A/N: When this plot bunny popped into my head, it was too appealing to resist. It will be four parts. I've basically gotten it all ready, so it shouldn't be long between postings.
Warning: Some OOCness on Minerva's part.
Disclaimer: If it was mine, Sirius and Remus would've started passionately snogging on the table in the middle of an Order meeting.
Minerva McGonagall was in a state. And, as everyone knew, Minerva McGonagall being in a state should not be taken lightly. She rarely allowed herself to become so worked up, and when she was, it was best to run away as fast as you could in the other direction. The students of Hogwarts knew this, as there was a clear path in front of her whilst she stalked down the corridor.
"Mr. Black!" she barked. Immediately, Sirius Black turned and looked at her, his eyes wide and confused. James Potter and Peter Pettigrew exchanged small smiles, and Minerva could almost hear the, "Oooh! Sirius is in trou-ble!" reverberating in their otherwise empty heads. Remus Lupin slid his hand off Sirius's shoulder and patted his friend supportively on the back before James shoved Sirius forward, right in front of an angry Minerva McGonagall.
"Mr. Black, you are coming with me this instant!" Minerva thundered.
"But, I didn't—" Sirius started, but Minerva had his left ear pinched between two fingers before he could finish his protest. She dragged him down the corridor to her office whilst he tried to ignore the various sniggers and giggles from the students that had borne witness to Sirius's humiliation. Normally, Sirius would follow Minerva with a smile, swaggering and winking and generally being a cocky bastard. Now, he was attempting to keep up with Minerva's quick step without losing his ear.
Minerva opened the door to her office and roughly shoved Sirius in, slamming the door behind her. An imposing look from Sirius, to a chair, then back to Sirius told the boy that he should obviously sit down. Sirius took the cue quickly. He hadn't seen Minerva that worked up since the Flying Pudding Incident of '75.
Deciding to take his chances, Sirius started speaking as soon as Minerva took a seat in the chair on the other side of her desk. Sirius sourly noted that her chair was much nicer than his, all plushy and soft and it had wheels, before opening his mouth.
Bad things happened when Sirius Black opened his mouth.
"Minnie, I swear—"
"Don't you, 'Minnie, I swear,' me!" Minerva yelled. Sirius shirked back into his hard, wheel-less chair, pressing his lips tightly together. "I know you are up to something!"
"I haven't done anything!" Sirius argued. "Ask anyone! I haven't planned anything!"
"You haven't pulled a prank in twenty-three days! Twenty-three days, four hours, and twelve minutes! You haven't gone that long since the Great Depression, and I know there is something going on!"
The Great Depression was what Minerva called the two months after Sirius's disastrous prank—although, as she had heard Remus put it, it was more of a mistake (a big, awful, disastrous, stupid mistake) than a prank. After Sirius had gotten Snape almost killed, he had sunk into a deep depression. Remus had forgiven him the day after, Minerva knew: she had been eavesdropping. She had rationalized by telling herself that she was listening for administrative and psychological purposes, but, really, she had been eavesdropping.
Could anyone blame her, though? The whole thing reminded her of the soap operas she enjoyed watching during the summer, and Hogwarts didn't have cable. She had needed something to keep her entertained. She was aware that it had been a bit sadistic, but at least then she hadn't been worried about Sirius's complete lack of prank-pulling.
Sirius had been moody and silent for those two months. In fact, the only reason he had gotten a few detentions was because of his tendency to fall asleep during class. There had been no pranks, no schemes, no nothing, though. Minerva suspected that it had been Sirius's way of punishing himself, because Remus was too bloody understanding and had the largest soft-spot for Sirius.
During Sirius's entire time at Hogwarts, though, that had been the only time where he had gone more than a week without pulling a prank, even if it was as small as charming goldfish to sing "God Save the Queen", or as large as the tornados, hurricanes, cyclones, and monsoons that had taken place in the Slytherin common room (Sirius was quite good at weather spells).
