Even without the map, it didn't take Remus long to track down James. He was consoling himself with a chocolate cake from the kitchens and Peter was with him. The sounds of barely concealed horror drifted towards him as he approached the two boys.
"It was just awful!" James exclaimed as he waved his arms around to emphasise his point and took another bite of cake.
"So you keep saying," Peter replied with a scowl. "I just can't see why you're so surprised about this."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Well you've been saying you suspected something between them ever since fourth year."
"Ever since Padfoot started utilising the library."
Remus watched as James opened his mouth to reply and a now familiar glazed look appeared on his face.
"Prongs?" Peter asked as he waved a hand in front of his friend's face. "Bloody hell, not another one."
Remus cautiously approached them and waited until James had come out of his trance. The look of horror was back on his face as he stared back at him. "You wouldn't?" he spluttered.
"Wouldn't what?" Remus asked, wondering what precisely it was that James had just seen.
"Not in the library!" James cried. "You wouldn't."
"Oh!" Remus felt his face flushing as he realised that James had just seen another of his fantasies. He restrained himself from pointing out that he didn't think it would be an act of total utter sacrilege to have Sirius take him in the library. Maybe he could bluff it out.
Something in Remus's expression must have registered in James's face though, and the cogs and wheels of his mind finally seemed to be chugging along at their normal speed again. "This is a prank, isn't it?" James pointed an accusing finger at Remus.
"Not exactly," Remus muttered, his face reddening even more.
"Hey Potter!" An impatient voice called from the far end of the corridor. "Are you too good to show up for practice now? Get your ass to the Quidditch pitch or you're off the team! Don't think that you don't need the workout!"
Remus looked across at the Gryffindor Quidditch captain but James's gaze was glazing over again.
"Not another one?" Peter muttered.
"I'm out of here," Remus said as he bolted back up the stairs. He'd noticed that James's gaze had seemed to have glazed over at the words Quidditch pitch and library. He thought back to the first unscheduled vision and realised that the word shower had must have been the trigger. It was something of a relief to know that the visions were being triggered by specific words, but not knowing what those words were was a bit of a problem.
He wondered if Lily might have an idea of how to concoct an antidote that they could somehow get down James's throat without him killing them both. Though he'd probably forgive Lily anything, Remus mused to himself. He on the other hand might as well be writing out his last will and testament.
Remus dashed up the stairs and back to the boys' dormitory, he knew even before he reached the room that Lily was still in there with Sirius.
"Can I interrupt?" Remus asked as he re-entered the room. It was obvious from the reactions of his two friends as they looked at the spot on the bed he'd recently been sitting on, that they hadn't even noticed that he'd left.
"Moony, where've you been?"
"Out. Lily I need to talk to you about an antidote for the potion."
"Why?" Sirius asked. "Seems to me like this is the best prank you've ever pulled. Prongs looked ready to burst a blood vessel."
"Lily?" Remus pleaded, ignoring Sirius as best he could, which was not the easiest thing in the world since the other boy had pulled him into a friendly hug and was enthusiastically patting him on the back as he congratulated him on a truly brilliant prank.
"There isn't one," Lily replied. "It'll wear off by the end of the week anyway."
"I don't think I'll live that long," Remus sighed as he finally escaped from Sirius's arms and threw himself on his bed in despair.
"Don't be overly dramatic," Lily scolded. "I've told you before, that's Sirius's job."
"Hey!" Sirius scowled.
"Remus," Lily said as she sat down beside him. "So what if James saw something he didn't expect? It's just one itty bitty…what?" she asked as Remus mumbled something into his pillow.
"It's not just one," Remus groaned as he turned his head slightly.
"Does this mean Prongs has had another vision?" Sirius asked gleefully as he rubbed his hands together in anticipation of more teasing.
"Two more," Remus replied. "That I know of."
"I'm sorry Remus," Lily offered quietly.
Remus suddenly shot up into a sitting position a look of triumph on his face. "We can deafen him!" he declared with a grin.
"Why would that help?" Sirius asked.
"Because the visions are still being triggered by words," Remus explained. "I just don't know which ones. So the easiest thing will be to make him deaf so he can't hear any words at all."
"Don't you think that's a bit impractical?" Lily asked quietly. "Not to mention really advanced magic. By the time you've looked up and mastered the spell the potion will have worn off anyway."
