Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
James gave an edgy glance to Sirius, worrying his lip in contemplation. He pretended to casually flip another page of his book, giving the pages a look of feigned interest.
As if something was eating him alive, James stood from his chair and poked Sirius in the shoulder irritably, his jaw set and his face looking uncharacteristically grim.
"In. The. Bathroom." He gritted out uncomfortably.
"Sorry, I already had a wank two hours ago."
James sighed irritably. "C'mon," he said, and prodded Sirius profusely, using more force. Sirius attempted to swat James' fingers away, but didn't succeed. Finally, he followed the dark-haired boy to the bathroom.
"I think I need to tell you something."
"You think?" Sirius repeated. "You dragged me out here because you think you have to tell me something?"
"Well, it's wrong to tell you. I mean, I'm not supposed to. Moony told me not to."
Sirius furrowed his eyebrows silently, face wrinkled up in thought. "What did Moony tell you?" he asked slowly.
"He… he fancies you, Padfoot."
There was a silence, before Sirius spoke in a solemn voice. "Are you fucking with me, Prongs?"
Sirius broke out into a wide grin.
"When did he tell you?" he questioned excitedly, his face lighting up like a light bulb.
"This is going to be so great! Think of the pranks, James!" And with that, Sirius hopped off, James gaping after his friend.
Sirius had a plan.
Not that this was anything out of the ordinary, Sirius always had a plan, but this one was especially important.
Another oddly significant thing about this plan was that none of his three friends were involved in the plotting. It was only Sirius, scheming in History of Magic instead of writing notes.
To be fair, it looked like he was writing notes. And he was, but just not on History of Magic.
"So Padfoot, when are you filling me in on the pranks to end all pranks that you've been working on?" asked James, a bushy eyebrow raised expectantly.
"Well, I wasn't planning on filling you in," Sirius admitted sheepishly, "it's not really a prank."
James stayed silent for a moment before a sly smile tugged faintly on his lips. "What is it?" he inquired curiously, an edge of demand in his voice.
"Nothing." Sirius said, rolling his eyes.
James mimicked him. "Then 'nothing' just because the new 'everything'. C'mon, Sirius, I'm your best friend!"
Sirius flushed apprehensively before he met his friend's gaze. "Fine," he said, "but there is absolutely no telling anyone else or you are damned."
James held up his hand promisingly. "I solemnly swear I will not betray your secret." He said promptly, trying his best to look professional and solemn.
"All right. I'm plotting to ask someone out even though they won't know that I'm asking that out." Sirius said with a wicked smile.
James raised an eyebrow again, crossing his arms in skeptical doubt. "Um… wow. Got it down to a fine art, hmm, Padfoot? You don't even have to ask the girls out anymore, it's just all in the subtext? You ought to teach me."
Sirius shook his head. "No, no, it's like… it's like they're telling me how to ask them out but they don't know it!"
"How do they not know it?"
"Well, that's all in the scheme!" Sirius said, teasing James playfully as he bounced on his bed sheets.
"Is… is a love potion involved?"
"No!" Sirius brushed off immediately. "Besides, who needs a love potion when there's the Imperious Curse?"
James chuckled at his friend's joke, pushing his glassed up his pale nose. "Boy… if I told that to Evans she would certainly rip me a new one…"
"Anyway, there's no potion or a spell or anything. Just me!" Sirius brandished his arms jauntily.
"Well, that is irresistible. Who's the target of love?"
"I – uhm…"
James punched Sirius' shoulder impatiently, his hit light. "C'mon! Who is it? Spit it out, Padfoot!" He demanded persistently, prodding and poking Sirius in the stomach.
"Well, he's my secret crush! And if I told you, it wouldn't be secret."
"So what?" said James, "he'll still be your crush! You can't keep it bottled up forever, Pads!"
Sirius tried to look grave as he indignantly argued James. "Maybe I can!"
James snorted. "Sirius Black cannot keep secrets!" he poked Sirius in the abs again.
