"Hullo," said a girl's voice, low and uncertain.

Remus looked up from his Arithmancy text and found himself staring into a pair of very pale blue eyes framed with long, cornsilk lashes. "Um, hello," he said.

The girl – who had, in addition to wide blue eyes and enviably long lashes, straight blond hair that fell to her waist, flawless skin, and a tie with the black-and-yellow stripes of Hufflepuff – blushed. Remus silently cursed Sirius and damned him to every known hell. "Hello," he said again, emphatically and tapped his book with his quill, hoping she would take the hint, apologize for interrupting him, and leave so he could finish revising, then go murder Sirius.

"Um," the Hufflepuff stammered, "well, you see we're having a fundraiser – Hufflepuff is – and we're selling these chocolates. See?" She held up a small box and Remus saw a number of small confections wrapped in sparkling gold foil. "We're trying to raise money for new books for our library, and…"

Remus twirled his quill between his fingers. "But those same chocolates are cheaper at Honeyduke's. And I don't use the Hufflepuff library." He winced as soon as the words had been spoken.

The girl said eagerly, "You could, though. It's perfectly all right. We've decided. As a house. Gryffindors can. Use our library, I mean. So you should come by, and…"

He took pity on her. There were few people Remus found himself able to pity, so it gave him a small rush of guilty pleasure. He bought a box of overpriced chocolates (Sirius would reimburse him), and he lied and told her that he had never read Dewlis' Total Eclipse of a Besieged Island and that he would love to come and borrow it sometime.

He sent her on her way, slammed his Arithmancy text closed and rose to find Sirius, whom he found lounging in the library doorway, smiling smugly. He grabbed the other boy by his tie and dragged him out into the corridor.

"Where are we going?" inquired Sirius, jogging to avoid strangulation.

"Somewhere private," grunted Remus. "I can't murder you in public."

"Didn't you like Cristin?"

Remus snarled.

"Bit too wholesome, was she? Well, she's the polar opposite of Magda, and you didn't like her at all—"

Remus stopped, whirled around, and threw Sirius' tie in his face. "I didn't like Magda," he said. "I don't like Cristin. I didn't like Amy or Paula or Arista or Hestia or Lanelle or any of the other girls you tried to fob off on me. None of them are my type and I wish you'd stop. For one thing I'm not interested in your sloppy seconds – "

"I only shagged Arista," said Sirius, crossing his arms over his chest. "And – Magda gives great head, but that hardly counts. What's your point?"

"Secondly," said Remus through gritted teeth, and there he stopped.

Sirius looked at him curiously, his eyebrows raised over his clear grey eyes.

"Secondly," Remus said again, and felt his cheeks burn. Sirius leaned against the wall, and the corridor's dim lighting and his voluminous black robes did not entirely conceal the long, splendid length of his figure. Or maybe they did and Remus only saw it because he had fantasized about it so many times that he knew every mole and scar by heart – even the ones he'd made up.

"Secondly?" prompted Sirius, raking a hand through his shaggy black hair, and suddenly Remus was grateful for his own voluminous dark robes. "Look, Moony," he said, "the lads and I've been talking and we've decided it's time you had a girlfriend."

"I figured as much," said Remus dryly.

"I'm just trying to help. I mean, Merlin, Prongs'll wear Evans down sometime, and even Wormtail's got a girlfriend of sorts."

"You haven't," Remus pointed out.

"No," Sirius admitted slowly. "But I've had. And I could have one at any time, if I wanted one. Any skirt here."

"So could I," said Remus, "if I wanted one."

"Any girl?" said Sirius doubtfully.

"Any girl," Remus said, leaving it for Sirius to decide whether he was delusional or not. "If I wanted one."

Sirius frowned and seemed to melt just a little into the shadows on the wall. "From your tone," he said in a carefully neutral voice, "I'm guessing you don't want one."

"No," said Remus.

Sirius played with his hair again. Scratched the back of his neck. Tugged at his tie. Looked oddly uncomfortable suddenly. At length he said, "If you're afraid some girl'll find out…you know. Your secret. Merlin, it's up to you to tell her. I'd never set you up with some close-minded little bigot, but I never asked any of those girls what're their thoughts on…you know. I promised I'd never betray you again. I promised. But maybe…it's time you trusted…"

Remus leaned against the wall and tilted his head back. He felt deflated. "It's not like that at all," he said quietly.

Sirius' words rang very clearly in the empty corridor, though he spoke them softly. "What's it like, then?"

"It's…" Remus closed his eyes. He had known he would have to tell his friends at some point. He hadn't thought it would be like this. In his fantasies they figured it out on their own and surprised him by not making a big deal out of it at all. Well, in his most cherished and secret fantasies Sirius had a similar confession, and it ended with the pair of them naked in bed.

"Is it blokes?" Sirius asked, still in that low, oddly clear tone. "You fancy blokes? But I've never seen you with—"

Remus sighed. "There isn't any. I haven't got a boyfriend. I've never been with a bloke. But I know what I like. It was a secret," he continued hurriedly, unwilling to turn and look at Sirius. "I'm entitled to some secrets. Just because you've appointed yourself my protector…or my pimp…doesn't mean— So, will you stop, please? With the girls? Because there's no point. If James and Peter are in on the Great Get Remus a Girl plot we'll tell them something, but—"

"It's all right," said Sirius. "Moony—"

"And don't try to find me a boyfriend," Remus went on. "Really. I'll get it all sorted on my own. I don't need anyone's help. Don't foist any boys on me, or I swear, I will fucking murder you."

"Will you have me?"

"Because I really – what?" Remus' eyes opened – wide.

"Me," said Sirius. "Take me. Have me. Do whatever you want with me." He placed his palms on the wall on either side of Remus' head, and leaned over him.

Remus tasted his breath and noted that he did not smell drunk. Sweat, yes. Oiled leather, a bit. Cold wool, sure. Herbal cigs, yes. Alcohol, no. "Um," said Remus desperately. "But you're not…"

"What if I am?" said Sirius.

"But you've never—" stammered Remus.

"I'm entitled to some secrets, too." The grey eyes shone like moonstones and one corner of those full lips quirked upward.

"But – but, no—" insisted Remus.

"Yes," insisted Sirius, and kissed his mouth.

Remus hung in limbo. Part of his brain decided that this had to be a fantasy and was eager to enjoy it; another part pointed out the cold wall at his back, the fingers cramped from writing, his racing heartbeat, and decided that this had to be real and cautioned him not to press his luck lest this turn out to be an elaborate prank.

So, Sirius did most of the work. He ran the tip of his tongue over Remus' unresisting lips, then pried them apart gently, and slipped inside. Remus gasped at that, and again at the hands suddenly grasping his shoulders and pinning him to the wall. He moved his tongue, first in an effort to avoid Sirius', then cautiously to learn the feel of it, then boldly to capture and tease it. This lasted for some moments, and when they pulled apart Remus was utterly breathless and Sirius' hands were in his hair, one thumb stroking his cheek tenderly.

"When you said 'no'," said Sirius, sounding nearly breathless himself, "did you mean 'no, you can't fancy blokes' or 'no, I don't want you'?"

"No," whispered Remus. "I mean." He licked his lips, tasted Sirius. "Neither."

"Good," said Sirius. "Because I do fancy blokes. I fancy you. Glad I can stop trying to get you out of my system. And as it so happens," he added, leaning closer, and tickling Remus' ear with his breath, "I too give great head."

As it so happened, he was right.

11/11/04