Presents for puppies

Author's Notes: This is a sequel to "A little trip to Hogsmeade", but I think it can be read just fine on itself. Hope you like it!

Chapter 1: Keeping up appearances?

"Hey, be careful with that!"

Remus' voice was laced with annoyance. A bottle of ink was hovering unsteadily over the desk he was seated at, currently dangerously close to the essay he'd been struggling with the entire evening.

"I you spill that stuff on my homework, I swear I'll…I'll pull your teeth out one by one and make you a necklace out of them!"

The three other boys turned to him with astonished looks.

"Moony…Whoa! What's with the bloodthirsty threats, mate? You'd think we were talking to Attila the Hun or something…." James lifted an eyebrow.

"Attila-the-what now?" Sirius had now turned to eye James instead. "Is that one of those muggle things Lily taught you again?"

James grinned.

"It's actually a really cool story! Lily borrowed me this book, you see Attila the Hun is actually an historic figure, known for his bloodthirsty approach and overtaking of lots of countries in ancient Asia….."

His friends gave a resigned sigh. Though they'd been together nearly a month now, James was as passionately as ever smitten with Lily and everything associated with her. Once he got started on something Lily-related, he could go on for hours and hours…. In other words – not much had changed in the past three or four years.

"Yeah, yeah, Prongs, I'm sure it's all very interesting and fantastic…" Sirius quickly cut in, apparently sensing the history lecture on its way, "But hey, who's up for Wizard's chess? Looks like we'd better be moving along before Moony threatens to relieve us of more precious bodyparts.…"

And with that statement he dragged James and Peter with him over to the fireplace at the other side of the common room. Remus watched them go, putting the ink bottle they'd been playing with back down next to his quills. At the other end of the room, his friends were laughing. Apparently Peter had just made some hilarious bet about the outcome of the chess game, and Sirius was slapping him on the back.

Was it weird to be a little jealous of that?

Remus snorted to himself, and returned his gaze to the essay in front of him.

The parchment was half-filled with his neat, steady writing. He hadn't written a word the last half hour though. Damn it, why couldn't he concentrate today?

A small voice in the back of his mind told him it knew exactly why he couldn't. Grey eyes glued to his own, strong hands pushing him backwards against the sink. Lips…attacking him, forcefully, passionately. A burning sensation originating somewhere in his stomach, spreading through his entire body..

Remus blinked.

He was not thinking about that.

And he was certainly not picturing it either!

The young wolf rubbed his temples, as if he thus could wipe out the unwelcome thoughts. Like every other time these last few days, he failed miserably.

Remus had always spent a lot of time studying, but now his keenness was reaching new heights. He hadn't been alone with Sirius for even a second since they returned from Hogsmeade together on Saturday – James and Peter were always around. Of course, that's how it always was, they were always together all four Marauders. But now…somehow it was getting weird.

Remus didn't know what Sirius was thinking. He didn't know how much James, Lily and Peter knew or had guessed, and he didn't even know what he thought of the whole thing himself! It was Sirius' apparent memory loss which bothered him the most, though. In his head he kept coming back to that thing Sirius had said…or more like mumbled into his ear.

"If you liked that, just you wait until next time."

What the hell, who said that sort of thing?

And more importantly, who said that sort of thing and then did nothing about it?

And why couldn't Remus stop picturing him. One of his best friends in the world, one of his only friends in fact. Standing there in front of him, half-smiling, with his shirt off. He remembered the thin layer of sweat on Sirius' upper body, making his skin glisten a little in the bathroom lights. And his husky voice, whispering…

Merlin.

This was just getting ridiculous. Was there something wrong with him?

He needed to talk to Lily.

**

"Okay….hm. Let me see if I've got this straight."

Lily held her hand up between them.

"So you've messed around with him" She ticked one finger, "Made out" she ticked a second, "done some…stuff" a third, "And now you're not talking?" The fourth finger wiggled questioningly at Remus.

Remus wrinkled his eyebrows.

"Well, it's not that we're not talking. Actually, we talk all the time. But we're not talking about that, we just chat like normal, like I do with James and Peter. You know?" he looked a little puzzled. "And it feels kind of strange, like we're pretending it didn't happen or something."

Lily nodded. She lay on her back on the floor, resting her head on a pile of towels.

As Head Girl she still had access to the prefect bathroom, and had when a distressed Remus had approached her with a need to talk privately, she had taken him there. She'd had her suspicions of what was bothering him, and seemed to be right. He wasn't one to show too much emotion in public, but he'd been chewing his bottom lip in a way she could tell meant trouble.

The lip-chewer in question was now sitting on his own towel-pile next to her. He was leaning against the wall, absentmindedly picking at a tear in his shirt while talking.

"It's not that it's uncomfortable or tense or anything" he continued, "it's just…annoying, I guess. Being friends is all good, but…."

Remus stopped himself mid-sentence. He wasn't used to pouring his heart out to people like this, and in all honesty felt a bit stupid. Besides, it was hard to tell someone what you were thinking and feeling when you didn't really know it yourself.

Lily seemed to sense what was going on in his head, and smiled up at him with an amused look in her eyes.

"I know what you mean. The last few months before James and I got together were….I mean, I knew he liked me, I think he knew I liked him, but nothing happened! And after a while, you just get…frustrated, or bored. Friends is good, but making out is better!"

She giggled at her own words, and Remus chuckled with her.

"I know" he agreed sheepishly. "Talking is nice, but dammit – I want to kiss him!"

Lily chortled, sitting up to face him.

"And you should! All you guys need is some alone-time. I mean, it worked perfectly last time, didn't it?"

Remus grinned.

"Can't complain, no... But Christmas eve is in a few days , and all of the guys are together all the time. And I'm not asking him to come talk to me alone - that's just lame."

"True, true…. I'll tell you what, don't you worry about it. Lily Evans is on the case!"

She grinned in that self-assured way of hers, tossing back her hair and looking like the image of confidence. In moments like this, Remus could see why James was so obsessed with her.

"Evans on the case, huh?" he smiled back.

"Yup. I mean – he still has to give you your Christmas gift doesn't he? In fact, I see a plan forming before my eyes…"

"Um, Lily? You won't do anything embarrassing will you?

"…"

"Lily!"

"Oh, relax… I'm just going to make sure you have a very merry Christmas indeed – and no embarrassment, I solemnly promise!"

"Solemnly promise you're up to no good, that is?"

"You know me too well."