Hey! Thanks to everyone who is here after ready Slughorn's Sanitarium for Troubled Boys. I really appreciate your interest in my other stories. For those of you who have not read SSTB, welcome and thank you anyway!
As always, reviews are greatly appreciated and help motivate me to update regularly. This is going to be very light hearted in comparison to my last story, so I hope that you all still like it!
No warnings to speak of.
He was doing it again. He may not have been aware of it, but he was definitely doing it again. Remus sat with a book open on the library table in front of him, his hands propping his head up as he stared at the pages, but he definitely was not reading. He was just staring. His eyes weren't following the lines and he'd not turned a page in over five minutes, which was far too long for a speed-reader like him. He was daydreaming again, and Lily could tell by the vague grin on his face that he was daydreaming about something, or, more likely, someone that he quite fancied.
It was their seventh year. Lily and Remus were two of only a handful of students who were eligible for the free period they were in. Most of them were expected to use this period to prepare for their NEWTS, which was why the two friends were in the library. Lily had thought that Remus would be a wonderful study partner, as he always seemed quiet and diligent, but she was finding more and more that he was causing a huge distraction for her. It wasn't the fact that he had that aloof scruffy look about him that made people think he was smart without having to try that distracted her. It wasn't even the fact that wherever he was, the Marauders were sure to pop up now and again when one or more of them had decided to shirk off their classroom responsibilities. He was distracting because of the way he drifted off, so quietly, into his daydreams, the way he smiled like his heart was fit to burst without even realizing he was doing it.
Lily was nothing if not a bit curious. Some may even say she was annoyingly nosy and determined to know everything that was going on with everyone around her. But Remus was her friend, so she had every right to be curious, right? She had spent a long time guessing what a boy like Remus might daydream about. She thought for a while that he was daydreaming about the day he would be told that he marked better on the NEWTS than anyone in Hogwarts' history. The daydream seemed to fit him. But then she'd seen it; that wide, goofy grin she saw on Potter's face whenever she actually spoke to him. Remus was thinking about a crush. And based on the amount of time he spent in his goofy-grin-while-staring-dreamily-into-space state, Lily thought that it must be a pretty serious crush.
"I can't take it anymore!" Lily suddenly bellowed, causing Remus' elbows to slide out from under his head, nearly sending his face into the open book.
"Wha-what? What happened?" Remus was so adorably oblivious as he looked apologetically at some students from an adjacent table.
"Is it Roberta from advanced charms?" She asked, knowing that Remus had tutored her on several occasions, and that she'd seen the curly blonde haired girl give Remus the fluttery eyelashes during several of those meetings.
"Roberta? What are you talking about? What's happened to Roberta?" Remus asked, looking obviously confused.
"How about Emily. She's smarter than Roberta, isn't she? More your type, right?" Lily asked again, as though she were interrogating him.
"What?" Remus was now looking at his red haired friend as though she were slowly losing her mind, though his eyes got wider when she gasped dramatically.
"Is it Pomfrey?" She said through her hands that had flown up to her mouth in shock, remembering the fact that he spends a large amount of time in the hospital wing.
"What?" Remus shouted in horror at the thought of having any kind of relationship with Madam Pomfrey. "Lily, what in the name of Merlin's beard are you going on about?" he asked in obvious terror.
"I can't take this anymore." Lily repeated in a defeated tone, her upper body falling onto the table dramatically. She was up again in a moment, though, leaning over the table, staring intensely at Remus as she continued in a whisper. "You need to either stop all this daydreaming nonsense or bloody tell me who it is you're fantasizing about!" She demanded in a way that made most people shake in their skivvies.
"F-fantasizing?" Remus asked, trying to feign ignorance, though his cheeks reddened slightly.
"Don't play that 'I'm adorably oblivious' act on me, Remus Lupin." Lily threatened. "It might work on Sirius when you give him those big goo goo eye- oh my god." She gasped as the truth suddenly dawned on her half way through her sentence.
Lily watched as the hint of color on her friends cheeks suddenly spread like a wildfire across his face, turning him a rather comical shade of pink. It was all the justification she needed.
"You've got a crush on Sirius, haven't you?" She whispered over the table at him.
"I don't know what you're talking about." Remus said, turning back to his book, flipping through the pages in an attempt to look bored.
Lily saw right through him, though. Just before he'd turned his attention back to his book she'd seen his eyes widen slightly and his lips twitch as though they wanted to fall open in shock. She could even see his fingers shaking where they held onto the corners of the pages. She chastised herself, wondering how she had not seen it before.
It was not unusual for members of their tight group of friends to sneak into the library to see them on occasion, though it was only Sirius for whom Remus would readily put his book aside. He could never say no to Sirius, either. Lily had seen it many times. If it were James or Peter who came to see them, asking for some ridiculous favor, Remus would readily tell them to sod off, but no matter what Sirius asked, Remus always said yes, even if he complained about it later. Lily could also gauge the emotional state of one boy based on the state of the other. When Sirius was unhappy, Remus was unhappy.
Remus felt like his heart was about to stop beating all together. He both loved and hated Lily's sharp mind. He loved her quick wit and her educated sense of humor, but he also found it hard to hide things from her. He should have been far more cautious around her. He sighed as Lily's hands pulled the book he was distracting himself with out of his line of sight.
"Don't play stupid with me, Remus." She said, now giving him a wide, knowing smile.
"What do you want me to say?" Remus asked defeatedly, too embarrassed to look her in the face.
"I didn't know you liked boys." She said quietly, not wanting other tables to hear their conversation.
"I don't." Remus said, propping his elbows on the table again, but this time covering his face with his hands. "He's the only one."
"Merlin, Remus, this is just too cute." Lily said, her tone making it obvious that not only was she alright with finding out that her friend may have gay tendencies, but that she firmly supported it.