The other black-haired boy dramatically rubbed at the spot of hurt were James had been poking, his face pouting theatrically. "You wound my heart with your jabs of pitchforks!" he said, his voice blatantly histrionic.
James smiled, smirking. "You're heart," he said critically, "is right there!" he poked Sirius again, but higher up this time.
Sirius laughed. "Why do you know where everything is?"
James shrugged. "I'm not sure. But anyway!" he said hurriedly. "Don't try to change the subject! Who is it?"
Sirius blushed abruptly. "I… he's like my sunshine. Like my marshmallow or something."
"Cut the fuckery, Padfoot, and tell me who the guy is without using all of these cheesy terms of endearment!"
"No!" Sirius insisted, getting up from the wrinkled sheets and swiftly running down the stairs.
"Oh no you don't!" James wailed, and sped down the stairs after Sirius, his footsteps thundering. When he reached the landing he just had enough time to see Sirius attempt to scramble out the portrait hole when he ran headfirst into Remus. James screeched to a halt as their lively chase ended suddenly.
"Ow!" someone ejaculated, and James winced to see Remus clutching his nose and his hand in place as if holding a heavy pile of books and papers, which had fallen ungracefully to the floor.
"Oh my god, Moony, are you all right?" Sirius asked worriedly, clutching at Remus' elbows. Remus hastily shrugged them off.
"'M fine, 'm fine." He murmured, his voice stifled by his hand still pressed tightly against his nose. Sirius ignored him as he drew an arm gingerly around Remus' shoulders and steered him over the couch.
"My books." Remus mumbled, giving a half-hearted and feeble gesture to the hazardous pile of literature splayed across the corridor floor.
"Can you get those, Prongs?" Sirius asked rapidly, even though it was more a command than a request. James sighed breathily as he slumped his way over to the books and heaved them over to the table.
"Really, really, I can get them myself." Remus insisted, moving to get up from the couch when Sirius pulled him back down again, using enough force on his wrist to deposit him on the cushions but not hurt him. James eyed the gesture with raised eyebrows.
"No, it's fine!" Sirius told him, rubbing a soothing hand on Remus' back and ignoring James' inquisitive glance at the two Marauders.
"I've had worse before."
Sirius pulled Remus' fingers away from his nose, where blood had been running freely into Remus' palm.
"Scourgify!" Sirius waved his wand at Remus' hand, causing the drying blood to vanish instantly. He dabbed at the continuously running blood underneath the werewolf's nose.
"It's fine, it doesn't hurt anymore." Remus said, smiling appreciatively at his friend.
"Um… Sirius…? Can I speak to you for a moment?" James asked, jerking his head toward the dormitory. Sirius slowly rose from the couch, giving Remus one more helpful smile before he joined James upstairs.
"Tell me this is just one of these horribly mean pranks you said you would play on Remus. It's not nice to play with him when you like someone else!" James said harshly.
"Who said I like someone else?" Sirius said, scowling. He ran a hand through his hair coolly.
"Wait – you like Remus too?"
"Yes, you daft wanker!" scoffed Sirius. "Can't you tell?"
"Well, that's what I wanted to ask you about! I mean… you were all touchy feely down there."
"The term is much more masculine if you say concerned."
"Yes, you were concerned, but you were also touchy."
"Why don't you just stuff it, all right, Potter?" Sirius said hotly, giving James a warning glare.
"Why don't you just tell Remus how you feel?"
"Because!" Sirius burst out lividly, "it's complicated! Maybe it's easy for you, because you tell Evans you love her every day. But you're not best friends! And she's not a guy! And things wouldn't be fucked up if you just confess that you want to ask Evans out!"
James was silent for a moment, "I guess I didn't see it like that," he said quietly, "but look, Remus is your friend. He wouldn't stop talking to you just because you confessed your love to him. I mean, c'mon, he likes you too!"
"Stress of confession, James!" Sirius mentioned, his eyes widening frighteningly, "he could get nervous when I tell him about my feelings and things can get awkward every time I see him!"
