- 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.
The Dating Disasters of Sirius Black 09
- Chapter Summary:
- For some reason unfathomable to Remus, Sirius always tells him about his romantic problems in excruciating detail. MWPP-era. Slash.
- Author's Note:
- Oh, you'll like this chapter. Well you might not, but never mind.
Part 9: Remus Lupin and inclement weather
Early September, some random corridor, in search of James
Remus frowned. He'd definitely followed the directions carefully enough, and they'd been pretty specific. He'd been very suspicious initially, but then had remembered that they had barely a month to plan...
'Yargh...mmf!' he cried out at the hand on his arm, before his voice was muffled by a sweaty palm.
When the pain and scuffling had ceased, there was darkness, and a thick smell of dust, and Peter said, 'Prongs found a new secret room!'
'Very nice,' Remus commented, looking around him at the small yet high ceilinged room, 'I don't know how you find them.'
'Didn't put it on the map yet though,' James replied, finally letting go of him.
'So what are we doing this time?'
'Yeah,' Peter breathed in awe. Clearly he hadn't been informed yet either.
'Come on James, we are sufficiently on tenterhooks, hanging on your every word, etc etc.'
'JAMES!' Remus yelled; Peter's incessant twitching was starting to annoy him.
'Okay, okay, so it's going to be spectacular--'
'Oh, please, don't give too much away.'
'Shut it with your sarcasm Moony. The idea is we play a complicated series of interlinked pranks, that combine to totally devastate the school.'
'Wow,' Peter exclaimed happily.
'I'll save my admiration until you make it a little clearer. Of course we won't be getting caught this time?'
'Of course. As Padfoot will be the first of us to turn of age, this prank will be the prank to end all pranks--'
'Hope not,' said Peter, continuing to jiggle.
'Anyway, this prank will be childish, to prove that seventeen does not signal the end of childish things--'
'We were hardly worried that Sirius--' Remus commented.
'Yet,' James continued, glaring repressively at him, 'it will be mature in it's ingenuity, to show that we are accepting of some of the more pleasurable aspects of adulthood.'
'Sounds like you spent too long on the concept of this prank, and not enough on the actual details. And did you have to use a dictionary to write this speech?' Remus was feeling rather tetchy in general; sixth year wasn't turning out to be half as good as fifth, and they'd only been back a week.
'Shut up! This plan will combine the frolics of our shared childhood, yet show off the skills we have learnt with age.'
'They'll know it's us,' Remus pointed out flatly.
'I concede that point. They will know it was us; but they will never be able to prove it.'
'Really? It's that clever?' Peter asked disbelievingly.
'Yes, my dear, trusting Wormtail.'
'Far too trusting in my opinion,' Remus said tartly.
'And you were far too trusting of Sirius, weren't you?' James never could resist an opening like that.
'Piss off! So have you spent any time at all plotting the actual prank?'
'I thought it should be more of a group effort.' James told him blithely. 'Any ideas?'
'He was always wanting to try those weather-charms,' remembered Peter.
'Don't be stupid, no-one can charm the weather!'
'Shut up, Moony, Wormtail has a point! Localised weather-charms. Brilliant!'
'There's such a thing as localised weather-charms?'
'And how do they work?'
'You get certain weather conditions centred on small areas. It could be snowing in the Entrance Hall, raining in the Dungeons, gale-force winds down all first-floor corridors...' His eyes had started to glow; never a good sign in Remus' opinion.
'Yes, but how do they work?' Remus asked, trying to drag his friend back to the important point.
'Well, you know, just.' James waved his wand indistinctly, a hopeful look on his face.
'Well you better let Sirius do them, you'll be shit.'
'True. Trust me to be amazing at the difficult things and crap at something easy and girly like charms. No, we'll leave the gay, girlyness to shirt-lifter Black.'
'James!' That jab actually had shocked Remus; James may be a bit of a wanker, but he'd never thought him to be intolerant.
'Well he is.'
'As his best friend, you should just accept the way he is.'
'If he'd just told me! Instead of creeping after you, no doubt feeling you up when he thought you wouldn't notice.'
'He did not, and he's not gay, he just likes boys as well as girls.'
'Oh he does, does he? When'd he tell you that? When he was sneaking into your bed at night?'
'I can't believe you didn't know! He used to sneak into your bed and tell you he liked boys! Really!'
'It wasn't like that! And he used to share beds with all of us.'
'Urgh,' Peter gurgled in disgust, though Remus couldn't imagine that Sirius had spent much time in his bed.
'I know, and I'm with Wormtail on this one. And did you not notice that it was mainly you he got in with?'
'Can we just change the subject, there's very few things that make me more uncomfortable, unless you'd like to discuss my lycanthropy while we're at it?'
'No, fine, so back to the Happy Birthday Celebrations for arse-bandit Black's coming-of-age. I think I might write that on his birthday card actually.'
'You will not.'
'So what else does this plan need?' James continued hurriedly.
Remus and Peter both shrugged.
'Why not,' Peter began nervously, 'why not just make a list of all the good things Padfoot would like to have in a prank, then sort of... bung them all together?'
'That's crap,' muttered Remus, knowing that this was all going to end in disaster.
'That's genius!' exclaimed James, 'another brilliant idea courtesy of Wormtail! He'll be beating me at this rate.'
Peter couldn't have looked more pleased with himself.
'So, we have the weather-charms he's always wanted to try, I think we'll miss bumming other men out of this plan if he doesn't mind--'
'Sorry, couldn't help that one. Er... he's always wanted to try Polyjuice, hasn't he?'
'That takes ages to brew!' Remus snapped.
'I've heard it's really painful,' added Peter.
'Can't be worse than turning into a rat, Peter, oh, sorry Remus.'
Remus glared at James, he was pretty sure that their Animagus transformations were nothing compared to his agony. Insensitive bastard, he thought.
'Sod a bit of pain, if it's what Padfoot wants, then that's what he gets, with some notable exceptions of course,' he added, with a significant look at Remus.
'Are you ever going to shut up? I hope you weren't like this with him all summer?'
'Nah, had other things to worry about.'
'Also, I'm not sure Polyjuice'll work on me.'
'Really?' asked Peter, 'is that a werewolf thing?'
'Well that part of me doesn't take to kindly to being mucked about with. If curing me were as easy as becoming an Animagus or drinking Polyjuice every full moon then I would have done it already.'
'I see, never thought about it like that.' James tapped his chin, frowning. 'Anyway so long as Sirius gets to take it... but how are we going to get some part of Dumbledore to put in it?'
'Dumbledore?' Remus yelped in horror.
'Naturally! This has to be spectacular and I'm sure he's always wanted to.' James leered dangerously.
'Oh god, Sirius becomes of age and we all get expelled.' Remus covered his eyes with his hand.
'You know old Dumbledore can take a joke,' James insisted.
'Okay, so far we have: Polyjuice, I'll do that.' Remus looked up to find that James hadn't been lying about his organisational skills and had whipped out a quill and roll of parchment.
'Where will you do that without Sirius noticing?' Peter asked.
'You haven't told him about this?' Remus was surprised. 'Keeping secrets from him now, are y-- never mind,' he added hastily.
'Well if he doesn't feel the need to tell me he likes to take it up the arse--'
'I love the way you can do that. I love the way the issue isn't even that he's bisexual, it's the fact that he didn't tell you. It is truly amazing the way you can turn everything around so it's all about you.'
'Sod off! For fuck's sake, Lupin, we're planning his birthday here! Your PMT is terrible this month.'
Remus glared; there really was nothing less funny than time-of-the-month jokes, especially because in a way it was true; he did get rather tetchy at certain times.
'...So I'll do the Polyjuice, Peter you can get the Firewhisky.'
'Ooh, several bottles I think.'
Remus startled. 'Several bottles?'
'Yes; half for his birthday, and half for the night before when we'll be executing the main part of the pranks.'
'We're going to be doing this drunk?' Remus found he was fiddling unconsciously with his prefects' badge, as if his subconscious already knew he wouldn't have it in a months time.
James tried to play it down. 'Mildly tipsy. Ish.'
'You'd better acquire some of that hangover potion too, Peter,' Remus commented rather coldly. 'And what will I doing?'
'You'd better start looking up the weather-charms so bum-boy knows how to do them when the time comes.'
'I'm just getting it all out of my system while he isn't here.'
'I bloody hope so.'
Two weeks later Remus once again found himself hiding in the same secret room, waiting for James and Peter to turn up. There was a cauldron set up in the corner, no doubt containing the half-brewed Polyjuice, and a really big spider hanging from the ceiling that was definitely looking at him funny.
