A/N: I'm sticking as close to canon as possible, but I did have to make this slightly AU, in that, while the Marauder's all live together, Remus isn't in the group.
Disclaimer: I wish I'd been great enough to create Harry Potter, unfortunately it belongs to J.K and not me.
"She was a looker, but no brains at all," Sirius told James from his sprawled position on the couch in the Gryffindor common room.
"No morals either if she shagged you on the first date," James commented from the armchair across from him.
Sirius grinned. It was the morning after his date with the blonde haired Ravenclaw, whose name he'd forgotten, and, as he had told James, it had gone extremely well.
"Come on, James," Sirius said, his silky raven hair glistening in the newly risen sun that shone through the windows. "I could get anyone in this school to shag me."
Peter snorted, reminding them he was there. Of course, the chubby boy was always there - tagging along behind them. He was just easily forgettable.
Glaring at him, Sirius sat up. "You guys know it's true."
Both James and Peter had to admit, Sirius had a point. He had had his way with plenty of the girls in the castle. He was intelligent, popular, and his charm was a force to be reckoned with among the students as well as the faculty. James, however, was not one to deliberately boost Sirius' ego, knowing full well that his friend's head was big enough as it was.
"Care to put money on that?" James asked, raising his eyebrows and pushing his glasses up his nose with a highly superior expression.
Sirius grinned. "Surely you don't mean betting, Mr. Potter?"
Peter looked excitedly between them, popping a chocolate frog in his mouth. Whenever the two best friends had a bet on Peter usually was placed in the middle, and as much as he pretended to be frustrated by the whole situation, he rather enjoyed the attention.
"Name the terms," Sirius said, his blue eyes positively glittering at the challenge.
"We pick the person and you have a month to get a shag," James said. "Twenty galleons if you do."
"A month?" Sirius said with a snort. "No problem."
James smirked. "Don't think we're going to pick someone easy."
"You're on," Sirius said. "So, who's the lucky girl?"
"Let's see," James said, thinking. "We need someone who will make your task difficult."
"What about Bertha Jorkins?" Peter piped up.
"That nosy seventh year Hufflepuff?" Sirius said, nose crinkling.
"No," James said. "The bigger ones are always more eager."
"Hey!" Peter said, chewing on the leg of another chocolate frog. "I resent that." Although it sounded more like "I rethent thap."
James ignored him, running his hand through his unruly black hair. "Someone cold and aloof," he thought out loud.
"How about Evans?" Peter said. "She's about as cold and aloof as you're going to get."
Sirius laughed. "No, Pete, she's only like that to Jamie here." The cold glare sent his way made him laugh even harder. "Besides, I don't think James would be very happy if I shagged his one true love," he said, still grinning.
James continued his search, doing his best to ignore Sirius. "What about that bitchy Slytherin Bellatrix? Or her rotten sister Narcissa?"
"James," Sirius said, disgusted. "They're mycousins."
"Oh, right," James said. "I forgot all you purebloods are related someway or another. Okay, that leaves Slytherins out – they have enough inbreeding going on as it is." There was a pause. "Unless – what about Snivellous?" he said with a malicious grin.
Peter broke into peals of laughter as Sirius' expression became horrified. "Merlin, James."
"You think Snape is a poof?" Peter asked, still snickering.
"Snivellous isn't a poof," Sirius stated matter-of-factly. Peter and James shot him funny looks as he seemed to be defending the greasy haired boy. Then Sirius continued. "He's asexual."
They all laughed. "Okay, okay," James said. "No, Snape."
The door to the common room suddenly opened and a tired looking boy entered. He paused when he noticed them, then nodded in acknowledgement before trudging up to the dorms.
Looking at his watch, Sirius said, "Where was he at this hour on a Sunday?" Dawn had only been an hour or so ago, and the boys were only awake because they'd stayed up all night.
"Who knows?" Peter said, catching another chocolate frog before it could hop off and shoving it in his mouth. "Lupin's weird."
"Anti-social and weird," Siruis said, before shrugging and turning back to his companions. He raised his eyebrows at James, who was absolutely beaming. "What's that look for?"
