Disclaimer: I solemnly swear that I am up to no good with these characters, but I'll return them to their creator – J. K. Rowling – once I've finished.
Summary: Sirius hasn't told anyone about his sexual preferences or his feelings for Remus, but after he runs away from the Blacks to stay with the Potters will James be able to get the truth out of him? Oneshot from James' perspective.
Best Friends Don't Keep Secrets from Each Other
"You're going to tell me sooner or later."
Sirius is ignoring me. He's climbing into the bed that Mum transfigured for him out of my wicker clothes hamper. We have a guest room he could stay in, but he told me that he didn't want to be alone. He said it offhandedly, like it made no difference, though I know that he wouldn't have mentioned it if it was not important to him.
Now, he's ignoring me, so he might as well be alone.
"Why not make it sooner and just get it over with?"
I sigh and crawl under my own blankets, intending to get some sleep and renew my inquisition in the morning. I try reciting the alphabet backwards, counting hippogriffs, and listening to the calming summer breeze outside my window. Nothing works; my curiosities and concerns are too strong for me to rest.
I have one idea about how I can find out what he's keeping locked up, but none of the Marauders have done it since second year. Since we're sixteen, it would be childish and girly of me to do, and Sirius might take offense to it, and my parents could walk in and see, and – Sod it. I'm doing it.
Throwing the sheets off of me in a tangled mess, I walk over to Sirius' bed and slide beside him under the covers without asking.
He turns his head on the pillow that we're sharing to look at me in the faint light provided by the half-moon shining through the window. "Couldn't stay away, could you?" I should've known he would be fine with it. He adjusts well to any situation.
"No." I let my voice drop to huskier note. "I want something from you."
He maneuvers his entire body so we're both lying on our sides facing each other. "I'm sure you do, but I've had a hard day, and - no matter how much you beg - I won't shag you."
"Silly Padfoot," I shake my head indulgently, "if that's what I wanted you'd be the one doing the begging."
His aristocratic eyebrows rise. "You think so?" he enquires, ignoring the quip made at the expense of his animagus form.
"I know so. Fortunately for you, what I want is much easier to give." I'm trying to make a subtle segue to the discussion that really matters.
Sirius groans and lies on his back again. "Let it go, Prongs." Why did I bother? All of us know that Remus is the only Marauder with any tact.
I waggle my finger in a negative assertion. "It's not going anywhere."
"I'll pay to send it on a one-way trip on the Knight Bus," he offers.
My tone becomes like that of a dramatic announcer. "It won't be tricked. It's staying here until it is dealt with. Is that a problem?"
It is clearly a problem. "I'm not telling you."
"Why not?" I demand, propping myself on my elbow to look down at him.
He refuses to meet my gaze. "Because there's nothing to tell! You know how much I hated that house; they've all contracted the Black Plague! It was only a matter of time before their 'purebloods are the best' shite became too much to take."
"You always said you'd put up with it so you could inherit their money and give it to St. Mungo's for funding research to find a cure for lycanthropy. Something drastic must've happened to make you run away and give up that money to Regulus," I insist. "As your best mate, I've got a right to know."
He finally looks at me, and he's angry. Good, so am I. "As my best mate, you should leave it alone when I. Don't. Want. To. Talk. About. It."
"You're bloody mental! It's like I told Remus when he tried to talk us out of becoming animagi 'cause he thought it was too dangerous: If you want people around that don't meddle in your life to make you happier, then you ought to get different friends." I'm ready to strike him if I need to, yet he seems more subdued already.
"If I tell you, I might have to do that. Get new mates, I mean." Sirius sighs, and it's a Remus-ish sigh. The kind that means he has a sufferance that won't ever go away, but he doesn't want to burden anyone else with the knowledge of the problem when they can't help anyway.
"You won't tell me why you left the Blacks because you think I'll stop being friends with you?" This time I do hit him; a sock to the stomach. It is enough to make him cough, but not nearly as forcefully as I could've struck him. "You're the person that I tell my secrets to, and the only one that gets all of my jokes. How could you think that, you git?"
