DISCLAIMER:All rights are awarded to JK Rowling and her affiliates.
WARNING:This is a slash fic.
As always, for Hannah, may she never have someone force her to write a fanfic out of guilt.
(For lack of a better title)
Remus Lupin was sulking. He sat in his dorm room, the curtains of his bed pulled closed around him, and his arms crossed. He was most definitely sulking.
And he was sulking because Sirius Black had ignored him again today, when he had done his best to get some sort of attention, even if it was a strange look.
The problem was this; Sirius Black was hopelessly, desperately, without a doubt, totally, and completely, in love with Remus.
Only he didn't know it.
How he could not know it Remus didn't know, but the fact remained that Sirius stayed frustratingly straight and oblivious to his own feelings. And Remus had decided that he really needed to do something about that, because not only was time growing short at Hogwarts, but because if Sirius didn't realise soon and break up with his fairly irritating girlfriend, Remus was going to hex her. Or him. Or both.
He sulked harder as he thought about the way Sirius touched her; gently, as though she were the most precious thing in the world.
And the way Sirius looked at her; like he could look at her everyday for the rest of his life, and not ever want to look away.
And the way Remus found him daydreaming about her; as though he didn't get enough of her, which, Remus was there to tell you, he certainly did.
Every bloody waking moment, in fact. Well, almost. It was only a little bit of an exaggeration to say that Sirius and Lauren were together for at least 16 hours of the day. At least.
Remus sighed and relaxed his cramped limbs a little bit. Obviously something wasn't working, and Remus would have to change his tactics. Because really, this had gone on long enough. Originally Remus was happy enough to wait until Sirius came to his senses on his own, but it was the beginning of Sixth Year and that hadn't happened yet, so Remus knew it was time to take drastic action.
Right, well that's it then, he thought. No more Mister Nice Wolf. That Black will be mine by the end of the year, or I'm not a wizard!
Now, how to do it …
Remus looked guiltily around him as he snuck up the dorm room, clutching something underneath his jumper. He knew he shouldn't be feeling so sneaky; it was, after all, his dorm room, but this time he had a plan.
Locking the door behind him, Remus crept up towards Sirius's bed and deposited his treasure on Sirius's pillow.
It was a small photograph of the two of them, framed and set in a black matt. They were both cold, wet, and hanging onto each other for support as they staggered up the stairs from a snowball fight. They were exhausted and looked it, but their faces were tinged with the pink of exhilaration, and their eyes glowed with a light Remus didn't often see. They looked so happy, which was why it was Remus's favourite picture. It cost him a lot to give it to Sirius, but he figured he'd be even more happy when Sirius realised he loved him.
Remus looked fondly down at the photo for a long moment, taking note of the way Sirius's arm was wrapped securely around his waist, and his arm around Sirius's neck, and he loved the way it didn't matter. He could remember exactly how that felt, too, and he felt warmed just by the memory.
He leant down, then, and scribbled a note on a piece of parchment before he attached it to the frame with a simple spell.
Here's to us, Sirius, it said. Thinking of you.
It was simple and, Remus hoped, ambiguous enough that Sirius would have to think about what it meant. Which would hopefully lead to some realisation of how he felt. But Remus could be patient.
Sirius went up the stairs after his evening with Lauren feeling pleasantly comfortable and warm, still feeling her kisses on his lips and her arms around his neck. She was a very sweet girl, and he cared about her a lot, but sometimes … well, sometimes was best left alone.
He came into the dorm room, to three drawn curtains, which suited him fine because he wasn't in the mood for conversation. All he wanted to do was go to bed, cover himself from head to toe with blankets, and hug the thought of Lauren close to him.
He was in the motions of doing this – pulling off his shirt, shoes, and socks – when he noticed something on his pillow that hadn't been there when he left in the morning. He frowned and leaned closer to pick it up.
"Lumos." He muttered to his wand, and it lit up, showing him a small, framed picture of him and Remus. He smiled as he watched them look up and laugh as they stumbled up the stairs. He traced Remus's features with his finger, loving the happy and animated look on his face; it was there so infrequently it was a pleasure to see in these moments of unguarded happiness.
Then he noticed the piece of parchment stuck to the frame and pulled it off. He put the photo down, and sat down on the bed, pulling his wand closer to the parchment.
"Here's to us, Sirius,"he read out loud. "Thinking of you."
And bloody hell what did that mean? Thinking of you? What did that mean? Thinking of you? Who said that kind of thing?
Well, he thought to himself, Lauren said that kind of thing, but this definitely didn't come from Lauren. And so what did that mean?
Obviously, he told himself, it means Remus is thinking of you.
For what reason precisely, he didn't know, but it was obvious he was, and he must have meant something by that comment. But what? Sirius frowned and continued getting ready for bed –taking off his pants- and slid down under the covers in a tangle of confusion.
What the hell did Moony mean by thinking of you? He drifted to sleep with a frown etched on his forehead as he tried to puzzle out this little mystery.
When January passed without incident Remus decided to go for some more drastic ideas. Obviously the photo was too subtle, because Sirius hadn't so much as glanced sideways at him since photo night. Although the framed picture was on his bedside table, which was a good sign. Turned in, towards Sirius, and almost eclipsing one of Lauren.
Small victories, Remus reminded himself.
So what was he to do, then? Apart from being Sirius's obvious chosen one, what advantages did he have?