There was the sound of thundering footsteps, closely followed by the others collapsing hurriedly through the door.
'Ah ha ha,' said James, brushing himself down.
'What did you do? Felt the need to antagonise someone on your way, did you?'
'Wasn't my fault at all, was it Wormtail?'
'Er, no,' he replied loyally, but in a rather sceptical tone of voice.
'Exactly. Now what's your problem Moony?'
'The weather charms are just far too difficult!'
'He'll be fine.'
'They're past NEWT level! I'm actually scared of them! If we want to pre-arrange them we'd have to stick the charm itself to the wall, which by the way is ridiculously difficult, and set them to time-delay. I mean a charm is just a--' he waved his wand, '--can you imagine how difficult it is to glue them in one place for several hours until we want them to take effect?'
'I think you are underestimating how good he is, with a bit of help from you it'll all go fine,' James waved away his concerns.
'I hardly think my notes are going to help all that much.'
'No, I mean you'll have to actually be there--'
'But surely you'll be--'
'No, you stupid werewolf, I can't, that's the problem. I was thinking about how we're going to get away with this, and you've convinced me enough that McGonagall won't believe us capable of the weather charms, but we still need alibis just in case.'
'I don't get it.'
'That's what we use the Polyjuice for. On the day of Sirius' birthday all we need to do is make sure there's always someone else around us, especially at the times the charms are set to go off. But, just in case, the evening we're setting things up I wanted to use the Polyjuice so it would appear that Sirius and I had been sitting quietly in the common room all evening.'
'Oh. Well at least no-one's going to be Dumbledore.'
'So what would have been perfect would be for you and Wormtail to have polyjuiced into us.'
'But I can't,' Remus sighed.
'Yeah. So you'll have to help him with the weather charms, while Peter is Sirius and I'm me, then you can sit with Peter-who-is-being-Sirius for a bit while real-Sirius and I go and do dastardly things to the Slytherins.'
'You didn't explain that bit yet.'
'So I have to sit around looking like Sirius all evening?' Peter asked worriedly.
'Yes,' James told him briskly.
'But I can't do it! I can't act like him, all loud and clever and that.'
'Well you can just be Sirius when he's in a mood; just shout 'fuck off' every time someone comes near you.' James smirked.
'Oh I can do that.'
'I hope you have enough Polyjuice for all this?' Remus asked sceptically.
'Oh I have. And possibly some spare...'
'Don't even think about it.'
'So the thing is, Moony,' James began, sitting in front of Remus in the library.
'What?' he snapped without looking up.
'We need some of your hair.'
'Why? Can't have two of me wandering Hogwarts.'
'Well, there's going to several times of the evening when there's two of certain persons and none of others; we'll just have to make sure we use the map to check we don't bump into each other. Or rather that no-one catches us. And for the Slytherin prank we're going to need a prefect. So someone has to be you.'
'Can't I just be me?'
'No, I'm already not going to get to do many of the fun bits. I have to help with something.'
Remus relented, because it was all his fault for being a stupid werewolf and not being able to use Polyjuice. 'So who-'
'Well Peter will be me or Sirius, you'll be you, but hiding in the dorm, or in the common room watching the map.'
'And me and Sirius can be you and Peter. Don't look so worried, I'll be you.'
'Okay then.' Remus said, compelling himself to sound calm, because he was sick of James constantly forcing him to confront things that would otherwise be more easily forgotten.
'You pretend it doesn't bother you, but it does, doesn't it?' James teased with a smirk.
'Shut up. Actually I'd rather that no-one was using my body for nefarious purposes, you're bound to say something stupid to a teacher and they'll think I'm a nutcase.'
'Don't know what you're so pissed off about; I'll have to spend an hour with that arse-bandit eyeing me up.'
'He doesn't do that.'
'That's what you think.'
James had insisted that no-one give Sirius any sort of hint of what they were up to, or even talk to him about his birthday at all. This simply resulted in Sirius doing a lot of sulking and repeatedly commenting 'my birthday surprise better be bloody good', every half hour or so.
Right now, Sirius had actually been so bored without James to mess around with, he'd started doing his homework two days before it was due in. His attention alternated between his essay and glaring blisteringly at Remus, who was also trying to work.
'Where is James?'
'Told you, I don't know.' Actually he knew perfectly well that James was in the secret room tending the Polyjuice.
'And he took the map?'
'Must have.' Actually Peter had the map; he needed to transfer the secret whisky stash from the secret passage that lead to Hogsmeade into James' new secret room without being caught.
'Oh Moony, I'm dying, you have to give me a hint!'
'You have just over a week to wait, it isn't that long.'
'It is! At least tell me what you bought me?'
Remus grinned wickedly at the thought of Sirius' present. 'No way.'
'If you don't tell me something I'm going to go mad and do something stupid. And you know me; I will.'
Remus pondered this; it was true. And James had told him he had to wait until exactly a week before, but eight days wasn't much of a difference. And it would stop Sirius bothering him.
Remus ran upstairs and grabbed his notes, returning to the common room with them stuffed unnoticeably into his jumper. Sirius glared suspiciously.
Remus ignored him and slid the sheets of paper discretely into Sirius' school bag.
Sirius peered into his bag and immediately noticed the envelope marked 'Highly Important and Top Secret'. He looked back to Remus and grinned wickedly, a beautiful, slow-spreading grin that made Remus feel surprisingly warm inside.
'Don't tell James, this was supposed to wait until tomorrow.'
'Deal. I'll just be-- upstairs.' And he dashed off in his excitement.
Remus sighed and reached over for Sirius' forgotten essay, hoping there was something worth copying.
'Are you sure you can do this?' Remus asked sceptically. He found himself extremely nervous about this whole evening; with everyone pretending to be everyone else, and such a complicated timetable of events, it seemed more than likely to end in disaster.
'Yes as in 'I'm Sirius Black I can do anything' or actually yes you can?'
'Both. And I really can, already tried it out.'
'Set one off last night; didn't anyone wonder why the bathroom was so wet this morning?'
'You were in there for forty-five minutes making loud whooping noises,' James pointed out, 'we were trying not to think about it.'
Sirius shot him a rather sharp look.
'Anyway,' Remus interrupted their staring competition, 'if everyone has a drink I do believe a toast is in order. James, you'll do the honours?'
'Certainly.' He cleared his throat dramatically. 'So it has come to this--' Remus groaned because James actually had written a speech. 'Shut up Moony. It has come to this; tomorrow the first of our band of four reprobates will turn seventeen, an age that traditionally in wizarding society means responsibility and maturity. However, to us it will not. Tonight we will drink and carry out our complicated plans, then tomorrow; chaos will reign supreme in the corridors of Hogwarts, proving our absolute superiority to all others in the name of trickery. We shall forever be revered for our efforts to promote anarchy and disorder, and the constant pandemonium throughout the school tomorrow will be our prize--'
'Hold on; I thought this speech was supposed to be about how wonderful I am, not how wonderful you think you are, what with it being my birthday and all.'
'It's not your birthday yet; I'm saving that speech for then.'
'Oh. Good.' Sirius seemed slightly mollified.
'Besides, you'll be executing most of the pranks, it was simply the idea that was mine.'
'Or Peter's,' contradicted Remus.
James cleared his throat again. 'So our toast: to ourselves, for being the best damn marauders that Hogwarts have ever seen!' He lifted his drink.
'I love you mate,' Sirius sobbed, diving across the room and bowling James flat to the floor with his hug.
Peter looked shocked and Remus sniggered to himself at the horrified look on James' face.
'You made me spill my drink!' James spluttered. 'Ahh! Ah! He's got his tongue in my ear! The tongue is in the ear! Help me!'
'Why should I?' Peter asked, 'you've just spilled whisky on my bed.'
'And I'm not allowed near him,' Remus added smugly.
'I hate you both! All! I hate you all!'
Sirius let go, got up and dusted himself down. 'Now where's my drink?'
James shook himself and shuddered. 'Yeah, someone top me up, quick!' Peter obliged, shrinking a little from James' glare. 'Okay, down in one everybody!'
Remus sniffed his drink suspiciously, they all appeared to have received rather large measures.
'Oh for Merlin's sake, you pathetic excuse for a Scotsman! Hold your nose if you must, you big girl's blouse!'
'Jessie,' Remus muttered.
'You should call me a big jessie.'
'Why? That your real name?'
'It's a Scottish thing, means I'm a girl.'
'Well it is a girls name--'
'Shut up and drink, James,' Sirius snapped and threw his own drink down his throat.
Remus sighed and did the same, only more slowly and reluctantly.
