Disclaimer:  All characters and situations belong to J.K. Rowlings, except for Vesta McGonagall, who is Dragonelle's, and the Black Bitch, who is mine from her three cylinder 750cc engine to the blue detail work on her gas tank.  The song "Li'l Red Riding Hood" belongs to Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs (and thus probably to MGM recording studio as well).  Much though I wish I were, I am not making a knut off this story (or a pound, or a dollar, or a franc…).

Posted by:  Elspeth (also known as L Squared)

Ships:  James/Lily, Sirius/lots of random girls, implied Sirius/Remus (in an unrequited, silent adoration kind of way).

Takes place in a slightly alternate version of my "Scars" universe.  Also fits into Dragonelle's "On My Own"/"PMS" universe, so if you liked this, go read  her "On My Own (a Duet)" next for more RL/SB songfic angst.

"Hey there Little Red Riding Hood…"

          It was the first Saturday of the month, karaoke night in the Three Broomsticks.  The tavern was packed with Hogsmeade residents and most of the older Hogwarts students, come to sing, talk, watch people make fools of themselves on the small stage set up in the corner, and take advantage of the free drinks given to anyone who could work up the nerve to get up on stage.  Every Gryffindor over the age of fifteen was there, drinking butterbeer and egging their friends on, as well as most of the sixth and seventh-year Hufflepuffs and even a few of the Slytherins.  Severus Snape, to the great satisfaction of many of the Gryffindors, was not there.  He had avoided the Three Broomsticks on karaoke night like the plague ever since Vesta McGonagall's now-famous X-rated pantomine version of "Love Potion Number Nine," which she had performed whilst looking at him the entire time.

            At the moment, the charmed microphone stand stood empty, as the occupants of one of the front row tables engaged in a fierce debate.

                "C'mon, Moony," Sirius urged.  "Go up and sing."

            "No way," Remus said adamantly, hunkering down slightly behind his mug of butterbeer.  "There is absolutely no way I am going to make an idiot of myself in front of all these people."

            "That's the whole point of karaoke, to look like an idiot.  C'mon, I sang, Lily sang, James sang that sappy love song to Lily that made him sound like a complete prat…  We've all made idiots of ourselves already; now it's your turn.  Petey, help me out here."

            "He doesn't have to sing if he doesn't want to, Sirius," Peter said softly.  A sufferer from terminal stage fright himself, he completely understood the desire to avoid the limelight.

            "That's not the kind of help I was looking for.  Either he gets up there and sings or he's walkin' home.  Get up there and enjoy yourself, Moony, we're here to have fun."

            "You drink many more of those and I'm hiding your motorcycle keys and we'll all be walking back to Hogwarts anyway."  Remus gestured at the half full mug of butterbeer in Sirius's hand.

            "Hey, this is only my third one," Sirius protested.  "And these things have the alcohol content of watered-down American beer anyway.  And you're changing the subject.  Being responsible won't keep you off that stage.  Relax, loosen up a little.  You'll do great.  You, unlike lover-boy James, can actually sing.  Pleease.  For Padfoot."  Deceptively innocent blue eyes gazed at Remus imploringly.

            "Padfoot, I don't have anything to sing."  Then Remus hesitated a moment, a familiar evil gleam coming into his gold eyes.  "Wait, no, I've thought of something.  But you're going to owe me for this.  Astrology homework for a month."

            "A week."

            "Two weeks."

            "Deal.  'Oy, Prongs, Lily, Moony's going to sing.  Either cut that out and pay attention to him or rent a room."

Remus crossed the room and whispered something at the witch operating the charmed microphone stand.  She looked surprised for a moment, then nodded, flipping through a stack of muggle records and handing him one.

After setting up the record to provide background music, Remus turned and mounted the stage in one lithe bound, then threw back his head and let out an eerily realistic howl, silencing the room instantly.

Owoooooooo!
Who's that I see walkin' in these woods?
Why, it's Little Red Riding Hood.
Hey there Little Red Riding Hood,
You sure are looking good.
You're everything a big bad wolf could want.
Listen to me.

Sirius gasped and choked, laughing uncontrollably until he began snorting butterbeer out of his nose.   Oh my God, he's not, he can't be.  I don't believe it.  It had to be the funniest thing he'd ever heard, better than the time Lily Evans had gotten the other Gryffindor girls to serenade him with a slightly modified version of "Leader of the Pack," that Yank song with the motorcycle crash, better even than Vesta McGonagall's "love potion" strip-tease.  Remus so rarely ever made jokes about his condition that it made the rare occasions when he actually did do so even funnier by comparison.

What big eyes you have,
The kind of eyes that drive wolves mad.
So just to see that you don't get chased
I think I ought to walk with you for a ways.

            Remus leaned over toward the table where the Marauders sat, luminous golden eyes smoldering and intense, and waggled his eyebrows up and down suggestively in a gesture borrowed straight from Sirius.  Sirius raised an eyebrow back at him, still wiping butterbeer from his face.  Damn, Remus looked sexy when he did that.  He wondered if the other boy realized it.

            "Go Moony!" Lily yelled, letting out a wolf-whistle.  "Sorry, James, I think I've found a new man for myself."

What full lips you have.
They're sure to lure someone bad.
So until you get to grandma's place
I think you ought to walk with me and be safe.

            Somehow, Remus managed to make his normally sweet tenor voice sound low and husky, with an undertone that did weird things to Sirius's insides.  He really was absolutely beautiful.  Those lines he was singing about maddening eyes and lips could have been written specifically to describe him.  Straight aquiline nose, delicate features, warm gold eyes that glowed in the tavern's dim light, full, soft-looking lips just begging for some unbelievably lucky girl to kiss them.  The female population of Hogwarts, always chasing after him and James, didn't know what they were missing.

