- James Potter Peter Pettigrew Remus Lupin
- Humor Slash
- Multiple Eras
- Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Order of the Phoenix
Published: 11/26/2004Updated: 07/07/2005Words: 84,268Chapters: 11Hits: 101,183
The Dating Disasters of Sirius Black
- Story Summary:
- For some reason unfathomable to Remus, Sirius always likes to tell him in excruciating detail about his various romantic problems. Not fluffy.
- Chapter Summary:
- Sirius has a plan to get back at Bellatrix for whatever she did to them on Halloween which involves dating on of his cousin's friends, but it doesn't work out how he planned it. And where does Severus Snape fit into all of this?
- Author's Note:
- Warnings for more gratuitous heterosexuality. It's not until part 6 where we get the slash. Heh.
Part Four: Elvira McAdam and some matchmaking that is both sick and wrong
Early December, Gryffindor fifth-year boys' dormitory, early evening
Sirius Black swooned onto his bed.
Remus narrowed his eyes. No-one says the word 'sigh', he thought, either you sigh, or you don't.
'I said, ahhhhhh!' Sirius insisted, the back of his palm swept dramatically across his brow.
'I know. And I didn't care.'
'Remus, you have to care; I'm in love!'
No you aren't, thought Remus. The only time Sirius Black used the word 'love' and actually meant it was when he was describing food or expressing his feelings about a prank they were about to play on Severus Snape.
'Are we talking about food or Snape?'
'Snivellus? I'm not bloody in love with him! How could anyone fall in love with a big slimy ball of pus and snot like him?'
'So we're talking about food?'
'No, we're are talking about the new object of my affections.'
'Who is the poor sod?'
'There is no 'poor' about it; she is one lucky young lady, to have caused such deep and lasting damage to my aching heart.'
'One lucky lady with a very sharp stick, which is exactly what I need right now.'
'I meant that what I need right now is a really sharp stick to poke you with.'
'Anyway, would you like to come and see her?'
Somehow Remus found himself sitting on the window-ledge of a first-floor window, peering out across the school grounds.
'Her there, can you see her?' Sirius said.
'The blond one?' Remus assumed.
'No, the other one.' Sirius was pointing to a slim girl with short brown hair. There seemed to be nothing exceptional about her; she was wearing school robes, and a cloak and scarf, and had one leg stretched out on the grass and was playing with her thick woolly sock. Her blond friend was laughing and playing with her own hair. Remus peered closer at the first girl because there was something familiar about her.
'Oh, no, Sirius!'
'You don't actually want to go out with her, do you?'
'Well you can't, do you know who she is?'
'That's Elvira McAdam.'
'The very same Elvira McAdam that, not long ago, I had to profusely apologise to for removing her memory after the Halloween ball.'
'Oh did you? I never thought of that.'
'She's friends with Bellatrix.'
'Yes... she is.'
'Oh, you bastard, this is all to piss Bella off?'
'Just imagine how annoyed she'll be when I seduce one of her darling, goody-goody, pure-blood friends away from her before returning her broken-hearted and with a mind poisoned entirely against her friend...'
'That is evil.'
'Come on, we have to do something to Bella; we don't even know what she did to us on Halloween!'
'I just assumed that whatever happened on Halloween was mostly your fault; you admit as much in your letter.'
'Still, Bella deserves punishing anyway, just for being such a bitch.'
Remus knew perfectly well that 'bitch' was not a strong enough word to describe Bellatrix Black, but that was the main reason he'd rather not be included in Sirius' schemes to torture her. 'You don't even date Slytherins, or pure-bloods.'
'There's a first time for everything. And besides, this is a plan with no draw-backs; it works so well and on so many levels.'
'Does it now? I wouldn't have thought Ellie was really your type; she's actually very nice. She was very gracious about my apology, she forgave me and we actually had quite a long conversation.'
'Two minutes was it? Longest conversation you've ever had with a girl?'
'Because you can't count discussions at prefects' meetings and discussing your homework with McGonagall as talking to girls.'
'Oh, piss off.' Remus whacked his friend slightly too hard on the arm.
'Hey!' Sirius whacked him back.
'Hey!' Remus flicked him in the centre of his forehead.
'Hey!' Sirius then grabbed the front of Remus' underwear through his robe and twanged the elastic very hard.
'Hold on!' Sirius grabbed Remus by the shoulders, a serious look on his face.
'What?' asked Remus, annoyed.
Sirius tried to punch him in the stomach, which he blocked. 'Fraternising with the Slytherins?'
'Apologising for attacking her! As ordered by the Headmaster!' he insisted, aiming another sharp jab to Sirius' arm.
'Ow! Dead arm!'
It quickly degenerated into a girly slapping fight, with lots of nipping and the odd over-enthusiastic punch, until they were interrupted by someone clearing their throat. They jumped apart guiltily, scared it was a teacher.
'Hi, Remus,' Elvira was smiling prettily at him. 'Everything okay?' She looked amused, but not like she was openly laughing at him.
'Er, yeah, hi, sorry.'
'Hi, Sirius,' added the blond girl, who was called Persephone Pyrandra. Remus had laughed out loud when he first heard her name. She glared at Remus quickly. He knew he'd apologised to her too, but that part had been removed from his memory.
'Who the fuck are you?' asked Sirius, not unpleasantly. Remus cuffed him upside the head. 'Hey!'
'I'll see you around, Remus?' Ellie asked.
'Yeah, bye.' The two girls left them alone.
'I don't believe you!'
'What? Just 'cos I can apologise like I actually mean it.'