"Professor McGonagall, I haven't done anything, and I'm not planning on doing anything!" Sirius argued urgently. "Nothing. I promise."
"For the past twenty-three days, four hours, and fourteen minutes, I've been waiting for you to pull a prank! You'd think that it would be nice, wouldn't you? Twenty-three days without cleaning up after you or sending people to the hospital wing or counseling people who lost goldfish in the 'God Save the Queen' incident? Do you remember how much I had to go through after that? A group of Hufflepuffs had a sit-in in my office to protest the new ban against goldfish!" McGonagall ranted.
"Wouldn't you think that I would be happy not to deal with any of that? I should be! But, no! Instead, I've been looking over my shoulder for the past twenty-three days, twitching when you round a corner, anticipating your next move whilst you eat breakfast! It's torture! Just bloody do something so I can be put out of my bloody misery!"
Sirius sat there, kohled eyes wide, mouth open in shock. He remembered to blink a few seconds later, and then said, in a breathless, awed voice, "You said 'bloody'." He blinked again, rapidly. "You said 'bloody' twice."
"I said 'bloody' twice," Minerva repeated, sitting back in her chair, just as shocked as Sirius. "In front of you." She shuddered. "Merlin, what is the world coming to?"
"So…you're in this tizz because I haven't pulled a prank in twenty-odd days and what-have-you hours?" Sirius asked carefully. "I put the great Minnie McGonagall in a state?"
"It was inevitable."
"Cor," Sirius breathed. "Wow. I'm…wow."
Minerva crossed her arms, shooting Sirius a rather frustrated look. "Now, you really don't need to rub it in."
"Oh, yes, I do," Sirius said, trancelike. "It's a momentous occasion. You just admitted that I put you in a state. I'm writing this down. And posting it. In the Gryffindor common room. In the Great Hall. I think I may just call the Daily Prophet."
"And then have all of the owls thump people in the heads with the newspapers whilst doing a synchronized flying routine?" Minerva suggested hopefully. Then her eyes widened, and she inhaled sharply. "I just gave you a prank idea."
"You did," Sirius said blankly. "Wow."
They stared at each other for another moment, eyes wide, before Minerva leaned over and thumped Sirius on the side of the head with a rolled-up copy of the Prophet.
"Enough staring," Minerva snapped. "You are going to explain to me why you haven't pulled a prank in the past twenty-three days, four hours, and sixteen minutes. Now."
"Hey, why did you call me in here?" Sirius asked suddenly. Upon Minerva's sharpened look, he quickly amended, "I know why I'm here, obviously, but what I want to know is…why not Jim, Pete, or Rem?"
"Pettigrew doesn't prank unless he's following someone. Lupin only helps when the rest of you are plotting—he doesn't start anything on his own, so you and Potter end up with most of the blame, and he can do your homework during your detention," Minerva explained. "And Potter is dating Evans, is quite smitten, and is deathly afraid of her. He wouldn't do anything to anger her."
"Yeah, Prongs is whipped," Sirius said, a look of disgust present on his face. Minerva cringed.
"I would appreciate it if no aspects of Potter and Evans's relationship were discussed," she said coolly.
She really didn't need to know anything about their relationship, especially of how whipped James was. Just because she had placed a few sickles on them in the staff betting pool on when they would get together didn't mean that she approved of the relationship. But, since, sadly, Minerva knew that Lily had fallen for James hard, she humored the Head Girl's relationship with James, and actually secretly enjoyed it, since James was no longer causing as much trouble. Still, if she was to know the exact details of the relationship, Lily and Minerva's Wednesday afternoon tea would be very awkward.
"Fine with me," Sirius agreed. "It's awful, those two. Bloody disgusting."
Before Minerva could readily agree, she decided to fix Sirius with a glare. "You're changing the subject. Now, explain. And it better be a good reason."
"I've lost the will to prank without James," Sirius said solemnly. "It's sad, I know, but without Jim, I am incomplete. I cannot complete a prank without my soul-brother."
