It's been a while since I've written… So I know this is rough and scratchy by my standards, I hope it's acceptable! It's a plotbunny that's been bouncing around my head for ages… It can fit right into my other Marauder's era fic, Dating if you'd like, or it can be completely stand alone as the stories are unrelated really.

Disclaimer: Only the plot and perhaps an occasional extra are mine. All else is Rowling's.

Friends

Remus Lupin was a calm boy. A respectable, kind, normal fellow by all accounts; he was known for his remarkable ability to put up with insanity without batting an eyelash. Common room gossipers had often made plain the belief that nothing could shake the, slightly shabbily dressed, boy's calm, so long as there was a magazine or book he could hide behind. And yet, this calm, kind, normal boy was about to blow. He was at his wit's end… but also, oddly, incredibly amused.

Remus was at his favorite chair in the common room. It was a slightly overstuffed armchair by the fireplace that gave a good viewing of the rest of the room while being far enough back in a corner that few others would see him. When he was a first year this had been especially nice, allowing him to observe the goings on of what he considered to be "normal" wizards and witches so he might attempt to fit in. Now, as a sixth year (almost a seventh year), this perch provided him an excellent place where (generally) he could study without interruption, but also was unlikely to miss any of the big goings on in the Gryffindor Common Room. On this particular night however, he found himself wishing that his chair was just a little bit more secluded, that he could miss this particular going-on.

"Have you seen James?" Sirius had strolled over, attempting to sound casual, asking the question Remus had been expecting ever since he had seen the post owl drop a circular parcel onto Sirius's plate at breakfast.

"No…" Remus settled himself deeper into his chair, pulling a copy of that morning's Prophet up to cover all but his eyes, attempting to send a clear message to Sirius about his patience and desire to not get involved.

"Good!" Sirius had never been good at interpreting clear and concise messages. The shaggy haired boy threw himself down into the chair besides Remus's.

"Oh?" Remus sighed; putting his paper down, deciding that perhaps playing dumb would be a better ploy, "Are we planning a prank on him then? Or a surprise birthday party?"

"Don't be daft Moony, James's birthday was in March, it's only April now… a true surprise party needs to be at least five months separate from the birthday to have real effectiveness. And nix the prank idea too, I'm still doing detentions from that time last month… though don't think I'm not proud of you for giving into your prankster instincts you ol' scamp, we'll break the prefect out of you yet!"

Remus just blinked at this; being used to Sirius's occasional rampages, he knew if he were just to wait long enough the boy would tire himself out… or conveniently find a way to loop back to whatever topic he wanted to be discussing.

"Speaking of prefects… Have you seen Lil—I mean, Evans, perchance?"

Remus sighed, "No."

"Oh… I thought she knew it'd come today…" Sirius's face fell, though he quickly tried to cover it up with a grandiose grin, "Any idea where she'd be?"

And here was the answer Remus had been somewhat dreading and somewhat hoping to deliver.

"She's with James believe it or not," he said with a smirk, picking up his paper though not really looking at the words.

"Wha-?" Sirius gasped, "Jamesy got a date with Lily? What? When? Where? Why? HOW?"

"You forgot 'Who'," Remus pointed out calmly, noticing that he was holding the paper upside down and flipping it to be right.

"I bloody well know who, don't I?" Sirius retorted huffily, "What I'm missing are all the details."

"I swear you're worse than Skeeter when it comes to the gossip," Remus sighed, "It's not a real date in any case Padfoot, so don't get your knickers in a twist. She just needed some help with transfiguration and James offered to help and she said agreed. That fat idiot of ours didn't even hear her say yes at first, he's that used to being rejected. He kept going on and on about how he really could help her out, and how he wouldn't try any funny business, how he's matured beyond that… Poor Lily had to basically shout to the whole hall that she did want his help to get him to realize that she wasn't turning him down… bloody hilarious really."

"Wait, so, that's where she is?" Sirius demanded, "On a fake date with Prongs?"

"As far as I know," Remus nodded.

"Kill me now," Sirius groaned loudly, covering his face with a pillow.

"No thanks," Remus replied promptly, and proceeded to begin to read a long article on the benefits and faults of self-correcting ink. Then, he finished a crossword puzzle he had begun during lunch, drew a few moustaches on a few famous wizards decorating the cover of the Prophet. After a good ten or fifteen minutes of silence had passed, Remus grew a tidbit worried. Sirius was never quiet for long. Even when sleeping, the boy tended to talk.

"You knew this day would come," Remus said aloud, addressing the pillow that covered his best friend's face.

"I know," was the muffled reply.

"We all wanted this to happen," Remus reminded Sirius kindly.

"I know," came again from the pillow.