'Ha! At least I'm just planning on seducing her to protect the honour of my house and to really piss off my cousin. You, you were making eyes at her!'
'I was not!' Remus couldn't understand why Sirius was so bothered.
'You were! You are disgusting. You want to be friends with her!' And with that he flounced off.
Remus knew that Sirius could be unreasonable, but that was ridiculous.
And of course he didn't actually fancy Ellie.
It seemed that Sirius was actually going to go though with his plan. Remus was annoyed because girls always did fall for Sirius' dubious charms and it didn't seem fair to him that Sirius should upset and use a nice, clever girl like Ellie.
When he'd apologised to her she'd been very sweet. She'd told him that she didn't really mind and that he'd only taken away a couple of hours of her memory, that she still remembered all of the Ball.
He'd been worried that his skill at Memory Charms was at fault, but she said it had been very kind of him; she'd had a lovely time at the ball and wouldn't have wanted to lose her memories of it, so she'd probably asked him to leave her some of them and he had.
He'd been surprised that anyone could take this view of it, he himself would have been very angry at someone tampering with his mind like that, however kind they'd been about it.
Ellie had said she knew it was probably all Sirius Black's fault anyway, and she didn't blame him, and she was very grateful that she could still remember the ball and the mystery man she'd danced with all night.
Then she'd raised an eyebrow at him.
'No, it can't have been,' he'd insisted, 'I don't dance. Ever.'
'Oh, well. It may be less romantic, but it proves how selfless you are.'
Remus had never met any Slytherin who was so nice to him before. He was a half-blood after all.
So in light of her kindness towards him, he was going to do her a favour back. He was going to warn her.
It took Remus three days to finally catch her alone. She'd been walking out of the Great Hall as he was about to walk in.
'Er... could I have a word?'
She smiled gently at him. 'Of course you can.'
'Er, maybe we could go for a walk?'
She looked surprised and slightly pleased. 'Fine.'
Remus felt stupid as they wandered out of the castle; he hadn't really planned how he would phrase this and yet again he'd forgotten how interesting and pretty she was. He was sure she must have noticed the way he kept looking at her, she probably thought he was going to ask her out or something. She'd probably think he was just warning her about Sirius because he was jealous.
Not that he was. As if he would be.
It didn't mean he fancied her just because he didn't want Sirius going out with her.
It was dark and slightly chilly and they wandered around the lake in relative silence. She eventually pulled him down onto a rock and looked at him expectantly.
'Er...' he managed to say.
'What was it you wanted to talk about?'
'I-- well-- it's quite embarrassing.'
'I don't mind.'
'Well, it's about Sirius.'
'Oh?' Her voice took on a new, suspicious tone.
'Have you spoken to him recently?'
'Funnily enough, I have.'
'He was worryingly nice to me actually.'
'He's up to something?'
'I'm really sorry...' Remus moaned.
'I'm sure it isn't your fault, if you'd just tell me what he's going to do to me.'
'He's actually trying to chat you up.'
'I doubt it.'
'He's trying to get at Bellatrix, because of that whole Halloween thing.'
'Ah. So he thinks I'll go out with him and Bella will be really angry.'
'Well, I'm not going to go out with him. I think he's possibly one of the last people in school that I'd date.'
'Good on you. Whoops, er--'
'So you're just warning me about him.'
'Well, it's okay, I didn't need warned. I think everyone in school is naturally suspicious about anything involving Sirius Black or James Potter.'
'Yes. I did try to stop him going ahead with the plan, I really did. He's just... very stubborn. I didn't think it was fair persecuting you, not after that whole Memory Charm thing, not after you were so nice about it.'
'Well, you were nice to me about it, and it wasn't your fault, was it?'
'It kind of is. Lily's always saying it's my fault for having such idiotic friends.'
Ellie laughed. 'I suppose you could put it that way.'
'I just thought you needed to know what he was up to.'
'I'm not so daft that I'd believe he was madly in love with me.'
'Ha! He had the nerve to tell me he was, but I know for a fact that Sirius isn't in love with anything except Yorkshire pudding, his own hair, and that picture James has of Cannons Keeper Serena Fordde in her underwear.' Remus blushed, having realised what he'd just said.
'A bit too much information maybe. Why don't I have a little word with him, tell him he hasn't got a chance and that he'd better just bugger off.'
'Sorry.' He twiddled his fingers nervously. 'If you tell him he hasn't got a chance that'll make him worse. I think he likes that. I thought you might want to get yourself a boyfriend and scare him away like that.'
Remus tried not to panic at the new tone her voice had taken on. 'Someone quite big, someone he's scared of, that'd work. Did you ever find that boy you met at the ball?' he asked hurriedly.
'No. I even tried spreading the word round sixth year, but I felt a bit stupid.'
'I might be able to help you find him if you like.' That was a really stupid thing to say, Remus told himself.
'No, it's okay, I think I'll have to give up now.'
'I suppose I could get myself a nice scary boyfriend to beat up Sirius for me.'
'Mm?' squeaked Remus, he didn't actually want Sirius to get hurt.
'The problem is, I don't really go for butch, scary men.'
'No?' Remus asked vaguely.
'No. I prefer the quiet, mysterious, intelligent type.'
'Oh.' Remus stared out across the dark lake, completely unable to meet her eyes.
There was a long silence. He could hear owls hooting and things scurrying about in the forest.
'Okay, I'm going to take the fact that you keep blushing, and that you can't look me in the eye, and that your hands are shaking, as a good sign and just kiss you. Okay?'
Before he could even register what she'd said, her hand was on his chin and she was looking him right in the eyes.
'Er--' And then her lips were on his.