"Gentlemen," James said. "I believe we've found Sirius' new love interest."
"What?" Peter said. "Who?"
Sirius just looked at him in confusion.
"Remus Lupin. Prefect, introvert, and all around nutter."
Peter grinned and Sirius rolled his eyes. "Loony Lupin?" Sirius said. "Come on, James, he hardly speaks to us. We've lived in the same dorm for five years and we've only spoken to him like twice."
"Exactly!" James exclaimed. "He's not one of the many Sirius hero worshippers. He'll provide a nice challenge."
"Only one problem," Sirius said. "I'm not gay."
"It's called experimenting, Sirius," James said, his lips still spread in a large smile. "Everybody does it."
"Did you stop to consider that he probably doesn't swing that way?" Sirius protested a little desperately, realizing that James didn't seem to be joking.
"Well, then I guess you'll have your work cut out for you, huh?" James was glowing. "Besides, you did say, you could getanyone in the school to shag you."
Sirius sighed, cursing his lack of specificity. He shook his head. He wasn't one to back down from a bet, no matter how difficult or unappealing. It was going to be a long month.
Remus could practically feel the deep stare that was burning into his skull and only will power and patience that a boy his age shouldn't possess kept him from turning around to glare at the boy that he was certain was looking at him. His shoulders hunched slightly as he busied himself with the transfiguration reading McGonagall had assigned them for the rest of the period, silently praying class would soon be over so he could get away from the eyes that had been watching him for the past few days.
Remus knew very little about Sirius Black, despite the fact that they were roommates. He deliberately kept to himself, out of fear that if anyone got too close they would find out what he was, and neither Sirius or his friends James and Peter seemed to like him all that much anyway.
What Remus did know about Sirius Black was that suddenly and inexplicably having the boy's attention focused almost entirely on him was probably a good cause for paranoia. He was smart and he was a troublemaker and there were only two reasons Remus could come up with for him to catch the interest of such a person. He was either going to be the next target of one of his James and Peter's pranks or he had figured out his secret.
Neither was a pleasant idea, but at least the idea of being a prank target didn't make him feel very much like throwing up every time he thought about it – so he found himself wishing they would just hurry up and get the prank out of the way so he could go back to his normal quiet life where they just ignored each other. He tried to place the other thought out of his mind.
He breathed a silent sigh of relief when McGonagall dismissed the class and he quickly packed up his things and made his way out of the classroom. He was halfway down the hall when a voice called, "Hey, Lu—Remus!"
He stopped walking, wondering if the time for the prank had finally come, then turned slowly. Sirius was making his way through crowds of students, for once no James Potter or Peter Pettigrew anywhere near him. That made Remus even more suspicious.
He said nothing, waiting warily to see what Sirius was going to do. Sweeping his dark hair from his eyes, Sirius sent him a grin. Remus tensed, but the only thing that happened was Sirius saying, "I was wondering if you could help me."
"Help you?" Remus asked.
Sirius continued on, apparently not noticing Remus' discomfort. "I've been having a bit of trouble with DADA. Professor Franklin said I should get a tutor. I know you're pretty good with the subject. So how about it?"
How about it? He'd been expecting a head full of slime, not a tutoring proposition. Plus, he had been under the impression that Sirius was just as good with DADA as he was with all his other subjects. This sounded entirely too much like a set up.
He kept the suspicion out of his tone as he responded, "I'm really not all that good. In fact your friend James is probably—"
Sirius waved a hand. "James'll just distract me," he interrupted. "We'll end up planning pranks instead of studying."
Remus attempted to look disapproving at the mention of pranks – he was a prefect after all – but couldn't quite keep a tiny smile from his face. Having them pulled on him was less than appealing, but Remus had a mischievous side that few rarely saw and he appreciated a good prank as much anyone else.
"Surely there must be someone else you could ask," Remus said, unsure of how to get out of this.
"I'd rather it be someone I know," Sirius said.
Remus resisted the urge to point out that, even though they had lived together for nearly five years, they didn't actually know anything about each other.
