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A Series Of Important Talks

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"You know you’re a giant poofer when,” James is saying. He’s not looking at Sirius when he’s saying it. He’s staring at the fireplace, accusing the bricks and not Sirius. He’s staring so that no one can blame him, not even Lily with the venomous look she is sending his way. ‘Be nice,’ she always tells him. ‘to everyone’. Now she just shakes her head and walks away, wondering if everything she says goes in one ear and out the other.


Why can James remember all her free periods and passwords for abandoned corridors and not the saying ‘Treat others as you would like to be treated?’

James remembers the aphorism, but he really doesn’t think about it. His currant indictments against his best friend are much more important. 

“You know you’re a giant poofer when the last time you talked to a girl it was to ask where to find a guy.”

“When you push Cathrine Kyto out of the way because her breast were blocking your view of a boy.”

“The whole ‘girls are icky’ phase doesn’t go away after third year.”

“When you spend more time with your arms around a guy’s neck than under a girl’s skirt.

“When your dream date involves a full moon.”

“When your friends has to kick you under the potion’s table to stop your staring at another boy’s backside.”

“When you have to change alone because the other boys in the dorms give you a hard on.”

“The word pussy makes you think of cats, which make you think of dogs, which makes you think of him.”

Sirius is looking at James who still isn’t looking at him. He doesn’t get it. “What the hell are you on about, mate?”

James sighs. He runs a hand through his hair. He fidgets in his heavy robes. He finally turns to stare at Sirius, or just above Sirius’s right ear.

Sirius stares back and waits for James to say something.

“The last time you had a date with a girl it involved turning her pumpkin juice into sewage.”

“You have spent every visit to Hogsmeade ever with your best mates.”

“Him saying ‘come here’ turns you on more than all my TopWitch magazines. Even the ones with Fayette Gannog.”

“You find excuses to dig through your male friend’s pockets.”

“You whisper ‘Remus’ whenever you jerk off at night.”

James wanted to smile, but decided the matter was much to grave to do so. He can’t help that the grave look he’s been wearing for the last ten minutes lightens up, because he thinks he’s finally managed to get his point across with that one.

The smile, however not smug James tries to make it looks, sets off something in Sirius. “Did you get a hold of Snape’s diary or something?” He asked. “If that little wanker-“

“Oh for Merlin’s sake!” James tossed his arms up in the air as a sign of defeat. The Gryffindors relaxing in the common room all turned to look at the Headboy and seem to make the group decision that now would be the best time to go to their dorms or dinner or anywhere where there was less of a chance of them getting their eye’s cursed onto their bottoms.

James isn’t paying attention to these people. “Bugger this. You,” He points at Sirius, the only person in the room he cares about at this moment, with the exception of Lily who he always cares about in what he has been told is a rather endearing if not all together healthy and sane manner. “Are the wanker.”

Sirius thought this was an unfair assessment considering he hadn’t the slightest idea what James was going on about, and he told James so. “Really? At least I’m not the one obsessed with being a poof.”

James rolled his eyes. He twists his hands together. This restrains him from punching Sirius’s face in. “The point, oh genius one, is that yes, yes you are. A poof, I mean. Not a genius.”

And that was that.

Chapter Text

"You do stare at him," Peter says. "A lot."

Sirius tries to kill Peter with a look. He wonders if maybe it works and Peter is just a fidgety corpse because he does shut up. Sirius waits a few seconds. He decides that a quiet Wormtail is just as good as a dead Wormtail and starts to pace across the dorm again.

He comes to a halt when Peter says, "You did ask."

"You're supposed to lie," Sirius explains. "You're supposed to say 'No, Sirius, you are definitely not a poof.'"

"I never said you were a poof," Peter replies. He's a bit wide eyed, having never used the word 'poof' and unsure why Sirius was angry with him for having words put in his mouth. But then Peter is always a bit wide eyed and Sirius is far to caught up in pacing to notice. "Just that you do sort of act like you fancy Remus."

