Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
The kitchen was a mess. There were bowls floating around, charmed to be heating, cooling, or mixing, depending on what was in them. The floor was covered with flour, pepper, spilled powdered sugar, and an assortment of leafy greens where the salad had spilled over.
"I don't know how we're going to explain all of this to Hermione." Remus fretted tasting a bit of raspberry topping as it cooked on the stove.
"Hey!" Sirius smacked his hand with a spatula. "Who said she has to see it? She should be coming in the sitting room fireplace in about," He checked his watch. "An hour. That's plenty of time to hide the mess."
"Because cleaning is out of the question." Remus chuckled.
"You said it, not me." Sirius grinned back, poking a steak to check doneness. "How does the dining room look?"
"Very nice, if I do say so myself." Remus shifted to get out of Sirius' way.
"Flowers?" Sirius picked up a bowl of potatoes and began mashing.
"Tablecloth? Wine glasses and china?" He added a bit of milk.
"Check, check." Remus put the milk back into the icebox.
Sirius stopped his mashing and looked up at Remus. "Non-cursed silverware?"
"Check." Remus clapped his friend on the back, "Don't worry, mate, everything is going to be fine."
"I guess you're right." Sirius shrugged, flicking his wand to make the utensils sort out dinner for a while. He checked for the third time to be sure the white wine was chilling. It was. "I'll have to finish up in here for a few minutes, do you think you'll be able to distract her when she gets in?" Sirius asked.
"Shouldn't be a problem. I'll get some conversation cards ready, you know, in case the conversation lulls or gets awkward or something." Remus trailed off, obviously half considering actually making those cards.
"I think you should be more worried that you're still in your running clothes." Sirius looked Remus up and down. "Not that you're not fetching in this strange sweaty windbreaker material, but maybe you should shower and get dressed."
"Ah." Remus gave himself a once-over before glancing at Sirius' equally strange appearance. "And you look just dashing in this pastry chef-meats-grunge rock look you've got going here."
"Exactly," Said Sirius, smacking his friend with a dishcloth, "So you should get in the shower and get dressed so that we can switch and I can do the same. Now go!" Sirius threw the dishcloth at Remus' retreating figure.
Sirius resumed his kitchen work, trying to ignore the nervous feeling in the pit of his stomach. Tonight would either be a complete success, or a catastrophe.
Not that the past two weeks could be called paradise. Remus and Hermione were edging around each other so politely. It was like a Jane Austin novel come to life, watching them interact. If Sirius heard either of them say 'Excuse me' again, he thought he'd explode. Things between himself and Hermione weren't much better. Every time they'd made eye contact since the night he'd kissed her, Hermione would blush and think of something she had to do that was elsewhere.
It wasn't as if he hadn't felt her looking at him. He had. She thought she was being subtle, but then he'd catch her eye and she'd look away again, a blush creeping up her cheeks.
What the house needed was some good old-fashioned forced interaction. That'd help things along. He and Remus had had a long talk and both decided that the only way to get Hermione to hash things out a bit would be to cook a dinner too elaborate for her to refuse. Once she was sitting down, they'd loosen her tongue with alcohol. Copious amounts of alcohol.
Which reminded Sirius, he needed to let the red breathe. Now where was that bloody corkscrew?
Remus smoothed the button-down shirt he was wearing down for the fourth time. He cast a critical eye on himself in the mirror again. Was the collared shirt too much? Maybe he should take it off. But then he'd be in jeans and a t-shirt. That wouldn't do either. No, Sirius was probably going to wear a tux and tails at the rate he was going. And with Hermione coming from Hogwarts with McGonagall, she'd be wearing some variant of this sort of thing. So it didn't look like he was trying too hard or anything. Definitely not.
With one more tug at the bottom of his shirt, Remus headed downstairs to relieve Sirius from kitchen duty.
Sirius was still at the stove where Remus had left him, but instead of a dozen things happening at once, Sirius was casting a few warming charms on a series of covered dishes.
"It's done?" Remus asked, eyebrows raised.
"Yeah," Sirius smirked, "Took you so long to get pretty that basically everything is done." Sirius finished the last charm and stood back from his handiwork.
"Brilliant." Remus grimaced, pouring himself a large glass of red wine. "I'm rubbish with anything but coffee and tea anyway."
"Take it easy. She should be getting here before too long, so I'm going to clean up." Sirius took the half glass from Remus and downed it. "Go wait in the sitting room, in case she gets here early?"
"Sure." Remus followed Sirius out of the kitchen, heading to the sitting room to wait. He walked into the room that still smelled like paint. Hermione really worked wonders on this place, thought Remus, sitting down on the couch facing the fireplace.
The once-dour room now had a comfortable forest-feeling air about it. It seemed that Hermione had been experimenting with different shades of green for the walls and most of the furniture in the room. Remus suspected she'd worked hard to make a green room that didn't scream Slytherin to the occupants of the house; instead it was kind of like sitting in a glade in the forest.