'Again!' called Sirius, wiping his lips.
Remus groaned; he didn't want to be that drunk.
Sirius noticed his reluctance and added 'It's my birthday, you'll drink if I say so.'
'It isn't your birthday yet,' James reminded him.
'Oh bugger, why does Sirius always have to be a complete cock on his birthday?' Peter asked.
Sirius glared and James snorted then cheered, 'only one drink and Wormtail's already lost his inhibitions!'
Peter blushed and Remus tried not to recall the last time they all got drunk together.
'Shouldn't we go over the plan again, before we're all too smashed to remember it?' he pointed out, ever the voice of reason.
'Well I need more alcohol,' Peter insisted.
Remus wondered if he was bit worried about the pain the Polyjuice would inflict. 'Of course you will; you'll need at least half a bottle to be able to act like Padfoot for an hour.'
'Yeah,' Peter frowned, 'it's like his personality already starts on half a bottle.'
Remus laughed. James scowled at them, while Sirius obligingly refilled their glasses. Remus liked it when James got angry about little things like this; it was almost jealousy, that he didn't like Peter and Remus having their own separate conversations, their own in-jokes. It reminded Remus that they were a real quartet, not just two pairs.
'So; the plan,' Sirius said briskly.
'Yes,' began James, 'those in the common room watch the map, and quickly scarper when those out in the corridors head back this way or if any teachers approach. The timetable is here,' he pointed to his bedside table, 'but may have to be amended, depending on how long each task takes. It is imperative that everyone set their watch alarms before they drink the Polyjuice, and set it for fifty-five minutes so you have time to get back here. Now, Peter has the most difficult task, he will mostly be Sirius, but he'll sometimes be me--'
'Gosh, my body won't know if it's coming or going,' Peter muttered. They all stared at him. 'Not that I'll be doing either in someone else's body,' he added hurriedly.
Remus would have laughed, had he not been still rather dubious about letting James take on his form for part of the evening. Sure, they'd all seen his scars, but there was still that embarrassing mole he'd managed to hide for over five years.
'I think it's sorted,' exclaimed Sirius, 'let's do it!' He downed his drink again and they all copied.
Remus took a deep breath and hoped to god that there was nothing that could go too wrong...
'Shh!' Remus hissed. For some reason Sirius insisted on humming happily while they were trying to sneak quietly and invisibly around the school. It wasn't like they'd even drank that much yet, though Sirius had a generously-sized hip-flask on hand.
Despite his sobriety, Remus was feeling strange. He'd missed Sirius desperately over the holidays, and though the separation had made things easier, being back at school made everything weird again. He hadn't been allowed to be alone with Sirius at all for any length of time in the past month but suddenly here they were, squashed together, breathing each other's breaths.
And Sirius had started humming into his ear just to annoy him.
'Stop it!' Remus tried to bat him away.
'Moony-moony,' he whispered, and Remus found himself shuddering.
'Stop that, it's creepy.'
'Gosh Moony, you're not... scared are you?'
'No, just annoyed.'
'Well if you're worried about ghosties and ghoulies--'
'More like Filchies and McGonagoulies--'
'--Drink more whisky. Calms the nerves and might improve your sense of humour.'
'Oy! I said McGonagoulies; that's funny on so many levels!'
'Yeah to an eight year-old. Whisky?'
Remus snatched the proffered flask and took a couple of swigs before passing it back. It was going to be a long night.
Finally walking into the Great Hall put a bit of a dampener on their moods. It was simple enough to go through the planning stages of a convoluted trick like this, but actually putting it into practice on such a grand scale as this was rather daunting.
'Can you really do this Padfoot?'
Sirius paused. Remus knew his friend was nervous, had felt the way he'd been trembling all the way here, close as they were pressed under the cloak. Possibly the humming had been a way to steady his nerves. 'Of course I can,' he said eventually.
'Then let's do it.'
Sirius whimpered slightly.
'Where's your overconfidence now when we need it?'
'I'm fine.' And Remus could see his smug smile, outlined in shadow surrounded by the folds of the cloak, their foreheads almost touching from the enforced closeness.
'Then go on.'
Sirius poked his wand out from under the cloak, took a deep breath, and began the incantation while Remus followed his notes. After this room was done they had nearly ten other locations to charm weather for. It was going to be a long night.
'Okay,' James began, and Remus thought he was starting to sound like a school teacher, 'once again, drink the Polyjuice quickly and then we'll get going. Remus you don't mind if-- if we drink ours in the bathroom. You can understand that, can't you?'
He nodded. He was very shy about his own transformation, especially because it hurt so much, twisting his body with pain as well as the physical changes.
Peter seemed happy enough to drink his whilst sat on his bed. It was a bit gruesome watching Peter change like that, it looked much worse than his Animagus transformation did. He looked like it did pain him significantly and it worried Remus that Peter was so easily coerced into this agony by his friends who were supposed to look after him. Sirius and James would only have to change once, Peter still had another to go after this, his second.
These thoughts were driven from his head by the bathroom door opening.
Sirius hadn't batted an eyelid earlier, and James didn't seem that interested in Peter right now, but Remus was transfixed in a sick sort of way. There could surely not, Remus decided, be many things more disturbing than looking yourself in the eye. Fake-Remus blinked at him and Remus forced out a tense laugh, stepping closer.
'God, this is weird.'
Remus/James reached down to hand Peter his glasses.
'Wow, James, I like your fingers,' Peter said flexing his hand and peering at it through his newly-needed spectacles.
'Well don't be doing anything with them,' snapped he-who-looked-like-Peter.
'Leave it out Black, I'm just pleased I can use my fingers again; yours are like sausages,' Peter taunted.
Fake-Peter huffed loudly.
James was still staring at Remus who was trying not to stare back. 'Oh this is too weird,' he whispered. His double managed a smile which didn't look like one of his own. It was completely different to a mirror, this way Remus could see all of himself, 360 degrees, and it wasn't a mirror image, it was the right way round. He actually looked quite wrong. 'Do I really look like that? God, I'm ugly, no wonder no-one'll go out with me.'
James grinned back rather wickedly.
'Okay, I'm disturbed enough; go away and don't speak to me, because I don't want to hear your -my-- voice.'
'Yes, let's be off, things to do, Slytherins to traumatise,' fake-Peter said.
'Well you've already traumatised me enough,' Remus told him.
'Don't see why you're fussing so much, we aren't complaining,' Sirius-as-Peter said.
'Yeah...' Something was wrong, Remus knew somehow, but he didn't know what. If anything it was the peculiar way his double stared at him.
Remus felt cold shock run through him.
He'd trusted James, trusted him. He whirled round suddenly and pinned the fake-Peter to the wall. 'When all this is over, I will kill you.' He threw James' invisibility cloak at him then stomped off down the stairs, burning with anger.
He sat down in a secluded corner of the common room and picked up the nearest book in an attempt to distract himself, but ended up just squeezing his eyes tight shut.
'You alright?' James/Peter asked nervously, sitting next to him.
Remus pretended to be engrossed in his book, but the alcohol he'd imbibed was making it difficult to concentrate.
'Why did you suddenly go off it at Sirius like that?'
Remus didn't understand for a second, then-- 'Oh. I didn't.'
'Yes you did.'
'I didn't. I was shouting at James.' It felt strange to say it, as it looked like James he was talking to.
'But that was...' He stopped, and there was a few seconds needed to process this development before his eyes widened. Remus sighed and slumped back in his chair. 'James wouldn't do that,' Peter insisted.
'That's what I thought, but it turns out he would and, more to the point, he has. You have to remember, Wormtail, that we are not as important as he and Sirius are, and that Sirius comes first.'
'You're awfully bitter, I thought the whole Sirius thing didn't bother you?'
'He's in my body! Right now!'
'So? That means James is in mine and I'm in his.'
'But you admit that's slightly different. Hey; you could do something really awful while you're in his body, to pay him back. Go snog--' Remus glanced around the common room, '--Herbert over there.'
'It doesn't matter whose body I'm in,' Somehow James' voice took on a remarkably Peterish squeak, 'I'd still have to touch him!'
'Even better, you could kiss Evans, that would be perfect!'
'He'd kill me,' Peter said flatly, and Remus felt a flash of guilt for suggesting it.
'And you know James won't let Sirius do anything bad, will he? Not the way he is normally about the two of you.'
'I know. I'm just angry. And disturbed! I mean why would you want to be in the body of someone you liked in the first place? Would you want to?'
'Yeah! Who wouldn't kill to be inside Scarlett Artemis?' Peter's eyes glazed over a bit, and one hand twitched up to stroke his chest.