Well, he thought, looking at himself critically in the mirror. He was okay looking. Apart from all the scars. But there was still his brown hair, his strange golden eyes, and his strong physique, which he owed more to the wolf than anything else.
Hm, well, it'll have to do, he decided, and began to plan his new tactic.
"Sirius," someone hissed and Sirius came groggily back to consciousness.
"Wha?" he asked, not entirely conscious. "Wassup? Who's dead?"
"Nobody," the voice whispered. "Get up, I want you."
"What for?" he asked, feeling slightly more alert but by no means lucid.
"I've got something to show you," the voice – male – said.
"Remus?" Sirius asked, finally waking up. "What the hell do you want? What time is it?"
"I want to show you something," Remus said, handing him his jeans and his coat.
"At two fucking o'clock in the morning?" Sirius demanded, but pulled on his jeans and shrugged on the coat.
"Yeah," Remus said. "It's the only time you'll see it."
"Oh," Sirius said. "Well, in that case …" And he let Remus lead him down the staircase, through the common room, through the halls, ducking now and then to avoid Filch, and finally, up to the Astronomy Tower, where they stopped, shivering and panting.
"There," Remus said, pointing out the window. Sirius moved forward in front of him, peering out of the huge window.
"What, Remus?" he said. "I don't see … ohhhh."
"Yes," Remus agreed, standing closer behind him, leaning forward to rest against the windowsill. This, of course, required Remus to be pressed up tight against Sirius's back, which was exactly what he had hoped for.
"How did you find it?" Sirius asked, a note of awe in his voice.
"Oh, it's always here, at this time of the year," Remus said softly, and his breath was warm on Sirius's neck, making his skin twitch.
"How do you know?"
"I'm … up here … often, at this time of the year," Remus said quietly.
"Just … thinking," Remus said. "Do you like it?"
"Yes," Sirius said. "Yes, I like it a lot. Thank you for showing me. Even if you did have to drag me up here at 2am in the morning!"
"I'm glad," Remus said with a smile in his voice, and leant his neck forward so he could whisper in Sirius's ear. "Happy Valentines Day."
"What?" Sirius began, but then remembered. "Oh. Happy Valentines Day to you too." He said, slightly bewildered. He was suddenly acutely aware of how close Remus was to him, pressed up tightly as they stood in front of the window, and Remus' warm, soft breath on the back of his neck. He repressed a shiver as a strange feeling washed over him, but Remus must have noticed anyway, because suddenly he pulled away. Sirius felt suddenly cold and empty, but he said nothing and followed Remus back to their room.
Remus stopped at the entrance to the dorm.
"Enjoy the rest of your sleep," he said. "Lauren will probably have a Valentines surprise for you." Sirius looked at him in surprise.
"You're not going back to bed?"
Remus shook his head.
"No. I couldn't sleep now."
"Oh," Sirius said, and felt absurdly disappointed that Remus wasn't coming back up to their warm haven. "Well, see you at breakfast then."
"Quite," Remus agreed, and then, just as Sirius was turning away, he grabbed his wrist and leant forward, whispering in his ear. "But just remember I claimed you first." He said, and then was gone, almost before Sirius could process what he said.
Sirius was woken early in the morning by the unfamiliar sensation of someone climbing into bed with him. He moved over instinctively and let the heavy warm weight settle down next to him until he woke up sufficiently to realise nobody should be in bed with him.
"Remus?" he whispered when he realised who it was. "What are you doing?"
Remus rolled over and turned to face him.
"Good morning," he said, avoiding the question.
"Good morning," Sirius replied. "Erm…" he gestured towards Remus again.
"Oh," he said. "Well, it's my birthday."
"Yes," Sirius said. "I know. So?"
"Well, I … didn't want … to be … alone," he finished lamely, hiding his eyes. Sirius looked up and met his eyes, and they shared a small, private moment in the dark of the room in the quiet time just before dawn.
"Happy birthday," he said quietly and smiled, moving just a tiny bit closer.
"Thanks," Remus replied, and gently brushed his hand against Sirius's, where it lay across his pillow. Then they both closed their eyes and drifted gently back to sleep.
Sirius did not accept gifts from Remus on his birthday. It was a tradition that had sprung up in first year, when Remus hadn't known it was his birthday (only having been friends a very short time), and hadn't had time to buy a gift. Instead he had written out a cheque for one service, to be performed by Remus, at the time of Sirius's choosing. The first had been a simple run to the kitchens (which, at the time, had actually been quite an important offer, considering Remus wasn't into breaking rules at that point), and had ranged from an offer to do one homework assignment, take the blame for one prank, and so on and so forth.
This year, Remus's service wasn't going to be quite what Sirius expected.
Sirius grinned as he looked at Remus over the top of his singing birthday card and picked up the elaborately decorated service certificate that had fluttered to the floor at his opening the card. The smile dimmed a little as he read what the intended service was and he frowned.
"A massage?" he asked in confusion.
"Well, I know it's not an offer to hex Malfoy before the next Quidditch game, but I think it's something you need more," Remus said, pretending nonchalance when in fact his heart was beating hard.
"What makes you think I need a massage?"
"You're very tense," Remus said simply. "I hear you groan as you lie down in bed at night, and your back muscles get stiff."
"How do you know these things?" Sirius asked suspiciously.