Sirius's fist clench. His eyes narrow. He looks like he's going to explode, or like he wants Peter to explode. He definitely wants to see an explosion of some kind. "I do not fancy Remus," he barks when he realizes that now, for once, is not the time to blow something up. Peter nods and quickly finds thing that are less scary to look at than Sirius. He keeps his eyes trained on the bedding, only chancing another look at Sirius when he eyes go crossed.

"I do not fancy Remus," Sirius repeats. Ever since James had cornered him this had been his mantra. He chants it as many times as he can when it isn't going to raise suspicion, and occasionally even when it will. "And I do not look at him, full stop." Sirius fixes Peter with another look that is meant to maim. Peter remains perfectly alive and un-mutilated. He does get more fidgety, though. "At all."

Peter nods vigorously. He hopes that Sirius gets the message and stops scowling at him like that. All he had done was answer when asked if he thought there was something odd about the way Sirius acts with Remus.

James had warned him that he might be asked. "Don't lie, Wormtail," James had said with one of those looks that is amusing when directed at Snape but not half as much when it's trained on Peter. "I'll know if you lie to him."

Between the two,Peter  was slightly more afraid of Sirius, but thought it much more likely for James to keep his promise. He had decided beforehand that the best compromise was by neither lying nor answering in full.

Peter wonders where this plan went wrong. Sirius starts pacing again.

"Most people look at their friends," Peter reasons. Sirius either doesn't hear him or is ignoring him. Peter hopes it's the latter and wonders if he can sneak out. "It's not like you're his stalker."

"Exactly," Sirius snaps at no one in particular. Peter still jumps a little and covers his mouth to cut off a squeak. "Prongs is the idiot. He's the one chasing Evans around like... Like a stalker."

Peter nods with the enthusiasm of someone no longer in danger of having a firework stuffed down their pants. "It's not as though you have a list of Moony's favorite things hidden under your pillow."

Sirius agrees. Not that he would need a list. Everyone knows that Remus loves to learn about magical creatures and reading old books that smell like mold and drinking hot chocolate with a bit of cinnamon added in and sitting outside during new moons and wrapping himself in as many clothes as possibly during the winter to arm himself against Sirius’s and James’s magicked snowballs.

"Or that you spend twice as much on his present than you do on all your other friends’ combined."

"Or you constantly follow him about."

"Or you purposely knocking any guy you thought might almost be interested in him off his broom during matches."

Sirius was a beater. It was his job to knock people off their brooms. The fact that Connor and Remus spent time studying together couldn't stop him from helping Gryffindor win a game or two.

"Or that you practically hex anyone who tries to take your spot next to him in class."

"Or that you sit around and listen to him ranting just because he’s the one talking."

"Or send him something anonymous during a bad Valentine’s just so he'll feel better about himself."

Sirius vaguely remembers sending Remus flowers that one year, but that was meant as a joke and they all knew it. Besides, biting tiger lilies that sung about someone’s pants weren't exactly romantic.

"Or memorize his timetable so that you can walk with him from class to class."

"Or take an OWL level course you don't need just to be in the same room as him."

"Or that you've got at least ten detentions beating someone up for saying something nasty about him."

Things that any friend would do for each other, Sirius thinks.

"Or that you stop doing certain things because you know they annoy him."

"Or that you make sure you never have another date for Hogsmeade visits if he doesn't."

"Or that you plan things around when you're going to be with him."

"Or ever tried bribing him to spend time with you."

"Or spent hours talking about him with your friends."

"Or ever had anyone ask if you were going out even though you weren't."

"Or commented on how he looked."

"Or how he smelled."

Peter pauses, lifting his chin and screwing up his face in concentration as if thinking over everything he just said. "No. At least you're not as pathetic as James." Peter is sure he could hear James whining about that last comment. Not that it would mean anything, since he certainly couldn't argue that he hadn't done all those things and more.

The dorm door swings shut. Peter looks down at the heavy tread marks in the carpet, then up at the doorway again. "He's gone."

There is a swooshing sound when James pulls off the cloak. "Just because I'm invisible doesn't mean I can't see," He says. He messes with his hair to make sure the cloak didn't flatten it out. He pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose.

