This was written for the Red & the Wolf Livejournal community's "Tales of Dogs and Scoundrals" challenge. Everything belongs to JK Rowling.


"Drop it"

Lily Evans looked up to see Sirius Black's dark eyes glaring down at her. She couldn't decide what confused her more; that Sirius was talking to her at all, or the fact that he seemed to be starting in mid conversation.

"I don't know wh.."

Sirius launched full on into what appeared to be a well thought out rant. "I know. I know that Remus knows. I know that Remus doesn't know that I know, but he knows that Prongs doesn't know, but now you know that I know, so you can just drop it, you know?"

Obviously what Sirius thought was an organized thought and what Lily did were two completely different things.

"Sirius, there were far too many "knows" in that sentence for me to figure out what we are talking about."

Sirius sighed and looked away from Lily. Following his eyes, Lily could see him glance towards the staircase leading up to the boys' dormitories. She could almost feel the frustration coming off of him in waves. Lily couldn't possible think what she had done to put Sirius into such a ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­state. She didn't hate him – she just simply didn't talk to him; Co-existing without acknowledging each other, really. He was there when she was being followed around by Potter, but as she ignored Potter why would she bother to talk to Sirius? She often helped Peter with his Potions homework in the common room, but that normally never happened unless Sirius, Potter and Remus were off doing something else and couldn't help him themselves.

"Sirius, what have I…?"

Pulling out a chair abruptly and sitting down into it heavily Sirius began quietly, "I know…"

"That much I gathered" replied Lily, beginning to smile, but with one look at Sirius, she realized that this wasn't a time for joking around. Resting his head on his hand and looking down at the table they were sitting at he looked as if he was waging a battle with himself whether to make himself more clear or to just keep his thoughts to himself.

"I know that you fancy Remus."

Lily's eyes got big and she sat up straighter against the chair. How did Sirius know that? Sirius Black, the person that she knew the least out of their year of Gryffindors or anyone else in their house for that matter, and he figured out the one thing that she had been trying to hide for months: the fact that she had fallen for her fellow prefect and good friend Remus Lupin.

She hadn't meant to. It had started out innocently enough. Remus had walked around the corner on the sixth floor to see Lily sitting on a bench outside the Ancient Runes classroom with tears streaming down her face. He hadn't said anything, just sat down beside her and put his arm around her and sat with her until her tears had finished then walking her back to the common room and making sure she got safely up the stairs to her room. He never asked what was wrong, or tried to do anything to stop her tears. He simply stayed there until it was over. Since that day, she kept noticing little things about him that she hadn't before. While following him to the Great Hall, she saw how he always let girls walk through doors first, even if they were behind him. The previous week she had been watching him take notes in History of Magic and she learned that he was ambidextrous when she saw him switch hands and continue writing seamlessly about Binns' droning lecture about the Manticore/Sphinx debacle of 1459 down onto his parchment. She also noticed that he always placed his friends, Sirius, Peter and Potter, above all else. This brought her back to Sirius' original yet confusing spiel. She chanced a look over at Sirius and saw that he was watching her closely. How long had she been silent?

"Wait. You know that Remus knows?" How did Remus know? She hadn't done anything blatantly girly or silly in his presence, had she? She hadn't tossed her hair or giggled over nothing. She hadn't changed her makeup or clothes. How could he? Lily felt that she had been doing a superb job of keeping her feelings under wraps.

Sirius began to smile "I do. He hasn't said anything, of course, but I can tell. He doesn't say much, but once you've got him figured out you can read him like a bloody book. A creature of habit, he is. Keeps looking at you, looking at Prongs and then shaking his head and running his hands through his hair. Trust me. He knows."

"But he doesn't know that you know?"

Sirius' laugh broke through his smile. "Of course he doesn't. If he knew that I had figured it out, he would stop doing it. I may be able to read him like a book, but if he is deliberately trying to keep you out, the book gets snapped shut faster than Pince can kick me out of the library. Moony can be more guarded than a Gringotts vault."

That solved the first part of Sirius' mysterious statement, but Lily remained in the dark about the rest. "Why is he looking at Potter? It's not him I like, it's Remus I fancy." The laughter stopped and the smile vanished from Sirius' face, and it was as if a light was switched on in Lily's head. That was what was causing Sirius distress. Potter. The one who had been after her for years. The one who she had no desire to look at, talk to or be within a ten foot radius of, let alone date. Then there was Remus. The one she knew who put his friends above all others, including himself. He wouldn't acknowledge Lily's affection as he didn't want to make Potter miserable. Even if he…

"Since you are so good at reading "Remus Lupin: Mysteries and Mating Habits", can you tell me if he likes me too?" Silence filled the common room. True, they were the only ones there, but Sirius had stopped shuffling in his chair, and the wind outside the tower seemed to have died down. Sirius looked back towards the stairs again and said softly, "Even if I said yes, would it really matter? He won't do anything about it. Moony thinks he owes Prongs a lot and as Prongs likes to think that the sun revolves around Lily Evans, Remus will let you slide by, even if he'd like to go out with you. He has the tendency of doing what he thinks is right in his head, whether or not it's true in what the rest of us call reality". Sirius shook his head and caught Lily's eye. "I know you and I have never been friends, and I have no reason to expect that you'll listen to me, but, just drop it. Whether you and Remus fancy each other and think that someday you'll get married and have 14 children so that you can have two full teams in the Quidditch Cup finals, it won't happen. Remus won't do that to James, no matter what he wants. I've done a lot of foolish things that I really didn't mean, but I can do this to make everything better for everyone. Save yourselves a bunch of suffering before you've gotten yourself too wrapped up in this mess, and just walk away from it."

As much as she didn't like the words that were coming from Sirius' mouth, Lily couldn't help but know that they were true. Nothing could crack these four mates apart. If whatever they had gone through earlier in the year hadn't done it, nothing as trivial as a girl could either; especially if one of the parties was doing all in his power to make sure of it.

Lily gazed into the fireplace across the room and was mulling things over in her head when she heard Sirius push back his chair and walk towards the staircase. As he reached the bottom of the stairs she called to him "Thank you."

Sirius spun back around to face her, looking puzzled.

"For being a friend."