"I watch you," Remus said casually, and Sirius swallowed despite himself. If Remus watched him and watched closely enough to identify that he needed a massage … what other things might he also observe? Did he notice the sometimes that he tried not to acknowledge?
The thought was brushed aside when Lauren burst into the dorm room and slid onto the bed beside him.
"Hello, pumpkin," she said affectionately and kissed him on the cheek. "Happy birthday."
"Hey gorgeous," he replied, returning the kiss and then turning his attention to the neatly wrapped gift she had dropped into his lap. She watched in excitement as he unwrapped it. "Oh, how lovely," he said in confusion. "It's an um -."
"They're cuff links," Lauren told him brightly, taking them off him and clipping them onto the cuffs of his jumper. "For our dinner tonight. We're going to Hogsmeade," she told Remus confidently and winked.
"How grand," Remus said and hoped nobody caught the sarcasm in his voice. Sirius gave him a suspicious glance over Lauren's head, but said nothing, instead gave an ample thanks to Lauren for her – Remus scoffed – cuff links.
He was awake when Sirius came home from the date, slipping silently off his bed and sitting beside Sirius as he lay face down on his mattress.
"Sirius?" he asked quietly, unwilling to wake the others. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah," Sirius sighed. "Just tired. Lauren, she likes to dance."
"Ah," Remus said sympathetically and reached forward to give Sirius's back a quick pat. He did so, and then let his hand rest gently on his shoulders, until an idea came to him, and he began to slow knead the tight skin and tense muscles.
"Mmm, that's nice, Moony," Sirius murmured into his pillow.
"Told you you needed a massage," Remus said with a smile.
"Maybe you were right, then," Sirius said. "That feels so good I'll use my voucher now, if you don't mind."
"Oh, it's okay," Remus said, pleased. "This one can be for free. In honour of the occasion, and all."
"And what occasion would that be?"
That this is the second time I've been in your bed in as many months, Remus replied mentally and then cleared his throat.
"Your birthday, of course," he said out loud.
"Oh yeah," Sirius said faintly. "I'd almost forgotten. Lauren was … unusually … vivacious tonight."
"Mmm?" Remus said in an obvious indication to continue. He began to use both hands, using his thumbs to press into the sensitive areas of Sirius's back. He wanted him to take his shirt off, both so he had better access and because he wanted to touch his skin, but he said nothing.
"Oh, it was just … she was a little … overexcited. It's the first time she's celebrated anything with me, and I think she just went a bit … overboard, you know? We went to dinner, then she took me to Madame Puddifoots, then for ice cream, then we portkeyed to a fair not far away and spent hours there, then we went for latin dancing in some muggle club … I'm just exhausted, Remus. Usually my birthdays consist of really great presents from everyone and a roaring party in the common room … I used to kind of think my birthdays were a bit anticlimactic, but after tonight, I'll never think that again." Sirius laughed ruefully and then groaned a little as Remus found a particularly sensitive spot.
"Why do you think she did all that?" Remus asked carefully, trying not to let his disdain of her show.
"Because she loves me, I suppose," Sirius said casually, and Remus's heart skipped a bit. Did Sirius think he loved her back? "I just wish she had a better idea of what I'd enjoy. I did enjoy the fair, though, that was cool," he said, and Remus heard the grin in his voice.
Remus found himself smiling in response, and it felt so good to be sitting here in the dark with Sirius that he blurted out:
"Sirius, could you take your shirt off?"
There was awkward silence for a moment before Sirius carefully sat up and pulled his shirt over his head, and looked Remus in the eye. Remus was careful not to let it drop to the torso suddenly naked in front of him and instead inclined his head so that Sirius should lie back down and let him finish his work.
Sirius slowly did so, obviously unsure what Remus had in mind. After all, Remus thought it was probably the first time any male had asked him to take his shirt off. Remus took a steeling breath before he placed his hands back on Sirius's back, and was very careful to keep moving in the same hard, methodical way, so that Sirius couldn't tell he was dying to run his hands over him the way he'd seen Lauren do.
They stayed in silence for some time, Remus thoughtfully kneading Sirius's back with a single-mindedness that had less to do with getting the massage right and more to do with memorising how it felt to have his hands on Sirius's back. Some time later Remus felt Sirius's breathing change and realise he had fallen asleep. He looked down at him in the scant bit of light from the moon and couldn't resist the urge to lean down and press a light kiss to the very middle of his shoulders.
Sirius felt the gentle kiss, felt Remus stand up and pull the blankets over him, and walk over to his own bed. Or had he only imagined it, drifting between the two worlds as he was? And what did it mean if he hadn't?
They won, of course. Facing the Slytherins, with the past year's defeat still fresh in their minds, how could their shame and anger not boil over the surface into a more energised performance than ever before? The Slytherins didn't really stand a chance. Remus laughed to himself as he thought of James's psyche out of the Slytherin Seeker, which led to the capture of the Snitch by Gryffindor, naturally.
But for Remus, the best thing about the match was this, the triumphant afterparty, and the fact that Lauren disapproved of Quidditch and was sulking in her room. Sirius had stared after her when she left, wanting to go and comfort her, but knowing the charm on the stairs wouldn't let him. He'd settled down into the riotous atmosphere of the party fairly quickly, though, wound up with adrenaline pumping through him. They'd carried him back to the dorm on their shoulders, hailing him hero after a brilliant strike had sent a Bludger careening into the Slytherin Keeper, which had made the game a lot easier.