It had been a long time since he'd done this. He could barely remember how you kissed someone. Her lips moved softly against his, and she tasted of rhubarb crumble and custard.
'Mmm.' Remus gave in and let his tongue slide into her mouth and her hands met behind his neck. He put his arms around her carefully. She was very skinny, with very narrow hips and he could feel the bumps of her spine easily, even through her cloak. He felt her shiver a little, but then it was cold. He rubbed her back slowly to warm her, but still concentrating on the kiss, trying to get it right. It had been over a year since he'd done this and he'd forgotten how difficult kissing could be; getting your lips in synch, trying not to slobber too much, trying to keep your teeth out of the way.
She pulled away and he was scared he'd done it wrong. 'See that wasn't so bad,' she told him.
'Mmm.' He struggled to find some words. 'Sirius is going to kill me.'
'Oh bugger him, it isn't as if he actually likes me.'
'Don't worry about it, I'm allowed to like you if I want to.'
'Why would you like me? I'm a Gryffindor.'
'And I'm a half-blood.'
'Oh that doesn't bother me. As if I wasn't already dubious enough about all that, you should hear the way Bella goes on about it. It's enough to convince anyone that all that blood purity nonsense is complete madness. I like you, Remus Lupin, so what are you going to do about it?'
'Er,' they were holding hands, he found, and now he was supposed to kiss her again. So he did.
'Mmm. Okay, that is sweet, but your stomach is rumbling something dreadful, so I think you should go and get some dinner before it's too late.'
'Stop getting all shy and embarrassed, it's not important. Actually, I think it's the shy thing that I quite like.'
Remus decided maybe it didn't matter if he couldn't stop blushing.
'Come on, I'll walk you back.' She dragged him to his feet.
They walked back to the castle in silence, though she was holding his hand, and they stopped just before they reached the steps.
'I'll see you around then?' she asked.
'Probably in the library?'
'And maybe we could go to Hogsmeade together next visit?'
'Er, yeah. That'd be nice. If I'm not dead by then.'
'He won't actually hurt you?'
'No. But he will sulk like a child.'
'That doesn't surprise me. In fact Bella does exactly the same thing.'
'I should tell him that, might stop him doing it.'
She kissed him again, just briefly, and then they entered the castle.
Remus sighed deeply. He felt weird and light-headed and strange and... hungry.
He wandered distractedly into the Great Hall, feeling all warm inside. A feeling that was quickly replaced with a nervous twisting sensation in his ravenous stomach when he saw his friends sitting at the Gryffindor table.
'Where've you been?' Sirius asked, pointing a Yorkshire pudding at him on the end of his fork. What a coincidence, Remus thought, that there was roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for dinner. James and Peter had already progressed on to their afters, which was indeed rhubarb crumble, but Sirius had no doubt decided to spend longer on his favourite main course. Other people cut up their Yorkshire pudding, but Sirius tended to eat his off the end of his fork like a lollipop, occasionally dipping it in gravy.
Remus noticed his friend had gravy dripping down his smooth, hairless chin.
'I went for a walk.'
'Instead of dinner?' Sirius asked incredulously.
Sirius touched his hand. 'And you're all cold,' he noted.
'Yes.' Remus started filling his plate up.
'So you went for a walk, on your own, and you're all cold, yet your cheeks are all red and warm?' A hand pressed against Remus' cheek. He rubbed away the greasiness it left there.
'Look, there was just something I had to do.'
'Hmm.' James and Peter were giving him suspicious looks too.
'Just leave it.'
'So what were you doing?'
Remus had thought his friends had finally forgotten it. 'Nothing!' He took his shoes off and started unbuttoning his shirt.
'So if it's nothing, why do you blush every time we ask you?' James smirked, throwing his books in the corner and starting to root around for his pyjamas.
'I do not!' Remus insisted, blushing profusely.
'So a girl was involved?' James was leaning against his bedside table, trying to look innocent and was stroking his beard, or lack thereof.
'No! I don't even know any girls!' Remus claimed, falling back on his friends' assumptions about him.
'True,' James conceded.
'Wait!' Sirius interrupted. 'You do know girls.'
'No I don't!'
'Oh you little bastard!' Dressed only in his underwear, Sirius dove for him and pinned him to the bed. 'You warned her didn't you?'
'What's going on?' asked James.
'He's trying to spoil our little plot!'
'Which little plot?' James frowned. Remus tried to take in a deep breath, which was difficult with his arms pinned tightly above his head and Sirius sitting on his chest. 'The plot with the dungbombs in Filch's drawers? That potion that grows really long nose-hair? That thing with Snivellus and the permanent face-paint?'
'No, the one to get Bellatrix.'
'Which-- oh. You warned her?'
'She was really nice to me! About the whole Halloween thing! It wasn't fair!'
'She's a Slytherin; our natural enemies. And she's friends with Bellatrix!' James added.
'Yeah? Well I'm friends with you lot, but I'm still really nice and have morals!'
'You bastard, Lupin,' Sirius muttered, glaring down at him.
'Look, I'm really sorry, but she's too nice.' He tried to prove this to Sirius with a sincere expression. 'And she said she wouldn't go out with you if her life depended on it.'
'He fancies her,' Sirius explained bitterly to James.
'You fancy a Slytherin?' screeched Peter.
'I do not,' lied Remus.
'You dooooooo! He makes eyes at her!' Sirius moaned.
'You are one sick bastard, Remus Lupin,' James told him bluntly.
'I do not fancy her,' he moaned.
'You should see the way he looks at her,' Sirius told them, leaning his face very close to Remus'.