"God, Sirius, we've been working towards this all year! You most of all. Maturing James up was group effort," Remus was growing exasperated; he'd never been good at comforting people who were irrationally grouchy. Sirius was especially good at being irrationally grouchy.

"God Remus, I know!" Sirius sat up abruptly, "I'm just not used to getting blown off for my best mate, alright?"

Remus was silent for a long moment before, "Good Lord, you don't… like Evans, do you?"

Sirius's eyes widened, and he began to make frantic slapping motions with his hands whilst shaking his head violently, "Oh no. No. Absolutely not. We're just friends. Good friends actually."

"I know," Remus sighed, shaking his head in slight amusement, "James isn't going to be happy, you know, when he finds out."

"Why do you think I'm so bleeding miserable over here?" Sirius demanded, "He's going to skin me alive. Skin me alive I say! When he knows that all this time he's been wanting an inside track into Lily's brain, and there I was, an actual friend of hers… not that you're not a friend of Lily's, but you're too noble to do anything to compromise your prefect partnership with her and well, she and I share a special… bond."

"The Tabby Broomsticks, I know," Remus said patiently.

The Tabby Broomsticks were, in Remus's opinion, a truly terrible rock band. In fact, that seemed to be the general opinion. The only two people Remus knew of who actually liked the band's odd music were Sirius and, oddly, Lily. In fact, the band was the sole basis (or at least the origination) of the pair's odd friendship.

Back in October, a notice had gone up in the Gryffindor common room that the Tabby Broomsticks would be playing a Halloween concert at the Hogs Head, and that any students who wanted to go were welcome to. Sirius and Lily had searched high and low for people to go with, but oddly, all of their other friends had plans, leaving the two with just… each other. Given the choice between missing the Tabby Broomsticks concert and going to it with one another, they called a temporary truce and reluctantly signed on as buddies for the night.

Remus still wasn't entirely sure what had occurred at that concert; all he had from Sirius was a cryptic "You just can't fight gang trolls on motorbike while harmonizing to the best music in the wizarding world and not become friends." In any case, after that night Sirius and Lily were… close. They would meet up once every week or so to share the music that they liked and no one else could stand, like the record the post owl had delivered this morning, and during these weekly meet-ups they had begun to share other things too. Lily was actually getting Sirius to read books, and Sirius was actually enjoying them. Sirius meanwhile, was dropping casual hints about James, though admittedly not many. The black haired boy was actually doing quite well for himself in the Lily-department. For a bit Remus had been worried that Sirius and Lily were going to end up having feelings for each other, but after careful observation he had decided that it was more likely that pigs would learn to play quidditch than Lily and Sirius ending up together. All in all it appeared to be a perfect set up… except for one tiny snag.

"Remind me again why James doesn't already know you're friends with the girl of his dreams?"

"Lily didn't want him to," Sirius groaned, once again covering his face with the pillow, "Not that she asked me not to tell him… she never really mentioned it, but I just… well, he would have taken advantage, wouldn't he?"

"She never asked—" Remus tried to butt in, a thought dawning on him.

"And," Sirius barreled on, "he would have wanted me to be a mole in his get-Lily operation. And he's my best mate so I would've had to have done. It was better for him not to know at all. But now he's going to kill me…"

"Well, yeah, but-" Remus tried again.

"And it's all his bloody fault, isn't it! If he had just gone to the bloody concert with us in the first place, then none of this friendship stuff would have happened, would it?" Sirius groaned.

Remus blinked, trying to remember the exact scenario, "I'm pretty sure James did want to go… once he knew Lily wanted to go…"

"But that wasn't out of love of the music," Sirius retorted, indignant.

Remus suddenly found himself wishing that he too had a pillow with which to smother himself, "So, this is all James's fault because you and Lily have rubbish taste in music?"

"Yes."

At least Sirius was honest about his rubbish taste in music…

"There's no point arguing with you Sirius," Remus sighed, "you wouldn't see sense if it danced around in front of you wearing a woman's undergarments."

"Very true," Sirius agreed with a sigh, "so now what do I do, Moony?"

"I suggest you go listen to your new record and drown your sorrows in firewhiskey," Remus replied practically.

"Naw," Sirius replied, "Lily would kill me if I listened to it for the first time without her…"

Across the room, the portrait hole opened and a girl stumbled through, tossing a laugh to the black haired boy behind her.

"Look sharp Padfoot," Remus said quickly, rolling up his newspaper and slapping his friend with it repeatedly until Sirius rose to a sitting position.

James wandered over to Remus's corner after a brief discussion with a first year holding tight to a very purple rat. Lily remained talking to the boy, a concerned look on her face.

"Wotcher Remus," James smiled down at his seated friend.

"Hello James," Remus nodded up at him, unfurling his newspaper and attempting to pull it flat.