Remus watched from a dark corner of the room as Sirius retired to a chair in the opposite corner, nursing a bottle of butterbeer and obviously wanting to be left alone for the moment. Remus knew this didn't include him, and he made his way quickly through the crowd and threw himself down next to Sirius.
"I am absolutely knackered," he said and groaned, stretching and resting his arms on the back of the chair. Sirius distantly agreed, and Remus frowned. Something appeared to be wrong.
"What's up, Padfoot?" he asked, settling down and taking a sip from Sirius's butterbeer.
"Nothing," Sirius said, and gave him a weak sort of half smile.
"Bollocks," said Remus and Sirius grinned.
"All right, so I'm a bit down. I miss Lauren. I don't know why she can't come down and celebrate, even if she doesn't approve of Quidditch. We did win, after all. That's good for her house, which she's obviously proud of."
"She's er probably afraid of you getting hurt or something," Remus said awkwardly, really not caring in the slightest why Lauren wasn't there. "You know, if she encourages you, you'll keep doing it, that kind of thing."
"But I'm going to do it anyway!" Sirius said. "I like Quidditch. She can't stop me playing it."
"I … oh Sirius, I don't know why she's sulking up there. Maybe she just doesn't understand how important Quidditch is to you."
"Yeah," Sirius sighed and took a mouthful of butterbeer. "She doesn't understand how important to me a lot of things are."
"Like?" Remus asked, shuffling closer in what he hoped was an inconspicuous way.
"Oh, well, pranks, for a start," Sirius said. "She tries to talk me out of them all the time."
"So do I." Remus said with a smile. Sirius grinned and looked at him.
"Yeah, but you don't really mean it. You'll help in a little while because you're too curious about what's going to happen. And I think you think if you keep an eye on us we won't blow ourselves up."
"There is that," Remus agreed and didn't mention that mostly he helped with pranks because it meant time with Sirius, usually hiding in a broom closet or planning something in the library at night with their heads close together.
"But Lauren," Sirius sighed. "She really means it. She gets angry when I tell her about anything we're doing, and she refuses to talk to me, or er kiss me and stuff. I don't know what her problem is."
"You could tell her that I'm always around to control you?" Remus suggested, wincing internally.
"Hmm," Sirius said. "The problem with that is that you're another thing she doesn't understand."
"Me?" Remus asked in surprise and pleasure.
"Yeah, she doesn't understand the way we are around each other," he gestured to the two of them, sitting close together on the small couch. "She thinks there's something … I dunno, unnatural about the way we are. Obviously she doesn't know about you and your furry little problem, but it's pretty normal for friends to be close, right?"
"Yeah," Remus agreed, inwardly doing a little happy dance. "Well, I mean, you and James are close, aren't you? Does she have a problem with that?"
Sirius shook his head.
"No, she says that's perfectly normal. We have arguments, and we tease each other, and we're obviously sufficiently blokey or something, she's fine with James and me. But you and me, she says, when we're together we look like we're in a different world or something." He shrugged awkwardly. "I don't know. It's her problem, not mine, right, Moony?" he said with a smile and Remus smiled back.
"Right," he agreed and relaxed so that his arm was around Sirius's neck. With a sigh he slouched down and let his head drop onto Sirius's shoulder. He felt Sirius stiffen a little with the contact, and smiled to himself. Something was definitely working.
"The party looks to be dying down a bit," Remus observed.
"Mmm," Sirius said, too consumed by the feeling of Remus wrapped around him to have much attention for anything else. This felt way too good for his liking. The heavy warmth of Remus seemed as though it was made to sink into him this way. It was like they fit together, or something. And Sirius really liked how it felt, and really didn't like that he did.
But he didn't move away, and Remus stayed there as long as he deemed necessary for Sirius to realise how natural it was, before he sat up and stretched.
"I'm heading to bed," he said, looking down at Sirius as he stood. "Are you coming?"
Sirius tried not to blush at that question, coming so closely after he was liking Remus against him, and shook his head.
"No, I've got some … thinking to do," he said awkwardly and Remus leant down and gave him a very quick hug around the shoulders.
"It'll be all right," he whispered into his year. "I'll make sure of it."
The parting at King's Cross was as boisterous as usual, tinged with a tiny hint of the fact that this was one of the last times they'd do this, and it hit Sirius and Remus the most. Remus knew he was running out of time to seduce Sirius. There was only a year left of school, and after that, who knew when he'd see Sirius. It had to be this year, there was no doubt about it. And Sirius just knew that after they left Hogwarts, he would no longer be in a place where people had no expectations of him for just being a Black. And he also had a faint stirring of unease when he realised his interaction with his friends, and particularly Remus, might grow a lot less after the left. James and Peter he knew would stay around, but Remus by necessity would live a very different life after Hogwarts.
So they lingered on the platform, these two boys, reluctant to say goodbye, even if it was for the summer. Finally the tense silence grew too awkward and Remus had to break it.
"Well, goodbye, Padfoot," he said.
"Yeah, see you soon," Sirius replied and stuck out his hand to shake. Remus looked at him like he was mad and stepped forward and hugged him instead. Sirius hugged back with relief, wondering if the strange tension from the past few months would go away now. But the hug lasted a little too long, neither of them wanting to let go, and when he suddenly realise, Sirius let go suddenly, almost pushing Remus away. He tried to ignore the hurt in Remus's eyes and gave a quick smile as he strode away through the barrier to meet James on the other side.