Peter is still watching the door and fidgeting. He's been fidgeting constantly for a few years now but no one really seems to notice him all that much. "Do you think he got it?" He asks.

James nods. "He had to have, right?"

Peter gives a halfhearted shrug. He's never sure if he should agree with James or not when James sounds so doubtful of himself, so he settles on some sort of middle ground. "I guess," He says, biting at his lip. This doesn't make him feel any better. It's just a way for his face to fidget.

James gives a slightly more confident nod. "Good," He says. He throws the invisibility cloak at his open trunk. "And I'm not pathetic."

Peter shrugs.

Chapter Text

“Sirius,” Lily says, “is a prick.”

Remus nods. Not because he thinks Sirius is a prick, although Sirius certainly acts in such a way that the greater part of Hogwarts tends to think he is, but because Lily starts out at least half her conversations with how immature the Marauders are. Remus finds it easier to simply agree.

Remus’s nodding only makes Lily more upset. She sits down across from him in a huff. “If he’s a prick why are you friends with him?” she asks.

Remus shrugs. He writes something down on the Astronomy chart he is working on. He wonders how Sirius is doing on his, and then wonders why Sirius even took the OWL level course considering that he never particularly liked the class. That thought quickly flutters away. Remus is very good at avoiding confrontation, even in his own mind.

Lily tries to get Remus’s attention with a loud sigh. She moves until her robes are hitched high enough to show off her calves. She crosses her arms, making it look like she has more cleavage then she will ever really own. She straightens up her back, licks her lips, and pouts. If James was there, he would be drooling.

Remus looks up briefly and says, “I’m not sure,” and then goes back to his paper.

Lily thinks about this for a few seconds before her body goes back to it’s normal and much more comfortable position. “I want you to know that I only told James because he already suspected as much.”

Remus nods without paying any attention to what Lily is saying. He draws Mercury’s orbit on his charts and scribbles a few more sentences down on the roll of parchment.

“I already figured it out a long time ago,” Lily says. “By third year, in fact. So it’s all right if you tell me. Because I already know.”

Even in his inattentiveness Remus recognizes something wrong with this conversation. Mainly his utter lack of understanding when it comes to what Lily is going on about. Also, Remus thinks all this knowing things about him sounds rather important. He decides it might be worth listening to. 

“You know,” Remus stays as calm as possible for one who believes he is sitting across from a mad woman. “I have no idea what you know.”

They both take a moment to digest this fully.

Lily bites her lip. “Really?” She doesn’t seem convinced. 

Remus nods. “Really,” he answers.

“Oh.” Lily sounds honestly surprised. She starts twisting her hair around in her fingers the way some girls do to avoid eye contact. Remus notes that there has been a lot of avoidance of eye contact with him in the last few days.

“Well then,” Lily says, pointedly watching her own hand. Remus rubs his nose and cheeks and worries that he has started chewing on his quills again. Having a face covered in ink is as good reason as any for people not to want to look at you. “I guess we should clear that up, first.”

Remus brushes off his shoulders to check for dandruff.

“I want you to know,” Lily says, “that I don’t think any differently of you.”

Remus remembers that time in first year that James “accidentally” turned his face a bright, glowing purple. He tries to discreetly sneak a look at his own cheeks by puffing his mouth full of air.

“Because you’re still my friend, still James’s friend, no matter what.” Lily hopes Remus doesn’t notice her rambling and wonders how long she can put off the actual point of this conversation. Because even if she already knows and knows that it doesn’t matter if she knows because she likes Remus the same regardless, it is still a rather awkward talk to have with someone.

Remus crosses his eyes to make sure his nose is still in place.

“I mean, of course I’ll still like you… In an utterly none crush sort of way,” Lily adds.

Remus feels around his forehead to make sure someone hasn’t charmed something up there.

“So it’s perfectly fine that you’re gay.”

Remus pulls at his ears to make sure they’re still ear shaped.

“Do I have something on my face?” He asks. 

Lily thinks she has been spending too much time with James. She has the unexplainable urge to blow something up. “Remus,” she says in a severe voice she stole from Professor Mcgonagall (the same one that, on rare occasions, even manages to keep Potter and Black in line), “are you listening to me?”