'I don't look at her funny.'
'I do not!'
They'd ended up in that secret room, the entrance to which was underneath the portrait of Bearded King Humbletrump. They used it often, and old Humbletrump wasn't one to tell any passers-by of your whereabouts, though you had to put up with all his winking and eyebrow-wiggling every time you walked past. It was a good secret room, one that the four of them usually found extremely useful, but Remus had never actually used it for this purpose before.
This all felt very strange to Remus, touching a girl like this. He wasn't really used to touching people, it just felt wrong somehow, all this holding hands and kissing and stuff. He could just about cope with being mauled by his friends every so often. Okay, quite regularly, but that was the price you had to pay for having mad friends. Remus definitely preferred just being friends with someone.
He thought it was very funny how Sirius' romantic disasters actually seemed to be helping his own love-life, or at least seemed to be helping him make friends. Jemima regularly said hello to him and frequently stopped him in the corridor for a chat, though it was mainly so she could go on about Timmy, her Muggle boyfriend, Remus being the only person at school she'd told about it.
And now he was getting on really well with Ellie. He just didn't actually fancy her that much. And he didn't know how to tell her that. He liked talking to her, and they had some good conversations once he'd calmed down and stopped being so nervous. And he liked kissing her, when he got the hang of it, but it was all too much trouble. Especially with exams coming up in only six months time.
Great; Sirius' girl-problems were giving him girl-problems as well.
Sirius' last plan had involved trying to get his girlfriend a new boyfriend, so she wouldn't mind not going out with him anymore. Remus supposed he could try that. Though actually using one of Sirius' ideas worried him a lot. But surely it would be a nice thing to do, to find Ellie's mystery man for her, though he didn't have a clue how he was going to go about it.
And he certainly wasn't going to ask for Sirius' help.
Ellie pulled away slightly and pressed her lips to his neck. Remus had a vague idea, from only very unreliable sources, about what this sort of thing entailed. Obviously the main thing was the snogging, but you could kiss other places; cheeks, neck, earlobes, shoulders... And everything after that got a bit scary.
Actually the neck thing was very...
Mmm, thought Remus. Once you got over the whole nervous thing, there were lots of things that were good, though it all still felt strangely unnatural. But this was a favour he should return. Her neck felt smooth and smelt very female, and the skin behind her ear was really soft. He liked that bit and tried licking it. Ellie made a slight moaning noise, which alarmed him; she'd generally been nicely quiet throughout. Sirius always assured him that girls should make spectacular moaning noises when things felt good, but he knew that if she had it would have just disturbed him rather.
Eventually, she pulled away. 'I should go, people will start wondering where I've got to.'
'Yeah,' he sighed, partly disappointed that she wanted to stop just when he was relaxing enough to enjoy it, and partly relieved. Doing anything further would have petrified him, possibly literally.
He helped her to her feet and led her to the trapdoor. It opened outwards, next to the floor, and once he'd checked there were no spectators and they'd climbed through, he shut it gently and it blended back into the wall.
They both straightened up. 'I'll see you soon, yes?' Ellie asked.
'Yes.' He gave her a quick kiss and she hurried off down the corridor, obviously worried that her friends might find out where she'd been and who with. He was hardly a suitable boyfriend for a pretty, pure-blood, sixth-year Slytherin.
'Thanks, your Highness,' he said, gratefully nodding to the portrait.
'Oh, do not thank me,' Bearded King Humbletrump boomed regally.
'No, really, thanks.'
He realised what the king had meant when the hands grabbed him by the shoulders and flung him against the wall.
Normally James was very possessive of his invisibility cloak, so Remus would have assumed it was him, but somehow he could tell by the way he'd been grabbed that it was Sirius.
'That isn't what beardy here says.' Sirius whipped off the cloak and threw it to the ground, still holding Remus fast with one hand. 'I'm afraid he's more loyal to James and I than he is to you.'
'I'm afraid we have a deal, you see,' Humbletrump explained in his thick, throaty tones. 'I tell no-one of where they are, and they do not share my family secrets--'
'If you don't shut up I'll tell him about your sister Vernicastra and that curious affliction she suffered from during her later years...'
The portrait moaned and buried his face in his hands.
'And as for you, Lupin, I think we need a little chat up in the dormitory.'
'Blackmailing the portraits now? Whatever next? Are there any depths you have left unstooped-to?'
'So, Agent Black, were our suppositions correct?' James was sitting cross-legged on his bed, hands steepled together under his chin, favouring them with a piercing stare worthy of Dumbledore himself.
'Caught red-handed, sneaking out of old Beardy's secret room,' Sirius answered coldly.
'Both of them?' Peter squealed in horror.
'Hmm,' intoned James superiorly, before giving in and going back to normal. 'Fuck this. Lupin, what the hell do you think you're doing? Defecting to Slytherin?'
'No! I just happen to be friends with one Slytherin, who is really nice.'
'Just friends, eh?'
'Just friends hiding in a secret room doing nothing but having a friendly chat?'
'Er, yes! We both knew that our friends would overreact, so we met up in secret!'
'He's lying!' sulked Sirius.
'Is he? Come on, this is Remus we're talking about. Even if they were having an affair, it would hardly be the passion of the century, would it? It's possible he gave her a very chaste peck on the cheek goodbye, but anything else... I very much doubt it.'
Remus was extremely grateful for James in that moment, especially because all Sirius had seen was the 'chaste peck on the cheek'.
'He's sneaking around with Slytherins!'
'You are making far too big a deal out of this, Black, you were planning on shagging her yourself, which I doubt is something that Remus is planning on.'