            Not that that slender delicacy implied fragility.  Oh no.  Remus, despite his pale appearance, was anything but fragile.  The crescent-shaped bite scar on Sirius's shoulder, souvenir of the Wolf's first meeting with Padfoot, could attest to that.  If he hadn't been in animagus form at the time, he'd be accompanying Remus on full moon nights in lupine rather than canine form.  Remus had been horribly guilt stricken over the injury, despite Sirius's assurances that it was nothing and that he'd had worse damage done playing quidditch (which was true).  Sirius actually kind of liked the scar.  Not only did girls find it sexy, it also provided a kind of physical/spiritual/whatever link with Remus—they had matching werewolf bite marks.

            On stage, Remus continued to ham it up.  He'd practically had to be shoved up there, but once behind the mike, he'd gone all out, and seemed to be enjoying himself immensely.

Little Red Riding Hood
I'd like to hold you if I could
But you might think I'm a big bad wolf so I won't.
Owoooooooo!

            Why, why was watching Remus so enthralling?  Other than the fact that he was incredibly hot, and smart, and funny, and so much more gentle and kind and responsible than Sirius could ever be in a million years…  But still, guys weren't supposed to notice those kinds of things about other guys.  Well, yeah, some did, but Sirius wasn't one of them.  Even Andrew Diggory, the Hufflepuff a year ahead of them who was universally acknowledged to be the most gorgeous specimen of male beauty since Michalangelo's David was carved, had inspired in Sirius only a sort of "gee, I wish my muscles were that impressively rippling" envy.

            Sirius liked girls.  He liked girls a lot.  A good quarter of Hogwarts' female population could enthusiastically attest to that.

            The only thing better than being with a girl was riding Bike, and the only thing better than riding Bike alone was riding her with Remus.  Ostensibly, the other boy was his biking partner because James spent too much time with Lily and Peter was so afraid of the Black Bitch that he turned pale merely at the prospect of riding the Triumph on the road, never mind in the air.  But in reality, he admitted to himself, part of it was simply that he liked the feeling of Remus's arms around his waist, of the tickle of his breath on the back of his neck.  Remus's presence behind him kept him from doing anything too risky or stupid.  When the other boy gasped sharply, or tightened his hold into a death grip, it was Sirius's clue that either a) they were about to hit something, or b) it might be a good idea to slow down.

What a big heart I have-the better to love you with.
Little Red Riding Hood
Even bad wolves can be good.

            Then there was that round of Pass the Wand where the two of them had gotten into a tug-of-war with Sirius's wand, pulling it back and forth and growling with all the instincts of their canine alter egos.  Remus had been a far better partner than Fuschia White, or even Lily Evans (the vicious glares James directed at anyone who came near her kind of took the fun out of inserting a wand down the front of her dress robes with your teeth, or passing it to her mouth to mouth).  Thank God everyone had assumed that the now infamous snogging session that had followed that little tug-of-war had been a joke.  Remus probably had meant it as a joke, just as his smoldering winks in Sirius's direction as he started on the final stanzas of the song must have also been faked, a comical form of revenge for making him get up there in the first place.  Or maybe he was really directing them at Lily.  She was the only girl at the table, and a redhead, to boot.  That had to be it; it was only foolish wishful thinking to assume anything else.


I'll try to be satisfied just to walk close by your side.
Maybe you'll see things my way before we get to grandma's place.

            Sirius leaned back and propped his booted feet on the table, fiddling absently with the zipper on his black leather jacket as he watched Remus wrap up the song.  It really was funny; a lovely, ironic inside joke.  He hadn't seen anything so entertaining since Snape had accidentally transfigured an orange into a set of underwear in fourth-year transfiguration.  He was glad he'd badgered Remus into performing; the experience had been well worth doing two weeks worth of the other Marauder's astronomy homework for him.  Nobody had to know that he'd enjoyed the sexy voice and smoldering eyes as much as he had the humor.  Vicarious entertainment wasn't what he really wanted out of Remus—he wasn't sure exactly what he wanted, save that whatever it was, mentioning it would surely wreck one of the best friendships he'd ever had.  But just because he was never going to do anything about his feelings didn't mean he couldn't enjoy looking.  You took what you could get.

Little Red Riding Hood
You sure are looking good
You're everything that a big bad wolf could want.
Owoooooooo!

            As Remus hopped off the stage to universal applause, Sirius swept his feet off the table and sat up, clapping and cheering like a lunatic.  He jumped out of his chair and with an exaggeratedly chivalrous bow, presented the seat to Remus.  "All hail the king of the stage.  I am not worthy to bask in his presence."   He straightened up and winked.  "See, I told you you'd be great."

            "Okay, okay, it was fun," Remus admitted.  "But this is the last time, I swear.  Look at the way Bambi over in the corner there is looking at me.  Two weeks' homework is not nearly compensation enough for attracting her attention."  He gestured toward the corner, where the youngest McGonagall sister was indeed eying him in a rather predatory way.

            "Hey, don't worry.  I'll protect you from the Slytherslut.  We've go to get back to Hogwarts now anyway, so the two prefects can tuck all the little first years into bed."  He tossed the Black Bitch's keys upward and snatched them out of the air again, left-handed.  "C'mon, Frank Sinatra, our chariot awaits."

^_~

For the full lyrics of "Li'l Red Riding Hood," go to

 http://www.robert-kruse.com/samudio/pages/lyric-lilred.html