"But he can't go on like this all week," Remus sighed. "He'll kill me…if I don't die of embarrassment first."
"What have you got to be embarrassed about?" asked Sirius.
"You haven't told him?" Remus turned to Lily astonished. "What have you been doing up here all this time?"
"Am I missing something?" Sirius asked.
"You want a list?" Lily asked with mock sweetness.
"Lily, please!" Remus pleaded. "This is neither the time nor the place for baiting him. I need your help."
"But what hasn't she told me?" Sirius whined.
Remus ignored him again and continued casting hopeful puppy dog eyes at Lily. He couldn't do 'the look' as well as Sirius could but he knew that Lily had a soft spot for him that might work in his favour.
"Remus, I'm sorry but I can't help you with this." Remus could tell from her expression that she was genuinely sorry and he felt his hope disappear. "Maybe he won't have any more of them?" she optimistically suggested.
"Fat chance," Remus muttered.
"You don't know that."
"The visions seem to be triggered by places being mentioned," Remus explained.
"Well how many places have you had those sort of thoughts about?" Lily asked.
Remus flushed bright red.
Sirius stamped his foot and demanded they tell him what was going on.
"I'll leave you to explain to him," said Lily, nodding her head towards Sirius who looked like he was ready to launch into a full blown tantrum.
"You'll let me know if you think of something?" Remus asked.
"Of course," Lily replied before she shut the door behind her.
Remus looked up at Sirius who was now standing at the foot of his bed, his arms folded across his chest and his foot tapping impatiently.
"I guess you want to know what's going on?" Remus asked, hoping that perhaps Sirius might do the unprecedented and say 'no'.
Sirius didn't reply; he didn't need to.
"Prongs is having visions that I didn't plan for him to have."
"Yeah, I got that part earlier. And…?"
"They appear to be subconscious thoughts I was having whilst brewing the potion that are now manifesting themselves as hallucinogenic realities in Prongs's mind."
Sirius looked confused for a moment or two. "So Prongs is having visions of some of your private thoughts?"
"X-rated thoughts," Sirius grinned widely. "Like I said this is the best prank you've ever pulled."
"You might say that now," Remus muttered.
"REMUS!" James barged into the dormitory, Quidditch practice apparently forgotten.
Remus shrank back up against his headboard.
"One question!" James shouted. "And I want the truth."
"Is there any location in this bloody castle that you two haven't shagged in?" James yelled. "In the library, under the Quidditch bleachers, in the hospital wing, in the common room…is there any place I can actually go in this school where I am not now going to be reminded of these visions?"
Remus squirmed uncomfortably. "Er…Dumbledore's office is probably safe."
"Well that's a great help!" James sarcastically replied.
"They aren't real you know," Remus whispered. "They're just really vivid thoughts. I haven't actually…we haven't…we've not…they're just thoughts."
"Considering what those thoughts are, and just how vivid they are, that really isn't much of a comfort," James snapped.
"Do you hate me now?" Remus asked cautiously.
"Hate you?" Sirius echoed. "Why would Prongs hate you?"
"I don't hate you," James sighed as he sat down beside Remus. "But you could have just told me instead of letting me find out this way."
"I didn't mean for you to get those visions," Remus assured him. "It was an accident. I wasn't concentrating properly when I cast the spell and worked on the potion."
"Glad to hear it," James replied with a grimace.
"You don't mind?"
"Mind what?" Sirius asked. "Why isn't anyone telling me anything?"
"Well that depends on if you're going to do anything about it," James said to Remus with a grin.
"I don't know…"
"From what I could see…er…the feelings were reciprocated."
"Well they would be in the visions," Remus muttered. "They're all from my mind after all. I'm hardly going to daydream and fantasise about being rejected, am I?"
"I wasn't talking about the visions," James said with another grin. "I'll admit that the visions shocked me, and I really, really don't want to have any more of them, but you're one of my best mates and in time, with a lot of grovelling from you, I will probably be able to forgive you for this prank."
"I'm still waiting," Sirius announced.
"I'll leave you to explain to him," James said, inadvertently echoing Lily's earlier words.
"So?" Sirius asked after the door had closed again.
"Were those thoughts you had, those visions, about Evans?" Sirius asked.
Remus looked up at his friend in shock and shook his head mutely.
"So who?" Sirius asked.
Remus just shook his head again.
"Why can't you tell me?" Sirius asked. "I'm your best friend…aren't I?"