"This is ridiculous, Padfoot!" the bespectacled-boy said furiously, "You've asked out practically every girl in the school, and barely anyone has ever rejected you! Show some confidence, mate, because what's the worse that can happen?"
"Let me show you something." Sirius began, and strode off swiftly to the bathroom.
James cringed slightly, "I'm only asking this because you're heading for the loo, but this 'showing me something' doesn't involve any taking off clothes, does it?" he asked, rather sharooshed.
"No, you pervert!" Sirius' wall-stifled voice called from the bathroom. He came out from the door, holding a fresh tube of toothpaste.
"Get me a tissue, James."
"Great. Are we being girls now and crying out our troubles?" James asked bitterly as he handed Sirius a flimsy napkin.
Sirius put his hands on his hips crossly, "I'm this close to dumping this toothpaste on your head," he waved the tube around, waggling his eyebrows, "I thought so," he said smugly when James took a step back.
Carefully, the black-haired boy smoothed out the napkin and uncapped the toothpaste. "Now, watch how quickly I can get the toothpaste out." He said, and unceremoniously began to squeeze out the gew.
"Wait, that's a fresh tube and – oh, Padfoot! That's mytoothpaste!"
Sirius stopped, giving James a stony glare, "Do you want me to demonstrate?"
James wavered, "Fine."
The Animagus rapidly began to maladroitly get the rest of the toothpaste out. "See? You see how quick that was?"
"Now watch me try to get the toothpaste back into the tube." Sirius said, grabbed tube, and plunged his fingers into the green mess. Meticulously, Sirius attempted all possible ways for the toothpaste to return inside it's previous home.
"How much toothpaste do you think I got in there?" he challenged, holding up the messy tube.
"Um… not much."
Sirius squeezed out the toothpaste again. Slowly, a sad dollop the size of a fingernail plopped onto the tissue.
"You're very right, Prongs. Not much. Do you get what I'm trying to say here?"
"Never steal James' toothpaste and dump it all out onto a tissue for no reason at all?"
Sirius scowled at his friend, "No, the lesson is that it's much easier to mess things up than fix them again. If I tell Remus how I feel about him, I'll never be able to take that back. The toothpaste will be out of the tube. I can't put it back in again."
James flailed his arms wildly, "Why would you want to put the toothpaste back in the tube?? Honestly now, Sirius, I don't think that with Remus you'd ever have to reload the tube. The toothpaste will be happy out, don't you think?"
Sirius considered, "I dunno… I've just never seen myself as a 'toothpaste out of the tube' guy before. Remus knows that. I date girls and change them like I do my underwear! Maybe I'm not ready to get my toothpaste out of the tube," he said uneasily, swaying on a foot.
"You're just trying to back out of telling Remus how you feel! Come on, Sirius, you know you want to!"
The grey-eyed boy gave a deep sigh. "Okay. I can do that. I'll be confident, slutty Sirius."
"Um… let's try a different approach."
Sirius trotted silently down the stairs, peeking around the wall to see Remus lounging on the Gryffindor couch with a book propped up on his knees. Sirius smiled to himself, before he finished walking down the steps and approached Remus cheerfully.
"Hey," he said, sweeping himself by the couch. "Can you help me with something?"
"Sure. What is it, Pads?" Remus asked dutifully, using his thumb as a bookmark.
"I need to ask someone out," Sirius said. "And I don't know how."
Remus sighed, preparing himself to open his book again. "Um… Sirius, I don't think I feel comfortable telling you how to ask out some bird – I mean your love life is your business–"
"Oh, but you can surely think of something–"
"Please, Padfoot, just ask someone else." Remus pleaded, opening his book again.
Sirius leant closer to Remus' face, his gray eyes widening tearfully. Perfect ebony lashes encircled Sirius' frighteningly intense eyes, "You'd like me to be happy, wouldn't you?" His voice was soft, low, and deliciously seductive.
