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The common room was nearly completely deserted, hardly surprising considering the time of evening. Even James had decided to call it a night, taking Peter with him as he went. For half an hour now Sirius and Remus had been sitting alone playing a game of exploding snap and chatting about their plans for the summer. Sirius was sitting on a large rocking chair, swinging backwards and forwards, dangerously close to the fire that was burning brightly behind him. Remus on the other hand was sitting on a large sofa facing him, occasionally glancing warily at the fire, clearly concerned about the possible fire hazard that Sirius was causing.
"Do we have to invite Wormtail?"
"You know the answer to that Padfoot." Remus looked disapprovingly at his friend, though it was hard to be disapproving when he, like Sirius, would have rather that their fourth friend wasn't there. As someone that had spent a large amount of his life being excluded though, he didn't have the heart to do it to another.
"Fine." Sirius swung back even further in his chair, sulking slightly but not being able to be really annoyed with one of his best friends. "But if he shows us up I'm holding you to account for it, and I won't be responsible for my actions if I curse him. This summer's going to be bad enough; the last thing I need is Wormtail ruining the only decent part by being... Himself."
Remus had been pretending to ignore Sirius's ranting, but he looked up at the last sentence. "Come on it won't be that bad, can't you try and stay with James for a lot of it like you usually do? Or mine, I mean my Dad won't mind. He loves you being there."
Sirius shrugged as non-commitally as he could manage, pretending not to be bothered either way - but as Remus spoke his eyes had lighten up a little bit. "If you want."
"Yeah, I'll speak to Dad and send you an owl."
"Okay." Sirius was still determined to act as casually about it as possible, but didn't go back to complaining about Wormtail's presence once Remus had made the offer of somewhere to stay for a while.
There was an awkward silence for a moment. It was rare for the friends to need a break in conversation, but Sirius's family, and in this case his return to them, always seemed to create a sense of unease amongst the group. Not because any of the other three were bothered about his upbringing, but because Sirius himself didn't like talking about it.
"I wonder why Prongs went to bed so early tonight" Remus said, breaking the silence for the first time in nearly five minutes.
"No idea, it was a bit odd though." Sirius swung even further back in the chair. "I wonder if he's up to something? The only time he usually disappears off when there's a chance of messing around is when he's planning some scheme or another."
"Yes I guess so..." Remus wasn't convinced, he was always suspicious of any change of behaviour from James who was, most definitely, a creature of habit. However as he looked up he was distracted from thoughts of James by Sirius. As he'd rocked backwards on the chair for what must have been the millionth time, the light of the fire had caught his face.
"Moony what are you staring at?" Sirius had rocked back forwards to see that Remus was staring at him with the kind of intensity that he usually only saw his friend stare at a complicated transfiguration question with.
"Nothing, I just..." Remus felt himself flush dark red. "I just thought you looked nice, the way that the light of the fire was on you..." He shrugged trying to be casual about it but wasn't sure that he'd managed to pull it off, largely due to the fact he was getting a darker and darker shade of scarlet by the minute.
"Oh, thanks." Sirius wasn't really sure what to say, what had just happened? It wasn't unusual for one of them to say the other looked nice or something when they had a new robe or a haircut, so why was he suddenly being so weird about it? And why had he been staring at him that intently?
While Sirius' brain was working ten to the dozen Remus, likewise, was taking a moment to think. What on earth was that he just felt? It wasn't like it was the first time that he'd thought one of his best friends looked nice, the first time he'd looked at one of them and thought they were looking pretty attractive, why did he suddenly feel panicked, embarrassed, and downright stupid? It was only a couple of days ago he'd told James how nice he looked when he was getting dressed up because he had potions with Lily later that day. But this didn't feel like that, he answered himself honestly. Though what it did feel like he wasn't sure.
"Moony is everything alright?" Sirius looked at him from a now stationary chair looking concerned. He had never seen his friend look that awkward before, well not since he'd confessed to them that he was a werewolf anyway.
"I, I don't know. I think I just don't feel very well." Remus wasn't lying, he was starting to feel really sick.
Sirius leant forward in his chair and observed his friend for a moment. He wasn't sure if he was reading this right and this wasn't the kind of thing that he wanted to make a mistake over. There had never been any sign before, but then sometimes these things hit you suddenly. He thought of Marlene and how quickly that had hit him. Yes, he told himself, but that wasn't like this, that was... He stopped himself for a moment. Was it really any different? Love was love after all, and lust was lust; regardless of anything else.
The use of his real name as against his nickname caught his attention. He knew Remus was starting to get worried now, worried that Sirius had worked out that something was wrong. He thought for a moment, then, without really knowing how he felt or what he was doing, he stood up and stepped forwards so he was directly in front of Remus.
Remus's heart was racing. What was about to happen? Had Sirius came to the same conclusion as he himself had come to, was he about to get up and leave the room, probably to leave the room, though not before telling Remus their friendship was over and he didn't want him anywhere near him. Was he about to run upstairs and tell James, so the pair of them could sit and laugh about him as they had so many others (although for different reasons)?
"Stand up." Sirius's usually gruff voice was soft.
Remus hesitated for a moment before doing as he'd been told and standing up.
Sirius, his face now only inches from Remus', still had no idea what he was doing. Only knowing that if he had interpreted this wrong then he was about to look very stupid, he leant forward and placed his lips slowly on Remus'.
A moment of silence.
Remus carefully started to kiss back, his heart now racing so fast that it felt as though it was about to burst out of his chest. He stopped for a second and Sirius pulled back looking nearly as nervous as he'd previously been.
"You, didn't have to. Don't have to."
"Thank you." Remus' eyes were starting to water but he fought them back knowing he was being completely ridiculous.
"Nothing to thank me for, it's not like I didn't want to." Sirius felt his own face start to flush. "I mean if I didn't want to I wouldn't have, you know...?"
They both jumped as they heard footsteps on the stairs leading down from the boy's dormitories.
"Finally! I thought he'd never go to sleep." James jumped down from the last step, running his hand through his hair, despite no one but Remus and Sirius being around.
"What?" Sirius had taken a step back from Remus and was now staring at James, trying to follow the flow of current events despite his head still being very much in what had been going on before James had re-entered the room.
James however, completely wrapped up in what he'd been up to, for once failed to notice the change of behaviour in his friends. "Wormtail; I was sitting in Charms earlier and I came up with a really good idea for a prank we could pull on him before the end of term. But I needed to get you two alone and you know what he's like - can't go to the toilet without him following you. So I pretended to be tired and got him to follow because I knew you two wouldn't come up that early, then I waited for him to fall asleep so I could come back down. Stupid git took forever to go to sleep though, I nearly fell asleep waiting for him."
He looked at his two friends who, although they were looking at him seemed to be seeing straight through him. "Is everything alright? What've you two been up to while I was up there?"
"Nothing." they both spoke in union.
James looked suspiciously from one to another. "Okay then..." He looked to each of them again waiting to see if they were going to tell him anything more. When they didn't he continued. "Right, this is what I was thinking..."
Later that night after they'd all finally made it up to bed Sirius lay awake, still thinking about everything that had happened that evening. He rolled over to look at James and saw that he, like Peter, was now asleep. Carefully so as not to make a sound he climbed out of bed and walked over to where Remus was hidden behind the curtains surrounding his four poster bed.
Silently, unsure whether Remus was awake or asleep, he slipped between the curtains and climbed into the bed behind him, wrapping his arms around Remus' waist.
"You'll have to make sure you're back in your own bed before anyone wakes up in the morning."
Sirius smiled. "I know." Then shut his eyes and fell into a peaceful sleep.