"Well," Remus said hesitantly, still certain that this was a set up, but seeing no legitimate way out of it. As a prefect he was obligated to help students. "I guess I could."
Sirius' lips spread into a grin and Remus tried unsuccessfully to convince himself he was imagining the victorious gleam in his blue eyes. "Great!" he said. "Want to meet in the library tonight before dinner?"
"All right," Remus said, already certain he would be regretting this before the night was over.
Sirius made his way to Charms, where James and Peter were no doubt waiting to hear what had happened. He had left them snickering madly in Transfiguration as he had gone after Lupin.
Until he had to actively start noticing him, Sirius had never realized how much he actually saw of Lupin during the day. The quiet boy was in half of his classes and they did live in the same room.
Lupin was small and thin. Unlike James, whose lanky form towered over most boys their age, Lupin was much smaller than all of them, except for maybe Peter, whose short and plump figure often made Sirius wonder how his tiny little legs were able to move.
What made this bet awful was the fact that Lupin was a prefect, and was nothing like James and himself. He wasn't anyone that Sirius wanted hanging around. Unfortunately, he did not seem like the type of person to have a casual fling or a one night stand, therefore Sirius had to actually get close to him, and make him trust him if he was ever going to get him into bed.
Sirius, who prided himself on being loud and obnoxious as often as possible, was amazed at Lupin's quietness. It seemed that he only spoke when spoken to, and the only class that Sirius ever heard him speak up out of his own volition was DADA – which had led him to his rather brilliant tutoring idea.
"So?" James said, as Sirius entered the Charms room and sat down next to him.
"We've got a date for tonight," Sirius said, pushing his hair out of his eyes and sending a grin at his friend.
"What?" James spluttered, looking horrified. Was Lupin that easy?
Sirius laughed at look on his friend's face. "You can relax for now, it's just a study date."
"A study date?" Peter said, peering around from the other side of James. "Studying for what?"
"DADA," Sirius said simply, lowering his voice as Flitwick stood on a stool and began class.
"You don't need help with DADA," James hissed.
"I know that," Sirius said. "And you know that. But he doesn't know that. It's the easiest way to get close to him. I've got to get him to trust me first. You should have seen him in the hallway. He looked like he was expecting me to shove a dung bomb down his pants."
"Any other day that's probably the only reason you would be talking to him," James pointed out.
James then made another face as if something particularly nasty had occurred to him. "Does this mean you're going to start having him hang out with us?"
"Well, I can't very well convince him we're friends if I ignore him all day except for when he tutors me, now can I?" Sirius said.
"Don't you start complaining," Sirius snapped. "You picked him. Deal with it. At least you don't have to shag him."
"Mr. Black, would you care to demonstrate the charm I was just explaining?" Flitwick said, sounding a bit irritated.
"I would professor, but I'm afraid I wasn't listening," Sirius said, managing to look innocent and mischievous at the same time. Several of the students broke into snickers, James included.
"Five points from Gryffindor. Miss Evan's, perhaps you would be so kind?"
James' attention was suddenly focused as the red haired girl Flitwick had called on shot a contemptuous glare in their direction before performing the charm perfectly.
"She's amazing," James sighed as Flitwick awarded Gryffindor ten points.
Sirius and Peter exchanged exasperated looks, well used to their friend abruptly becoming too love struck to function.
When Sirius entered the library later that day Lupin was already there, reading a thick book that he was fairly certain was not required texts. He sauntered over to the table the other boy was at and flopped into a seat next to him.
Lupin looked up from his book and smiled tentatively at him. "Shall we get to it?" he asked, tucking the large book into his bag and pulling his Defense Against the Dark Arts book from it.
"Sure," Sirius said, refraining from rolling his eyes. Being privately tutored in a subject he already knew would be less than fun, but if he didn't want to lose his money (or his pride) he knew it would be necessary.
"So, what is the difference between a Hinkypunk and a Grindylow?" Sirius asked, later in the evening. He was quite good at playing inept, and Lupin, he realized, was very very patient. He tuned out Lupin's explanation, knowing perfectly well what the differences where, and when Lupin was done he decided that this was absolutely too boring to allow to continue. "So what do you do for fun?" he asked, leaning back against his chair and stretching.