Remus followed a second later and heard James teasing Sirius.
"What were you guys doing through there, making out?"
"James!" Sirius replied and Remus saw him punch James on the arm. "No. Remus's trunk fell open, we were repacking it. Get your head out of the gutter."
Remus smiled to himself. Sirius had felt awkward in the hug, and he was lying to James about what happened. These were good developments. As was the lack of Lauren, who had gone to America for the holidays with her parents. She was out of the way for a good few months, at least. There was only so much owl post could convey, after all.
Remus was cleaning when Sirius arrived, banging on the door to be let in. Remus blinked and opened the door with a bang.
"Sirius!" He exclaimed, engulfing the other boy in a hug. "What in Merlin's name are you doing here?"
"Got bored," Sirius said cheerfully. "James is busy trying to get Lily to fall in love with him – well, admit she is because she obviously has been for ages, if you ask him – and so I thought, who is gallant enough to spend time with me while Jamie's being a girl?"
"And you thought of me," Remus said dryly. "Well I am touched."
"I knew you would be," Sirius said and pushed his way into the house.
"Merlin, it's clean in here," he said as he pulled his trunk (trunk? Thought Remus, how long is he staying?) behind him into the living room.
"Yes," Remus said. "Well, my parents are away for a week and I've nothing to do so I thought I'd clean the house for them."
"How sweet of you, Moony," Sirius mocked and then noticed that Remus was wearing a frilly pink apron, was coated in dust, and was holding a feather duster. "And you've um turned into Freddie Mercury behind my back."
"No," Remus said, self consciously untying the apron. "I wasn't expecting visitors, you see."
"Oh, that's okay," Sirius said. "I forgive you. But the whole school will know when we get back, you realise that, right?"
"If they do, I'll know where to aim my hex," Remus said placidly and turned to a mirror to wipe away the dust.
"Here, I'll do that," Sirius said and moved forward to brush away the dust that was liberally coating Remus's features. Remus stood still and let Sirius touch his face, trying not to quiver with excitement. He kept his eyes open and trained on Sirius's, who fastidiously ignored them as he wiped away all traces of dust. "There," he said, stepping away. "Much better."
"Thanks Sirius," Remus said and nodded to the trunk. "Are you planning on staying for a while or is that a dead body in there?"
"Oh," Sirius said with a bit of a blush. "I was kind of hoping I could stay."
"That's fine," Remus said. "My parents won't be back for another few days, I'm sure you'll have had enough of me by then."
"I don't know about that," Sirius said under his breath, but Remus heard it anyway and grinned inwardly.
They hauled the trunk up the stairs and sat on the extra bed they dragged down from the attic. By the time they finished they were both covered in dust and grime.
"We better go down for a swim," Remus said, glancing at Sirius. "I've just cleaned the bathroom, I don't want it dirty again."
"You sound like James's mother," Sirius said teasingly, but stripped off his shirt and shoes, and raced Remus down to the small pool Remus's parents had recently installed.
The afternoon was spent trying not to be caught looking at each other's bodies, and finally they fell upon the couches in the living room exhausted and happy, drinking hot chocolate and huddled under blankets as Sirius made Remus sit through his entire collection of videos. He had a fascination with TV and videos since he'd visited Remus's house last summer.
They drew sleepy after the second movie, and drifted further towards each other until Remus was leaning on the side of the chair with his arm on the arm rest, and Sirius's weight draped negligently across his legs. His other hand was on Sirius's neck, absently toying with Sirius's thick black hair and occasionally daring to touch his skin.
"Moony," Sirius murmured sleepily, squirming closer for a better position. "I didn't come here because I was bored."
"Oh?" Remus mumbled back.
"No," Sirius said softly. "I came because … I missed you."
"Oh," Remus replied. "I missed you too."
And he ran the back of his hand gently down Sirius's cheek before they both drifted off to sleep.
As the month that Sirius had randomly decided to stay stretched into the next month, and it became time for the boys to think about returing to school, the boys took a small expedition into Diagon Alley to pick up supplies for their final year. They met up with James and Peter at Madame Malkins, before heading to Fortescue's for some fortification of the ice cream variety. It didn't take long for them to decide to split up and finish shopping quickly so they could spend their remaining time fooling around before their respective guardians demanded their return.
"Far out," James said when Remus and Sirius both voted to go together to Flourish and Blotts. "You guys are practically joined at the hip, now. When's the wedding?"
They both blushed and tried to move further away from each other, without seeming as though there were.
"Cut it out, James," Sirius said gruffly. "Just because you can't get Lily."
"Hey," James said, backing away. "Chill. I was just saying."
"Right," Sirius said, and there was a silence between the four, as Peter looked between them uncertainly.
"Come on, James," he said eventually. "The new Comets are in."
"Yeah," James said, turning away. "Meet you back here in an hour and a half. Come on, Pete." He left Sirius and Remus standing outside Fortescue's without a backward glance.
The two boys stood there awkwardly for a moment before Remus shrugged and started walking towards Flourish and Blotts, Sirius hurrying after him.
Once inside they split up, heading to different parts of the store, suddenly grateful for space away from each other. Well, Sirius was. He was experiencing feelings he hadn't realised he had just recently, and they were all feelings about Remus. He felt like he needed some space, some time away from Remus, away from the feelings…but equally strongly he wanted badly to be near Remus, all the time, and space seemed like the worst thing in the world.