Remus rolled his eyes and suddenly remembered about Sirius. 'I think Padfoot has been actually.'
'Thought he'd never used Polyjuice be-- oh. Really?'
'Yeah. I think he was telling the truth about that one. In fact he must have been.'
It was weird to see James' face light up in an expression of excitement that usually graced Peter's. 'Did he say what she was like? Did he see her completely naked? Does he have any photos?'
'I don't think James would appreciate you having those thoughts while in his body.'
'Ur! Oh yuck, Moony.'
'See! That's how disturbed I feel!'
'They've got a prank to carry out and only fifty-five minutes, they won't have any time for... anything else.'
'But you still haven't come to terms with Padfoot having a crush on you, have you?'
'Wormtail, I don't want to have this conversation.'
'Fine, let's talk about what him and Prongs are getting up to right now in our bodies.'
Remus glared, knowing he was right. 'What's it like, being someone else?' In a way he did feel quite jealous.
'Just a bit weird. Padfoot and Prongs feel pretty much the same as each other; my legs feel too long and gangly, though it is nice being a bit taller. Can't work Padfoot's fingers though, they're too chubby. And he's got too much hair and it's all thick, and I'd shave my head if I had Prongs' hair because it constantly falls in my eyes.' He threw his head back, annoyed. 'Do you think he'd mind if I borrowed Evans' hair band?'
'No, but she would. Still hasn't got over that time he borrowed her knickers.'
'I can't believe how calmly you're taking this, just being in someone else's body.'
Peter shrugged. 'It's better than being in mine. While I was Padfoot all the girls kept staring at me, all the time, no wonder he's got an ego the size of a planet. It must be weird to think he could have any of those girls but he still fancies you.'
'Shut up.' Remus blushed.
'He doesn't anymore.'
Peter shrugged again. 'Fine. Whisky?' He offered over a butterbeer bottle, the contents of which smelled nothing like butterbeer.
Remus grabbed it and drank, deciding he may as well give in. Being drunk had to be better than all this anxiety. 'Am I the only one without my own secret supply?' he asked.
'Probably. You're just too stupid to think of stealing any.'
Peter's alarm went off just as they were finishing the last of the 'butterbeer'.
'I can't believe no-one's noticed how weirdly we're all behaving.'
'I think James sorted it earlier, don't know what he told people.'
Remus frowned; that sounded very worrying. Peter stole more whisky while the others still hadn't returned.
'So are you going to kill him?' Peter asked.
'I don't know what I'm going to do. I think I'll leave it til morning now.'
'Hey!' Remus' double exclaimed as he and fake-Peter entered the room throwing off the cloak.
Fake-James looked up guiltily from where he was still decanting whisky into his own personal supplies.
'Ahh, doesn't matter,' fake-Peter decided, 'what's mine is yours and all that, seeing as it's my birthday in an hour or so I'm feeling generous. We'll just go into the bathroom to change back, don't want you two hearing me shriek like a girl, do I?'
He attempted to stride into the bathroom but found Remus blocking his way. 'I don't think so, Prongs, that isn't going to fool me. I still know what you did, whether I can prove it with my own eyes or not.'
James sighed and sat on a bed, and Sirius sat next to him. They were starting to change back by now anyway; hair darkening, limbs lengthening.
'I'll save killing you until after Padfoot's birthday is over, shall I? You complete bastards.'
Almost completely changed back, James whispered to Sirius, 'we'll memory charm him in the morning.'
'You do that and I'll tell McGonagall every bad thing that you've ever done, both of you, and you won't be able to stop me because I doubt there's a memory charm strong enough to remove all that. I think I'll just go with the tried and tested method of drinking more whisky.'
'I second that,' Sirius grinned.
Remus was rather worried about phase three; Sirius was clearly completely plastered. And even worse; he was completely plastered himself. When on earth had this happened? Must have been when you drank all that whisky, his nasty head-voice replied.
He was sure that the sixth floor corridor had worked, but he wasn't so sure about the dungeons, and they still had a rather important one to finish off with.
'In here,' he hissed suddenly.
'Huh?' mumbled the staggering thing beside him.
'This alcove, s'perfect.'
'Shh, keep it down.'
'Shush yourself, Black.'
'Well really, if you'd stop sniggering.' Remus pulled the cloak off and slumped against the wall.
'Moony, I need a piss,' Sirius whined, crouching next to him.
'Tough.' They had just settled themselves comfortably into an alcove behind a statue of Marvin the Merciless.
'Come on, I wasn't allowed to go in your body, was I?'
'That was ages ago. And no, the minute we stop watching Filch'll come out.'
'Yes he will, sod's law.'
'Please, I drank all that whisky.'
'Oh...' Remus pouted.
'And I only went once in your body.'
'Don't worry, I didn't look.'
'Wasn't allowed to touch either.'
'James was very insistent.'
'Oh dear god.' Remus leaned forward to bury his face in Sirius' shoulder, suddenly hopelessly grateful for the amount of alcohol he'd drunk. 'He's never going to look at me the same again, is he?'
'Nope. And I won't look at Peter the same, James was in his body.'
'Oh no, oh.'
'Don't stress, Moony, m'only joking.'
'Don't try that! You are not!'
'Yeah, I'm not. Sorry.'
'Oh, my poor-- oh.'
'Come on. Please.'
Remus found himself pulled to his feet unwillingly.
They settled back into their hiding-place.
Remus didn't want to admit that he was actually most definitely drunk, but he clearly was. He'd reached that stage where you felt mostly wasted, but had occasional moments of clarity where you said to yourself 'ooh, I'm hardly drunk at all', before the room resumed it's spinning.
'Are you sure he's in there?' he asked huffily, wanting nothing more than a flat surface to lie on.
'I bet he left and came back while we weren't patrolling.'
'Maybe, maybe not.' Sirius was bizarrely calm and quiet, almost stoic.
'This is silly; can't we just give up on Filch?' Remus was aware he was whining like a child, but did it really matter?
'No! Whose birthday is it?' Sirius gave him a superior stare, stretching out his neck and trying to look regal as Remus glared up at him.
'Not yet it isn't.'
'Is. Look.' Sirius pulled his sleeve away to show his watch.
'We have to get Filch. Imagine: thunder, lightning, down-pours, ruining all his stupid lists of rules and confiscated items. We have to. The years he's spent tormenting us!'
'But why didn't we bring anything to distract him with? Can't you do something?'
'He's always wandering the halls at night looking for someone to get into trouble. We're just really unlucky tonight. Though lucky that flaming cat hasn't seen us.'
'True. But aren't you just too drunk to manage the charm now anyway?'
'Oh you always do this, suggest I'm the one that's drunk, when really it's you.'
'Am not,' he lied, doubtlessly in a thoroughly unconvincing manner, though he really was past caring.
'Yeah? That's why you suggested we sit down while we wait? That's why you're currently using my shoulder for a pillow?'
Remus had hardly noticed he'd been doing that, but it did make the room spin less. 'Shut up.'
'Ooh, you're just as drunk as I am, you naughty little werewolf, oh yes.'
'Nyuh!' Remus fidgeted. 'Stop tickling!'
'Just keeping you awake.'
'Ooh, naughty giggling girly little werewolf.' Sirius' fingers slipped under his jumper, tickling the skin.
'Shut up, ah ha!' He tried to bat Sirius' hands away, struggling against wriggly fingertips.
'And it's been my birthday for nearly fifteen minutes now, and I haven't had a birthday kiss.'
'Prongs'll kill you.'
'Oh he's just all jealous, he was far too eager to grab a hold of your cock earlier.'
'Fuck, now you're trying to kill me.'
'Come on, kiss the birthday boy. And you must stop swearing or I'll get terribly carried away.' Sirius was now nuzzling the side of his face, which Remus thought felt weird.
'Fine.' Remus turned his head quickly and pressed his lips chastely against Sirius'. They felt wet and sticky, and Sirius' body went totally still as their mouths touched together.
'Moony,' Sirius whispered in awe once Remus had pulled away. 'I didn't think you would. Oh...'
'You're mad,' Remus told him bluntly, wondering at the strange way his friend appeared to have curled into himself all of a sudden.
'Certainly am,' Sirius said vaguely, going back to nuzzling his cheek.
'And now Prongs will kill both of us. He's such a wanker, it isn't like you're madly in love with me! You've got a whole million of girlfriends.'
'Yeah...' Sirius seemed to have stopped listening. 'Moony did I smell this nice when I was you earlier?'
'I dunno, didn't feel the need to sniff you.'
'S'pose not... mmm.' Remus shuddered, though not unpleasantly; Sirius had actually started to inhale against his skin quite heavily, like some sort of animal.