Remus sighed, squirming uneasily on the couch. "I want everybody to be happy," he answered uncertainly.
"Yes, but I wasn't thinking of everybody. I thinking of me."
"I should say you always do that, Sirius."
Sirius leaned slightly closer, edging nearer. "Oh, but who else is there to think about?"
Remus looked down, brushing a strand of hair away from his eyes. "What about your friends? What about me?"
The black-haired boy gingerly put his fingers underneath the werewolf's chin, forcing it upwards gently. "I think about you. I'm coming to you now for advice, aren't I?"
"Yes, but advice for you." Remus pointed out firmly, poking Sirius lightly in the chest. "Look, you're amazing with women! Why do you want my help? When was the last time I've had a date, Sirius?"
Sirius pouted. "Because, Remus, you're good with becoming friends with women!"
"Friends. Not girlfriends or lovers, Padfoot."
"Come on, please. Please…?"
Remus sighed, thrusting his book forcefully onto the end table. "What do you want help with?" he said irritably.
Sirius jumped up excitedly, jumping over the couch and sitting on the edge of the cushions.
"I want to ask out this… um, other Gryffindor girl–"
Remus sighed. "Padfoot, you've already gone out with everyone in Gryffindor, is this just a plan to see how much I suck at creating dates?" He snarled at Sirius, reaching for his book when Sirius tenderly covered Remus' hand with his own and led it back to the couch.
"Come on!" he wailed, tugging at Remus' robes. Remus sighed again, running a hand through his tawny hair.
"Look, I know how you can help me! Just tell me how you would like someone to ask you out."
Remus looked at his lap, wringing his hands. "Ohh, I don't know…" he began sheepishly, sending Sirius a sideways glance.
"Well… fine," Remus rearranged himself to face Sirius on the couch, a bit more eager, "I… I would want the – the person to be sweet about it, and not force me into anything."
"All right. Tenderness."
"Yeah," Remus agreed, nodding embarrassedly, "and… and confidence is also important."
The werewolf tucked a strand of hair behind his ear, "And I want it to be elegant, not just some casual ask-me-out."
"All right, so importance," Sirius said, "let's talk setting!"
Remus contemplated the question, "Well… I think it would be great if it would be somewhere I wouldn't expect it to be. Not traditional, like Hogsmeade visits or waiting for me at my bed. And nothing public, like a grand announcement in the middle of the Great Hall. I'd want it to be somewhere… I dunno, like in the Greenhouses."
"The Greenhouses?" Sirius repeated curiously, an eyebrow raised. In an odd, wry way, he felt as though he should be taking notes.
"Yeah! Like, what if the ceiling in there would be enchanted to lightly mist rain, or all of the planting pots would be full of tulips. Or maybe even on the Astronomy tower, on a clear night when the stars are really bright."
Sirius prodded gently, "Okay. What would you like best of all?"
Remus shrugged, "I'm not sure. I've always thought it would be really romantic for there to be music."
"What kind of music?"
Remus sighed dreamily, "Like… like hand-played flute," he saw Sirius watching him intently, and uncertainly broke out of his daydream, "I mean, maybe this is all way too much. But… but I've always thought that it would be adorable if the person asking me out would confess that they love me. And that they've been holding themselves back. Like, I dunno, forbidden love. Or something cheesy like that. Original, but… cheesy. Like Romeo and Juliet or Cathy and Heathcliff. It's classic."
"So… how would you like it if the person asking you out would take your hand and look into your eyes, or would you like them to not touch you at all?" Sirius demonstrated by softly brushing a thumb over Remus' palm after interlocking their hands together tenderly.
"That's my hand, Padfoot."
"I know that," Sirius rambled on recklessly, "do you like long speeches? Or maybe no words, and just mushy letters?"
"Letters are girly," Remus answered, shaking his head, "speeches. They don't have to be big and sentimental. As long as though I see the truth behind it."