At first Remus didn't know what to do with his hands. He placed them on his knees, but quickly removed them to cross his arms. Then he thought how it would look if Hermione flooed in to see him waiting for her with crossed arms. Why were his palms so sweaty? Remus rubbed his hands on the couch cushions to dry them. Finally settling on picking at the skin beside his nails, Remus waited for Hermione to arrive.
Not too long after, Sirius came in to sit with him. Remus sniffed.
"Are you wearing cologne?"
Remus chuckled, and after a minute, so did Sirius.
"I remember us waiting for Granger like this once before." Sirius looked at Remus, recalling two schoolboys joking around in the Great Hall at Hogwarts, waiting to embarrass their date.
Hermione flooed into Grimmauld Place to discover her two roommates sitting on the couch, involved in a heated thumb-fight. Remus was winning, but Sirius was faster than he looked. Neither man seemed to notice her presence until she started laughing at them.
Both Sirius and Remus whipped around to Hermione, battle forgotten instantly. Remus popped up off the couch, quickly followed by Sirius.
Remus cleared his throat. "Hermione, hi. Good day at work?" He reached out to take her satchel filled with transfiguration supplies off her shoulder, setting it down on an armchair.
"It was fine." Hermione took in the men who seemed to have been waiting for her. Remus was in a grey buttoned shirt and jeans, and Sirius in his uniform black jeans and boots, but also wearing a dress shirt and vest. "Is something going on?" She asked, removing her work robes and draping them on the same chair on which her bag rested.
"Do we need an excuse to meet our favorite witch when she gets home?" Sirius asked smoothly.
"I suppose not." Something was going on, Hermione just wasn't sure what.
"Hungry?" Remus asked.
"A bit. I was just-" Hermione was interrupted by Sirius.
"Good. We made dinner."
"Well, Sirius made dinner." Remus corrected bashfully.
"Oh- ah, thank you." Hermione reluctantly met Sirius' eyes. He was studying her features with an intensity he'd adopted lately: like he was trying to x-ray her. She tentatively began walking towards the kitchen, Sirius and Remus in tow, but as she passed the dining room, Remus gave her a nudge toward the dining room door.
She pressed it inward, and gasped. The room glowed by the candlelight of several tapers on the table. There was a creamy tablecloth covering the expansive tabletop. China and silverware winked at Hermione in the candlelight, drawing attention to the three beautiful place settings.
"Is all this for me?" Hermione whispered.
Sirius replied with a quiet "Mhm" as he guided her into the room. Remus pulled out the chair at the head of the table for her to sit. Hermione obliged, slightly dazed by the effort they'd put into the evening meal. There were even irises on the table, for godsake.
Remus and Sirius took their seats on either side of Hermione as Sirius flicked his wand, summoning a parade of dancing plates into the room as well as a couple of bottles of wine. Hermione was surprised; she had never actually had food presented to her with a silver dome covering it before. The dishes settled in front of the three and uncovered themselves to reveal a full steak dinner with all of Hermione's favorites: mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, and a fluffy white roll.
"Oh, Sirius, it's beautiful." Hermione sighed.
"It tastes good too." Sirius pointedly lifted a forkful of potatoes to his mouth, encouraging Hermione to do the same.
He was right, Hermione thought after the first bite. Whatever Sirius' other accomplishments or flaws, he was a kitchen god. That was for sure.
Remus filled up Hermione's glass with white wine, and the two others with red, knowing Hermione's preference. She raised her eyebrows in thanks.
After a few minutes of comfortable silence, Hermione raised her wineglass to drink and asked the obvious.
"So, what's the special occasion?" She took another sip.
Sirius and Remus exchanged a look before Sirius answered. "We're seducing you."
Hermione choked and nearly spit out her drink. Spluttering, she asked "Are you serious?"
Remus smiled, putting down his knife and fork. "Yes, Sirius and I had a long talk about what you said-"
"-the implications, the difficult situation, social expectations, et cetera-" Sirius interjected.
"And came to the conclusion that if we both want to be with you,"
"And you want to be with both of us,"
"Then there was no real reason we shouldn't all be-er- Together." Remus finished, locking eyes with one very red-faced Hermione.
She took another gulp of wine. "Just to clarify. You two want" She gestured to the group. "the three of us to be a, um, a couple?"
"Basically." Sirius was grinning. "We understand that it could be complicated, but frankly Moony and I have been long-term hetero-life partners for quite some time. We think we could make this work."
"But-" Hermione didn't know why she was fighting this. It wasn't as if she hadn't thought about this exact scenario. Well, maybe not quite this formal a proposal, but still. She looked to Remus again.
"Hermione," Remus reached out to stroke her hand, "Has it ever occurred to you that you can have your cake and eat it too?"
A/N: Gosh, it has been forever. I would REALLY appreciate your feedback on this one. Please&Thankyou.