'Certainly not!' Remus mumbled, blushing in horror.
'See? So I think really the main problem is you.'
'What?' Sirius yelled.
'I-- I bloody well am not!' Sirius was looking very flushed and vicious. If Remus had been in James' position he would have been scared.
'Yes you are; you just can't hack it that any girl fancies Remus more than they fancy you. She had the choice and she picked him. Get over it.'
'Besides, you're always going on about how Remus never has any girls; you should be pleased he finally has one. That is all I have to say on the matter.'
Sirius looked livid, probably because James had not only asserted his authority, but he'd dismissed Sirius' opinion so casually.
'If you look closely, he has a mark on his neck,' Sirius hissed tightly.
'Really?' Peter's disgust was instantly replaced with keen interest.
'Moon-boy has a love bite?' gasped James.
James dove for him and Remus found he was being held down while James sat on his chest and he and Peter inspected his neck. Probably not the reaction Sirius had been hoping for.
'I found it!' cheered Peter.
'Where? Where? Oooh, nice.'
Remus struggled irritably. 'Get off!'
'Huh!' Sirius was standing a good distance away, face stony, arms folded.
'Lighten up, Sirius. Aww, our little werewolf is growing up!' James pinched his cheek, gave his hair a good scrubbing and finally got off him. 'I'm peckish. Kitchens, anyone? You'll be starving after all that snogging, I expect.'
There had been lots of little digs at Remus in the past few days. He found he couldn't go anywhere without being stalked by one of his friends, whether it was James with his wiggling eyebrows, Peter's snickering, or Sirius' nasty personal insults, they all seemed to think he shouldn't be left alone. The only way he could see Ellie was to go completely missing for several hours beforehand and then meet her somewhere really unlikely.
'Looking forward to Saturday, are you?' James asked him slyly as they left the Charms classroom, slinging an arm round his shoulders and trying to get a good look at his neck at the same time. Remus knew this was because they just assumed that he'd been late for Charms because he'd met Ellie.
'Yes,' Remus snapped, wanting to avoid this conversation, especially because it riled up both him and Sirius. For two best friends Remus thought that James and Sirius liked pissing each other off just a bit too much.
'Lupin isn't the only one with a date,' Sirius told James sharply.
'Don't tell me one of you has a girlfriend?' Snape muttered as he passed them. Remus groaned; the boy must have a death-wish.
'I have ten, Snivelly, jealous much?' Sirius retorted quickly.
'Please. I have all the female attention I need, and I'm not talking about Potter here.'
'You couldn't get a girlfriend if your life depended on it, Snivellus, if you got anywhere near a girl all your grease would make them slide right off again.' Sirius made a complicated sliding motion with his hands. 'You have to have a bit of friction.'
James laughed appreciatively.
'What would you know about my love-life Black, been following it intently?'
'As if! It's pretty obvious to anyone that you don't have one.'
'Yes? At least I've managed to date a girl for longer than five minutes because they aren't totally repulsed by me.'
'Let's test that theory, shall we? Evans, what do you think of Snivellus?' Lily favoured him with a particularly nasty look for dragging her into this as she tried to escape down the corridor with the rest of their class. Remus decided it was her own fault for looking like she'd been about to intervene.
'Like I would be interested in a filthy mudblood!' Snape spluttered.
'Hoy!' yelled James.
'I think he's scum with a capital S, just like you, Black,' Lily told him calmly.
'Just like I think he's scum with a capital S?' Sirius asked hopefully.
'No,' she replied witheringly, 'just like I think you're scum with a capital S.'
'Indeed,' smiled Snape. 'The reason girls hate you, Black, is because you have the charm of a dead flobberworm, you take pride in executing pranks instead of your blood-line, and you have the personality of an epileptic niffler. If you just tried being mature for a change...'
'I hardly need the advice of a slimy virginal little toad like you.'
'And you should really stop hanging around with this gang of reprobates. A smug, self-satisfied, big-headed Muggle-lover like Potter here, a pathetic little lap-dog like Pettigrew, and Lupin, who couldn't be gayer if he was trying. No doubt some people think the two of you are an item--'
Sirius made a grab for Snape's throat immediately, while James inflicted a casual jelly-legs hex.
'What's the problem, fancy Remus yourself, do you?' Sirius snarled.
'Don't worry about it, he's all yours,' Snape grunted, quickly losing his balance from James' hex.
Sirius snarled again and punched him in the face, falling to the floor with him.
Remus peered around the corner, hoping there would be a teacher in sight, but no such luck. And Lily had already gone.
'Petrificus totalis,' James muttered carelessly, and Snape went rigid, though Sirius didn't seem to feel any need to stop beating him.
Remus sighed. 'Petrificus totalis,' he added, and Sirius stopped moving too.
'That was mean,' James pointed out.
'As Gryffindors we are supposed to have some honour and not kick someone while they're down.'
They stood gazing down at the two stiff bodies.
'Er, shouldn't we get them off each other?' James asked casually.
'I don't know, it does serve them right. Poetic justice.'
James shrugged. 'You don't reckon Snivelly actually fancies you, do you?'
'I hope not, for my own sanity and peace of mind.'
'How long should we leave them there?'
'I think Snape deserves at least five minutes for suggesting that I couldn't be any gayer--'
'--Seeing that you're actually dating a Slytherin.'
'I'm not dating her.'
'Right, you're just going to Hogsmeade with her this weekend. And you never return to the dormitory with strange marks on your neck.'
'And Sirius deserves even longer for giving me horrible mental images.'
'Besides, if Snape fancies any of us then it's probably you, he does hate you just a little too much sometimes--'
'And that mental image is your punishment for starting this fight.'