"Bollocks," Minerva said, and Sirius gave her another one of those blank stares. She waved her hand and said, "I swear, get over it." Then, adjusting her glasses, she said, "You pulled seven and a third pranks after Potter got together with Evans. It's not his absence that's bothering you."
"Your odd Marauder-stalking obsession is actually quite unhelpful for me," Sirius observed glumly.
"I don't stalk; I observe," Minerva corrected. "I leave the stalking to the Club."
"You know about the Club?" Sirius asked with a small smirk.
Oh, yes. She knew about the Club. Who didn't know about the Sirius Black is Dead Sexy and We Love Him and His Perfect Ways fan club? (It was shortened to SBDSWLHHPW, but it was still a mouthful, so it was usually referred to as 'the Club'.)
"They came to me and asked to make it an official club. They have shirts and everything." Minerva shuddered. "It's terrifying. I have no clue why a group of girls would want to devote themselves to stalking you."
"Their shirts are nice, though. I got a free one," Sirius said.
"They are nice," Minerva admitted begrudgingly. Hers was a lovely shade of red. "Still, I do not stalk! I simply have a comprehensive file on you four. And, for the life of me, I cannot comprehend why in Merlin's name you haven't attempted to pull a prank in twenty-three days!"
"Repression, depression, and impression," Sirius said smartly. Minerva shot Sirius a blank look, and he sighed. "I realized that I had been repressing my feelings for quite some time, and then I was depressed about it because I realized that repression was actually quite a good thing, because it keeps those bad, betraying feelings that make you want to do things away. Then I decided to impress while I was at it, because it ends with '-press', and I already had two of those, and three is a much more impressive number.
"I'm actually thinking about throwing in 'digression', which I have sadly done a lot, because four is a much better number than three. It's even, pretty, and made up of lines, because, face it, curved numbers are just a bit creepy. See, that's why one-hundred forty-seven is my favorite number; no curves, y'know, so—"
"Aren't depressed people supposed to be quiet?" Minerva asked, exasperated. "For once, Mr. Black, please try to do things correctly."
Sirius's expression was a strange one. It seemed to be classified somewhere amongst pain, dark sarcasm, seriousness, confusion, and humor. If Minerva even wanted to attempt to try to decipher it, it would take her hours, along with costing her many galleons and much chocolate to bribe the people who knew Sirius best, so they would help her. After six and a half years of dealing with the Marauders, though, Minerva knew which looks to attempt and which to ignore. This look definitely fell in the latter category. She fell silent for a moment, waiting for Sirius to speak.
"Fine. I was depressed. Properly depressed, after the repression passed, and I didn't even think about impressing, and I'm not sure it worked—actually, I'm pretty sure I just worried everyone." Sirius crossed his arms. "I can't help it, alright? I don't do emotions well, and I was confused, which was bloody awful, but now I really want to be confused again, because you can pretend when you're confused and it'll be easy.
"When you know things, it's harder, because the damn things keep telling you you're wrong, and you just want them to go away, and bloody hell I really want to have no clue again, because ignorance is bliss, and that cliché is right, and I'm aware how long my sentences are and that I'm not breathing and I've sworn four times in the past twenty seconds, and damn, I need to breathe."
Sirius stopped speaking, inhaling deeply, and then exhaling. His eyes darted around the room whilst Minerva watched him closely. She noted, actually concernedly, that he was gripping the sides of his chair so tightly that his knuckles were white. Now she actually felt quite bad for dragging Sirius into her office, because he was obviously in a state, too.
"Do you want to…talk about it?" Minerva asked tentatively, wondering why the bloody hell she was asking to have a conversation with Sirius. Then she took another look at Sirius's worried face and white hands and found her reason. As much as she hated to admit it to herself (and it would take a stampede of wild hippogriffs to convince her to say it aloud), she…liked Sirius. She liked Sirius, and James, and Remus, and Peter, the Marauders. And she felt sorry for them when there was a problem or row, often eavesdropping and invading their privacy because she cared, damn it, so why wouldn't Albus just accept that and stop looking at her with those damn twinkling eyes every time her caught her?
