DISCLAIMER: The only thing that is mine in this fic are the words.
WARNING: I'm afraid it's slash once again.
2nd WARNING: Watch out for cruelty to chocolate frogs … leave now if you have a special affinity for them.
The Perils of a Study Session
Remus had entered the study session with completely innocent intentions. If he had known how the tiny slot in his schedule was going to end, he would have avoided it like the plague (or the Common Room when Sirius was showing off). He would have tried his darnest to keep away from the empty dorm room because, just like when Sirius was showing off, Remus found himself supremely uncomfortable.
Being made uncomfortable happened to Remus a lot. He had been made uncomfortable enough in the past few months to know that he didn't like it. With his brains and his wit, he had come to the decision to do all he could to evade circumstances that brought back that awful discomfort.
It was like a slow creep up the back of his neck that brought about a slow prickling of his skin around his forehead. The prickling feeling spread down his back and the next thing he knew there was sweat trickling down his shoulder blades. He also guessed that his face grew as red as it felt hot and he had a sneaking suspicion he fumbled with his words, too. Which all led to Remus Lupin looking fairly peculiar most of the time.
This was enhanced by the fact that there was a time, not that long ago, when Remus had been a very dignified person. He had his mysteries and his quirks, but he could keep himself cool and together in any situation. His homework was always done, his person immaculate, his manners quite proper and his face always composed. He never stumbled, never stuttered and never let anything slip out of his mouth that wasn't carefully analysed beforehand.
Nobody knew what the reason behind this sudden change in personality was, but everyone wanted to know. In fact, there was not a single person in the whole Gryffindor house who had any idea why Remus had suddenly changed his whole persona. Including Remus himself. At first he had tried to ignore it, as everyone does when they find themselves changing in tiny imperceptible ways. This had proved impossible, however, when teachers and students alike began to approach him to ask if he was alright.
When he either denied the alteration (to the perfect strangers he wasn't even aware knew of his existence) or admitted that he was at a loss for an explanation as well (to his friends), some people suggested reasons why he was feeling so out of character.
"Is it something at home?"
"Is it your … furry little problem?"
"Are you under pressure from someone?"
"Is it … puberty?" Professor Sprout even ventured to ask in a kindly tone, putting her arm around the young werewolf in a motherly gesture. "Because you're not alone in this, you know. Why, I remember when I was going through similar hormonal changes in my body. It's quite normal, you know, to feel that things aren't where they were before, or that things … have taken on a new light, as it were. I recollect quite vividly when -."
"I'm fine, Professor." Remus had muttered hastily, hurriedly sliding out from under the teacher's arm. "I guess it's just … one of those things that happen …"
"Well, just as long as you know that I'm always here for you to talk to, dear." Professor Sprout said, wiping at an imaginary speck of dirt on his cheek.
"Thanks, Professor." Remus told her politely and made good his retreat by conveniently remembering an apparent detention with Professor McGonogall.
"Well, you'd better run along, then." Sprout said, seemingly determined to keep him within her sights as long as possible. "Just remember that hormones are not your enemy!" She shouted across the grounds to him as he took off as though the hounds of the devil were on his heels.
He had never been able to face Herbology lessons in quite the same way ever since. It didn't help, either, that Sprout gave him a meaningful each look every time she mentioned the maturity process of a plant or that James and Sirius made a great show of winking at him and whispering that Remus was going to meet his "hormone councilor" every time they had a lesson.
The discomfort that Remus experienced grew worse with time, however, rather than betteras he had hoped. He tried to link it to something new that had entered his life to find a solution for it and perhaps eradicate the threat. This was impossible, however, because nothing new had happened to him in the past few months. There was very little news from anyone's home, there were no special events planned for the school that he might find cause for nervousness and there wasn't even a particularly heavy workload.
It had to be something magical, he decided after a time. Nothing natural could make this unusual phenomenon occur with such startling regularity and intensity. Perhaps someone had discovered his lycanthropy and had placed a jinx or hex on him. This possibility seemed flawed, however. If someone had discovered that he was a werewolf, they would more than likely do more than place a simple jinx or hex on him. They would probably cry wolf and alert the whole school, thus securing his immediate expulsion and ostracism. If his schoolmates knew of his full moon problem, they would not be asking him concernedly if he was okay and offering their help.
So it had to be something natural and something that was, in fact, of his own doing. He was at a loss, though, as to what that could possibly be. As far as he knew, he did nothing differently to his usual routine and he had not changed his social circle. He knew that Professor Sprout was wrong and that it was nothing to do with his hormones. That was just embarrassing to even think about.
Instead of dwelling on the problem, however, Remus tried to throw himself into his schoolwork and anything extra curricular he already did. The Duelling Club had never known such devotion, the Charms Guild astonished by his progress and even his schoolwork had managed to improve beyond its usual perfection.