Remus gives a noncommittal “hmm” and pats down his hair.

“I said,” Lily’s voice sounds eerily like she might sprout poisoned tipped fangs at any moment, “that it’s all right if you like guys.” The way she says it makes it seem like Remus has two choices: like other guys or suffer a horrifying and painful death.

Remus considers pretending to have gone deaf. He takes one look at Lily and decides against that plan. He glances around the room for a quick exit, but the way Lily’s hands and fisted into her robe convince him otherwise. He starts to accept the fact that his choices have been narrowed down to one.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Lily rolls her eyes. “Oh come on,” she says. “It’s not like it isn’t completely obvious.”

She lifts a hand and counts off on her fingers. “First you and Connor had that study group.”

Remus tries to look insulted. “We were studying,” he says.

“Because I always come back from study groups looking like I’ve been snogging.” She pauses, thinks about this, and adds, “I mean, before I started going out with James.”

Remus gives up trying to look insulted at the idea and goes for utterly indignant. “I don’t think looking slightly messy-”

“Well kissed,” Lily corrects.

Remus ignores this correction. “-is proof of anything other than me falling asleep on books.”

Lily snorts, which is a perfectly normal way to react to the idea of Remus falling asleep in the library. She counts off another finger. “Then there is the way you watch quidditch.”

“All boys watch quidditch!” Remus protests. “James watches quidditch and you don’t go around accusing him of… of sodomy!”

Lily gets a slightly glazed look in her eyes for a few seconds. Remus chooses to believe she is thinking about James and quidditch rather than James and sodomy. “But,” she says, shaking away the haze. “you watch it like my roommates watch it.”

She clarifies with, “You watch it like a girl.”

“I do not,” Remus retorts. “Just because I’m not as obsessed with it as James or Peter or Sirius doesn’t mean I only watch it for the boys in uniforms and what not.”

Lily gives him a look and a flustered Remus adds, “And I only say that because that is what you and Cassie and Iris are always going on about. That’s all.”

“It does,” Lily says, “give James quite a cute butt.”

There isn’t even a full beat before Remus says, “I wouldn’t know.”

Lily goes into another one of those temporary dream states before counting off another finger. “Then there is Davis Jones,” she says. “Whom you snogged in the charms room. It’s probably a good thing he decided to stay in the closet and date Endora. He was a real bastard anyway, Remus. I always imagined you had better taste.” She says this as though she’s been holding it in for much too long. Lily has always been the type of girl to give her opinions on all matters, and having to keep quiet about something like that is not healthy for her at all. 

This catches Remus off guard, and all he can do for a few seconds is try and get his brain functioning again. In the meantime Lily counts off another finger.

“And did you think no one would notice how you and Alistair sat knee-to-knee for a most of the third year?

“Excuse me!” Remus snaps after his powers of speech return. “We were friends. We didn’t do anything.”

“Which is too bad,” Lily says. “You would have made a cute couple, and he so obviously liked you. Shame you were still in denial back then. I’ll bet he’d still go out with you if you asked. I see the way he looks at you in Transfigurations.”

For a second Remus’s imagination gets loose and he tries to think up ways for Alistair to look at him, but this is soon stamped out by the much larger, stronger part of him that is in utter denial that he’s even having this conversation. He shakes his head and all those thoughts vanish. 

“There’s the fact that you’ve never dated a girl, which could be written off as you being… you,” she reasons. “And then there is the way you spend History of Magic staring at Sirius like… Well, kind of like how James stares at me.” As an after thought she adds, “Only slightly less pathetic.”

“I don’t stare at Sirius,” Remus replies. His voice has lost more of its determination at this point. Lily lowers her hands back into her lap. She thinks she should be smiling since she’s obviously won against Remus’s sense of denial and avoidance, but the way Remus is staring at his lap makes her feel guilty.

They both sit in a very awkward silence. Remus keeps fidgeting with his robe and Lily worries her lower lip with her teeth.