I wonder if he'll give me a punch in return for my own. Sometimes, we do that to solve our disputes. However, all he does is regard me with an uncharacteristic seriousness. "I know you wouldn't shun me; you're a better person than that, but you'd treat me differently. You wouldn't feel comfortable doing this anymore."
That's the most confusing thing I've ever heard. "Doing what?"
"This." He gestures between our almost touching bodies in frustration. "Being alone with me; sitting close to me; pretending to flirt with me."
"Unless you went and snogged Evans, or made good on your promise to actually strangle Wormy to death for annoying you too much, there's nothing you could say that'd make me treat you differently," I say sincerely.
"No chance on the Evans one happening. I'm not interested in snappish types. Can't promise the Wormtail one, though, and - What does it matter? I want to tell you. I've wanted to for ages, but I can't. You believe nothing will change, but you don't know for certain until you know what it is. And it's a pretty bad thing…" Success! I can practically smell his resolve crumbling.
"Worse than Remus' hairier side?" I challenge. This is one way that I cope with my issues. No matter what awful thing I'm going through, I remind myself that it isn't as bad as what Remus experiences, and that my problem will be overcome eventually and his will only get worse as he grows older. Someday, I ought to tell Moony what an inspiration he is to me, and to Padfoot also, I'm sure.
"Well, no," Sirius admits. He inhales deeply. "Fine, I'll tell you, but it stays between us. Not even Remus and Pete can find out."
"That goes without saying." We often don't let topics go beyond the two of us because Peter – bless his supportive little heart – rarely has any constructive input, and Remus worries too much about us already when he should be taking care of his own troubles.
"I've only dated two girls, and neither of them for very long."
This would be considered unconnected to the point by anyone else, though I realise exactly where he's going with it. Our comprehension of each other mystifies the professors. What can I say? We're amazing. "Your parents want you to marry soon to pass on the Black name."
He nods reluctantly. "They were even talking about an arranged marriage after I graduated."
I grimace and mutter with Sirius simultaneously, "Fascists."
Our synchranised speech causes him to smile slightly and continue with less hesitancy. "We started shouting at one another and throwing things, nothing unusual. It probably would've ended the same way as our other fights; me being locked in my room by Mother for a couple of days and Father firing a few people at the Ministry as a way to vent."
"But it didn't end that way." This isn't a question, but an obvious truth.
"Kreacher got involved." Sirius' voice is laced with disgust. I can't blame him for feeling that way towards a creature that worships his psychotic mother. "He told them about something he heard me say in my sleep. He claims that he was cleaning when he heard it, but I bet he staked out by my bed every night just waiting for me to slip and do something that would get me punished."
"What did he hear you say?" I don't know why I'm whispering. It just seems appropriate.
"A name." His delivery is equally quiet. "A boy's name."
Time stops. Time is moving too fast. I'm deaf. I hear thousands of glasses shattering. I feel so heavy that I'll sink into the ground. I feel so light that I'll blow away. Nothing makes sense. Everything makes sense.
The first term that comes to mind is: "What?"
"Don't you see?" Sirius' fist connects furiously with the pillow. He sits up to stare directly into my eyes and I notice that his grey orbs are too bright in the dim room to be free of tears. "I'm a fucking fairy, James, and the worst people that could've found out know now!"
Suddenly, I wish that Remus were here. He's the best at comforting and giving advice. Oh well, I will do my best in his absence. "That sucks."
He emits a watery chuckle. "I tell you about the worst day of my life…second worst," he corrects himself before going on, "and you're brilliant words of wisdom are 'that sucks?'"
Not needing to ask what the worst is (It was the day he told Snape about Remus' condition, almost making both of them lose their lives and Sirius lose something just as important to him: Remus' friendship.), I wrap my arms around him in a firm hug. "That really sucks. Better?"
"Quite." He buries his face into my shoulder to hide his wet face, or perhaps simply to wipe his bogeys on my shirt. "Do me a favour?"
"Maybe if I feel like it," I reply airily. He swats my arm lightly, face still hidden. "All right, anything."
"Never become a counselor." He pulls back from me with dry eyes.