"I don't want to talk about it," Sirius admitted. "I want to ram my head against large, sharp rocks. Repeatedly. And with force. I don't even know if it's possible for me to form sentences out of my thoughts."
This was a different Sirius, Minerva realized. One that she didn't see often, nor did the rest of Hogwarts outside his selective group of friends. It was the pessimistic, worried, blatantly honest in the most self-deprecating way Sirius, who acknowledged that life did sometimes screw you over and everything wasn't all laughs and dung bombs. She wasn't sure how she felt about this Sirius, but she wanted to hear more from him.
"It'll be even more difficult if you lose brain cells whilst banging your head against those sharp rocks," Minerva said. "Talking is less painful and less mentally scarring."
"Blimey, you really want to hear what I've got to say, don't you?" Sirius asked, slightly amazed.
Minerva shrugged noncommittally. "I've devoted the past six and a half years to keeping you and your friends from burning down the school. I have an interest, a curiosity. But on a completely non-stalker level."
Sirius nodded his head and ran his fingers through his hair, tugging at a knot near the ends. He was thoughtful for a moment, lips pursed, eyes glazed. Then, rubbing the back of his neck, he spoke.
"It's all really confusing, y'know? When I finally sort of figured out what was going on, I was pretty much shocked. But then, I thought, 'Hey, confusion done and over with. Wotcher, clarity.' Except it didn't work that way, because I'm less confused in about twenty ways, and more confused in about twenty-five. Because it all really doesn't make sense, and I'm pretty sure that it's not supposed to be happening, but I'm not really sure, because I've never met anyone like me. I know there's others, but I haven't met them, or don't know who they are, so that's no help.
"But it's…all strange. My stomach gets that strange feeling and I start to smile even though I know that I shouldn't. Because it's good and bad, although more bad, because I only think that part of it is good, which means everyone else is going to agree with the bad, so it'll be bad. And I really don't want it to be bad, because it sometimes feels quite nice, and I often have these moments where I think, 'Wow, this could work.' But then bloody clarity gives me a swift kick on the arse for being such an optimistic idiot and I want to fling myself off the Astronomy Tower, or drown my sorrows in cookies, or whatever. Y'know?"
Sirius looked at Minerva expectantly. With a sigh, Minerva confessed, "I'm afraid I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Would you mind being a bit more specific? Like, actually telling me what your problem is, because you're pants at describing."
Sirius's and Minerva's eyes met, and she actually registered nervousness and fear in Sirius's eyes. She gently prodded him. "Come on, Mr. Black."
"You're going to think that it's disgusting," Sirius said in a small voice. Suddenly, a thousand thoughts flew into Minerva's head. She immediately took notice of the most prominent thought in her brain.
Or more accurately, problems with sexual performance.
Now, just to be perfectly clear, there are many things that Minerva would do instead of discussing Sirius's sex life with him. Some of those things included wrestling a hippogriff, cheering for Slytherin whilst they won the Quidditch Cup, and gnawing off her own foot.
There it was. She was worried about Sirius. She hated that he was always silent, because it made her nervous and concerned and unable to concentrate, and bloody hell she really wanted to help Sirius through this so he could be normal again, because he was really a quite fun bloke, depending on your definition of 'fun'.
"You can tell me," Minerva urged quietly. "I won't judge you. I promise."
Even though her common sense was screaming at her to shut up and kick Sirius out, she looked into his conflicted eyes once again.
"I'm in love," Sirius said finally. "I'm in love."
Minerva breathed a sigh of relief. Oh, so that's what it was? She could handle this. Love was okay. Love was good and dandy and didn't even need to have the subject of sex tacked onto it, although they came up together a large amount of time. She stifled a small smile. Only a seventeen-year-old boy could think that love was disgusting.