Lupin looked up at Sirius in surprise. "Um…" he said, apparently trying to decide if Sirius was actually interested or if he was just making small talk. "I read."
"That's it?" Sirius asked, leaning towards him. "That's all you do?"
The quiet boy's cheeks flushed a little, a little embarrassed. "Yes, well, I enjoy it."
Sirius looked at him skeptically.
Lupin obviously felt the need to defend himself. "Just because I don't run around the castle pulling pranks like you and James doesn't mean I don't have fun."
"Sure," Sirius said, grinning at how flustered he'd become. "But of course, prefects can't play pranks."
"We can if we don't get caught," Lupin muttered under his breath.
"What?" Sirius asked, curiosity piqued.
Lupin looked at him, startled. He hadn't expected Sirius to hear him. "Nothing," he said quickly.
"No, no, Remus," Sirius said with a wild grin. Never in a million years would he have expected the prefect to be a closet prankster. "I heard you. What pranks have you played?"
Lupin ducked his head, looking extremely uncomfortable. Sirius saw this as a chance to not only find out about the pranks, but to also get Lupin to start trusting him. He leaned closer so their forearms were touching. "You can tell me," he said softly. "I can keep a secret."
Lupin looked up, obviously hesitant. Sirius gave him a version of his innocent, 'of course it wasn't me professor' looks. Finally the boy relented. "Remember when McGonagall transformed to her cat form and wasn't her normal tabby color?" he asked in a whisper.
"That was you?" Sirius hissed. McGonagall had not been pleased when she transformed in front of their class and instead of her usual orange fur she had become a brilliant neon green cat. Everyone had suspected Sirius and James but there had been absolutely no proof.
Sirius looked at the small sandy haired boy with newfound respect. "That was bloody brilliant!"
Lupin smiled, blushing and ducking his head again, unused to praise. "We should probably quit for the day," he said, closing his book. "It's time for dinner."
Sirius nodded, standing. "James'll want to meet you."
Lupin gave him an odd look. "We've lived together for five years. We've met."
"He's met Remus Lupin. He hasn't met the mastermind behind the only memorable prank that he and I didn't commit," Sirius told him. "He told me he wanted to know who did it so he could shake the fellow's hand."
James and Peter were already eating when Sirius and Lupin arrived. They exchanged grins when they saw them enter together, finding the whole situation amusing.
James as well as a few others were surprised, however, when they saw Sirius leading Loony Lupin over to where he and Peter were sitting.
"He sure is moving fast," James muttered.
"He only has a month," Peter reminded him.
James nodded, running a hand through his hair (actually mussing it up rather than smoothing it down), with a sigh. He noticed that Lupin looked rather uncomfortable as Sirius grabbed his arm and led him towards them.
"Here," Sirius said, gesturing at the empty seat across from James. "Sit."
Lupin looked unsure, but Sirius gently pushed him down into the seat. Sirius sat next to him, across from Peter. "James, Peter, you know Remus?"
Both boys shot Sirius a look similar to the one Lupin had given him earlier.
"Sirius," James said, with the air of talking to a five year old. "We've lived with him for five years. Of course we know him."
Peter snickered and Lupin gave a timid smile.
Sirius grinned, ivory teeth gleaming. "You think you know Remus. But you don'tknow Remus."
James watched as the little smile faded from Lupin's face. "Sirius," the boy said softly. "Do we have to talk about this here?" He glanced pointedly at the head table.
James was intrigued. "What?" he asked, looking between Sirius and Lupin.
Sirius had taken Lupin's hint though. Now he was busy writing whatever he had to say in a note, which seemed to make Lupin no more comfortable than he was before. The note was handed to James, who shared it with Peter. The note then self-combusted, much to Lupin's relief.
Everyone in the Great Hall, especially the teachers, may have thought it odd when James Potter leaned across the table and vigorously shook the hand of someone he'd lived with for five years as though he was just meeting him.