Lily takes a deep breath and decides to try again. “Sirius,” she says, “is a prick.” 

Lily watches Remus for a reaction. Remus watches the floor. Lily sighs. “But,” she continues, voice begging Remus to take part in the conversation, “he’s your prick.” 

Remus looks up. 

Lily shakes her head. “That sounded wrong,” she admits. “What I mean to say is that you don’t think Sirius is a prick because, even though he is one, you see, you…. No, that doesn’t work either.”

Both fall silent and think over what Lily has said, or what she is trying to say. After a while she takes another deep breath. “I mean… Bugger this.” Lily isn’t the type to use such language. In this instance she feels the situation calls for either foul language or slapping Remus´s head. 

“Sirius,” she says, “is also gay… Like you.” She gives this a second out her mouth to make sure she really said that. “Sirius and you are both gay.”

Lily stands up. She brushes off her robe. She makes a point of looking at her watch and not at Remus. “So,” she says, “that’s that.” 

Lily leaves Remus to deal with the rest on his own. She’s done all she can do and the boys would simply have to sort the rest out on their own.

She can’t help but feel that both boys are doomed.

Chapter Text

Peter agree that they can only do so much. They lay it all out for Sirius and Remus. All the two boys have to do is act with absolutely no thinking on their own parts required. Lily, James, and Peter do all this for them, and then they sit back and wait for something to happen.

Peter expects there to be a fight. James expects fireworks or huge, divine signs from above. Lily isn't sure what she expects, but knowing Remus and Sirius she doesn't expect it to work out smoothly. None of them expect everything to fall into a stalemate like pattern, but it does. And this is how it goes:

When Sirius asks Remus to see his Charm notes, Remus ignores him.

When Sirius suggests they work on finishing the map, Remus ignores him.

When Sirius steals the last bite of pudding off of Remus's plate, Remus ignores him.

When Sirius gets tired of being ignored he puts his arm around Remus's shoulder. He leans close to him when they walk together. He touches him more than strictly necessary, and for no reason at all. He does all of this until Remus can't take it any more and walks storms off to lock himself in the dorm room or bury himself under a pile of homework, which works like a Sirius bane.

When Remus goes to apologize for acting so strange he finds Sirius pressed against a girl with his hands everywhere.

When Remus slams the door to the dorm room hard enough to shake the frame, James and Peter know to get out of his way as quickly as possible if they want to keep all their limbs in place.

When Sirius gets bored of the random girl he's chosen to distract him, something that usually takes less than an hour, he goes to find Remus, who has started ignoring him again.

Remus says he's not ignoring Sirius, which isn't true.

Sirius says he's not overreacting, which isn't true, either.

Peter says that Remus is angry with Sirius, which also isn't true.

James says Sirius is still in denial, which is almost true, but not quite.

Lily says both of the boys are idiots. She tends to be right about these sorts of things.

"Do you think," Lily asks when Sirius has found yet another girl desperate enough to take him and Remus is off wondering the halls of Hogwarts trying not to think about Sirius and failing miserably, "we can lock them in a closet? I think it might help, locking them in a closet."

James shakes his head and runs a hand through his girlfriend's hair, which is almost as comforting as messing with his own. "I think being in a closet is the last thing they need," he says. "If anything, we need to lock them out of the closet."

Lily opens her mouth to point out that at least they'd be in the same closet instead of two entirely different closest located on the opposites ends of Hogwarts, but then Remus is storming into the commons and Lily has the good sense to keep quiet. He passes by the couple and heads up the stairs so that he can take his anger out on his pillow, which by now is flat and nearly featherless. Seconds later, Peter scurries down the stairs.

"We need to lock them in a room together." Peter is shaking and his hands refuse to stay still even when he sits on them. "See which one comes out alive."

Lily gives James a pointed look.

Sirius comes into the commons, wiping his mouth against his sleeve. "Felina Inge taste like rotten peaches," he announces to no one in particular. Three pairs of eyes follow him as he marches to the dorm, spitting all the way there.

"When Sirius dies I get his broom," James says once his friend is out of sight.

"Can I have his quidditch posters?" Peter asks.