"Love is perfectly natural, Mr. Black," Minerva explained in a gracious tone. "It happens all the time. I assure you, it's—"
"—with a bloke," Sirius finished, cutting Minerva off. "I'm in love with a bloke."
Minerva's eyes widened. "Oh," she breathed. Because, really, what else could she say?
"See?" Sirius said accusingly, mistaking Minerva's surprised "oh" for something that it wasn't. "I knew it. Even you—and you're—so I—and no one—and it's—because—you know—UGH!"
"Mr. Black!" Minerva said sharply. "I said, 'oh.' There is no need to work yourself into an even larger state. I was surprised, and that was it. No, I am not disgusted, simply frustrated, because you seem to be incapable of finishing a single thought. Now, please breathe, think, and make sure that your next sentence includes a subject, predicate, and period."
"You don't think that it's disgusting?" Sirius asked quietly. Thinking of his sentence's lack of a period, he added, "I thought you would."
"Of course I don't think that it's disgusting, Mr. Black," Minerva snapped. "Why would I think that? I stand by my earlier statement. Love is perfectly natural. It doesn't matter what gender the person is."
"Have I ever told you how much I love you, Minnie?" Sirius asked breathlessly.
"Well, you haven't proposed to me in nearly four weeks, so I was beginning to wonder."
"Sorry about that. I've been depressed."
"That's fine. It's was actually quite refreshing in the beginning. That ring was beginning to look appealing, and I was having a hard time turning you down," Minerva said dryly.
"You know that you'll always be my number one girl, right, Minnie?" Sirius asked.
"I would be terribly jealous if I was anything less," Minerva deadpanned. Truthfully, she was fighting back a smile, because she was looking into Sirius's eyes again. Whilst the rest of his face was going through carefully trained motions, his eyes were flashing with the brilliance of hope and acceptance. She realized that this was what Sirius had needed: someone to tell him that he was fine, that he was normal. Well, as normal as Sirius Black possibly could be.
"It's not Potter, is it?" Minerva asked out of nowhere. Well, maybe out of nowhere to Sirius, but not to her. That thought had been lurking in her mind ever since Sirius uttered the word 'bloke'. Because, really, wasn't it one of the most logical conclusions to come to? Sirius and James were best friends, and Sirius would gladly feed James's girlfriend to the giant squid. Maybe Sirius didn't just think that Lily was an insufferable, red-headed know-it-all. Maybe he was jealous.
"James?" Sirius repeated, incredulous. Then he threw his head back and let out a loud bark of laughter. "I'd rather date Dumbledore. Seriously, Minnie, Prongs is like my brother. He's better than my brother, though, because I actually like Prongs, unlike Reg. That is one of your stranger thoughts."
"Possibly," Minerva admitted. "But you do hate Lily very much. It's semi-logical."
"I don't hate Evans," Sirius insisted. "I simply dislike her strongly and wouldn't mind if she just happened to be eaten by Marlene. Even though Marlene is quite fond of Evans, so I doubt she would."
"That's what I named the giant squid."
"How do you know what gender it is?"
"I used my intuition," Sirius said, winking. When Minerva shot him a hard look, Sirius sighed. "Okay, I guessed. But she just looked like a Marlene, y'know?"
"I'm sorry, Mr. Black, but I've never chosen names for the giant squid."
"Call her Marlene," Sirius said stubbornly. "After all, how would you like it if we called you the giant professor?"
"I would enjoy it very much." Sirius looked at her strangely. "I would have so many more people to clean my classroom during detention."
"You're a sly one, Minnie."
"Of course, Mr. Black. Now, may I ask, why exactly were you doing research on the giant—Marlene?"
"Because I had to know how she would react if I tossed Evans in," Sirius admitted.
Minerva rolled her eyes. "And you wonder why I thought that you were jealous of Lily."
"I am," Sirius said bluntly. "I'm extremely jealous of the redheaded bint. But not because I would like to date Jim. That is wrong. Just wrong."
"Fine, I made a mistake, you don't fancy Potter. Well, who is it, then?"