This was the reason that he went into the study session completely focussed upon Transfiguration, Charms, Herbology and Potions. He could not afford to let anything else pervade his thoughts or the stuttering, fumbling Remus of the past few months would return. So he entered the deserted dorm room with his head already embedded in his book, and one hand fumbling idly at his book bag for a quill to mark an important passage.
His companion watched in interest as he managed to find himself a seat on the floor, lay out his books and retrieve the allusive quill from his bag, all without stumbling or removing his eyes from the tome he carried. The other occupant of the room observed him for some moments, watching the golden eyes scurry across the page as though it held the secrets to the greatest untold questions.
"Hello, Remus." The silent presence said finally. Remus grunted. "That's slightly rude, Moony. I greeted you, I expect and deserve an answer."
A slight fluttering of the fingers attached to the hand holding the book aloft was the only indication that the other person was given that Remus either heard or was granting him a greeting at all. The now somewhat affronted person watching Remus stared at him intently for a few moments.
"Your shoelace is undone." He said finally, and was rewarded with absolutely no response. A slow smile spread across his face. "I'm the greatest ruler of the universe ever to exist and you are nothing more than the scum underneath my boot." He said triumphantly and loudly, peering under his eyelashes for a response.
An absent nod was the reward for his efforts. The person frowned. He would have to try harder.
"We got our Potions marks back today." He said casually. "You failed and I got an Outstanding."
"Good for you." Remus murmured, reaching again for the quill and scratching deliberately at the page.
The second person frowned again. This was getting tedious.
"Good things NEWTs are tomorrow, I can't wait to get them over with." He yawned, stretching.
"Uh huh." Remus agreed. Then he paused and looked up. "NEWT's aren't tomorrow, Sirius, they're not till the end of the year. Don't be ridiculous."
Then he dropped his head again and returned his attention to the 'Simmering Book of Stupendous Positions'. Sirius was unsure whether to be triumphant at the success of his attempt or even further frustrated by the lack of an appropriate response. He continued his observation of his friend. Remus seemed extraordinarily involved in concentration towards the textbook and this gave Sirius the opportunity to stare for all he was worth.
The lycanthrope was staring intently down at the book, his eyebrows slightly puckered; a frown just beginning to grace his features. His amber eyes swept the page with an eagerness Sirius could not comprehend, the dark orbs absorbing the wellspring of information contained within. One hand fluttered absently at his side, gently tapping a quill against his thigh and his lips worked occasionally as they spelled out a particularly unpalatable word, or the reader committed something to memory. His head nodded intermittently as he agreed with something the author stated and occasionally he adjusted his position or grip of the book.
Finally Remus grew aware of the piercing blue gaze fixed upon him and looked up, his eyes focussing completely on something other than the book for the first time since he entered the room.
"Sirius?" He asked hesitantly. "Are you alright? You look a little … dazed."
"I'm fine." Sirius said, immediately shaking himself out of the tiny trance he had been slipping into. "I was counting how long it would take you to notice me."
"I noticed you when I came in." Remus told him, a slight blush staining his cheeks. "And you are not the greatest ruler of the universe, my shoelace is not undone and I didn't fail Potions."
Sirius glanced at him again.
"How on earth can you sit there and read that in such deep concentration and still pay attention to what I'm saying to distract you?" He demanded huffily.
Remus graced him with one of his rare true smiles.
"Because, my dear Padfoot, you have been trying to distract me from my reading for the past six or so years. One doesn't continue friendship with you and intend to graduate with good grades and not learn how to concentrate on two things at once."
Sirius fixed him with a cross look and crossed his arms, leaning sulkily against the bed post.
"Fine, you can study by yourself then."
"Okay." Remus agreed amicably and returned his attention to the book.
Sirius pouted a moment longer and then growled in frustration.
"Fine, you win!" He asserted and pulled his own copy of "Simmering Book of Stupendous Potions" from his bag and opened it randomly to a page, glaring down at it as though it had offended him.
Remus observed him for a moment over the top of his own volume.
"That isn't going to work." He said gently.
"I don't care." Sirius maintained.
"Look," He said, putting his book aside and leaning forward so he was looking over the top of Sirius's. "How about you open to Chapter three and I'll quiz you on the healing properties of Flavielius?"
"Okay." Sirius agreed, happy now he had his own way and opened to the specified chapter.
Remus rolled his eyes and berated himself for giving into Sirius's good-natured manipulations once again, but leant back against his own bed post and reopened his book.
"Right then." He began officially. "Tell me when it was first discovered."
"20 … something. Remus, this sucks already, can I open a window?" Sirius was already up on his feet before Remus could answer.
"Er … okay. Tell me … who discovered it." Remus covered his surprise at the sudden movement and launched another question at his friend.