"Well…" I glance at my sticky shoulder. "Only because you bribed me so richly."
Sirius appears a bit sheepish, yet he doesn't apologise. He and I scarcely ever say 'sorry' to others due to us being too proud, and we never proclaim it to each other on account of it being unnecessary. "So, you're…you know…okay with it, then?"
"Your snot on my pyjamas, or you being a man that's after bananas instead of cherries?" I gravely inquire.
He smiles amusedly at my choice of words. "The second; I know there's no hope of you forgiving the bogeys."
"Of course I'm fine with it, but your rabid fangirls won't be." Several of the Hogwarts girls formed a fan club for Sirius and me. In the beginning, it was funny and flattering. After a while it became scary and, when school starts again, we plan on avoiding them like a contagious disease.
"They won't find out. No one will. Nobody except you and my parents know, and - even though dear old Mum's burned my name off of the family tree - they won't bring it up. Disowned son or not, people would talk and they don't want a scandal." For his sake, I hope he's correct about his relatives' silence.
"I see why you don't want most people to know." The majority of the wizarding world views homosexuality as worse than being a werewolf. According to prejudiced opinion, werewolves have no option in being 'half-breeds,' however, gay wizards choose through free will to refuse to create children and pass on their magical genes. "But to keep it from the other Marauders? Moony, in particular, would understand how alone you must feel some of the time for being differen-"
Sirius grabs my arm urgently. "No! You promised to keep it between us. You can't tell anyone, including Moony. Especially not Moony."
He cannot possibly believe that Remus of all people would be judgmental, so why can't I tell him? I don't tend to keep my thoughts to myself. "Why can't I tell him?" See?
"Because I asked you not to." This explains nothing, yet it means everything.
"Right. Not a word," I agree, and Sirius releases my arm in relief. "But I get to ask you other questions."
"How did I know that was coming?" Sirius puts his head against the pillow and watches me expectantly. "Fire away."
I clear my throat importantly. "How'd you find out you were part of the rainbow club?"
He makes an odd face at how I described his preference, yet doesn't comment on it and slowly responds, "It's hard to say. I think I always knew, but I didn't want it to be true, so I dated girls to see if I could make myself be attracted to them. Didn't work, obviously. Once I realised that, I still wanted to prove I wasn't a pouf. I snogged a bloke next and, as much as I didn't want to admit it, that turned me on a bit." He answered ere I had to ask, "He was nobody you know, just someone I met when my parents made me and Regulus go with them to that pureblood convention in Spain last summer."
"Please, tell me he wasn't a bullfighter," I plead dramatically, clasping my hands together.
Sirius takes my hands, unfolds them, and waves them in an imitation of a red cape. "Olé!"
"Kinky bastard." I laugh, but sober quickly as I remember my other question. "Is he the bloke whose name Kreacher heard you say?"
He swiftly releases my fingers and stares at the blanket. "No."
"Look, that is somebody you know, and I won't break on this one." He stubbornly juts out his chin. "I'm NOT telling you. You always like playing matchmaker to get Pete dates for Hogsmeade, and you'd definitely interfere here."
"I would not!" I exclaim indignantly. At his look of scepticism I grudgingly say, "Well, okay, maybe I would. Even so, you've got to give me more information. 'Somebody I know' could be anyone at Hogwarts. What does it matter if I can put a face to the name? I promise not to make a joke out of it."
"Joking's not what I'm worried about. Go to sleep." He rolls onto his side so that his back is to me, unsubtly showing that he wishes to drop the subject.
Ha! As if that'll work! "Is it somebody I really hate, or really like, or something?"
"I'm not playing the Twenty Questions game until you guess. Go to sleep or go away."
"I don't think I'll do either, but thanks for the offer. Should I pretend you said 'yes' to my last question? If that were the case, I'd figure you fancied somebody I was fond of 'cause - let's face it - anybody I hate, you hate, too."
Sirius stays quiet. Hmm…suspicious.
"Could it be a person I find cool enough to talk to, but not enough to hang out with, like my old potions partner? Or is someone I'm closer to and talk to everyday, like a few of the blokes from the Quidditch team?"
