DISCLAIMER: Not mine, nor will it ever be.
"You stutter a lot."
Sirius had never been one for tact, and that would be the first lesson in a line of many that Remus would have to learn about him. And from the cringe that shook the boy's frame, it seemed it might be one of the more difficult ones for Remus to adjust to. He simply retreated within himself, leaving a not only tactless, but sometimes thick Sirius perplexed.
Sirius wrinkled his nose in response. "Why?"
Uncomfortably, Remus shifted in his seat and involuntarily brought a hand to rest against his wounded cheek. "Why what?"
"Why do you stutter?" Sirius' gaze was intense, and that added to the pressure he was unwittingly placing on his new companion.
Remus abruptly turned to his side, facing the window. The sunlight flitting through the passing landscape cast a mesmerizing display of dancing light and shadows across his features. His bottom lip was caught firmly between his teeth, and it was a while before he spoke.
"It's not like I m-mean to." Remus winced at his slip, firming his resolve to calm his speaking. He slid toward to the window, his face so close to it he felt a chill radiating off the glass. Slowly sliding a fingertip along the border of the window, he began to speak again, "It just happens."
"I think it's because you're nervous… or maybe scared." Sirius wasn't quite sure if he was offering an observation or baiting the boy, and it seemed Remus wasn't sure how to take it either.
Remus attempted a shrug, but the jerky motion sent him wincing.
"You alright?" Sirius' brows furrowed as he watched the other boy clutch his shoulder in pain.
Remus' eyes widened noticeably, and he managed to choke out, "I'll b-be fine."
Cocking his head to the side in curiosity, Sirius looked as though he was going to press Remus further, but he must have decided against it. The slight panic emanating from Remus was enough of a hint for even Sirius to drop the subject. He turned to face out of their compartment, and let out a huff to seemingly no one in particular, or at least that's how it looked to Remus.
But it wasn't to no one in particular. It was to that damned James Potter. If it wasn't for that kid Sirius wouldn't be stuck in one of the most awkward situations of his life, and that's saying something. He shifted again to face Remus and desperately attempted to make conversation, any conversation, anything that would pass the time and make things run smoothly. But Sirius had no such luck; his usual impeccable skill at conversation seemed to leave him in the face of this striking yet unapproachable boy opposite him.
His companion didn't seem to mind, however. In fact, he seemed to welcome the silence, rummaging through his bag and pulling out a somewhat worn text. Remus tucked his feet under his body and lost himself in the print.
Sirius stared on, part of him offended and part of him exasperated at Remus' actions. But there was also a part of him that was acutely fascinated, although he would never admit that. The boy seemed to be one big mystery, one that Sirius was beginning to get determined enough to crack. And it was at that point, with all due blame to Remus, that Sirius' obsession began.
"So, what you reading?"
"That stupid Black!" James huffed, crossing his arms in front of his chest. "Who does he think he is?"
Peter was squirming on the compartment seat, filled to the brim with pride. He did it. He, Peter Pettigrew, made a friend on the first day! And so he dutifully listened to his friend rant and ramble about that no good Black character, nodding at all the right places and interjecting his assurances regarding James' judgment of character.
And on James' tirade went. The boy seemed to barely pause to breathe. It continued throughout the entire duration of the train ride, the boat ride, and up the steps of Hogwarts itself. Peter was beginning to think James would never stop, not that he minded all that much, of course. But Peter was proved wrong when a petite redhead crossed James' line of vision as they were about to enter the Great Hall.
"Can you believe he really thou-" James trailed off mid-sentence when his breath was taken away. His jaw went slack, still hanging wide open, as he stared all too obviously at the girl. She caught his gaze, wrinkled her nose at him, and abruptly turned away.
"Who is she?"
Peter worried at his lower lip, wringing his hands nervously at the fact he couldn't provide James with an answer. "Dunno." Peter winced as James' brows drew together at his unsatisfactory answer. And Peter knew it was at that point that James' obsession, one of many, began.
"Explain yourself." Professor McGonagall's cold glare was enough to almost shake Sirius, almost.
His right hand flew behind his head, nervously rubbing the back of his neck. Sirius had walked into the castle looking for all the world as if he owned the place, soaking wet, dripping, and sloshing his steps in the process.
"I, uh, fell in," Sirius lamely stated, looking sheepish under the woman's scrutinizing glare. She cast a drying charm on him, seemingly taking pity on the boy, and clucked her tongue before leading the first years into the Great Hall.
Sirius turned to the companion at his side, uttering barely above a whisper, "Thanks."
Remus, flushed at the memory, attempted a smile as he replied, "N-no problem." He had been the one to pull Sirius back into the boat after the boy had 'lost his footing'. Although technically Sirius had been pushed, they both liked to believe that it was completely accidental.
Remus swallowed nervously, eager for a change in topic. He was certainly hoping Sirius wouldn't ask how a kid as scrawny as himself could have achieved such an accomplishment. And Remus was saved as Sirius' interest in the upcoming Sorting ceremony took his full attention.
After the preliminary traditions of the ceremony, the sorting was to begin. And Sirius was all but hopping on the balls of his feet. 'I'm going to do it. I'm going to show them all.'
His name was finally called after what seemed like an eternity of waiting, and Sirius suavely, or as suave as an eleven year old can get, sauntered to the front of the Hall. The Sorting Hat was placed on his head, and two people in the room sat with bated breath waiting for the verdict.
"He's going to be in Slytherin, I just know it," James announced with a proud smirk. But that smirk quickly fell as his countenance was overwhelmed by disbelief. The Black heir was just sorted into Gryffindor. "That old thing must be busted."
Peter nodded his agreement and was forced to listen to more of James's outrage regarding the incident, mostly about how James couldn't believe he would be in the same House as a Black; for James knew he would most certainly be placed into Gryffindor.
Remus' turn to get sorted eventually came around, and Sirius, who at that moment couldn't have been more overjoyed at his own perceived success, watched on with keen interest. 'Ravenclaw, I bet.' But Sirius would have lost that bet because almost unbelievably Remus was sorted into his own House. Still on cloud nine, Sirius cheered over everybody else as Remus walked to the table.
Remus offered Sirius a shy smile which he returned in kind and clapped his new Housemate firmly on the back in congratulation. The rest of the ceremony was uneventful for Sirius as, expectedly, Potter was sorted into Gryffindor as well. James gave him an unreadable stare once seated, and Sirius grinned back at him.
There wasn't much that day that could ruin Sirius' mood. He attacked his dinner with gusto and attempted small talk with the people around him. Unfortunately, no one really bothered to hold up their end of the conversation except Remus, who weakly responded in the shortest sentences possible. But Sirius didn't care. He was a Gryffindor. Not even James' comment, which was obviously made loud enough for Sirius to hear, fouled his mood.
"We better not be sharing the same dorm," James all but shouted in apparent disgust.
Sirius simply rolled his eyes; skillfully ignoring the remark as he stuffed his face with what, in his mind, was the best meal ever.