"Some dude. Do you reckon people go looking for plants and stuff just so they can name them?"
"Sirius!" Remus growled, frustrated already. Sirius's endless energy was entertaining and useful, but his disregard for knowledge and education rankled on Remus's respect. "This isn't going to work unless you actually try to answer the questions properly!"
"Okay, okay!" Sirius cried, holding his hands up in defeat. He retreated back against his backrest. "Shoot."
Remus gave him a wary look but dutifully opened the book once again.
"What should Flavelius never be mixed with?"
"Probably a herb – er … Mugwort?" He tried hastily when Remus glared threateningly at him. "Oh, I give up already!" He exclaimed when Remus shook his head. "This stuff never works. I always forget when I get in there."
"That's why we do it question answer style, so you learn-."
"But I know all of this, I always do." Sirius said. "But when I get in there, I just don't know anymore, it's like I leave it all wherever I studied it."
"Well, try memory tricks." Remus suggested.
"Like what?" Sirius asked, intrigued.
"Like … making rhymes when you have to remember lists or processes. Good for Potions." He added.
Sirius wrinkled his nose in distaste.
"Rhymes?" He asked, handling the word on his tongue as if it was somehow offensive. "That's kind of … girly."
"Well, I use rhymes." Remus told him sharply. "But if you don't want to try that, how about … ah."
A sudden idea came to him and he stood up suddenly, moving over towards his trunk. Searching through it for a moment, he emerged triumphantly bearing a paper bag Sirius recognised instantly.
"Hey, where have you been hiding those?" He demanded.
"In a very secret place, obviously." Remus returned, his eyes dancing.
"Where?" Sirius immediately wanted to know.
"If I told you that," Remus laughed, "It wouldn't be very secret."
"Stupid answer." Sirius sulked.
"Ask a silly question, expect a silly answer." Remus chuckled, sitting back down with the paper bag. He cracked it open an inch and was rewarded with the sight of Honeyduke's Chocolate Frogs – just as Sirius had identified. "Now," He said, settling back down. "Let's see if you concentrate. Whenever you get an answer right, you get given one of these frogs, understand?"
"I don't see how that's going to make me remember in the exam."
"Because I have heard," Remus said, "That if you study with a certain scent or taste, and then bring that scent or taste into the exam, it triggers the responses in your memory which causes you to recall everything you learn when you last experienced that sensation."
Sirius looked uncertain.
"Er … okay." He said.
"Just try it." Remus said firmly. "And if it doesn't work, well, at least you got to eat Chocolate Frogs."
"True." He agreed. "So begin."
"All right." Remus smiled to himself. "Now tell me where Flavelius originated."
"India." Sirius replied promptly.
"No." Remus negated, dropping the frog he had picked up back into the bag. "France. Remember it by the 'flavel' in the name. It sounds French. No frog." He added, as he saw Sirius' eyes still fixed on the bag.
"I thought I got to eat frogs!" Sirius exclaimed.
"When you get the answer right!" Remus told him, holding the bag behind his back. "Now concentrate. Who discovered Flavelius?"
"John Prestwhich." Sirius answered.
"No." Remus told him, sighing. "Jacques Abney. French, remember, French!"
"Remus!" Sirius cried in a strangled voice.
"Sirius!" Remus shot back. "When was it discovered?"
"231!" Sirius tried desperately.
"Wrong. 201 BM (Before Merlin)."
"Sirius! What must Flavelius never be mixed with?"
"Parsley?" Sirius moaned.
"Remus, please!" Sirius moved forward, trying to take the frogs from Remus, who backed further away, both removing the frogs from Sirius and himself from the uncomfortable, prickly, trickling feeling that had begun again.
"Not until you get an answer right. Tell me who discovered it and I'll give you one." He replied, edging further away from Sirius, who was approaching with a predatory look in his eyes.
"Jacques bloody Abney." He growled and Remus smiled in relief. He wasn't sure he could have stopped Sirius this time.
"Right." He said, feeling behind him for the bag.
"Remus, please, I – what?" Sirius paused in his already prepared plea. "Right?"
"Yes, Padfoot. Jacques Abney did discover Flavelius." Remus told him proudly.
"I got it right?" Sirius repeated. "I can have a frog?"
"Indeed." Remus smiled, throwing the small chocolate up in front of them and laughing when Sirius snatched it eagerly from the air and scurried triumphantly back to his bed post. He shoved the struggling frog inside his mouth and sat back, his cheeks bulging, a glassy, gleeful look in his eyes. He chewed ferociously and slumped, his craving sated.
"Ask me another." He demanded presently. "That was fun."
"Yeah, sure, fun." Remus muttered to himself, fighting down the prickly feeling that still hadn't completely receded. He did, however, open his book once again and searched the text for a fresh question. "Tell me what potions Flavelius is useful in."