"So then how does this look?" Sirius asked, kneeling in front of Remus strategically and grabbing his scarred hands. With a lustful sigh, the black-haired boy stared into Remus' amber orbs and gently let the words I love you escape from his lips in a whisper.
"Wow." Remus breathed, and when he realized he was staring, he hastily wriggling free from the other boy's grasp, "Yeah, that'll work. The girl'll be yours."
Then, something Sirius hadn't planned on doing wriggled free from his self-control; he gripped the werewolf's face and pressed their lips together fiercely.
It must have been the pressure, or the tension, or even the heat between them. But something had possessed Sirius enough to break the plan and kiss Remus.
If he could go back and not divulge in the lingering temptation in front of him and kiss Remus' delicately soft and aching-to-be-felt mouth, he would. It shattered his scheme. Or then again, with Remus sending a soft moan into his mouth and their breaths intermingling, maybe he wouldn't take it back. He'd always wanted to hug or hold or kiss Remus, just because he knew that no one else had ever done so. It felt nice to be the first boy to kiss someone else, or to be the first boy that loved someone else, just because you were able to receive the honor of first. It leaves a memory, like a never-fading scar. And Sirius had always noticed had incredibly alone Remus was, and it always made the Animagus want to run up next to the werewolf and fill the space by his side that was pleading to be filled, almost expectantly. Just because no one else had, and just because no one else would.
But Sirius was doing this now because he fucking wanted to, not because he wanted Remus to experience the electricity of a first kiss.
Quick, Sirius' brain thought, searching for an excuse, think of something!
Sirius pulled away slowly. "Sorry," he apologized, "I just wanted to make sure that kissing them at the end of my confession would be a good idea." He said lamely, standing up. "I'm off to ask someone out, see you later, Moony."
As Sirius ambled off, he snarled at himself, cursing underneath his breath. If he was going to lie, he needed to lie well.
"You asshole," Sirius insulted himself firmly, smacking his forehead into his hand.
It was raining bullets by the time Sirius had gotten outside after dinner. He had hurried through his chicken and beans just so he would avoid the rumbling thunder and lightning that almost tore the sky apart.
A flash struck in the distance. Sirius hastily put his hands over his head and ran to safety at the nearby form of shelter – the Shrieking Shack.
Remus had said that kissing in the rain was romantic. It was original, it was cheesy, it was something Heathcliff would do – not that Sirius knew who Heathcliff was – and he was sure that Remus would be surprised.
As he crashed through the Whomping Willow's writhing branches frantically, Sirius let out a breath he had been holding in when he reached the thankfully dry tunnel. Sighing, he brushed mopping strands of hair away from his forehead and dug his heels out of the damp soil. He reached for his wand, performing a quick drying spell before he conjured himself an umbrella and ran back out into the pouring rain.
"Hey Moony, have you seen Sirius? I think he has the map."
Remus gave a heavy sigh, shuffling through the parchments that were sprawled out in front of him haphazardly. "He's asking some girl out."
James froze, raising his eyebrows in puzzlement. "Huh… But he said that he would – ohhh… I see now."
"What?" asked Remus.
With a sly smile, James settled himself into the armchair and casually laid his feet on the coffee table. "I know who he's asking out."
Remus rolled his eyes. He didn't even want to know.
"James… I… I mean – well, you didn't – you didn't tell him, did you?"
"Tell who?" James inquired.
"Sirius. About… me liking him." the werewolf questioned circumspectly.
"No!" James denied hastily, "No! I swear, no!"
"Okay!" Remus replied heatedly, "You don't have to get so defensive. It's just… he was acting kind of weird earlier."
But James had already disappeared up the staircase.
Sirius stared at the steadily forming sunset at the horizon line, waiting patiently for it to slip off into the ground. Checking the map once again, he watched the little inky set of footprints labeled Remus Lupin parading up towards the Astronomy Tower. Satisfied, Sirius flicked the map so the webs of writing dispersed.
The door creaked open and Remus scrambled out, but before he could begin the monologue he was prepared to say to Sirius, he gasped and froze.