Sirius hesitated. "I really don't want to…"
As curious as she was, Minerva reminded herself that this was not a soap opera, and there were actual human emotions involved. So, biting her tongue, she relented. "Okay, Mr. Black."
"Thank you," Sirius said, relieved.
"But, if there is anything else you would like to say…"
Whilst Sirius chewed on his bottom lip, searching for the words to say, Minerva started to think. Really, truly think, about the blokes Sirius associated with and how he treated them. She immediately crossed all Slytherins off her mental list (they were only on it in the first place because she considered hexing a form of association). Next came most Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws, and her lovely mental phoenix-feather quill dashed through a few Gryffindors. She was aware of Sirius's mouth moving, but she felt like she was close, so she nodded distractedly and continued to think.
She realized that she couldn't say no to Remus.
She mentally paged through some of the moments between Remus and Sirius that she had noticed particularly. They, of course, associated a lot, being best friends and roommates. But maybe…there was something different between the two of them?
As soon as Minerva started to go through her memories, she realized that her list had been a waste of time.
In every memory she had of them, they were touching. Sometimes just an elbow…a finger…an arm around the shoulders or waist…it was there. There were the secret smiles…the heavy-lidded looks from Sirius, complete with the thick, dark lashes and sultry grin. There was the flirting, the contact, the everything. It was so bloody obvious.
"Lupin!" Minerva blurted out. Sirius met her gaze strangely, and she remembered that she hadn't heard a word that he had said. Ignoring that, she continued. "It's Remus, isn't it?"
Sirius looked conflicted. Finally, he admitted. "Yeah. How did you know?"
"I think the question is: Why did it take me so long to realize it?"
"Am I that obvious?"
"Only to those who watch."
"I'm surprised that the Club hasn't figured out yet."
"Oh, I'm sure they know," Minerva said. "They're most likely just in denial."
"I would be too, if I knew that someone like me was playing for the team opposite of mine," Sirius admitted. "I'll have to autograph their shirts to console them when it all comes out."
"You're planning on coming out to everyone?"
"Eventually. Possibly. Maybe. If I feel like it."
"So you really do love him?"
It only took a second for Sirius's features to soften. "Really. Like, a lot. I don't know why, or how, but…he's so Remus. He's so unlike and like me at the same time. He smiles at me when I laugh at something I shouldn't laugh at, and he always helps me out of whatever messes I get myself into. He cares about me, y'know, and I really hadn't had much experience with caring until I got to Hogwarts.
"He's just so perfect, Minnie, he really is. He does things that should be annoying, but are just fantastic when he does them. He likes to read too much and he's too obsessed with chocolate and he has some early signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
"And…he doesn't dot his 'i's and I have to remind him to cross his 't's and he writes his 'a's all funny. He has a bump on the ridge of his nose because he broke it when he was eight, and he has these crisscrossed scars on his wrists that aren't from the wolf, but they're fading because he says that he hasn't done them since second year. He also approaches me when I'm in a mood, which I should hate, but I don't because he talks to me and refuses to leave me alone until I confess whatever is bothering me to him.
"And for the past twenty-odd days he has listened to my horrible excuses, given me that look that tells me that he knows that I'm lying, but hasn't said anything about it. He gives me chocolate and grabs my hand and tries to cheer me up, because he's so wonderful and beautiful and Moony.
"Sometimes it scares me that I know all of this stuff, that I notice all of this stuff, because it reminds me that I'm getting in too deep, and I'm pretty sure I'll drown. But I think that I won't mind if I drown in him, because he smells like ink and cinnamon and the new textbooks and is just so pretty, which is strange, because he's a bloke, but he's just very pretty. But not in a girlish way.
"And I'm positive that this is making no sense to you, and you're probably concerned for my sanity, but I love him, so none of that matters. And, I'm pretty sure I know where the phrase 'madly in love' comes from, because I'm positive that I'm twice as mad as I was before I realized I was in love. But I really don't want to ruin my friendship with him, because I have no idea what I would do without my Moony. He's just so… I love him."
