"Try one more time, you've almost got it down." said Remus with confidence. Shaking his head and pursing his lips in concentration, Sirius tried, once again, to change Remus' hand into a crab pincer. Human transfigurations were extremely hard, and he had only tinted Remus's hand red.
With an aggravated flick, he tried to completely change Remus' hand, but only succeeded in stabbing his wrist.
"Good try, maybe we should do something simpler?" suggested Remus, massaging his wrist. "Maybe you could try to transfigure this button into a rat?"
He plucked a button off his robe and handed it to Sirius, smiling timidly. Flipping his shaggy mane of hair back, he flicked his wand gently at the button, and it turned into a small brown rat, but it was still made out of plastic.
"I'm sorry," said Sirius, rubbing his forehead and looking at Remus, "I can usually do it, you're just making me nervous, the way you're watching me."
"Oh, sorry." mumbled Remus, pulling a book up to cover his face, which now looked slightly pink. Looking anywhere but Sirius, he said, "I think we've done enough for today. How about we continue this tomorrow, same time?"
"Yeah, sounds good." Sirius said, still wondering why Remus was acting strange. "Do you want to walk back to the common room with me?"
"Yeah, sure, of course!" exclaimed Remus, his eyes lighting up. A second later, he had covered his face back up, looking down as though embarrassed.
Sirius stood, gave an almighty yawn, and strode towards the door, Remus alongside him. It was extremely awkward; Remus was hidden behind a stack of books he held in his hands, and they blocked him from Sirius' view, making it impossible to talk to him.
"Here, let me take some of those." said Sirius, taking half the books. Remus mumbled a thank you, now standing up straight without the weight of the books bending his spine.
Without the cover of the books, Sirius got a good look at Remus' face. His cheeks were slightly pink as though he had run a mile, his stunningly blue eyes were staring at the book on top of his pile and his hair was straggly and light brown.
Remus looked up at him, his blue eyes twinkling by the torchlight, and Sirius looked away, now realizing he had been staring at him.
"So, what's your favorite class?" asked Sirius, desperate for conversation.
"Defense against the Dark Arts, it's really fascinating. And you?"
"Same, it's cool learning about hexes."
"Diffliato" said Remus, startling Sirius. It took hi ma few seconds to realize they were standing outside the Fat Lady's portrait, and he had just said the password.
"I have to go study. I'll see you tomorrow?" asked Remus hopefully.
"Of course, you are my room mate after all." answered Sirius, thumping Remus on the back. He merrily smiled; obviously Sirius' gesture was strange for him.
He gave Remus his books back, his spine bending once more under the weight.
"'Night Sirius." mumbled Remus with a small smile.
"Night!" he called cheerfully back.
Sirius had just jabbed Remus with his wand on the wrist yet again, making Remus yelp. He was still trying to transfigure his hand into a pincer, and only succeeded in turning Remus' wrist black and blue with bruises.
"Here, let me show you again." said Remus, picking up his wand and flicking it at Sirius' hand.
His hand momentarily felt like it was made of putty, then it formed into a pincer, and finally turning fire truck red. His right hand was now a claw, similar to that of a crab's.
Sirius brought it up in front of his eyes, looking perplexed.
"Remus, how did you do that?" he exclaimed, snapping his pincer, which resulted in a comical snap.
"You just need to concentrate, and don't jab your wand around like a sword." He said, crossing his arms over his chest playfully.
It was their fifth or six meeting (Sirius lost count) and Remus has really come out of his shell around Sirius. He was making small jokes here and there, and smiling more often.
"Yeah, yeah." He replied, waving his hand airily at him. Even though he still hasn't mastered partial human transfiguration, he has learned a ton from Remus: How to turn a cat in to a dog and back, making his robes transform into a tuxedo and even how to turn a tiny mouse in to a giant horse; a feat nobody in his class has even attempted yet.
His face screwed up in concentration, he flicked his wand at Remus' left hand and closed his eyes in hope it would soon be a claw.
He snuck a peek out of his lashes and saw, to his extreme relief, Remus' face looking very proud. His hand was finally a red, shining pincer.