'And get your snozz out my ear.'
'Snozz?' Sirius whispered indistinctly, his attentions having reached Remus' neck.
'Y'know. Nose, Hooter, whatever you call it.' Remus pressed the meaning home by jerking away and pulling at his friend's nose.
'Gerroff!' And Remus couldn't help but laugh at the way Sirius twitched like a cat that had something caught in it's whiskers.
'Nose, nose, nose,' he muttered before collapsing against Sirius' side again.
'I am too drunk to be doing this,' Remus mumbled into Sirius' jumper.
'Trying to play tricks on Filch. He could be tap-dancing in a tutu right in front of us, an' I wouldn't of noticed. What the fucking fuck is he doing?'
Sirius snorted. 'Probably shagging that cat on his desk.'
'Oh...god. You are such a wanker.' That was a rather strong sign of inebriation, Remus thought, normally that joke wouldn't have been at all funny.
'Indeed I am,' Sirius replied primly.
'Ha!' yelped Remus. 'Hey, stop tickling me!' Sirius' hands were under his jumper again.
'Soz,' he was told without remorse.
'You are not! You never are.' Remus finally managed to disentangle himself and lift his head. He looked at Sirius who was all black hair and lashes. 'You're so pretty, y'know, don't know why you bother fancying me.'
Sirius looked shocked, and Remus quickly realised that that wasn't the sort of thing he ever would -or should-- say sober.
'Sorry, shouldn't have said.'
'S'all right. Well you're pretty too.'
Remus chuckled quietly. 'Mm.'
'Well, you are.'
'Am not. I mean, look.' Remus looked right at his friend, at how handsome he was. 'You're all perfect and stuff, and I'm... not.' Remus was unable to think of a good way to prove his point, so leaned in and kissed him again. 'See. I can't even kiss properly.'
'I'll show you,' Sirius said in a tight, gruff voice, and suddenly there was a hand on the back of Remus' head pulling him back in.
'Mm!' It was surprisingly vicious, harder than James did it, definitely harder than Ellie did it and very different from Lily.
'See, it's easy,' whispered Sirius, and Remus thought he had the strangest look in his eyes.
'Isn't how Ellie did it,' he pointed out, because it was true.
'Like Slytherins know how to kiss.'
'Exactly.' Sirius leaned in for more kissing and it felt shockingly good; Sirius' tongue felt nice, wasn't too sloppy or slow. It was firm and precise, Remus felt, yet not boring either.
'Mm, you are much better at that than Ellie,' Remus found himself almost moaning into Sirius' mouth.
'Really?' Sirius asked breathlessly.
Remus found he hardly even needed to concentrate. 'God, yeah, mmm.' Somehow kissing felt so much easier than it usually did; he didn't know if it was because he'd drank too much, or because it was just Sirius. 'Oh, we shouldn't be doing this, should we?'
'Don't be silly,' sighed Sirius, 'doesn't matter so long as it feels good.' And Remus was distracted by Sirius' tongue suddenly swiping very deeply into his mouth, and he found one of his own hands had reached up to stroke Sirius' cheek entirely of it's own volition.
Sirius was leaning into him, pushing until his back touched the opposite side of the alcove. 'She did this thing, though, on my neck, that was really good.'
'Did she?' Sirius asked, trailing his lips away from Remus' mouth.
'Yeah, fuck it was good. Oh.'
'Like that?' Sirius had begun kissing his neck, though actually it was more like biting.
'Uh.' Remus felt his body go almost limp, fingers gripped to the hair at the base of Sirius' skull, thumb stroking the nape of his neck. The room no longer spun, and this was a feeling so good there were no words to describe it, his skin was suddenly drenched with goosebumps.
'I'm doing that right.' Sirius' voice was smug, but sounded far away, despite his proximity.
'Uh huh. Don't stop.'
'Sirius!' Remus was forced to yelp as the collar of his jumper was pulled aside and lips found their way there.
'Mmm, sorry.' Sirius shuffled closer, straddled his lap, and Remus felt teeth graze his ear.
'Oh yes, there.' He held his friend's head firmly in place, unwilling to ever give up this feeling.
'Yes.' His other hand was pressed into the small of Sirius' back, keeping him close. 'Sirius, you've--'
'Yeah, I know, sorry.'
'Oh!' Unexpectedly there was a tongue in his ear, and that was just marvellous, if rather wet-sounding. '...Unngh!'
He pulled Sirius around to kiss his mouth again, and Sirius groaned disturbingly loudly.
Remus laughed a little into Sirius' mouth.
'James will kill us.'
'Stop talking about James!' Sirius mumbled, still kissing fiercely.
'He fancies you himself,' Remus sniggered against the corner of Sirius' lips.
'He does not.'
'Told me he wanders around in the nip, just to check your reaction.'
Sirius burst into laughter, half pulling away. 'Oh Merlin, he does as well. Thinks I would fancy him, he does. Like I would! He's practically my brother! McGonagall calls us 'the twins' when she thinks we can't hear! I'd be more likely to fancy Regulus; at least he isn't actually my brother anymore.'
'Mm,' Remus replied noncommittally, and kissed him again to avoid any rants about Sirius' family.
'Anyway, I'll be killing James for groping your knob like that earlier,' Sirius added, pressing even closer.
'Shut it.' Remus attempted another conversation-stopping kiss.
'He did, I swear. I'd have enjoyed it if it wasn't him in Peter's body. And I wasn't desperate for a slash.'
'Oh that turns you on, does it?' Sirius' teeth were nibbling all round the shell of his ear now.
'Fuck off,' he answered, though he clutched Sirius tighter because he did not want him to stop.
'And why would I fancy Prongs? He most definitely lost the 'see who's got the biggest penis competition' we had.'
'As he loves to remind you, that was in second year. Maybe he wanted to prove that wasn't the case anymore.'
'Git.' Sirius was trailing his tongue around the inside of his ear and Remus couldn't prevent the shudder it produced.
'Me or him?' he asked desperately.
'Well, not you, obviously,' Sirius smirked and brought their lips together again. 'And if I remember the result of that competition correctly--'
'If I remember it correctly, someone stunned me then took my trousers down.'
'Yeah...' Sirius sighed, as if reminiscing about a wonderful time in his life. 'Hey, you never said that you had that mole on--'
Remus growled. 'Shut the fuck up, you--'
Then the door to Filch's office opened.
'That's enough fun for one evening, my darling, we've got brats to catch.'
'Shh!' hissed Sirius against his ear, causing a brief quiver.
'Prob'ly was shagging it,' Remus reflected with a shrug.
Sirius snorted. 'You filthy bastard!' he laughed, pushing fingers against Remus' lips to muffle his laughter, then changing his mind and kissing him again instead.
'Mmm, stop it. Come on,' Remus said, hearing Filch's footsteps fade into the distance.
They scrambled up and hurried over. A quick spell made short work of the locked door and they snuck in.
Sirius lay back on the desk, after making a show of checking it for stains, wand pointed at the ceiling, and started muttering the complicated incantation. Remus took the time to have a look around, spelling open locked drawers and cupboards, and rifling through the contents.
'Anything in here you want?'
'Nah,' Sirius said, propping himself up on his elbows, 'doubt he's confiscated anything off us since third-year. It's probably all kids-stuff.'
'Eh?' Before he had time to react, Sirius had pulled him down onto the desk and rolled on top of him. Remus gasped. 'Good job I'm too pissed to feel pain, eh?' he smiled.
Sirius ignored him and started on that neck thing again.
'You like that.'
'Oh yes. Yes, I like that a lot.'
'And I'm better at it than that stupid Slytherin bint?'
'Mm!' Sirius' palm was flat to his cheek, the other hand playing with skin at his hip, lips and teeth tugging at his neck and the rest of his body pressed tightly against him.
'Uhhhhh. Fuck Remus, you are too now, you know.'
'Sorry.' Remus was aware that this should be deeply embarrassing, but right now he was drunk and it felt so good.
'Fuck, don't be.'
'You like that?' Remus found he felt strangely nervous.
Sirius laughed. 'I do.' His fingers edged their way closer.
'No! Oh god, no, don't.'
'We can't. James is going to kill both of us.'
'Well we won't tell him, obviously.'
'I like that idea.'
'Good boy.' Sirius' hand was pushed between them now.
'Don't! This is so wrong.'
'Isn't it just? And in such a good way...'
'Yes...' Remus moved Sirius' hand, but placed his own on Sirius' back, sliding fingertips under his jumper.
Sirius groaned and kissed his lips again. 'So you think I'm good at this?'