Remus was hiding behind a bookshelf feeling triumphant and empowered. He'd gotten a good response out of Sirius from his plan, and he felt as though right now would be a good time to be a little more forward. Sirius was obviously feeling confused and he seemed attracted to him, it appeared to be a perfectly vulnerable time for Remus to secure his position.
He glanced around the bookshelf to find Sirius, and found him pretending to read the spines of books in a corner of the store. With a sly grin that he hastened to wipe off his face as he approached, he moved slowly up towards Sirius, trying to make as little noise as possible.
It worked, he was standing almost on top of Sirius before he looked up and took a startled step back.
"Remus!" he exclaimed, putting a hand to his heart. "You made me jump."
"Sorry," Remus said in a low voice, regaining the step Sirius had taken. "I just wanted to ask you something."
"Oh, okay," Sirius said nervously, licking his lips. "Shoot."
"Would you like to go to dinner with me, tonight?" he asked, inkling his head to the side.
"D-dinner?" Sirius repeated.
"Yeah. Like, with food," Remus said, moving closer, almost touching Sirius, as he backed into the wall.
"Oh," Sirius said. "Um … sure."
"Great," Remus replied, leaning forward to brush his lips against Sirius's ear. "I look forward to it."
Sirius looked up at him, and bit his lip. Remus was very close. So close Sirius could see the individual colours in his eyes, feeling his breath on his face, and almost feel his heartbeat. If he leant forward just a little bit, he could brush his lips … but no, he wouldn't do that.
Remus gave him a careful look and dropped his head a little to brush his lips against Sirius's collar bone.
"Oops," he said huskily. "Slipped."
Sirius remained frozen where he was, backed up against the wall, afraid that if he so much as breathed too heavily he'd come into more contact with Remus and lose all control entirely. Remus moved forward again, pressing closer against him, and Sirius felt his heart rate increase. Just at that moment:
"Sirius!" Someone shouted, and Remus sprang away from him, moving to read the spines on the bookshelf as though nothing had happened.
"Hello?" Sirius called, relieved his voice was still working.
"Sirius!" The person repeated, and Sirius finally looked beyond Remus to see Lauren running towards him, her hair flying out behind her.
"Oh," Remus said as she approached. "I'd forgotten about you."
"Oh, hey, gorgeous," Sirius said as he greeted her, relieved for the excuse to move away from Remus. "How you going? How's your summer been? I've missed you," he lied as she flew into his arms for a hug.
"Oh, it's been great. We've been everywhere. I missed you terribly, though, would have been so much better if you were there. What have you done? Where've you been staying? Oh, you have to come and meet my parents tonight. We're having dinner here, in a restaurant, they'd love to meet you. Say you'll come, Sirius."
"Oh," Sirius said helplessly. "I was actually going to-."
"Please, Siri?" she pleaded, looking up at him.
"Sure. Yeah. Okay, I'll come." He sighed.
"Great!" Lauren said, clasping his hand. "Let's go and tell them."
"Oh, I just have to -." Sirius said, turning back towards Remus.
"It's okay, Sirius," Remus said quietly, turning back to the bookshelf. "Go and have fun."
"Are you sure?" Sirius said uncertainly. Remus looked a bit disappointed and a bit bitter, but as usual, Sirius couldn't be sure.
"Definitely," he said firmly. "Go on."
"Right," Sirius said. "Thanks. Erm … tell the others I'll … see them at school."
"Yeah," Remus said. "Bye."
Remus didn't like to admit it, even to himself, but he was quite hurt by Sirius's dismissal of him in Diagon Alley. It was the first time Sirius had ever chosen a girl over his friends, and it hurt even more that it was Remus who had caused this change. And the time it happened was the one time it mattered more than any other.
Remus needed revenge.
And he also needed another tactic.
He sat down and thought about it for a while, before he realised that he was jealous. Very, uncontrollably, irrationally, painfully jealous. A sly grin crept across his face as he decided that the best way to make Sirius pay attention to him again was to make Sirius as jealous as he was feeling right then.
And the best way to do that was to get a girlfriend.
So he began Operation Get Girlfriend To Make Sirius Jealous So He Realises He's In Love With Me – or Operation GG, for short. How was he going to do this? He wasn't big with the girls, mostly because he treated them the same as everyone else; in his eyes there was no point in flirting or pretending to be interested in other people when he already had a chosen one. So, now that he needed one, and fast, he had a problem.
He really didn't feel up to the task of seducing someone else, so he approached it in an honest, forthright way, characteristic to everything he did.
"Mel," he said, sitting down across from a friend of his. "I need your help."
"Okay," she said, flicking her hair out of her face. "What do you need?"
"I need you to pretend to be my girlfriend," he said bluntly. She blinked.
"Oh," she said. "I wasn't expecting that. Um, why?"
"I need to make someone jealous," he said honestly.
"Ooh," she said curiously. "Who?"
"I'm not going to tell you," he said.
"Hey, that's not fair," she replied. "If I'm going to help you and pretend to be your girlfriend, I need to know who it is."
"Does that mean you'll help me?" he asked.
"Yes," she said. "I need the same thing, coincidentally, this is perfect. So, spill, who is it?"
"Sirius," Remus said flatly.