"Suck that!" he yelled in triumph, forgetting he was in a library and dancing around the table, "What now? That's right, Sirius rocks!"
"SHHHHH!" hushed the librarian so loudly it startled Remus, who was too busy watching Sirius hoot and celebrate, making his hands shoot up in shock so it looked like he was surrendering. Sirius, however, happened to be right next to him and received a claw to the stomach, knocking the wind out of him. Clutching his stomach, he sat down and tried to breathe in or out, but to no avail.
Remus was snickering from behind his claw-less hand. After Sirius had finally caught his breath, his face as red as Remus' claw, he aimed a smack at Remus' shoulder. Remus went crashing down out of his chair from the impact, which made Sirius howl with laughter.
Getting up with as much dignity as he could, he grabbed a book at random and hurled at Sirius. Sirius dodged it easily, but it rammed into the back of his head; Remus had put a charm on it so it acted like a boomerang.
"Boys, boys, get a grip!" shouted the librarian over Sirius and Remus, who were now wrestling on the ground, laughing.
With a furious jab of her wand, the two boys were wrenched up to their feet by the neck of their robes, still shouting and attempting to kick or punch each other.
"You'll pay for that Sirius!"
"Oh yeah? You wanna piece of me!"
"ENOUGH!" shouted the librarian, silencing the boy's playful fight at once. "Get OUT! You are both BANNED!"
Releasing the boys, she took hold of Sirius and Remus' robes and hurled them out the door, muttering under her breath.
"One of our better lessons, eh Remus?" asked Sirius
With a casual flick of his wrist, Sirius transfigured his tawny owl into a brown, slobbery dog and back again. Next to him, James merrily hooted indignantly when it was poked in the eye with James' wand.
Professor Mcgonagoll scowled at him and shook her head head frustration.
"Merlin's beard, Sirius! How did you do that?" James asked, pointing to Sirius' owl, who was now, once again, a dog.
"Re-Lupin taught me. He's great at teaching." he said, silently kicking himself for almost calling him 'Remus'. He was supposed to be pranking him.
"Have you found out anything about him yet?" James asked, a hungry look in his eye.
He had, in fact, been trusted with several of Remus' weaknesses and secrets, especially one that would be a grenade in James' hands.
"Nothing yet. He's too shy." he replied, now trying to vanish his dog.
"Keep it up then, I expect a full report on Loony Lupin soon, it's been over three weeks!" exclaimed James, clearly impatient.
When James got impatient with a prank, it usually resulted with him stepping in and speeding things up. However, Sirius seemed to be almost... enjoying the time he had with Remus. Hiding behind his shy, timid exterior, inside he was nice, funny, sweet, easy to talk to, patient and understanding.
If he didn't do something soon, James was going to ruin everything.
"No, Sirius, c'mon. Please don't do this to me.
"They're nice once you get to know them, now stop being a baby."
Sirius was half-dragging a struggling Remus down the spiral steps to the Gryffindor common room, and Remus was having none of it. He had told him James wanted to ask him something, and he seemed to be terrified.
"If you don't let go of me, I'll stop tutoring you." snarled Remus.
"Yeah right." growled Sirius right back, tugging harder.
Finally, after at least ten minutes of fighting with Remus (He was unusually strong), they emerged in the common room. Sirius beckoned Remus forward towards the fire, and Remus followed sulkily, once again hiding behind a book.
"Move that bloody book." whispered Sirius harshly to Remus, who simpler shook his head, eyes looking determinedly down.
Rolling his eyes, Sirius plunked down on to the couch next to James, who muttered a hello from behind his textbook. (Clearly watching Lily over the top.)
He patted the sofa next to him, and Remus reluctantly sat down next to him, on the edge of the seat.
"So, James." he said, waking him from his stupor over Lily, "Do you have anything to ask Remus?"
Smiling with that look of pure glee that came with pranking, he asked Remus confidently "Lupin, I mean Remus, do you want to go to Hogsmeade with us next weekend?"
Turning to Remus, he gave a please-do-it-for-me look. He momentarily look shocked and then, looking at Sirius' puppy dog eyes, he nodded.