"I don't know that! Ask me an easier one."
"Think." Remus told him firmly, crossing his arms behind his back again.
"Um … Dreamless Sleep, Hair Inducement and …" Sirius strained his brain, encouraged by Remus's encouraging nod. "And …"
"You should know this, Sirius." Remus interrupted gently. "We used enough of it on the Slytherins."
"Oh, that one that makes your skin alternate colour with your mood … oh, um …" Sirius pulled at his hair in agitation.
"Near enough." Remus said cheerfully, taking pity on him. "That's about half an answer, so you get half," he snapped one of the chocolate amphibians in half, "a frog."
He handed one half to his flushed counterpart and popped the other half into his own mouth, savouring the sweet flavour.
"Better than nothing, I suppose." Sirius grumbled and bit into the frog's head.
The afternoon continued on in the same fashion, with Remus continuously firing questions at Sirius, who either bombed completely or answered promptly. The supply of frogs diminished slowly, with Remus eventually only administering a whole frog for a very complete answer, and halves only occasionally. They powered their way through Charms, Potions, Transfiguration and Herbology, until the dorm room looked like a bomb had exploded in it. A bomb filled with books and parchment instead of gunpowder, but with the same destruction.
At the end of the afternoon, both boys could be found sprawled haphazardly across the floor, their ties undone and their hair wild and untamed. The exhaustion was evident in their features and their posture as they lounged against their respective bed posts and spoke as though they had run a marathon.
"What is the formula for Transfiguration of human to non-human?" Remus asked wearily, running a hand over his face.
"Please, Remus, no more." Sirius pleaded, his voice breaking in his exhaustion. "My head hasn't hurt like this since I got hit with that Bludger, and even that was on the outside, this is on the inside. A consuming pounding against my skull, I don't think the pain will ever end. I am doomed …"
He slid sideways off his bed post and lay pathetically in the middle of the floor between his bed and Remus' cramped crossed legs.
"You will be doomed if you don't study this stuff." Remus warned darkly, casting his own aching eyes over the mountains of work they had studied.
"But I have studied!" Sirius asserted, his eyes flashing. "I have studied all afternoon, I haven't studied this much in my life. I know the entire chapter three of "Stupendously Simmering Potions" or whatever the stupid book is!" He rolled himself onto his front and pushed himself to his knees. "I can see the roots of a Cactapucti plant whenever I close my eyes and I can recognise a Transfigured insect from ten metres away!" He crawled over towards Remus with a look of violence in his eyes. "If you make me look at one more study chart, or feed me one more chocolate frog, I am going to do something drastic!"
"Like what?" Remus asked disinterestedly, trying to ignore the fact that Sirius was on all fours in front of him, pretending he wasn't feeling all uncomfortable, prickly and hot again and wondering if it really was enough study for one day.
"Like … like … freaking kissing you!" Sirius burst out and before Remus could do more than blink, he suddenly found himself being pushed back against his own bed post and kissed rather thoroughly. His eyes widened in shock and then fluttered closed an instant later.
At the first touch of Sirius's lips against his, the prickly, uncomfortable feeling intensified until it became almost unbearable. It strengthened until it completely overtook his mind and the only thing he could think to do that would release the pressure inside his head was to kiss Sirius back.
So he did, and the uncomfortably prickly feeling vanished instantly.
He let his lips press themselves back against the thick, soft lips pushing themselves on his. He let himself open his mouth and shivered in unexpected pleasure as Sirius's tongue slid hesitantly inside and touched gently at his. He couldn't stop himself from letting his hands slide up over Sirius' back and come to rest on his hips, keeping his friend (?) firmly in place. To be fair, Sirius scooted himself closer and off his knees so that his hands were free to bury themselves in Remus's hair, which sent another wave of shivers down Remus's spine.
The kiss slowly ended and the two stared at each other for a moment.
"I didn't show you a study chart." Remus blurted and then flushed at the stupidity of his comment.
"Like I care." Sirius returned. "I'm showing you how to study now. So shut up and pay attention."
Well, this has been a terrible absence, hasn't it? Do forgive me, I have had such a hectic few months, you wouldn't believe what I've been through. This is my latest offering, obviously. I think I like it, once again inspired by a picture. If you want to see it, send me an e-mail and I'll try to get it to you. I'm so sorry to the people who requested the picture from my last picture fic – I did get the e-mails, but my computer died and when I got it fixed, I couldn't find anything. I've only just found three out of four Remus/Sirius pictures I had, so if you want either picture, give me a yell and tell me which one, and I'll see if I can find it!
Thankees again to everyone who has reviewed and/or read anything so far, I still love hearing from you!
Much light and love to everyone!
P.S Oh, and sorry for the cavalier killing of frogs …
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