'How many times, yes.'
'Well so are you.'
'Thanks,' he replied distractedly, concentrating on the lips against his and the tongue in his mouth. Remus had never felt like this before, had never done this with anyone. Lying down, limbs tangled with someone else's; it felt totally crazy, but definitely in a good way. 'Oh...' Sirius had started wriggling against him.
'You like that.'
'Argus?' interrupted a sharp voice.
Sirius rolled immediately off the desk, with lightning reflexes despite the alcohol, dragging Remus with him. They huddled beneath the desk and arranged the cloak around themselves in a blind panic. Remus mouthed James is going to kill us.
'Argus? Oh, Peeves!'
They could see the hem of Professor McGonagall's robes and her horrifically sensible shoes.
'Oh bugger.' She stamped her foot and stormed out, continuing to shout for Filch.
Sirius' body was wracked with silent mirth. 'McGonagall swearing turns you on too, does it?' Remus whispered in his ear, causing more shakes.
'Stop making me laugh! We have to get out before she finds him! Or Peeves.'
They didn't bother wearing the cloak, they just ran for it.
Remus woke up and the whole world ached. He vaguely remembered there was supposed to be something good about today, but it didn't feel that good right now.
'Remus wake up; we have to jump up and down on Sirius! It's his birthday! It's traditional!'
'If he feels anything like I do he won't appreciate it.'
'More hangover potion, Wormtail. For fuck's sake Remus, we were trying to save the majority of this for after tonight.'
'Yeah, well I need it now.'
'How did you get so drunk?' James tutted.
'I do believe I drank half a bottle of whisky, gimme that!' Remus sat up, ignoring the pain, which, after all, he was used to, though for different reasons. The potion tasted disgusting.
'And where the hell were you all that time? You were gone hours, then turned up, running, and Sirius was ranting about McGonagall. She didn't catch you?'
'No... I remember we spent ages waiting for Filch to leave his office...'
'You said something about him shagging that cat--'
'Did-- oh, yes...'
'You didn't see him--'
'No, but--' Oh fuck, Remus thought.
'Nothing, nothing. I think she nearly caught us, but she thought it was Peeves that had messed up Filch's office.'
'But she'll be suspicious when things start happening in there later!'
'Maybe not. It'll be fine, stop fussing. Besides, quite likely we were too drunk to get the spell right.'
'Great! This better work! Come on, let's jump him.'
Remus felt sick. 'No, I need a shower.'
The potion had started to work and he felt good enough to pull James out of the way and make a dive for the bathroom, wishing for once in his life that it was actually possible to switch your brain off.
He yanked his pyjamas down, frantically unbuttoned the shirt, and was relieved to step under the spray of hot water; a hot shower could make almost anything better. Except this, because of course a hot shower couldn't turn back time.
Okay, so it was an established fact that when drunk people were apt to do things that were utterly stupid, things that they would never think of doing whilst sober, but for fuck's sake! How stupid can you get?
He'd kissed Sirius; not just kissed, snogged, for a long time. He couldn't think of anything more humiliating, it made him cringe, it made him feel disgusting.
He wasn't sure why it was disgusting though, he knew wasn't homophobic in any way. Remus felt that possibly he would have been embarrassed having done that with anyone, having let things go that far, having totally given himself up to just feeling things. At the time it had just felt so natural, joking on with Sirius between kisses, as if it were almost a normal thing to do.
You're embarrassed because you liked it, that voice inside his head whispered. Of course I liked it! he snapped back; I was completely drunk, I would have liked anyone doing that to me. It isn't as if I like boys or anything, he told himself.
He decided that Sirius probably wouldn't have taken it seriously, and that it might even have helped Sirius get over this...thing he had for Remus. They would have a laugh over it and forget about it. Remus decided he would start forgetting about it right away. So he'd kissed a boy, a mate, no big deal, just a silly drunken mistake, and nothing like as bad as James' birthday.
So all he had to do was get through today without thinking about it too much, if at all, and then it would be over. Sirius would have a new girlfriend in a matter of days, and no-one would ever tell James what had happened.
He smoothed soap down his body, feeling much more relaxed. Actually had Sirius had a girlfriend at all this term? Remus realised he couldn't think of anyone, but of course Sirius wouldn't discuss it with him. Possibly he had a boyfriend.
So it's all sorted then, Remus thought, it's all over and I won't think about Sirius that way at all. Won't think about what they'd done together, how it had felt to kiss Sirius--
There was a loud bang, and something propelled itself through the door and stuck it's head down the toilet, an action that was closely followed by an unearthly retching noise.
'Sorry,' explained James, 'didn't get the potion into him in time.'
Remus peered around the shower curtain, clutching it to his body.
'Oh get over yourself,' snapped James, 'like we haven't seen you naked before.'
'None of you are ever seeing me naked again!' exclaimed Remus, pointing wildly.
'What-- oh Padfoot, you weren't supposed to tell him!'
The answer he received was a nasty choking sound.
'Well he did tell me. No-one borrows my body anymore either.'
'Fuck's sake, like I'm not disturbed for life too. Ha, you had a really funny mole on your--'
'Shut up.' Sirius sat back on his heels and swiped saliva from around his mouth.
'Quick, drink this,' James urged.
'Can't, I'll just bring it right back up.'
'Prongs,' Remus hissed.
Remus beckoned him over, having made sure that no part of his body was exposed. 'Stun him.'
'It'll freeze his gagging mechanism, then give him the potion when he comes round.'
'Clever. Stupefy.' And Sirius' already limp body fell even more limply to the floor.
'So what did happen last night; you were gone ages? What were you doing?'
'Fuck's sake, Potter, what do you think we were doing? We were stuck sitting in that bloody alcove for an hour and a half while Filch shagged his stupid cat on his desk, then Lupin was so turned on by the idea he insisted that we do the same thing--'
Remus snorted and doubled over. James and Sirius were quiet for a while.
'Oh thank Merlin; he's laughing. I thought he was crying for a second there,' James admitted.
In reality Remus found he was actually mainly laughing, but there were elements of sobbing too. He and Sirius actually had been... doing things on Filch's desk. Oh god.
'Then McGonagall turned up and we hid under the desk. And she said the word 'bugger'. Honestly, back me up Moony.'
'Yeah. She did.'
'Wow,' Peter said in awe.
'Yeah,' added James.
They met Lily Evans on the way to breakfast.
'Why are you looking so happy, Black?'
'It's his birthday,' butted in James, obviously not wanting to give anyone else the chance to talk to Lily.
'And what are you planning?'
'We're having a party in our dormitory this evening, you can come, if you want. You'll get the extra-special hospitality.'
'I don't even want to think about what that entails, Potter. I will never ever go anywhere near your bed.'
'I wasn't--' James protested.
'Sure you weren't,' Sirius sniggered.
'Huh.' Then James' head snapped up in annoyance when he realised that Lily had run off. 'Do you have to spoil every chance I have? You jealous or something?'
Remus groaned and sat down at the Gryffindor table, trying to decide what breakfast food would still taste okay whilst completely saturated.
'So did the Filch thing work?' asked Peter.
'Dunno, might not've, I was really drunk.'
'You hung around for that long and didn't even get the job done?' James complained.
Remus gave Sirius a sharp look.
'And I'm not sure I finished the spell correctly. I got distracted by McGonagall turning up.'
'Oh,' said James.
'Oh,' said Remus. Had the whole thing just been a plot to get him to... do that?
'Oh no,' said Sirius suddenly, in a rather loud and theatrical voice. 'It shouldn't be clouding over like that on my birthday,' he pointed to the charmed ceiling, 'it should be sunny all day.' He and James shared a secret glance. Remus could feel Peter vibrating with excitement next to him.
Then the heavens opened.
There were shrieks and yells and gasps, it reminded Remus of something, but he couldn't quite recall what it was.
It was the heaviest rain Remus had ever seen, Sirius had obviously overdone it in his excitement. They were all drenched in seconds and Remus reflected that toast hadn't been the best idea. Sausages, now they were probably fine when wet, all that grease and the skin would make them water-proof.
James didn't look so happy with his cornflakes, but Sirius was laughing and gazing up into the rain in child-like wonder. Peter was biting his nails and trying to look innocent, not something he'd ever been good at.
Everyone was rushing out of the hall and James motioned that they should go with the crowds to avert suspicion. They had to drag Sirius, he looked so happy, and despite his own discomfort Remus couldn't help but feel a wave of affection for him, that he could be made so happy by such a simple little thing.