"Why were you hitting Sirius?" James asked passively, tossing himself down beside the boy in question.

"I wasn't aware that one needed a reason to hit Padfoot," Remus responded promptly.

"Point," James acknowledged graciously.

Sirius groaned slightly, but made no move to defend himself, instead he turned to James, "Why'd you ditch Lily with the boy with the purple fuzz ball?"

"It's prefect stuff," James shrugged, "I offered to help, but she kindly pointed out that she's much better at charms than I am—"

"It's only the truth!" Lily had arrived, "Sorry to bruise your ego James… but you're rubbish at color change charms."

James sighed mournfully, "A sad truth of my existence Miss Evans. If only there were a kind soul willing to aide me in my quest to greatness. Then, somehow, I might manage to save the wrongfully colored rats of the world." He smirked up at her and she giggled, tossing her hair over her shoulder. Remus and Sirius exchanged raised eyebrows; Lily Evans was giggling at the words of James Potter.

"I might be able to work something out…" Lily smiled, "but not tonight."

"Hot date?" Remus couldn't help but ask. He was not a bad friend, not really. If he was going to be forced to sit through this drama, then he was going to enjoy it.

Lily laughed, "Not at all Remus," she turned to the shaggiest of the three, "Sirius, that was the new Werewolf Bones album I saw delivered at breakfast, wasn't it?"

Sirius shot her a scared look, "Uh… yeah…"

"Lovely!" Lily beamed, "I'm going to toss my books in my room, but then I'll meet you in yours to have a listen, is that alright?"

"Uh… yeah… sure…" Sirius trailed off, shooting James a baleful glance and whimpering a little as he rose and scurried off up the boys' staircase.

"I'll see you later James," Lily smiled, heading off to her own staircase.

James waited till she was completely out of sight before settling back into the couch, a full beam spreading on his face.

"I take it the tutoring went well then?" Remus asked with a smirk.

James laughed, "She's playing me, Remus."

Remus raised an eyebrow, "How so?"

James laughed again, "Lily Evans is not a perfect student, but she hardly needs help in transfiguration. She puts on a good show, but she knows exactly what she's doing in that class. No one who didn't could mess up so perfectly so many times over and then magically get it perfect. It's just not done. She's playing me Remus! Lily Evans is faking bad at Transfiguration to spend time with me! Best. Night. Ever."

Remus smiled at James, pleased to see his friend looking so chipper, "And you didn't… you know, try anything? Even though you know she must be at least a little bit into you?" he asked, scarcely able to believe it.

James sat up straight and looked Remus in the eye, a very serious expression coming over him, "No way in hell am I taking any risks Moony. She'll let me know when and if she wants me to try anything. Till then, I'm sticking to pure and simple flirting."

"Wow," Remus nodded, impressed.

"Yep," James replied, settling back into the couch, "So, tell me, why did Padfoot look like I'd kicked him in the side?"

Remus chuckled darkly, "I spect he thinks you're about to."

James looked confused and picked up the pillow that had previously serviced as Sirius's mask, "Why? Cause he's listening to a record with Lily? They're just friends…"

Remus looked at James quickly, "You know?" he gasped.

"Course," James shrugged, "I've known for ages… and even if I hadn't, Lily mentioned it tonight. Was it supposed to be a secret?"

"Yes," Remus answered emphatically, "Padfoot was bloody certain you'd beat the laughter right out of him if you ever found out."

James blinked, "Well that's stupid."

"A bit," agreed Remus, "he was concerned you'd resent him for not giving you an inside track with Lily."

James seemed to consider this for a moment, playing with the tassels on the pillow in his lap; seeming to count them all before answering, "Well, I'm not saying it wouldn't have been useful, but I've been doing alright for myself without his guidance… I just always assumed their friendship was something he didn't want to talk to me about since he didn't want me to be jealous of him spending time with her… not that it was supposed to be a bloody secret. Does he know that everyone knows?"

"This is Sirius we're talking about," Remus reminded James gently.

"Oh, right," James sighed.

"You're really not mad?" Remus asked, a little bemused.

"No, my best man probably should be friends with my future wife after all…" James replied, a huge grin overtaking his face once more, "God, Remus, isn't she just amazing…"

And as James trailed off into another spiral of Lily-spouting, Remus couldn't help but shake his head in amusement. He loved his friends, but really, they were some of the nuttiest (and oddest) people he had ever met… Still, friendship was all that really mattered in the end, and even if James was likely to hold this guilt trip over Sirius's head till the end of term, Remus wouldn't have it any other way.

[a/n]: There you have it folks! It's been begging to be written for ages… and I finally did it. I, personally, am not a huge fan of the ending, and if inspiration strikes I might come back and redo that… but until then… review and let me know what you think! =) ~ sfbeliever