"Prongs knows who it is. Evans knows. Why can't you tell me? I understand you not wanting to tell Wormtail…"
"Peter knows," Remus muttered.
"Is there anyone who doesn't bloody know?" Sirius snapped. "Apart from me that is?"
"It's you, all right!" Remus yelled. "It's you!"
Sirius stood silently, too stunned to say anything as Remus pushed him out of the way and ran from the room.
Moony had been having x-rated thoughts about him!
"Moony!" he yelled as he raced from the room and ran, stumbling down the stairs and into the common room.
"Prongs, where did Moony go?" he asked James who was sitting eerily still in a chair near the window.
"Dumbledore's office, Dumbledore's office, Dumbledore's office," James repeated over and over.
"What's he doing there? Is he in trouble? What's happened?"
"Dumbledore's office, Dumbledore's office…"
Sirius shook his head as he remembered Remus's comment that the only place he hadn't imagined them together was the headmaster's room. He knew he wouldn't be getting any help from Prongs any time soon.
Peter wandered over from the other side of the room. He raised an eyebrow at Sirius silently asking for an explanation for their other friend's behaviour.
"The names of places are what triggers the visions," Sirius explained. "Dumbledore's office doesn't."
"Oh," Peter replied before grinning widely.
The last thing Sirius heard as he climbed out of the portrait hole was Peter rattling off the list of various locations in and around Hogwarts. He grinned to himself as he hurried down the stairs. Lucky for Prongs that Remus had been the one to pull the prank. If it had been Sirius himself then even the headmaster's office wouldn't have been safe for Prongs to think about.
"Evans!" he called out as he spotted the redhead at the other end of the corridor.
"Black," she replied. "What have you done to Remus now?"
"Nothing, he just ran out. Have you seen him?"
"Why should I tell you?" Lily asked, the question harsh but her tone betraying that she really wanted him to answer.
"Because Prongs is in the common room having one vision after another of me and Remus in intimate situations and I won't stop you from triggering them."
"Wrong answer," Lily sighed. "Not that having a laugh at Potter's expense isn't always a rather cheering thought."
"Just tell me where Remus is," Sirius demanded.
"He looked upset. How do I know you're not going to make things worse for him."
"Because I'm in love with him, you stupid bint!" Sirius yelled.
Lily raised a mocking eyebrow. "And insulting me would make me tell you where he is because?"
"Because he's your friend too, and even more than you hate me, you want him to be happy."
Lily looked thoughtful for a moment or two. "Oh my!" Lily breathed.
"You really do love him don't you?"
"Of course I do! What the hell are we talking about here?"
Lily hesitated a moment. "It's just that I never thought you felt the same way about him. He's been mooning over you for ages and I've seen you watching him but I thought you were…well…" Lily's voice trailed off again at the look Sirius was giving her.
"You thought I'd have a fling with him and then dump him?" Sirius guessed, noting the guilty flush on Lily's face. "Just tell me where he is…please Lily?"
"You called me Lily," Lily said stupidly.
"So? It's your bloody name! Where is he?"
"You never call me Lily."
"Can we move on from this and focus on me?" Sirius whined. "Where's Remus?"
"In there," Lily said, pointing to the open doorway of an empty classroom further down the corridor.
Sirius ran down the corridor, wondering if Remus had heard what he'd said, he didn't know whether to hope that he had, or that he hadn't.
"A thank you might have been nice!" Lily called after him. "Good manners don't cost anything, you know."
Except a lifetime of expecting them to be displayed again.
Sirius walked into the classroom and immediately saw Remus perched on one of the tables. "Remus?" he said in a raspy voice, even as he wondered just when it was that he'd lost the power of speech.
"Sirius," Remus grinned back at him.
"You heard me," Sirius said as he shut the door behind him and leaned back against it.
"I bet half the school heard you, the way you were yelling like that."
"I think you should know, I'm the jealous type," Sirius said with a grin.
"Oh yeah," Sirius nodded and took a few steps towards Remus. "And at the moment I'm really jealous of Prongs."
Remus expression didn't reveal his thoughts at Sirius's revelation.
"You want to know why?" Sirius asked with a grin as he hopped up onto the table beside Remus. "I'm going to tell you anyway."
"Like I couldn't guess," Remus snorted.
"You could at least let me have my moment here," Sirius chided with a fake frown of annoyance.
