Like most of Sirius Black's more exciting epiphanies, it happened in the shower. This one was so startling that it caused him to drop the soap.
"No, no, no, no, no!" he groaned, as if saying it enough times would make it go away. "I can't be falling for Moony!"
He could and he did. The funny thing was that it wasn't even Remus who made him realize it. It was Francesca Prewett. He was just reflecting on their date last night and how she was sometimes hard to talk with (not like Moony), and how her hair was sticky with Sleekeasy (not like Moony's), and then how he didn't particularly feel like kissing her (not like…oh shit). And that was when he dropped the soap, which was still bubbling a little near the drain.
Sirius picked up the soap and turned off the water. He was in a predicament; that much was certain. He had to go back into the dormitory and act as if nothing significant had just occurred. He had to talk to Moony like nothing had changed, and while nothing really had changed, he had come to realise his feelings were not exactly platonic. This would take some effort, Sirius decided. Play it cool, he told himself.
"Good shower?" Remus asked promptly as Sirius walked in.
Sirius jumped a little and looked at him suspiciously. "Why do you ask?"
Remus shrugged and looked affronted. "You certainly took long enough, I was just seeing if it was worth it. Did you leave hot water?"
Sirius was torn between telling Remus that he had needed a cold shower because he couldn't stop thinking about him, and snapping at him that he could just heat up the water magically if he wanted hot water. He nodded instead.
Remus hopped off his bed, wrapped in his bathrobe, and headed off to the showers. Sirius sat down on his bed and stared at his hands. He was still there when Remus got back from the shower seven minutes later. His hair was wet and curling and water droplets ran down his bare chest, which Sirius could see due to his robe falling partially open.
"Have you been sitting here the whole time?" Remus asked him.
Sirius nodded and stared back down at his hands. Remus sat beside him on the bed. He put his hand on Sirius' shoulder, but quickly removed it when Sirius jumped away.
"'You all right?"
"Of course," Sirius replied, and congratulated himself on playing it so cool.
"Because you're acting strange…"
"I am not," Sirius snapped. "I'm acting cool."
Remus barely stifled a snicker. "No, you're acting strange. Did your date go badly last night?"
"You could say that," Sirius said cautiously.
"What happened?" Remus asked as he walked back over to his own bed and took off his robe. He dried himself off with his back to Sirius. Sirius stared, almost open-mouthed, at the lean figure before him.
"Sirius?" Remus asked, turning his head back towards him.
"Er…I… What?" Sirius stuttered, considerably disappointed in his lack of cool demeanour.
"I asked about your date. What happened?" Remus repeated. He shook his head in exasperation and pulled on some trousers.
"Oh, nothing happened. It just… well, that's just the thing. Nothing happened."
"She wouldn't put out and that's why you're upset?" Remus asked, his voice sounding suspiciously disapproving.
"No, no! Well, yes, but no! She wasn't the one who wasn't putting out, it was me!" Sirius exclaimed as he stood up from his bed.
Remus turned to face him, confused. It wasn't that Sirius was considered a player or even easy, but he was never one to play hard to get.
"I don't follow," Remus said slowly as he grabbed his shirt from the bed beside him.
"Well, we were getting on just fine, and then I realized that it wasn't her I wanted to be with at all!" Sirius exclaimed without thinking, and then silently cursed Remus for being so easy to talk to. He wasn't supposed to tell Remus that he didn't want to be with Francesca because he wanted to be with him. This wasn't playing it cool at all, Sirius chided himself.
"Who did you want to be with instead?" Remus asked as he buttoned up his shirt. He stared down at his buttons and avoided Sirius' eye contact.
"Oh, you know, this and that," Sirius said vaguely.
"This and that?" Remus repeated in disbelief. A smile crept onto his face. "Care to clarify?"
"Not particularly," Sirius replied as he got dressed. "When are Peter and James coming back?" he asked, mentally congratulating himself for changing the subject so smoothly.
"They should be back from Hogsmeade around lunch, I suppose," Remus answered distractedly. "So, who is this mystery girl that you would rather be with than Francesca?"
Sirius wished Remus wasn't so smart and would just let things be. He tried to think of another way to change the subject but failed.
"It's no one."
"No one?" Remus teased, looking quite pleased with himself for getting Sirius flustered.
"Well, not no one, but it's just…"
"Do I know this person?" Remus interrupted.
"Sort of," Sirius replied, which was mostly true. Remus didn't know himself one night of the month.
"Okay," Remus sighed. "If you can't tell me who she is, do you want to tell me why you like her?"
"You can't just let things go, can you?" Sirius said in frustration. This wasn't going according to plan at all. Sirius was supposed to go on like nothing happened and Remus wasn't supposed to notice that anything had happened. There was supposed to be none of this confrontation, none of this conversation at all!