'How did I start this fight?'
'You picked on me and Snape overheard it. Obviously he was just worried that it was you that had a girlfriend...'
'Bastard,' James shuddered.
'Would you rather I removed some house points?'
'Huh, you are the one that's scum, ever since they made you a prefect. Dumbledore should never have given you that talk on standing up to us.'
'That worried me actually, it was something to do with what happened on Halloween.'
'It's scary how everything comes back to that.'
'What is going on?' McGonagall asked sharply, Lily Evans hovering by her side. 'You should all be at lunch. Mr Lupin?'
'It's a sort of unconventional punishment,' he replied, unable to look her in the eye.
'Well, I can see how it's unconventional.' Her facial expression flickered slightly.
'They were, er, undermining each other's sexuality, so we thought--'
'I see.' She frowned and paused. 'I expect to see all four of you in the hall eating in five minutes time.'
'Yes, professor,' Remus muttered, trying desperately not to smile.
Professor McGonagall stalked off.
Lily was trying hard not to smile too. 'I can't believe you got away with that.'
Remus approached his dormitory with caution. He hadn't avoided his friends on purpose; he'd had a lot of work to do, but he knew some sort of retribution awaited him.
He opened the door slowly and was greeted with a swift punch to the stomach.
'Oof!' He crumpled to the floor.
'You know you deserved that,' Sirius told him.
'And it's from me too!' James yelled from the other side of the room.
'What did he do to you?' Sirius asked in surprise.
'We don't talk about that.'
'Well, I'm going to bed.' Remus heaved himself off the floor and threw his bag next to his bed.
'Trying to sleep here,' Remus mumbled.
'I am sorry about all that with Snape,' Sirius admitted, climbing in.
'But you made me lie on top of him. For five minutes!'
'Serves you right with the homophobic insults!'
'He started it!'
'And you suggested he fancied me!'
'And you suggested he fancied me!' yelled James.
'You didn't!' exclaimed Sirius.
'You were there at the time,' Remus told him.
'I must have been distracted.'
'Distracted by Snivellus' greasy little body?' asked James.
'Oh god, I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight. I can't believe two of my best friends did that to me,' Sirius moaned, burrowing into Remus' bed.
'None of us will be able to sleep tonight,' James told them ominously.
'I might, if you'd all shut up!' interrupted Peter.
Remus was surprised to find Severus Snape standing next to his cauldron in Potions the next day.
'We have to pair up with someone from another house,' Snape muttered.
'And you chose me?'
'It could be worse.'
'Not for me it couldn't. I hope this isn't your way of chatting me up,' Remus dared to say.
Snape started laying out potion ingredients. 'Hardly.'
Remus checked his notes. 'You know it isn't worth your while hexing me don't you?' he asked casually.
'I wasn't planning on it. So what did Black do to you then?'
'Punch in the stomach.'
'Could have been worse.'
'Yes you could have had the bastard lying on top of you for ten minutes.'
'It wasn't that long.'
Remus felt on edge as they started to cut up ingredients, there had to be some reason why Snape had chosen him for a partner. He hoped to god that the bloke wasn't going to confess to being gay or something equally personal and disturbing.
'So you're going out with a Slytherin?' Snape asked suddenly.
Oh, that. Remus had forgotten James had brought that up in front of Snape. 'I'm not going out with her. Not properly. Why do you care anyway? Are you going to tell me off for trying to pollute the Wizarding blood-lines?'
'No. I just wondered who it was.'
'None of your business.'
'It's Elvira McAdam, isn't it?'
'Does it matter?'
'Of course not. Look, I didn't mean to call you gay and all that.'
'Yes you did.'
'But I was just trying to piss off Black and Potter.'
'And me,' Remus pointed out.
Remus didn't know what to think. Snape was rarely nice to him, though he wasn't as bad to him as he was to James and Sirius.
'So I take it you aren't really gay.'
'Hey, I don't care, I just thought you might be.' Snape shrugged. 'Black did overreact.'
'He's always looking for an excuse to overreact where you're concerned.'
'Yes. And by the way, I do not fancy Potter.'
'Really?' Remus grinned wickedly. 'Sirius more your type, is he?'
'I don't particularly want to play this game with you,' Snape replied coldly.
'Really? If I had to choose between the two, then James'd be my choice.'
'What?' Snape asked incredulously.
'Well Sirius'd be far too high maintenance. And he'd cheat terribly.'
Snape snorted and clapped a hand over his mouth as they laughed together. 'He would as well!'
'Though they both spend far too much time playing with their hair.'
'Ha! I can believe that.'
'What the hell are you two laughing about?' Sirius asked sharply, appearing in front of their desk. Remus couldn't look at him.
'None of your business, Black,' Snape tried to say menacingly, but collapsed laughing again.
'When did you start being funny, Lupin?' Sirius growled. Snape hiccupped. 'I'll get you later Snivellus!' he added.
There had been something odd about Snape in Potions, Remus decided, something else. Of course Snape was an odd sort of boy anyway, and it was extra odd that he had been nice to Remus for a whole lesson and hardly even got angry when Remus had turned their potion bright pink when it was supposed to be transparent. They'd actually had a good laugh about it. Damn it, the boy hadn't even minded when they were told it would need to be re-done sometime before next week.
Remus was sufficiently convinced that the bloke didn't fancy him, so what was it? Snape had been gentle and friendly and even deferent to Remus' opinions. Very strange. He couldn't see any reason why Snape should admire him. Snape hated his friends, hated all Gryffindors, hated all non pure-bloods, and was easily better at potions than Remus. So what could it be?