"No it's not, Lily. It's miserable." Remus said, his voice muffled into his hands still.
Remus could feel the heat coming off his own face, which made him all the more embarrassed. He hadn't wanted anyone else to find out about the crush that had been slowly, quietly, building in strength while he wasn't paying attention. He couldn't even remember when it started any more. He'd always been close with Sirius, but he was close with James and Peter as well and never felt anything but friendship toward them. He'd thought that the unusual feelings he was having for Sirius were just those of gratitude. James had confided in him that it had been Sirius' idea for them to become animagi. Gratitude could easily be confused for romantic affection, he'd thought. He also wondered if their shared canine forms had done something to him. Perhaps his inner wolf was drawn to him because he was closest in species.
Whatever it was, Remus felt like his feelings had quickly tumbled past a mere crush, plummeting into pure, unabashed love for the other boy. No matter how hard he tried to talk himself out of it, he couldn't come up with a good enough reason to not love Sirius.
"Please don't be upset." Lily said quietly, her voice apologetic now. "I didn't mean to out you like that."
"It's fine." Remus mumbled miserably, moving his hands away from his face to prop his chin up again. "I suppose it was going to come out eventually."
"Have you told him?" She asked carefully, not finding the hollow laugh he let out very amusing.
"Are you daft?" Remus asked incredulously when he stopped chuckling. "I'd sooner hex myself than tell him."
"You two are so close though. I'm sure there's a better chance of him reciprocating than you think."
"No, Lily." He said passively, knowing that Lily has, on more than one occasion, tried to play match-maker for her friends. "Things are fine as they are. I don't want to make anything awkward between us."
"But you don't even know how he feels yet! I could talk to him. Hint around and try to get his reac-"
"No, Lily." Remus said, raising his voice enough that a few of the other students turned to look at them again. "He's straight, as made very clear by the many, many girls that he fools around with. What more evidence do you need?"
Lily could hear the personal hurt in his voice as he referenced Sirius' less than innocent rendezvous that he made with many of the girls in their year. The expression that Remus hid almost perfectly made Lily's heart ache a little for her friend.
"You thought you were straight." Lily said in her own defense.
"Yes, but I've also not dated half the girls in school." Remus said as he began packing his things away, intent on escaping the conversation, though Lily just began stowing her own things away.
"What if there was a way to test the waters without him having to find out about your crush on him?" She asked, following him out of the library. "We could plan something to try and gauge his response."
"Lily! Please, just stop it! This is exactly why I didn't want you to find out!" He said, raising his voice now that they were out of the library.
"Find out what?" A third voice suddenly joined them.
Remus felt his heart fly up into his throat as he heard the voice belonging to the object of his affection. Turning he saw his friend striding toward them, his robes billowing gracefully behind him, his tie loosened and his shirt messy in a way that made it look perfectly intentional.
"Are you harassing my Moony, Evans?" Sirius asked teasingly as he dropped an arm over Remus' shoulders.
Lily saw the way that Remus' face heated up as the other boy put an arm around his shoulders so casually, and suddenly felt a great deal of sympathy for him, along with a generous helping of annoyance for the other boy's inability to notice. She rolled her eyes for effect.
"Hardly." She said in an aloof tone that she often put on for James as well. "Shouldn't you be in class, Black?"
"Oh don't put your prefect panties in a knot, luv. I'm just here to ask a favor." He said, turning his attention to Remus, his face close enough to Remus' now that they could breathe the air out of each other's lungs if Remus turned far enough toward him.
"I'm not letting you into the prefect's bathroom again, Padfoot. They're still investigating who cast the cat-call jinxes, which are still quite loud, by the way." He said, trying to seem casual as he looked over at his best friend, hoping that his glance at the other boy's full lips, which were so near to his own, had gone unnoticed.
Sirius barked with laughter, his head rolling back a little. He had particularly liked that prank. He had figured that most prefects needed a little boost in confidence, so he jinxed anything he could to give an appreciative whistle whenever someone disrobed.
"That's not what I need at all." Sirius said when he stopped laughing. "Wormtail finally found a girl who agreed to go on a date with him, but insists that she bring a friend with her. Then she started complaining that her friend wouldn't have a date, so she talked Wormy into bringing a friend as well. Will you go?"
"What?" Remus asked, looking a bit panicked. "Why me?"
"Well because Prongs refused flat out because of a certain redhead who will remain unnamed," He said, grinning when he saw Lily blush just slightly, "and because I know the girl she's bringing and she's a complete nightmare."
"So you thought I'd be perfect for her?" Remus asked in mock anger.
"Well I figured I'd give us both a chance to get out of it." He said, holding his fist out toward Remus.
Remus knew what he was wanting. It was something they did often. When they couldn't decide who should take the short end of the stick they played a single round of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Prongs thought it was childish, but it worked well for the two of them, and so Remus raised his hand to meet the challenge. Three shakes of their fists later, Remus had lost. He always regretted using Rock. Sirius' long fingers covered his balled fist and gave it a squeeze as his grin widened.
"Thanks, mate." He chirped, ruffling his hair a bit before nodding in Lily's direction and turning to exit the way he'd come.
Remus could still feel the heat from Sirius' fingers on his hand, and didn't care that his hair was sticking up in all the wrong directions. He was too transfixed on the retreating figure, even, to hear Lily's huff of exasperation.
"Remind me again, why exactly do you like him? He's so… arrogant." Lily said, her hands on her hips in annoyance.
"I know it sounds weird," Remus began, "but I actually like that about him.
"Merlin, you're in deeper than I thought." Lily said, an eyebrow raised as she watched Sirius turn the corner at the end of the corridor, certain that his robes hadn't ruffled like that on their own.
"You have no idea." Remus said, almost to himself.