He growls. Actually growls! I must be making progress. It cannot be denied that I am fantastic.
"Let's go with the Quidditch team. After all, some of the members are good-looking and-"
Sirius scoffs arrogantly. "Who's the shirt-lifter here? You can't judge what blokes are hot. I can, and none of them are. They've got these bulging muscles that make 'em look like screwed up science experiments from one of those Muggle films, and they're dumb as flobberworms. I bet they don't even know how to open a book, much less read one. The only people on the team with any brains are you and that girl, Evans' friend."
"Her name's Emmeline Vance." As the team captain, I make an effort to know who all the players are. For some reason, it surprises people that I take my responsibilities seriously. "Anyway, you're right; they are dolts. Great fliers, though, and good for a laugh at parties."
"We're good for a laugh anytime." He alters position so we're viewing one another again. "Why would I want anybody stealing our spotlight?"
"You wouldn't." I pause to gather all of the evidence in my mind that he unintentionally gave me. "So, your crush isn't too muscular, reads a lot, and doesn't like being the centre of attention."
His fawned-over, tan skin becomes pale. "You're wrong."
"Am not." I smirk cheekily. What? There's nothing wrong with cheeks. "You just want me to be. He must look and act like that, or you wouldn't have said what you did."
For the first time, he rolls over completely to burrow his waning visage into the softness under our heads. "Yuwer rongbowt tacruk parth."
Righting myself from nearly falling off of the bed courtesy of Sirius' movement, I state, "Mr. Prongs would like to remind Mr. Padfoot that, while Mr. Prongs is a man of many talents, he does not speak Pillow."
His head lifts slightly so he can talk with his hair falling down to hide his face and cover the pillow. "Mr. Padfoot would like to remind Mr. Prongs that kissing his own elbow is not a talent. What the remarkable Padfoot said was, 'you were wrong about the crush part.'"
"Crush part?" I don't bother to continue the banter since I know we're getting to the literal and metaphorical heart of the matter.
"It's not a crush." Dark locks hit my chin as he flips them out of his way to look at me with an expression of self-triumph and self-loathing for telling me. "I'm in love."
Confusion strikes. Damn that confusion. "In love? But, Sirius, you've never had a conversation over five minutes long with anyone except the Marauders and my mum and dad. Who could you possibly know well enough to be in love with?"
He grimaces, vexed that I haven't figured it out. "Forget it."
"No. Really?" I encourage him to go on.
"No, really, forget it." He's going to roll over again, but I put a restraining hand on his shoulder.
"You can't tell me you're in love with someone that I know, and not tell me who it is!" He ceases attempting to move away and simply stares at me, willing me to understand without needing to say anything. I take my hand off, assured he'll stay still, and look back at him blankly. It's apparent that he believes I ought to know by now. "It's…" My throat suddenly feels dry, and I need to swallow before I can continue. "It's not me, is it?"
"You?" Sirius appears surprised by my question. The stupefaction quickly forms into a facial expression of challenge of his that I've seen many times before. "What if it is? Will you feel differently about me then?"
"Um…" Forming words that make sense is difficult because I can barely make sense of my own thoughts. He can't love me like that, can he? He just can't. I mean, I like attention and don't read unless I have to; that doesn't fit the little bit of information I deduced. Unless I was wrong about that information to begin with? Oh, no. Please, in the name of Godric, no.
"Well?" demands Sirius. His entire body is tense as he awaits my response.
What can I say? I settle for the only truth that my terrified brain can conclude. "I'd never be able to return your feelings, Padfoot. I would hate hurting you like that." My voice is still frustratingly strained.
He studies me for a moment and, apparently satisfied with what he sees, answers, "Don't worry; it's not you. You aren't my type." I can tell he means it.
Thank Merlin! I start breathing again. The past five seconds were the longest in my life, and I intend to get back at him for torturing me once the current issue is resolved. "So," I lean in conspiratorially, "what is your type?"
"I'm not falling for that, Potter. You already got me to give you some information about him." He glares and most people would be intimidated, but - given the fact that his mucus from earlier is beginning to crust on my shirt – I'm not cowed in the least.