"Okay Padfoot," Remus dutifully replied as he rolled his eyes. "Please do tell me why you are jealous of Prongs."
"Well Moony, since you've asked so nicely I'll tell you why I'm jealous of Prongs." Sirius's voice went lower as he continued and when he raised his hand to brush Remus's hair back from his face he realised he was shaking. "I'm jealous that Prongs has seen more of you than I ever have. He already knows what sounds you'll make when I touch you. He's seen your most intimate fantasies and I'm so jealous of that."
"I think he'd happily forget them if he could," Remus laughed.
"So what about it?" Sirius asked with an uncharacteristically shy smile. "You want to see if the reality is as good as our imaginings are?"
"Our imaginings?" Remus asked.
"I seem to recall that you haven't considered the possibility of Dumbledore's office," Sirius suggested with a grin and a suggestive waggle of the eyebrows.
Remus laughed and shook his head.
"Is that a no?" Sirius asked.
Remus shook his head again and turned to face Sirius.
"It's a yes?" Sirius guessed again.
"I'm not sneaking into Dumbledore's office," Remus told him.
Sirius smirked, resolving to try to talk Remus round at the first available opportunity. In the meantime however he would settle for just having Remus at all.
"Remus?" he whispered.
"Yes?" Remus breathed back and Sirius felt his heart start to race at their close proximity.
He'd meant to ask first, Sirius told himself later.
He'd meant to do things properly and ask permission.
He'd not been prepared for Remus to launch himself at him and pull him into what he was sure was the best kiss he'd ever had.
"Thanks Lily," James said as Peter opened and closed his mouth with no sound coming out. Her silencing spell had been executed to perfection.
"So how have you liked your insight into the mind of Remus Lupin?" Lily asked with a smirk.
"It's always the quiet ones," James muttered as he stood up and headed up towards the dorms. "I'm never going to be able to look him in the face again."
"Of course you will," Lily replied impatiently.
"Easy for you to say," James snorted as he approached the door to the dormitory he shared with the rest of the marauders. "You've not had to see your two best mates in positions you didn't even know were possible, doing things to each other and…"
"Breathe Potter," Lily advised as he started to panic again. "They're your best friends. You knew this was going to happen eventually."
"I've spent considerable time trying to convince myself I was wrong," James pointed out.
"They're your best friends," Lily repeated. "You're going to go in there and tell them that you're happy for them." She pointed at the door for emphasis and James looked at her in surprise.
"They're in there?" James hissed. "In the dorm?"
"They slipped up here just after Peter said Honeydukes," Lily confirmed. "Remember, you're very happy for them."
"I'm very happy for them," James repeated the phrase like a mantra several times before he pushed open the door.
"NO!!" he screamed and started clawing at his eyes. "Not another one! Lily make it stop!"
Lily merely replied to his panicked pleas with a hearty slap round the face.
"What was that for?" James asked as he rubbed his cheek.
"You were getting hysterical," Lily muttered. "This isn't a vision, I can see them too."
"I'll be heading back downstairs then," Lily said as she looked at the two boys sitting on the end of Remus's bed with a smile.
"Can I look now?" James asked as he stood with his back to his friends, gazing after the disappearing redhead.
"You could have looked before," Remus replied. "It's not like we're naked or anything."
"But you were…you were…er…"
"Kissing," Sirius interjected.
"Does this really bother you?" Remus asked. "If it does we can…"
"No we bloody won't," Sirius interrupted. "I'm not sneaking around to save Prongs's sensibilities. He can put up with us, just like we put up with all his Evans whining and mooning and…"
"It's okay," James said as he raised his hands in surrender. "You don't have to sneak around. I'm all right with you guys being together. I just panicked after all those visions."
"How many have you had?" Sirius asked curiously.
"Dunno," James muttered. "It's been like an x-rated tour of the entire bloody school and Hogsmeade as well, thanks to Wormtail. I didn't even know what the Ravenclaw common room looked like until today."
"Sorry Prongs," Remus offered with an embarrassed shrug.
"Just promise me something," James pleaded.
Remus nodded agreeably.
"Close the curtains, use silencing charms, and never ever use my bed to act out your fantasies in."
"Damn," Sirius complained. "I was looking forward to that one too."
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this short story. If you did please let me know and do consider checking out some of my other fics. Thanks as always to those who have read the story to the end, and most especially to those who have left comments or PM'd me to let me know what you think of it.