They went to Charms early, because there was little else to do, and most of their class had had the same idea. The students were all helping to dry each other off, clouds of steam hung around most people and the girls were all drying each others' hair with streams of hot air from their wands. Sirius was going at James' hair over-enthusiastically and he'd already developed what was very nearly an afro. Surprisingly, Lily was watching and laughing.
Professor Flitwick came in looking rather flustered. 'I'm afraid I'm needed to help fix the ceiling in the Great Hall, so this class will unfortunately have to be cancelled...'
'Yes! Best birthday ever!' yelled Sirius.
Professor Flitwick glared disapprovingly.
'Hmm. Anyone who would be kind enough to assist the Headmaster and I would be very welcome.'
'Yeah right,' muttered Sirius once the man had left.
'I think we should help,' James said calmly.
'What?' Remus stared at him.
'Trying to impress Evans?' sneered Sirius.
'No, I think we need to gloat some more.'
'Ooh, I like that.'
Back in the Hall, Dumbledore had managed to slow the rain down, so that it floated to the ground like snow, though not stop it completely.
'They think it's the ceiling!' squealed Peter. 'That's why they can't fix it!'
'Yes! They think someone actually managed to re-charm the ceiling! Even we aren't that good!'
James shut his mouth quickly when Lily walked over to them. 'Like you four actually want to help out.'
'We're allowed to enjoy ourselves; it's Sirius' birthday.'
She glared at Sirius who was dancing around like a lunatic. 'If he takes his clothes off I will have to kill myself.' Then she grinned wickedly. 'I bet you're wishing you did this.'
'Yeah!' blurted James.
'Well you won't convince anyone, however clever you think you are, I know you aren't capable of this.'
Sirius waved his wand and some of the rain turned into confetti. 'Just right for a wedding, if you two want to stop arguing.'
Lily glared viciously at him and so did James. 'Professor!' he called. The rest of them gave him curious looks.
'Yes, Mr Potter?'
'What if the ceiling hasn't been re-charmed, what if the clouds are just underneath the blue sky? After all, it's still sunny outside.'
'Is it? Now that's a thought! Headmaster!' Flitwick hurried off.
'What are you giving them ideas for, Potter?' snapped Sirius.
'Oh come on, let's get away before they fix it and Flitwick tries to call the class back.'
'I'm with Remus,' Peter added.
'Yeah! Let's go open my birthday presents!'
'This had better be good,' Sirius pronounced, sitting on his bed as if he were king.
'You'll get what you're given you ungrateful little scum-bag,' James told him amiably.
They all handed over their gifts, and Sirius tore at the wrapping paper while James attempted to open a bottle of what was possibly Champagne.
'I can't get the cork out!'
'Use magic, you wanker,' muttered Peter, peering at the bottle.
'No, I want to do it properly; it's supposed to make a popping noise. Look I've seen Muggles open them watch. You shake the bottle really hard--'
Remus edged subtly across the floor.
'--Then you push your thumb under the cork, and--'
Luckily the cork hit the ceiling, but Peter did not look happy with the resulting face-full of fizz. Sirius even glanced up from his presents for a second to laugh at him. 'Why d'it do that?' asked James in puzzlement.
'You shook a bottle of fizzy stuff and you need me to tell you?' Remus sighed.
James glared at him then set about filling mugs with what was left in the bottle.
'What the hell is this?' Sirius snapped, holding up a tiny lump of what looked like tinfoil between finger and thumb. 'Remus, what is it?'
Peter took it off him and opened the foil. 'Looks like a stock-cube. You know, you put it in a pan of water, wave your wand and it turns into stew or soup or something.'
'Why would you buy me that Remus?'
'Open the other part of your present.'
'What are you four up to now?' Lily Evans yelled entering the room.
'Just can't keep away from me can you?' remarked James. 'Champagne?'
'I'm opening my presents,' Sirius said bluntly, in a voice that suggested what he wanted to add was 'so piss off'. 'Remus got me a stock cube.'
Remus placed a hand over his eyes, hoping to god that Lily Evans was very sweet and innocent indeed.
'Remus Lupin!' she shouted.
Remus took that as a no.
'You bought him something illegal for his birthday?'
Remus peered out from between his fingers and attempted an apologetic smile.
'It's illegal?' asked Sirius. 'Brilliant! I don't care what it does. And what are these for?' he frowned at the cigarette papers and tobacco, 'I don't smoke.'
'You smoke this,' Remus told him.
'Is it hallucinogenic?'
'So what do I do?'
'Well I'm not experienced or anything...'
'Oh give it here,' huffed Lily, leaving them nothing to do but watch in awe as she skinned up.
'Marry me?' asked James in a daze.
'I'm not making it strong mind you, just enough to calm you down a bit so nothing too painful happens at your party this evening. And I will not be joining in! And no, Potter, I will never marry you!'
Filch's office was timed to blow during their Transfiguration lesson, so they'd be within earshot, so they found themselves on tenterhooks the entire lesson.
James and Sirius were both excitable and giggly, and McGonagall had been giving them suspicious looks even before the class had started.
Remus was trying to stop himself thinking about it because it made him think about other things, like Sirius' lips and tongue and his fingers stroking his skin.
The first crack of lightning was loud, and McGonagall only paused in her rush from the room to shout, 'I know you did this, and I will do everything in my power to prove it!' And the rumble of thunder followed her out.
James and Sirius smiled smugly and refused to be drawn by their classmates' questions.
Remus hoped that the lightning had split Filch's desk apart and that he'd have to get a new one.
'In here!' yelled James, barely audible over the roaring. They tumbled through the open door and luckily the wood was heavy enough that it's own weight slammed it shut without too much difficulty.
'Oh, you just couldn't resist gloating, could you?' Remus snapped at him.
'I can't believe you aren't enjoying this.'
Remus glowered at their surroundings. They seemed to be trapped in some sort of storage classroom, filled with junk and equipment.
'Anything worth 'borrowing'?' James asked, only to receive another nasty look. 'So how long will this last?'
'Dunno. Depends how over-enthusiastic Padfoot was feeling at the time.'
There was a banging on the door that they could just about hear over the gales outside. 'Bugger off!' James yelled.
'Prongs! We don't actually want to hurt anyone!'
'What if it's McGonagall?'
They both glanced warily at the door as the banging became more insistent. To Remus' ears it sounded as though the person was clinging on to the door handle to stop themselves flying down the corridor.
'If it is McGonagall, she'd kill us for not letting her in.'
James sighed and yanked open the door without any thought or preparation whatsoever.
A small body with flaming red hair tumbled in and landed squarely on top of them both. 'Oof!'
Remus landed heavily on his arse, right leg trapped under James who had fared rather worse -or better if you looked at it from a Jamesy point of view, Remus realised-- and was crushed completely underneath Lily.
He was quite surprised; James actually appeared to be too overwhelmed even to make a suggestive comment, as if his brain had shut down so much at the contact he wasn't even able to get out a simple 'didn't know you cared' or 'very forward of you, Ms Evans'. Remus was rather impressed.
He had the feeling that she'd been stalking them all day to check they weren't up to anything. It had been clever of James to suggest the arrangements all happened the night before.
'Lupin! Help me up!' she shrieked, spoiling any romantic notions James might have been having about their situation and position.
Having freed his own leg he obliged her, and soon they were all on their feet, checking for bruises and rearranging clothing.
'You four did do this, didn't you?' she barked, eyes flashing, her hair like a bird's nest.
'Would you be impressed if we had?' James asked, his ego returning full force.
'Do I look impressed?' she screamed.
James cringed in the face of her wrath, and Remus found himself cowering in the same way he did when McGonagall lost it with them.
'This is all for Black's birthday, isn't it?'
'It shows how loyal and caring we are towards each other?' James attempted. Remus winced, knowing it wouldn't work.
'Shut up. I thought that marijuana was the worst part, but how the hell did you do that... whatever it was in the Entrance Hall.'
'And that blizzard all through the dungeons. And you re-charmed the ceiling in the Great Hall?'
'No, we put another charm over it.'
'Amazing,' Lily breathed, and it struck Remus that she actually was impressed. 'When will the wind stop?'
'Only Sirius knows for sure,' Remus sighed.
'Well never mind,' James dismissed him, 'Evans and me, alone in the- er, storage room; whatever will happen?' James' eyes sparkled.
Oh great, thought Remus, I'm trapped in a closet in a freak storm with a mate and a girl who hates him and somehow I'm still the gooseberry.
'Well Potter, I can't be totally sure, but it's likely to involve a smack in the mouth.'
James jumped as her voice grew louder and stumbled back a little.
Remus banged his forehead against the wall and muttered 'I want this day to be over.'