"C'mon, Sirius, that description fits everyone in Ravenclaw! I need something else," I grouse.
"Fine," he huffs. After a moment of silent contemplation he reveals, "Clever, funny, trustworthy, sexy…"
I can't stop myself from smirking a second time. "I thought you said I wasn't your type."
He nonchalantly shows me his middle finger and says, "First off, we're brothers, so you'd be emotional incest. 'Cause of that, I wouldn't want to date anyone like you either. It would be weird. The man that's captured my heart couldn't be more different from you. Or me, for that matter…" Sirius trails off, and I know he's thinking about his love.
My skin is literally itching with yearning to learn who it is. I've got a feeling that I should know, yet somehow the person is so obvious that I'm overlooking him. If Remus were here he'd get Sirius to tell us. Remus is very observant and – even though Sirius tells me everything (some things that I don't even want to know!) – he has a soft spot when it comes to Moony. If Remus were here to help me pester Sirius, then the dog would cave. I think it's because he doesn't want to disappoint Remus. Sirius recognises that he can't disappoint me; we're two halves of the same person no matter what happens. However, Moony has a higher moral code than the rest of us. Truthfully, I don't like letting him down either because I know we're all he has and that makes him appreciate us more than we deserve. Sirius thrives on that kind of appreciation, having never gotten it at home, and…OH. MY. GOD! How could I have missed it?
"Who else would it be? Of course it's Moony!" My brain is so busy doing a victory dance at finally deducing the object of Sirius' affection that I almost miss his response.
"Yeah," he mutters sadly.
My mind stops congaing at his dejection. "What's wrong? I know you really wanted me to know who it was. Don't deny it."
He doesn't. Instead, he says, "It's just…It's Moony, you know?"
I nod. I do know.
Desperately, Sirius continues, "Studious, sensitive, totally-unaware-of-how-shaggable-he-is Moony! I'm such an irresponsible screw-up. He'll never want to be with someone like me, and I can't blame him."
'Never' implies the impossible. I don't believe anything is impossible. "I haven't noticed anything particularly shaggable about Remus-"
"Better keep it that way," Sirius grumbles threateningly.
Ignoring him, I go on, "But I have noticed that he's never had a girlfriend, and that he doesn't ever complain when you drape yourself all over him." I can't believe that until now I dismissed Sirius constantly using Remus as a headrest as a side-affect of them both having canine forms and having the animal instinct to 'dog pile.' I won't be mentioning this bout of obliviousness on my part to the lovely Lily Evans the next time that I manage to speak to her.
He crosses his arms moodily. "As much as I love you placating me like a kid, we all know that Remus doesn't date because of his furry little problem."
"That's what he says 'cause it's an easy excuse, but there's gotta be more to it." The instant I say it aloud I recognise the truth in it. "And what about how touchy-feely you two are?"
He shrugs. "Prolly doesn't mean anything to him."
I'm not convinced. Sirius' body language around Moony practically announces 'I want to get into Remus' pants!' and the fact that Remus doesn't discourage Padfoot's touches at all pretty much screams the same thing. Their contact isn't like the type that Sirius shares with me. Sirius and I are simply comfortable with each other; the puppies are much more…cuddly, as horrendously feminine as the term is, happens to be the word that I'm seeking. Sirius doesn't seem to recognise this, though, so I bring up a different point.
"How about how uncomfortable he gets when your fan club comes around?"
Another shrug is the response I receive. "He doesn't like crowds."
I roll my eyes at how he's intentionally refusing hope to protect himself from potential heartbreak. "We heard him moan your name in his sleep once," I remind him. At the time, I hadn't thought much of it. After all, my mates have roles in my dreams sometimes, just not the romantic ones.
"He was…" Is Sirius blushing? No, my vision must be off since I'm not wearing my glasses. "He was likely just groaning about me doing something that annoyed him. It was close to the full, and you know how easy he is to set off then."
That's what I'd initially presumed, too. Now, however… "He woke up with an erection, Sirius."
Holy shite, he is blushing! "I noticed." It takes a great deal of effort for me to stop myself from chuckling at this. "But, well, everybody gets morning wood sometimes."