"Oh good," she said happily. "I was so hoping you two would get together."
"Right," Remus said. "And who's yours?"
"Peter," she said with a blush. "Don't look at me like that! I know you guys tease him all the time, but he's kind of sweet once you get past the acute shyness."
"Sure," Remus said, bemused. "Well, where do you want to start?"
Mel bit her lip thoughtfully.
"Well, this needs to happen pretty quickly so I suppose we should make out somewhere very public. What are you doing tonight?"
"Tonight is fine," Remus told her, realising for the first time exactly how far he might have to go to pull this off.
"Well," she said and gathered her books. "See you in the common room at seven then. Better make sure Peter and Sirius are there."
"Okay," Remus agreed. "See you then."
The common room was sufficiently crowded and noisy when Remus and Mel crept through the portrait hole and sat down on a centrally placed chair and began to kiss. Remus found it not unpleasant, but nothing was happening to make him feel anything. Nobody appeared to notice anything, except Peter who gave them a funny glance and kept looking at them all evening.
Remus was growing tired with the activity, wondering where Sirius was, when someone's voice said very quietly, "Remus?"
Remus looked up from Mel's lips and met Sirius's confused and hurt eyes.
"Sirius," he said. "What's up?"
"Nothing," Sirius said softly, his eyes taking in Remus's tousled hair, and Mel's red lips. "I just wanted to talk to you about something. But it's okay, it can wait. You're obviously busy."
"Sirius, it's okay, we can -."
"No," Sirius cut in. "It's fine. We'll talk later." He walked away without a backward glance, and Remus turned back to Mel. She looked at him with a sympathetic face.
"That didn't go quite according to plan, did it?" she said quietly.
Remus shook his head wordlessly and she gave him a hug.
"Look," Remus said. "I think it worked for you. You should go and talk to Peter. I'm going to go upstairs and see if he'll talk to me. Thank you for doing this."
"No problem," she said, and kissed him quickly on the cheek. Remus stood up and headed up to the boys dorm.
The curtains on Sirius's bed were drawn, and Remus couldn't break through them; they seemed to have some sort of charm on them.
"Well," Remus said to the curtains. "Obviously you don't want to talk to me. I'm sorry if I upset you. I'll be over in my bed if you want to talk."
Sirius heard him leave and go to bed, but he stayed hunched up on his bed, thinking hard and squeezing his pillow.
He was upset, very upset, and he wasn't sure why. True, he had gone to the common room that evening with the intention of talking to Remus about what was going on, maybe ask him his feelings for him, perhaps tell him about the new ones he was developing for Remus. He had been torn apart this past month by thinking of the way Remus looked when he left him at Flourish and Blots to have dinner with Lauren and her family.
Whenever he thought of that day, he felt uncomfortably hot under the collar, and instantly transported back to the shop, with Remus pressed almost against him, and a look in his eyes he'd never seen before. He shivered as he remembered the sound of Remus's voice, and the feeling of his lips gently brushing against his collarbone, his breath hot and close on his ear as he whispered to him.
He rolled over on the bed and groaned. He was falling in love with his best friend.
By the time it was Halloween, Sirius and Remus still had not spoken about that night. They went back to their playfulness, but they both felt that something was definitely missing between them. That closeness, that comfort that had always been there was now ostentatiously missing. The almost breaching of the wall between them was a daily occurrence as they both tried and failed to be the one to take the leap.
It wasn't until Halloween that Remus finally got up the guts to say something to Sirius. Unfortunately saying something to Sirius was harder than it sounded, because Sirius seemed to have a radar for when Remus wanted to talk, and he always had a perfectly plausible excuse to get away. So this time, Remus had a plan.
Hogwarts was holding a Halloween ball, which provided Remus with a perfect opportunity to get Sirius to listen to him. Remus dressed himself as a Vampire, replete with overly large cape, and Sirius as a gothic prince, replete with studded necklace. They were headed down towards the ball when Remus suddenly grabbed Sirius by the wrist and pulled him into a deserted corridor.
"Sorry, Sirius," Remus said, pitching his voice low. "I need to talk to you."
"But the ball, Moony," Sirius said, making as though to head towards the stream of people following the sounds of music coming from the great hall.
"I know, so that's why you should listen to me now. We'll be there quicker if you do, because I'm not going to let you run away this time."
Sirius looked at him and sighed.
"All right," he said. "What are we talking about?"
"Us," Remus said simply and watched a shadow fall over Sirius's face.
"What about us? Moony, I really want to go to the ball." He took a few steps away from Remus, but found himself suddenly pressed up against the wall, Remus holding him in place with his body and his arms over his head, draping them both in the folds of his cape. It was dark, and the only thing Sirius could see was Remus's face hovering over his. He swallowed.
"I warned you," Remus said quietly, his eyes piercing into Sirius's. "I want to talk. I want to know what's suddenly come between us."
"Nothing has come between us," Sirius said quickly, too quickly, and tried to make another break for it, but Remus matched him and kept him safely under his cloak.
"Don't try me, Sirius," Remus warned, his face suddenly lower, and his body pressed further up against Sirius. "What is wrong between us?"
"Nothing," Sirius sighed. "Really. I've just been a bit … distracted." By you, he finished mentally.
"By?" Remus asked.
"It's er private," Sirius said and hurt flashed in Remus's eyes.