Minerva smiled. She smiled because Sirius was breathing heavily and his face was flushed and his eyes were shining. She smiled because Sirius was in love, and if Remus loved Sirius too, they would be the best things to ever happen to each other.
There was silence for a bit. No, not complete silence. There was Sirius's heavy breathing and twitching to fill that void. Still, Minerva could almost hear Sirius's energy slowly expelling as he faded back into the calmer state that he had been in before his declaration. Finally, he met her eyes with a small, even smile. She returned the smile with a slight curl of her lips, folding her hands together on top of her desk.
"How long?" she asked lightly.
Sirius pulled a face, thinking. Minerva could see color starting to flow back into his hands. His breathing was now steady as he spoke. "I've probably been repressing for about a year. And a half. Plus three months."
She grinned, as this was the true style of Sirius Black. "You could have just said a year and nine months and saved yourself the trouble of doing the math, Mr. Black."
"Are you implying that I'm not good at Arithmancy?" Sirius asked indignantly. His voice was a bit forced, but it made Minerva feel like this odd situation was normal.
"You did say that two plus two was seven…" she reminded him in a slow drawl, watching his face contort into some sort of indignant amusement.
"I thought we agreed that that incident was off the table, Minnie! It was in first year, and James had Confunded me." His bottom lip jutted out comically as he folded his arms crossly.
"It still doesn't make the story any less amusing."
"You're evil, Minnie," he said with the same sullen tone, although the corners of his lips were beginning to quirk up into that unavoidable grin.
Minerva smiled. "That I am. But, you have to admit, I am helpful."
"Occasionally," Sirius admitted grudgingly. "Although you didn't really help me much today," he insisted. "Sort of just…coaxed."
"Of course, Mr. Black," Minerva said lightly, humoring Sirius. Sometimes Sirius needed to be humored. In matters like these—matters that reflected on his sense of confidence and self-control—he needed it most.
After a moment's silence, Sirius quietly asked, "Do you think I should…y'know…tell him?"
Minerva pressed her lips together, thinking. She wasn't sure what she should say, because she really didn't know the answer. She really wasn't sure if the looks that Remus gave Sirius were friendly, or anything more. She didn't want to say the wrong thing. She didn't want him to get his heart broken. Finally, she said, "I don't know, Mr. Black. You have to do what you think is right."
"Well, that's helpful," Sirius said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. He gave Minerva a small smile, though. "Thanks, Minnie."
She waited a beat before saying, "Anytime, Sirius."
Sirius stood up to leave. As he began to open the door, hand on the knob, Minerva called out, "Sirius?"
He turned on his heel, looking at her expectantly. "Yes?"
She hesitated a moment before saying, "Come back soon. Fill me in on the developments."
Sirius grinned wickedly. For the first time in weeks, she saw his eyes sparkle with that familiar brilliance. "You are way too interested for your own good, Minnie."
"I am," Minerva admitted, shrugging. "But you are my best entertainment. And—I admit—I am curious about how this will turn out."
"And I thought you knew everything about the Marauders," Sirius said in mock surprise.
"Not everything, Mr. Black."
Nodding, Sirius shot Minerva one last grateful look before leaving. She smiled, closing her eyes briefly. She really, truly hoped that Remus returned Sirius's feelings. Not for entertainment's sake, but for Sirius's. Sirius needed Remus. She could tell. And although she was positive that Remus would never end his friendship with Sirius because Sirius fancied—or, more accurately, was in love with—him, she wanted Sirius to have something more. She wanted them both to have something more. Because, as Sirius had said, they were completely unalike, yet completely alike. Minerva couldn't help but think—and she snorted at the thought—that they would complete each other.
Minerva spent her lunch hour shuffling through papers on her desk, realizing how little she truly knew about the four extraordinary boys that called themselves the Marauders, and how much she dearly wanted to know.