It's time to take drastic measures. I forcefully uncross Sirius' arms and lay my head on his chest. "Do you hear that?"
"The voice of a Potter that I'm going to throttle soon?" queries Sirius without any true malice.
"The sound of a heart trying to burst free and give itself to the best werewolf that we know," I exclaim. It's a rather romantic declaration if I do say so myself.
"He's the only werewolf that we know," he deadpans.
"Irrelevant." I sit up again.
Sirius sits up, too. "Why're you trying to convince me I have a shot with him? How come you're acting like you want us to get together? Wouldn't things be weird for you if we did? Wouldn't it be awkward for you to wonder if you'd find your best mates shagging every time you went up to the dorm?"
This is a significant question, and I consider it carefully. "Actually, no." At his snort of disbelief, I elaborate, "Look, it's not like I want to see you lads doing it doggy style, all right? But I've kind-of always worried about what would happen to the Marauders if we each found a girl. If you get together, then nothing will change. All that'll happen is that when Pete's in the kitchen and I'm off with Evans when she finally admits that she wants me, you two will be snogging instead of playing chess. No one gets added to, or dropped from, the group."
Sirius smiles. He clearly enjoys the idea of snogging Remus. This time, I do laugh at him. Fortunately, it doesn't bother him.
"Besides," I continue cheerfully, "I've never met a girl that I thought was good enough for my dearest Paddy-poo or darling Moony-kins. I approve of you for each other. Remus can keep you calm, and you can keep Remus from spending his entire life in the library." I don't understand why I didn't realise how well-matched they are before today. No one aside from Remus has the patience to deal with Sirius' mood swings, and no one aside from Sirius has the tenacity to protect a werewolf who stubbornly insists that he doesn't need protection.
"I'm so glad that Papa Prongs approve of who ickle Sirius wants to date." His voice is sarcastic, but the statement is genuine. Sirius and I care a great deal what the other one thinks.
I grin at him. "His addiction to chocolate is a bit unhealthy, but, besides that, he's a smashing person."
Sirius' eyes narrow dangerously. "You act like you're part of his fan club."
He's so jealous and paranoid that I almost feel sorry for Remus. Of course, Remus has such a low opinion of himself - which I don't understand at all - that he'll probably find it more flattering than exasperating…at least some of the time. More importantly than Sirius' bizarre possessiveness, what's this about a fan club? I thought only Padfoot and I were subjected to hordes of stalkers. "How d'you know there's a club? Are you a member?" I tease.
"No!" Sirius sniffs haughtily as if the concept is offensive. After a pause, he adds, "And, if you're interested, meetings are Thursdays at five."
We stare at each other for a few seconds before we burst into laughter. It's good to have Laughing Sirius around instead of the Sulking Sirius that he was when he arrived.
"You really are going to play matchmaker, aren't you?" It's hard to distinguish if Sirius is more anxious or excited at the prospect. "I was afraid that you'd interfere. Oh, sweet God in Heaven!" Definitely anxious. Oh well. Nerves don't suit Sirius, so he'll get over it and join me in full-plotting mode by morning.
"Oh, sweet Sirius in Bedroom, we've known each other long enough for you to start calling me 'James.'" I get a face full of pillow for this comment. War has been declared!
After Sirius and I manage to tire ourselves out via attacks on one another with fluffy objects, we fall into our respective beds and begin to drift off to dreamland.
I doubt that I want to be privy to the details of what is probably going to happen to Remus in Sirius' dreams, but I'm confident that my own dreams will be filled with brilliant schemes. I know that I can get them together! I have the determination of a..of a…I can't think of a good metaphor, but the point is that I have a lot of determination!
A Marauder can do anything.
Minerva's Note: I love writing about James' and Sirius' legendary friendship, and it's been a long time since I've done anything from James' perspective, so I'd appreciate a review! This is meant to be a oneshot, hence I'm sorry that you won't get to see any of the crazy schemes that James can concoct in this anecdote. I do mention some of his attempts in a few of my other puppy love fics, though. Anyway, I hope that you enjoyed this as much as I did!