Up on the tower, Sirius had conjured what looked like hundreds of neon fairies to float around like tiny light bulbs, illuminating the night with an eerie yet romantic tone. There were colorful, tasty mushrooms adorning the stony rim of the tower with the occasional flower tucked in between. In the corner, right in the ray of the moonlight, a violin was playing itself.
"Is this what you had in mind?" Sirius asked, a soft smile beginning to form on his lips.
Remus, breathless, stumbled back a few steps and reached for the knob.
"It looks beautiful, Sirius, I'm sorry to intrude."
"What are you talking about?"
"I don't want to be here when you ask out that girl, it was just that James told me to find you, so I did, and–"
"Moony, there's no one I'd rather want here than you." Sirius told him gently, taking a step forward.
"Look, I know that James told you about my feelings but please don't make it worse than it already is."
Sirius slowly took a step forward, taking one of Remus' hands in his tenderly. Remus yanked it back as though he'd been burned.
"I don't know if this is some sort of silly seduction, but I am not a toy, Black! Wasn't it enough when you had to kiss me this morning? You knew that I liked you then too! Playing games like this with me is cruel, Sirius!" Remus reprimanded, his voice breaking slightly at the end.
Sirius sighed, touching his friend's arm carefully. Remus flinched but didn't pull away, as if unsure of what the black-haired boy's intentions were.
Sirius weighed options in his head. He could ramble down his confession. He could ask if the fairies swarming around the werewolf's tawny hair bugged him. He could ask Remus out. He could kiss him impulsively.
"Is the violin playing too loudly?" Sirius settled for that, running a hand through his hair awkwardly, "I don't want it to ruin the moment."
"What moment?" Remus spat coldly, crossing his arms.
"I'm going to tell you that I love you in thirty seconds." Sirius rambled, and as Remus stared in shock, Sirius murmured numbers in his head until he got to thirty.
"Okay. I love you." Sirius admitted, waiting patiently for the other boy's reaction.
It seemed as though Remus was just then taking in all of their surroundings. He was just then noticing the beauty and time and effort it took for Sirius to accomplish creating such a scene. He was just noticing the sparkling fairies that looked like fireflies that had accidentally wandered into bowls full of neon food coloring. And he was just then noticing how incredibly romantic and soft and oddly sensual the music was. And how there were glowing mushrooms sitting on the rim of the astronomy tower. And how the sun was just a thin strip of magnificent light splaying out into the earth.
Lighting cut across the sky and a soft drizzle began pattering down on the cobblestone floor.
"Can you repeat that, please?" Remus finally asked, his eyes wide.
Sirius gave a small chuckle, "I love you. Do you want to go to Hogsmeade with me next weekend?"
The tawny-haired boy was silent for a second. It wasn't just that Sirius Black wasn't rejecting him, but it was that Sirius Black had chosen him. It was the first time Remus wasn't runner up, second place, no – this time Sirius was his. And only his.
"Look me in the eyes and tell me that I could blink for just a moment and open my eyes again and still find you there willing to sacrifice for me and stand by me even if I'm a werewolf."
"How about you just blink and find out for yourself?"
Remus shut his eyes. Sirius took this opportunity to press their lips together for the second time that day, but this time his mind was not fruitlessly searching for an explanation to offer the other boy for when he would pull away.
Sirius pulled away again, smiling broadly this time instead of jerking himself away from the other boy like magnets naturally repelling each other like he did earlier, it was more like a magnetic force pulling them together. Remus kissed him again, this time responding heartily.
"I was asking you out this morning. Didn't you catch on?"
"I didn't know that I was… the Gryffindor girl." Remus snickered, meeting his eyes with Sirius' gray ones.
Sirius laughed along softly, pushing his forehead against Remus'. "The toothpaste is out of the tube." He whispered to the other boy.
AN: Yet another request! This one's from LadyPurple, requesting specifically for this plot. :D You can still send in requests!