NOTE: Sorry it's been so long! More coming soon!
I stood behind Sirius, shifting from foot to foot. I wondered if he expected me to sit next to him, or if I should go find somewhere else to eat breakfast. We'd stayed in the dormitory as long as possible, lying together with the hangings drawn while people awoke and dressed around us. It was only after everyone else had already gone down to breakfast that we had emerged. My arm felt better, but was still sore, and the whole arm twinged painfully from wrist to elbow whenever I so much as moved my fingers. There had been a rather awkward moment when Sirius noticed me wincing while attempting to button my shirt without using one arm, and failing spectacularly.
"Let me do it," he said, advancing towards me with a grin.
"No! Really, I'm fine!" I protested, backing away. "I can do it one-handed." I struggled to do up the shirt, continued to fail, and blushed and quickly tried to turn away.
"Oh, you're fine, are you?" Sirius said sarcastically. I gave the shirt one more try, all the while making it more and more apparent that I certainly could not do it one-handed. "Just let me do it, we're already late. Don't make me come fetch you."
My face burning with humiliation, I walked over to Sirius. His grin widened, and he gently pulled me closer. His fingers brushed my skin as he buttoned up the shirt, and although we weren't touching I could feel the presence of his body close to mine. It was a somewhat flustered pair of students that arrived at the Great Hall for breakfast. And here I was now, standing awkwardly behind Sirius, looking around the Great Hall, wondering how choosing where to sit had become so difficult.
"Sirius, could you please get your shadow to sit down? He's making me nervous." I shot an anxious glance at the speaker - James. Although his tone had been mocking, he met my gaze and gave me what appeared to be a genuine smile. I blushed.
"He was just joking," Sirius muttered with a sigh, reaching up and pulling me down beside him. "Now sit. Eat."
I nervously looked around. James was sitting opposite me, with Peter next to him. Peter was watching me slightly suspiciously, but quickly moved his gaze elsewhere as soon as I caught his eye. James, on the other hand, was casually bantering with Sirius as if nothing was out of the ordinary. I awkwardly turned and looked up at Sirius, feeling confused and out of place. Had I been accepted this quickly? Were Sirius's friends just going to follow his lead without question, and understand this sudden change in our relationship? It all felt incredibly surreal. Sirius caught me looking at him, and gave me a grin of reassurance. I let out a breath I hadn't realised I'd been holding, while feeling the usual telltale blush spreading across my cheeks. I wondered if I was going to wake up to find that this had all been some long and complicated dream. To be honest, it wouldn't have surprised me all that much. I ate my piece of toast in a strange sort of trance, trying to sort out everything in my mind while Sirius and James discussed something next to me. I was still lost in my own thoughts when James suddenly addressed me.
"Remus, isn't it?" James had finished his conversation with Sirius and was staring at me inquisitively across the table. I looked up at him sharply, almost dropping my toast. Sirius snorted with laughter.
"Yes, uh, it's Remus. Yep." Even I could tell how stupid I sounded.
James chuckled, then leaned towards me and lowered his voice conspiratorially, an amused glint in his eye. "So Remus, marks out of ten?"
"Marks out of ten, genius. Lily Evans, red-head, to my right." James indicated a red-haired girl sitting a few seats down from him. I peered in the direction he was pointing, rising out of my seat to get a better look.
"What are you doing?!" James hissed, while Sirius yanked me back down into my seat, laughing at James's alarm. I blinked in confusion. James sighed, and ran his hands through his hair agitatedly. "Could you possibly have made that any more obvious?"
"Well, now that you've given us all a lesson in raging unsubtlety, what'd you give her?"
"What do you mean?" I was puzzled. What would I give her?
"What'd you rate her out of ten, dearest?" James voice was slow and patronising. I gave him a blank look. "How attractive do you think she is, on a scale from one to ten?"
"Oh, right!" I exclaimed finally. James groaned with exaggerated despair.
"Sweet Merlin, Sirius, we've got ourselves a slow one here. How does he even dress himself in the morning?"
Sirius and I exchanged a look. James caught it, and his eyebrows instantly shot up. Peter too watched us with interest.
"Oh dear, what've you two been up to?" James questioned, looking searchingly at both of us in turn. I wriggled nervously in my seat, and Sirius cleared his throat awkwardly.
"On second thought, I'd rather not know." James shook his head sharply, as if clearing it of unwelcome thoughts. "Anyway, back to the original topic, give me a number. Seven? Eight?"
"Eight, I guess." I said nervously, after hesitating for several moments. I didn't want to somehow offend anyone.
"An eight, eh? That's pretty high. So you think she's attractive?"
"Um, yeah, I suppose."
"But not a nine."
"Oh, right, so you think she's uglier than a nine?"
"You think she's ugly?"
"No I don't!"
"So you do think she's a nine?"
"Yes! I mean no! I mean… wait…I don't know!"
"Stop tormenting him, James." Sirius intervened, ruffling my hair playfully. James chuckled at my flustered expression. Peter gave me a nervous smile.
"I'm just joking, Remus. Calm down." James returned to his breakfast, still laughing to himself. Sirius gave my shoulder a reassuring pat and did the same.
I huffed somewhat sulkily, and set about finishing my toast. But a small part of me was jumping about with elation. Short of something ridiculous like James grabbing me into an embrace or Peter giving me a card with "WE'RE MATES NOW" written on the front, there wasn't much more they could have done to show that I was in some way accepted into their group, at least for now. And an even smaller part of me, a tiny, anxious part, began to wonder if this was going to be a permanent thing, something that lasted for more than a couple of days. If I was going to be friends with James, Peter, and Sirius. If I was going to eventually be an accepted part of their group.
But that part of me quickly quieted itself, not wanting to get its hopes up. I couldn't assume that this would last. But at least I knew that whatever lay ahead, it couldn't be any worse than before.