"I'm just curious," Remus said with convincing innocence.
"Okay, well, h-she's smart," Sirius started, reminding himself that he was talking about a mystery girl, not the boy across from him.
"Is she in Ravenclaw?" Remus immediately asked.
"No, she's not."
"Well, go on," Remus prompted.
"Let's see…She's not really pretty, but she can be incredibly sexy, even though she doesn't know it. And she has these eyes…," Sirius realized vaguely that he was staring into Moony's eyes and hoped Remus didn't notice. "Her eyes are just amazing sometimes."
"She doesn't sound that different from Francesca," Remus observed dryly. "They're all sexy and smart, aren't they?"
"No, no," Sirius said quickly. "This one's different. I can really talk to her, like I can't even talk with James sometimes. When I'm around her, I feel all… uncertain sometimes, but it's a good kind of uncertain. I get flustered, and I always seem to say the wrong things and make an arse out of myself. He makes me want to do things I wouldn't normally do, like read poetry and I spend ridiculous amounts of time in the library to look up things that might interest him. I think I'm in love with him…er….her," Sirius finished lamely. His cheeks were bright and he was fidgeting in a way that he didn't normally.
Remus was silent. He opened his mouth several times to say something, but then reconsidered and closed it.
"I know this person sort of?" he finally asked.
"Yes," Sirius said quietly.
"Would you say I know them, maybe twenty nine out of thirty percent of the time?" Remus asked, never taking his eyes away from Sirius'.
"I would," Sirius replied slowly.
"You think you're in love with this person?"
"I know I am."
"You know," Remus mused, "this reminds me why I didn't go out with Violet Patterson."
"I was…I am falling for someone else."
"Anyone I know?" Sirius asked cautiously, although he hoped he already knew the answer.
"Yes," Remus replied as he paced around the room. "They're also sexy, but mostly when they're not trying to be. When they're trying to be sexy and cool they end up just looking ridiculous, but in an endearing way. Let's see…They're terribly clever and interesting even though they insist on reminding me of this. I… I would trust them with my life."
"Sounds like quite the person," Sirius said with a small smile.
"Oh, he is," Remus assured him. "He can be unbearably cocky, but sometimes when he thinks no one is paying attention, he is equally vulnerable and sort of sweet in his own way. He can make me feel like I'm the only one in the room, even when we're in the Great Hall or the Library. I try not to change for him, but he makes me want to do new things and find new places." Remus sat on his bed and looked down at the floor. "He makes me fall for him as effortlessly as he seems to do everything else in his life. I…I think I'm in love with him," Remus finished, uncertain. He looked as if he had only had this last revelation in the past moment, which was probably close to the truth.
"So, he's sexy?" Sirius asked with a grin.
"He is," Remus confirmed with a smile that made his eyes shine. Sirius knelt in front of him.
"And you think you're in love with him?"
"I…I know I am," Remus answered, the traces of the smile almost gone. His eyes were still shining, but they also held an unspoken question.
"If he were to kiss you, do you think you would protest?" Sirius asked softly, all teasing gone. He rested his hands lightly on Remus' knees.
Remus shook his head, and gently tilted Sirius' head upwards. Sirius raised his body slightly and met Remus' lips half way. The kiss was uncertain and soft, as if neither dared to believe they were kissing the object of their respective affections. Sirius ran his fingers over Remus' damp hair while his tongue lightly traced his lips. Remus sighed and opened his mouth, giving in to Sirius' silent request. They didn't care that they were still wet from their respective showers or that their teeth clicked together twice. The only thing that mattered was that for once, they were falling together, into each other.
"Sirius?" Remus asked breathlessly after they pulled away.
"How long have you felt this way?"
"Since my shower," Sirius replied.
Remus started laughing and Sirius couldn't help but laugh with him.
"You realized that you were in love with me during the course of a twenty minute shower?"
Sirius grinned and shrugged unapologetically.
"You?" he asked.
Remus sighed deeply and leaned forward to kiss Sirius once more. "Well, I suppose it stopped being platonic when I first really saw you."
Sirius stole one more kiss before asking, "When was that?"
"The first Animagus transformation."
"Ahh," Sirius replied knowingly. "I wouldn't have done it for anyone else," he said shyly.
Remus smiled and pulled him forward onto the bed with him. "Yes, you would have. You don't know it, but under your unbearably cocky and selfish exterior is a very selfless person. You would have done it for James or Peter."
Sirius thought this over as he ran his fingers through Remus' still-damp locks. "Okay," he resigned, "I would have. But I wouldn't have read Keats and Shakespeare for them."
"I thought you had to do that for Muggle Studies," Remus said suspiciously.
Sirius blushed and shook his head. "I did it for you."
"Come here," Remus said and pulled Sirius into another kiss, and then another and another until they all faded into each other in delicious harmony.