'Remus!' He was startled out of his thoughts by Elvira calling to him as she walked out of the entrance to the Slytherin dungeons.
'Still up for going to Hogsmeade on Saturday?'
'Yeah, er, looking forward to it.'
Remus glanced around nervously. Much as he liked her, he still couldn't get used to this. He always felt really stupid in front of her and looking her in the eye was really difficult. Peculiarly, his eyes met the person who had previously been occupying his thoughts. Snape. Hovering near the wall.
'I'll have to do some Christmas shopping in the afternoon, but we can have lunch in the Three Broomsticks,' Ellie was saying.
The realisation struck Remus rather forcefully and he dragged his eyes away from Snape, trying to hide his shocked expression.
'What's wrong?' she was looking at him concernedly.
'I just remembered; there's this practical I have to re-do for Potions, I might have to do that on Saturday...'
'Are you trying to get rid of me, Remus?' She folded her arms but smiled at him in amusement. She never seemed to mind any of his nervous tics or strange ways, just took it all in her stride.
'No, I- I can still meet you, just a bit later on, about twelve maybe?'
'If you don't want to go with me you can just--'
'No! It isn't that, really. I just ruined things in Potions today and my partner was really nice about it and I feel horrible. He's so brilliant at potions too, it's such a shame he has to re-do it as well. But I still like you, really.' Okay, that must have sounded completely mad, Remus realised.
'Good. How about a kiss to prove it?'
'Er...' Remus normally wouldn't be keen on touching someone like that in public, but then; it would be the best way to be sure. Snape was still skulking around the periphery of his vision, trying to pretend he wasn't there.
He leaned in and gave her a brief peck on the lips.
'So, if you met me in the Potions dungeon at about twelve?' he asked her quietly
'Okay, see you then.' She gave his hand a squeeze, then walked into the Great Hall, throwing a little wave in his direction. Remus waved back, then headed straight for Snape, hoping that this would work.
'So, I take it you wanted to ask me when was a good time to re-make our potion?' He thought it was very noble of him to try and save Snape's embarrassment.
'I'm afraid Saturday morning's the only time I can manage it, but if we start early we can still go to Hogsmeade.'
'So that's okay?'
'I suppose it has to be.' Snape wasn't doing a very good job of hiding his jealousy at all. It had to be him.
Remus felt all warm and excited inside. It was a far more intense feeling than any excitement he felt while kissing Ellie. He knew he was being silly and romantic and girly, but he didn't care.
Any admiration that Snape might have felt for Remus' romantic conquests seemed now to have entirely evaporated, to be replaced with resentment and thinly-veiled jealousy. Remus had thought they might be able to keep up the semblance of friendship they'd managed earlier in the week, but he'd been wrong. Since he'd kissed Elvira in front of him, Snape hated his guts even more.
Soon they were packing their potions equipment away, and Remus was getting worried.
'Shouldn't you be hurrying off to meet your girlfriend?' Snape asked him nastily.
'Er, not yet. And she isn't properly my girlfriend exactly.'
'Haven't you got a date?' Remus asked conversationally.
'Oh, never mind.'
'So what do Black and Potter think of you dating a Slytherin?'
'They aren't too happy, would you believe.'
'I bet they aren't.' He smiled maliciously. 'And you are acting awfully flippant about things for someone who's hardly the ladies man. Been getting advice from Black, have you?'
'Ha! I'm not that stupid. For someone who seems to be making his way through the entire school he gets it terribly wrong a lot of the time.'
'Does he? Now that's a story I wouldn't mind hearing.'
'Well...' Remus knew he shouldn't be sharing his friend's secrets, but he'd have to cheer Snape up if he was going to make a good impression on Ellie. 'Have you ever woken up to find all your bodily fluids have been dyed an unusual colour?'
'Well that's one to watch out for. Messed up Sirius' love-life for a whole fortnight. He nearly killed James.'
'Oh that is far too much information,' Snape insisted, as he tried and failed to keep a straight face.
'Hey, Remus.' Ellie said as she finally turned up, with perfect timing, much to Remus' relief. He had been worried she might be too late and that Snape would have done a runner by the time she got there. He'd omitted to tell Snape that she was meeting them there just in case.
'Hi. Oh, er, you two'll know each other?'
'Yes, hi, Severus.'
'Hello,' Snape muttered bitterly, having suddenly stopped laughing.
'So what's so funny about potions?' she asked.
'I was just telling him about one of Sirius' more tragic relationships.'
'I can imagine. Though what I can't imagine is why anyone would go out with him in the first place.'
'Yes, he's far too high-maintenance,' commented Snape. Remus laughed with him.
'Well we should be off,' Ellie told Remus.
'Yeah. Coming to Hogsmeade, Severus?' Remus shuddered inwardly at having to use his enemy's first name.
'Oh, come on, you can't spend all day festering in here.' He threw Snape's cloak at him, then dragged him out forcefully by the arm.
The walk into Hogsmeade had been very difficult, and not just because of the thick early snow. Normally Remus found himself nervous and rather tongue-tied around Ellie, certainly for the first half-an-hour or so, but today he knew it was important to keep the conversation going, and to keep Snape involved. He found that today his nerves were fairly quiet and were for the most part replaced by a feeling of nervous excitement trembling in his stomach.
Snape clearly thought that Remus had gone mad, and Remus was starting to agree with him as he found himself talking about how good Snape was at potions and all the clever ways that Snape retaliated to James and Sirius' pranks on him.
Once they'd reached Hogsmeade they'd got some rather funny looks, or, more to the point, Remus had got some rather funny looks, walking around with two Slytherins.