'Not long now and we'll be drinking merrily in our room.'
'I know, I can't wait for your speech,' Remus said dryly.
'You joining us Evans?' James added.
'Oh I wish I were dead,' Remus moaned.
'Just go stand out there in your force ten gale, why don't you?' snapped Lily, folding her arms. 'Did you even think about how dangerous it would be?'
'Bloody hell, Evans, you have no sense of humour, do you?' James sighed deeply as if this was a disturbingly depressing trait in a girl he had an immense crush on, which Remus supposed it was really.
'Yes I do, it's just that my sense of humour doesn't involve grievous bodily harm!'
'Sometimes it does,' James muttered sullenly, still flinching nervously away from her.
And suddenly she burst out laughing, shocking them both. 'Okay, Potter, I'll give you that one.' She sat down carefully against the same wall that Remus had been leaning his head to. 'And I suppose that Arithmancy essay wasn't really up to scratch.'
'Oh?' asked Remus.
'Well it's blown off down the hall now along with the rest of the contents of my bag.'
'Sorry,' murmured Remus.
She shrugged. James sat next to her, not too close, but looking rather hopeful. 'So is Black enjoying his birthday present?' she asked him.
'He most certainly is.'
Remus felt sick.
He staggered through the portrait hole, having barely made it through a hail-storm near the Runes classroom that he'd forgotten about, only to find himself grasped firmly by the elbow and dragged up to their dormitory.
'Hey!' he yelped pulling away as quickly as possible. Sirius ignored him and shoved him across the room. 'What the fuck are you doing?'
'We need to talk.' Remus must have had a look of pure horror on his face because Sirius tutted, quite violently, and his features had creased into a definite sneer. 'For fuck's sake, I'm not going to molest you; I'm nowhere near you. Don't worry, I won't be touching you again.' Remus wondered faintly if he meant ever.
'You need to pull yourself together.'
'You can't keep acting like this all day. It's my bloody birthday; I want to have a good time and I'm finding it rather difficult with you moping about like a wet weekend, you little bastard.'
'Well how do you want me to act?' Remus spat with a flash of anger.
'I don't know; normal? Right now James just thinks you're acting funny because you're worried that the pranks won't work or that we'll get caught, but if you keep this up he'll put two and two together and work out that you and I spent quite a lot of time alone together last night and he'll think I did something!'
'But you did,' Remus found he'd said before he could help himself.
'Yes, but I really don't fancy having the crap beaten out of me on my birthday. Also, when I tell him what really happened then it's you who'll be covered in bruises, so you'd better watch it.'
'Look, just quit the little martyr act, right?' Sirius was shouting now, and Remus wasn't used to him shouting in this way, like he was really angry. 'All that stuff last night was your fault, and you know it. Now that is it; I don't need your pathetic little self-pitying act to know that it won't ever be happening again, so if you'd just let us go back to normal...' He trailed off and took a deep breath. When he opened his mouth again his voice was quieter and calmer, but still held nasty undertones. 'After all, that is what you wanted all this time, isn't it?'
Remus just gawped at him. He did want it to be normal, he did, but he didn't want Sirius to hate him. Suddenly self-pity seemed incredibly selfish.
Seeing that Remus didn't appear to be able to say anything, Sirius whirled round and made for the door.
'Sirius--' But all he got for his trouble was a glare. What could you say in such a situation?
'Look, it's over. If you don't mention what I did to Snape ever again, then I won't mention what we did last night. Deal?' Sirius walked towards him and extended a hand, though reluctantly, as if he didn't want to have to touch Remus at all.
Remus reached out tentatively. Sirius grabbed his hand briefly, not even shaking it properly, then stormed towards the exit. He paused briefly in the doorway, turning around with a cold look on his face. 'We're even now, aren't we?'
And he left Remus to stand there staring gormlessly at the shut door.
And of course James was right, that air of general incompetence that he projected was just an act. James was always right. Remus had spent all day feeling sorry for himself, not sparing a thought for how Sirius might feel. Just assuming that Sirius was just pleased that he'd got what he wanted.
But that wasn't it at all; Sirius was hurt. Remus had hurt someone he loved so much and it killed him inside. Sirius never got angry like that, wasn't one to shout in anger unless it was really serious.
Remus staggered to the nearest bed, which just happened to be Sirius' and flopped down onto it. He breathed deeply, smelling Sirius' scent, his skin on the sheets. And now he could never have this again; there was no self pity in the thought anymore, just self-blame. You did this, he told himself, it's all your fault. If you'd just waited a bit longer, just touched him a bit less, let him get over it, it would be okay. If you'd just listened to James...
As if Sirius doesn't have enough problems with his family without your selfishness trying ruin his life too! roared that part of him that hated himself, and this time it had very good reason to.
And then the self-pity crashed back. Now he'd never be able to touch Sirius again, never be anything like as close as they used to be. He burrowed his face into Sirius' pillow, breathing deeply, not even feeling embarrassed or ashamed of what he was doing, just needing to feel that Sirius might be there, wishing that he was.
Just lie there and pine, why don't you, he shouted at himself, you did this and you can't change it. You can't make it better.
And he knew he couldn't, all he could do was sigh heavily and hug his friend's pillow tighter.
'Well, fellow marauders, we should congratulate ourselves on a prank well executed. The havoc seen in the halls of Hogwarts today will one day be legendary. The whole school suspects us, and the whole school can do nothing, for what proof have they that even our talents stretch to such genius? Such genius that we were seen to never leave Gryffindor Tower all yester-eve, and were stalked almost constantly today by the beautiful, highly intelligent and most wonderful Lillian Evans--'
'You seem to have forgotten to praise me again,' interrupted Sirius, 'having become distracted by how much you want to get into Evans' pants.'
'Again,' added Peter, already drunk again, and everyone laughed except James.
'So, in conclusion--'
James smiled. 'To the seventeenth birthday of my best friend Sirius Black, my partner in crime, my almost-twin, my soul-mate in all things wicked and prank-ly, and my favourite person in the whole world who I'm not related to or don't want to shag--'
Remus found he couldn't help but stare at Sirius while James spoke, at the happy smile he wore, at the love in his eyes as he watched his best friend. Remus was jealous; that Sirius had never looked at him quite like that, that he would never smile at him like that again. It hurt so much it was hard to breathe.
'--And he can be as gay as he wants for all I care because I do not mind one bit, so long as he never puts his tongue in my ear again. To Sirius!'
They all raised glasses of fizzy wine and repeated the words.
'Anyone else want to say anything?'
'I think you were far too eloquent for anyone to be able to compete, Prongs,' Remus murmured. His chest ached and he almost wanted to cry, so it didn't seem like the time to be attempting powerful speeches on the nature of birthdays and friendship.
Peter looked like he'd hardly noticed the speech, a puzzled frown on his face. 'Hold on; what about the Slytherins? You... you must have done something to them, surely.'
Sirius and James shared matching grins.
'In fact I've not seen much of them all day.'
'Well, my dear Wormtail, you wouldn't have... we used a charm.'
'Used a charm? On what? All of them?'
'No, we used a charm on Sirius.'
'Eh?' choked out Remus.
'A Slytherin-repelling charm.'
'There's no such thing,' Remus snapped back.
'Is too; we made one.' James' eyes glittered.
'How?' gasped Peter.
'Simple charm-potion combination,' Sirius grinned.
'Simple? Bloody difficult it was! There's no way of telling a potion who is and isn't a Slytherin; I had to steal bits of most of them!' James exclaimed.
'And you needed my body to--'
'Get into Forge's potions cupboard, you know he put those extra protection charms on it for some bizarre reason...'
'Yes.' Remus narrowed his eyes.
'Well we told him that Peter had left something in there and we had to go and get it. I knew he'd trust you and Peter enough to let you in,' James added blithely.
'Clever,' gasped Peter, eyes wide.
'Yes. And it might be nearly a week before it wears off!' Sirius smirked.
'So what does it do to them if they try and get close to you?' Remus thought that was clearly the important question in all of this.
'Slight nausea, make them want to bugger off.'
'And if they don't?'
'Mild vomiting maybe.'
Remus narrowed his eyes; it seemed a bit extreme to him.
'Come on Moony, it's my birthday; I can do anything I want!'
And Remus knew he was right, and forced his voice to sound jokey. 'Actually, if you check, it's after midnight.'
'Oh, well. Still, there's always next year...'
Author notes: It will be a few weeks for ch10 probably. Haven't even got a title yet. Sorry. And in case I forgot last time, thank you so much to all the people that reviewed chapter 7, there were loads and I'm sorry I kept you all waiting so long.