nothing.
"Girls aren't stupid, Peter," said Remus. "They're just… they're a little… you know, they think differently than we do."
Sirius rolled his eyes dramatically. "Listen to him! He dated Annie Ruben for three whole weeks last year, and now he's the expert on romance!"
Remus ducked his head in attempt to hide the colour creeping into his cheeks. "They're still not stupid," he mumbled, though without nearly as much conviction.
"They're stupid," grunted James.
Sirius nodded, taking another sip. "Though I suppose," he said in a soft, though rather morose, voice, "we'll all have to marry one eventually."
A sudden hush fell over the group as they contemplated this frightening idea.
"Says who?" said Peter, but his voice came out much smaller than he'd intended it to.
As he refilled his own glass, Sirius shrugged. "Oh, my mum talks about it all the time. Yells about it, rather. Goes on and on about carrying on the family name and how I'd better marry a pureblood, and…." He trailed off, aware that the subject of his family always managed to make both himself and his friends a little uneasy. "Right," he said, mentally reasserting his current priorities. "Girls. They're stupid."
"Don't you suppose," Remus ventured, "that boys are a bit stupid as well?"
"No," said James.
"Course we are," said Sirius. "But so what? The girls are the ones we have to worry about snogging and marrying and all that."
"Not necessarily," said James, looking up from his glass for the first time in quite a while. Three pairs of eyes were suddenly fixed upon him, Peter's in bewilderment, Sirius' and Remus' in gentle mirth.
"You mean Andy?" said Remus, referring to one of their fellow Gryffindors – a quiet boy who spent much more of his time reading mystery novels than doing his schoolwork.
"What about Andy?" said Peter.
"He fancies boys," explained Sirius. "Didn't you know?"
The surprised look on Peter's face indicated that he hadn't known up until that very moment.
"Must be nice," said James sullenly. "He won't have to worry about dealing with girls. Nobody to say 'no, no, no' every time he asks them on a date."
Remus tried his best to keep from grinning; it didn't really work. "Just because girls don't say no to him, doesn't mean that nobody does. I imagine that he's got as much trouble getting a date as any of us. Maybe more."
"Oh, come on," said James. "Other guys cannot be as hard to talk to as girls."
"I bet they are if you fancy them," said Remus.
"But kissing another guy? That has to be weird," said Peter.
"It's probably not weird to Andy," said Remus, ever the voice of reason.
"So Moony," said James, a familiarly wicked glint in his eye, "are you saying that if you fancied, say, one of us… you wouldn't have any trouble snogging us?"
Remus blinked. "Er," he said.
"Well?" prompted James.
"I suppose not. But I like girls," Remus pointed out cautiously.
"We know you do," said Sirius, dismissing this insignificant bit of information with a wave of his hand. "We're saying if."
"Right," said James. "Say you fancied Padfoot. Would you snog him?"
"If?" said Remus. "Well, sure."
James crowed with delight. Peter chuckled a little uncomfortably. Sirius puckered up his lips. "Lay one on me, lover boy!" he said in an exaggerated whisper – which only made James laugh harder.
"Funny, Sirius," said Remus, but much as he tried, he couldn't hold back a little laugh of his own. He took another sip of his drink, effectively emptying the glass.
"Go on!" said James all of a sudden. "Go on and kiss him. I dare you."
"Come on, give me a big fat… what?" said Sirius, as James' dare registered in his mind.
"Kiss. You two. Dare you." James' face was, by this time, one big smirk. "Come on, for Peter's sake. Poor guy's had a rough day – he could use a little entertainment."
"I really don't—" Peter began, but he was silenced when James elbowed him in the ribs.
"Er," said Remus.
"Um," said Sirius.
"Go on!" said James.
"Should we?" said Remus.
"Are you mad?"
"He'll never let up on us if we don't."
"We'll never hear the end of it if we do."
"All right," said Remus, turning to face James with a solemn expression on his face. "James Potter, if I kiss Sirius Black tonight, will you swear never to tell anyone about it?"
Remus hadn't thought it possible, but the smirk on James' face seemed to grow even larger. "I swear," said James.
"And do you swear never, ever to use this incident to blackmail either me or Remus?" said Sirius.
James' face fell a little. "Oh. Yeah, I swear."
Remus shrugged. "Well then," he said, shifting in his seat.
"Well then," echoed Sirius.
And then, all four boys were silent. Peter sucked in his breath, realizing for the first time that one of his best friends might really kiss the other, and if it happened, it would certainly be very strange to watch. James' eyes grew wide behind his glasses, and he blinked heavily a few times, as if to make sure that he was seeing everything clearly.
Remus and Sirius eyed each other, unsure of who should do what in an awkward situation like this. After a moment, Sirius looked away from Remus in order to shoot a pointedly mournful pout at James. But Remus finally gave in with a roll of his eyes; leaning over, he kissed Sirius squarely on the lips.
"There," he said in a rather businesslike fashion, wiping his lips off as he sat back down in his own spot.
Sirius gaped at him.
So did James.
And so did Peter.
"What?" said Remus.
"Well, I didn't think you'd actually do it," said James.
"Then why did you dare me?" said Remus, his cheeks turning rather pink.
"Because," James faltered, "because I… well, I didn't think you'd actually do it."
"You said that already," Sirius pointed out needlessly.
"How was it, then?" said James in hushed tones.
Remus considered for a long moment, and then decided on the appropriate word: "Weird."
"Weird?" echoed Sirius.
"Well," said Remus carefully, "because it felt like a kiss. I mean, just a normal kiss – and it would have been fine, except that I knew it was Sirius, so that made it weird. You know?"
"For the record, Moony," said Sirius, who was now wearing a dangerous frown, "I wasn't exactly having the time of my life over here either."
Remus knitted his eyebrows. "I'm sorry," he faltered. "I mean, I didn't – er – I mean, was it that bad?"
"Yes," said Sirius rather emphatically.
"I, er…" Remus trailed off, his cheeks blazing.
Suddenly Sirius burst out laughing. "No worries, mate!" he said, punching Remus lightly in the arm. "I was just fooling around with you!"
James grinned. "Actually, Padfoot, I think it was Moony who was fooling around with you…."
"Shove it, Prongs," said Remus good-naturedly, though his cheeks were still the colour of tomatoes.
Peter, who had been quiet up till that moment, let out a devious little chuckle.
Sirius turned to him with a conspiratorial raise of his eyebrow. "What?"
"I just realized," said Peter. "You guys didn't make me swear not to tell anyone!" With that, he darted upstairs toward the dormitory.
Remus and Sirius exchanged a quick glance, and soon all three of them were close on his heels.
Author's Note: This was intended to be a one-shot story, meaning that there will be no further updates. However, if you enjoyed it enough to be interested in reading more along these lines, please click on my author name and check out "Awake," another fic of mine which was written as a sequel to "A Drink and a Dare." Thanks for reading, and please don't forget to review!