"Nothing used to be too private to share," he said softly. "Sirius, really, what's wrong? I miss you."
"It's nothing you can help with," Sirius said quietly, meeting his eye. He rested his forehead against Remus's forehead and they stayed that way for some moments. "I've got to work it out for myself," he added.
Remus looked at him for a second and then nodded mutely, but neither of them made a move to pull away, and Remus found his head drifting down towards Sirius. He felt dizzy and elated, and terrified and vindicated, and his lips lightly brushed Sirius's lips before he was interrupted by the scream of a banshee as a third year hurtled down the corridor, knocking them into each other.
He stayed that way for a moment, pressed against Sirius, before he straightened up and Sirius left the corridor without a word.
Sirius was being tortured, absolutely tortured. Every day he replied the moment of the kiss-that-never-was with Remus, and every day he wished he hadn't run away. He was growing more distracted every day, and Lauren was beginning to notice. She told him that he'd stop listening in the middle of a conversation and stare off into the distance. She said he was growing distance in his caresses; his kisses seemed empty. She said it seemed like he was only half with her, and all he could do was apologise and say he didn't know what was wrong with him.
Except he did know what was wrong with him. He was in love with Remus and didn't know what to do about it. Did the kiss that wasn't a kiss mean anything? Was it even a kiss? He replayed the moment again and again, savouring the sensation, remembering Remus's body against his, and the look in his eyes. He wanted to remember everything.
He wanted Remus to try and talk to him again. He'd tell him everything, if he did. Yet he couldn't find the courage to ask to talk himself. It occurred to him that perhaps Remus was waiting for him to say something, but he couldn't, he just couldn't. He was afraid, and that was the truth. His Gryffindor courage was non existent in this case, and he couldn't do anything about it.
Gryffindor house itself was abuzz with excitement over bonfire night, which was that evening. All afternoon kids had been finding things to throw on the massive pyre which was growing larger and larger by the minute. Sirius himself had contributed his fifth year textbook for Divination to the lottery, much good it would do Guy Fawkes.
Now he stood out on the grounds in a ring of people waiting for the lighting of the bonfire. It was very close, and he felt a sense of tense expectation in the air, waiting for the moment when the blaze would start. The headmaster had just strolled up towards the monstrosity and was saying some words, when Lauren strode up in front of Sirius.
"This is it, Sirius!" she said. "I can't take it anymore. You're not interested in me, and you proved that by skipping our date again tonight. I'm sorry, Sirius, but we're just through!" And she threw the Valentine day gift that he'd given her into the pyre at the exact moment it burst into flames. And then she was gone, obliterated by the flames that obscured his retinas, and all he could see for a long time was the brightness of the fire dancing in front of him.
"Hey, Sirius?" he heard Remus say, coming up behind and resting his chin on his shoulder. "You were too good for her, anyway."
Sirius sighed and groped behind him for Remus's arms, finding them, and bringing them around his middle.
"Thanks, Remus," he said quietly.
"Any time," Remus replied, his breath tickling the back of his neck, and without warning he pressed a tiny kiss to the skin just behind his ear. Sirius shivered and they stood there, watching the fire burn.
Remus woke on Christmas morning to the sense that somebody else was awake. He quietly pulled back his curtains and found Sirius standing at the window. He took a moment to admire him, and remind himself that today was the day he had promised himself his most drastic measure yet. Today he told Sirius everything.
He crept out of bed and stood behind Sirius at the window.
"Merry Christmas," he said, and Sirius smiled, leaning back into him so Remus could wrap his arms around him.
"Merry Christmas," he replied. They stood that way, staring out of the window, for some time, until Sirius turned his head to his right and caught Remus's lips with his own. It was gentle, and light, and their lips were barely touching, but Sirius knew that it was a real kiss. He turned in Remus's arms and buried one hand in his hair, the other he slipped around Remus's waist, pulling him close. Remus pulled him harder against him and deepened the kiss until it became almost desperate with emotion.
Finally Remus pulled back and rested his forehead on Sirius's.
"I'm sorry, Sirius," he said breathlessly. "There's something I really have to tell you."
Sirius reached up a finger and pressed it to Remus's lips.
"I want to tell you first," he whispered. "Remus … I think I am in love with you."
And Remus smiled.
"And I know I am in love with you," he replied. "Because for the past year, I've been trying to get you to realise it."
"What?" Sirius said and Remus sighed.
"I decided, at the beginning of this year, that you would finally have to see that we're meant to be together. So I've been trying to get you to wake up to that all year."
"Wow," Sirius said. "That's … slightly manipulative."
"I know," Remus said softly. "I'm kinda hoping you don't mind too much. But I wasn't sure how long it would take otherwise."
"I don't mind," Sirius said, and gently traced his hand down the side of Remus's face. "I don't mind at all."
"Thank Merlin," Remus replied and most definitely kissed him again.
This is the result of bullying. I make no bones about that. Hannah has bullied, coerced, pleaded, cheered, and tortured me into writing this fic. It's the longest one shot I've ever written, and I never intend to write one this long again. It's amazing how pushy someone can be halfway across the world! (Me Australia. Hannah England.)
It's also not my best work, by a long shot, but it is FINALLY FINISHED. And you can blame the plot on Hannah.
Well I hope you liked it anyway. Been a while since I did a Sirius/Remus anyway. Oh and fanfiction won't hold my formatting, so apologies for any inconsistencies.