Now they were relaxing in the pub and Remus was wondering how he could turn the conversation round to the Halloween ball.
Snape and Ellie seemed to get on well enough, it seemed that their families knew each other fairly well and Remus was delighted to encourage them to talk about the shared parts of their childhoods. They would make a lovely couple; Ellie would make Snape happier and nicer, and hopefully some of her more liberal views would rub off on him. Remus didn't know how Ellie would benefit from it, except that she seemed to like him a lot.
'You must have been at that party my parents had last new years eve...' Ellie was saying to Snape.
'Yes, I must have been. I can't really remember much about it though.'
Remus grabbed the opportunity eagerly with both hands. 'I know how that feels!'
Ellie laughed. 'Don't we all? Yet it's the parts that I do remember that are the most frustrating...'
'Oh, you should tell Severus, he might know.' Remus could hardly stay in his seat. This was working perfectly.
'Tell him what? Oh. You are terribly soppy you are.' She punched him affectionately in the arm. 'I met this lovely guy at the Halloween Ball. Problem is I don't know who he was! We danced for ages and it was so nice, but I cannot for the life of me find him again! Stupid, isn't it.'
Remus could tell by the look on Snape's face that he'd guessed correctly.
'I suppose I'll never find him. It's all very sad. Remus is such an old romantic he seems to think that I'll find him someday, don't you?' She patted Remus' hand. Snape was staring at him with a look of wonder and horror.
'You know, I've just remembered there's this book I have to go and buy,' Remus told them.
'You two'll be okay alone for a while, won't you?' He scraped his chair back. Snape was still gawping incredulously. Remus gave him a nudge, hoping he'd be able to pull himself together enough to tell Ellie the truth.
Once he'd got out of the Three Broomsticks he collapsed against a wall, heart pumping fast, full of excitement at his triumph. He should do things like this more often; it gave you a lovely warm feeling inside.
He found Sirius in Madame Puddifoot's and threw himself down in a chair across from him.
'I feel great,' he told his friend with great enthusiasm.
'I thought you had a studying-date with Snape?' Sirius asked harshly, ignoring his comment.
'Don't talk bollocks, I just did the nicest thing.'
'If Snape was involved, I don't want to know,' he pointed out with disgust.
'You are an idiot. I was just in the Three Broomsticks with Ellie.'
'Oh, did she dump you?' Sirius asked, sounding unconcerned.
'Sirius!' exclaimed his date, whose name Remus didn't know.
'Not exactly, but I think she'll have herself a new boyfriend fairly soon.'
'And that's good?' the girl asked.
'Trust me, it's very romantic.'
'Ahh,' she said.
'Ah,' Sirius repeated, but in an entirely different tone; viciously and with plenty of sarcasm.
'She'd met a mystery man at the Halloween Ball and I found out who it was and got them together.'
'That is so sweet,' sighed the girl.
'Hold on; what?' asked Sirius.
'And I cleverly left them alone in the pub.' He grinned at the other two people at the table, then suddenly realised. In Sirius' eyes this wasn't a nice thing to do at all. Sirius was going to kill him. 'Ah.'
Remus scrambled out of his chair and made for the door in a desperate rush.
He dashed through the snow, still unable to stop smiling. Sirius might be a prat, but it was funny. Or it would be if he wasn't about to be killed by him. It would be okay, Remus thought, trying not to run into anyone in his haste, dodging through the crowds, weaving in and out and skidding in the snow. He'd got a good head-start at least.
He skidded to a halt, deciding to hide in an alleyway, but the first one he found was occupied by none other than...
They looked up at him. They were holding hands and it was quite likely that seconds earlier their faces had been even closer. Snape looked blissfully happy, but Ellie looked worried.
Remus just grinned at them.
'You never fail to surprise me, Remus Lupin,' Ellie said, grinning back.
'Yeah, well--' And then he was hit in the side by a flying tackle.
'You little cunting fucker!' Sirius yelled.
'Oh, get off me -ow!--you bastard!'
'Get off him, Black, you idiot,' Ellie hissed.
Sirius sat up, unfortunately on Remus' stomach. He seemed to be incoherent with rage and only managed to stammer, 'you- Snape...' in a threatening tone, with a lot of random pointing.
Remus laughed again. 'Don't worry about me, I'll be fine.' Ellie appeared rather dubious. 'Sirius has to go, anyway.'
'Not til I've beaten the crap out of you, you little fucking traitor!'
'Oh, really?' Remus asked, creasing with laughter again. 'Because you just ran out Madame Puddifoot's leaving your date all alone. But I'm sure she'll accept the excuse 'I'm sorry but I had to beat up Remus'.'
'Shit!' He scrambled up and dashed off.
Remus sat up and grinned at the happy couple.
'And what were you going to do if you'd got the wrong person, or I didn't like him?' Elvira asked him.
'So you were trying to dump me after all.'
'Not exactly, but it would hardly have been worth it in the long-run. Bellatrix would have dumped you and my lot were teasing me to hell already. I think we're better off just being mates.' He stood up and brushed snow off his trousers.
'Probably,' she admitted.
'And I'm just an old romantic at heart.'
'And already you've stopped shaking and blushing when we're together, and your voice isn't wobbling at all.'
'You do realise that you're bleeding, Lupin,' Snape told him, rather patronisingly, but in a warmer tone than Remus had ever heard him use before.
'Ah, you get used to it,' he replied with a grin.
Remus picked himself up, waved goodbye, and began the long trek back to the castle, grinning like a maniac and dripping blood onto the snow.