There is a loud sigh of someone who has been frustrated to the point of yanking out her own hair by the handfuls. "They're doomed. Boys are bollocks a talking." James and Peter are too shocked by Lily's language to lay claim to any more of Sirius's things.

"And," Lily adds. "I get his chess set."

*

The first thing Sirius does is pull off his robe.

The sleeve is wet from where he's been trying to get Felina's spit out of his mouth and the whole thing smells like some sort of rotten berry orgy. "What is with girls and perfume?"

"I wouldn't know," Remus answers, and just then Sirius notices that he's not alone.

It's not that he feels uncomfortable standing there in just his Y-fronts, but Sirius makes a quick dash for his trunk. "Hey, Moony. Thought you'd be in the library." Sirius grabs the first thing he can and pulls it over his head without thinking. It ends up being some sweater Mrs. Potter had bought him last Christmas that hangs just above his knees.

He plops down on the edge of his bed, right across from Remus. Remus finds some spot on the carpet to study. This is his way of telling Sirius that he has gone back to ignoring him.

Sirius isn't very good with repetitious actives or nonverbal communication. He's bored of the pattern, even if he is half of the problem, and he doesn't feel up to sneaking around Remus's defenses to get answers. He asks, "Remus, are you ignoring me?"

"Yes," Remus answers. He realizes this is the wrong thing to say and quickly adds, "No." Then he figures that if he wants to ignore Sirius properly he shouldn't answer at all and promptly falls silent.

"Well, that's good," Sirius says. "So this not talking to me thing isn't me in trouble, then."

"No," Remus says. "You're not in trouble."

Remus thinks that if anyone is in trouble it would be Lily. He has had three weeks to think it over, and Remus has come to the conclusion that Lily is delusional. He's rather upset by this revelation since he has become rather fond of the only girl able to keep James's attention on anything expect quidditch for more than a few hours at a time. He hopes they have a warred at Saint Mungo's specifically for people crazy enough to think that Sirius might be gay, because in his three weeks of deep contemplation Remus has also decided that this is quite impossible and anyone who thinks otherwise must be insane.

Sirius taps his foot against the bed. He closes his eyes. He wonders if the taste of Felina is ever going to go away. He thinks about James and about a charm that would make his breath stink of rotting fish so that Lily would vomit every time he kisses her.

Remus says, "Sirius, I've been thinking."

Remus had been thinking, but not the sort of thoughts he wanted to share with Sirius. Thoughts he could blame almost entirely on Lily such as Sirius being into guys (he wasn't) and what type of guys he would be into (guys that didn't have light mud colored hair and weren't far to skinny and never smelled like wolf).

Then there were those thoughts that involved Sirius, Remus, a bed, and occasionally something like rope, but Remus had been having those thoughts long before Lily decided she was the expert on his love life. 

"About what?" Sirius thinks about that old aphorism dealing with cats, death, and curiosity. He wonders if the same is true of canines.

"I've been thinking," Remus draws out the words as long as he possibly can. He prays that he can think up something to say, or maybe that Mcgonagall will burst into the room and announce that the entire school has to be placed under a silencing spell for the next fifty years.

He pauses. His head is still empty and Mcgonagall hasn't appeared. Sirius is watching Remus, waiting for him to say something. Remus bites down on his nails like he wants to draw blood. He says, "I'm gay."

This works just as well as a silencing charm.

"Right," Remus says. "I just thought you should know, being my friend and all." He bites down on his nails to keep his mouth from running without input of his brain. He briefly thinks about throwing himself out of the window, but figures that this might hurt. Not to mention draw a lot of attention to him. Remus has never been fond of pain or attention.

The only thing Sirius can say is, "Are you sure?"

"Quite sure," Remus says. "I mean, you remember Connor? I dated him."

Sirius wishes he'd managed to get that bludger closer to Connor's face last year. He makes a mental note to practice on his aim for the upcoming game against Ravenclaw.

"And Jones," Remus adds. "You know, that boy two years above us. I sort of, don't know what you would call it. Dated I guess. Yeah, I dated him, too."

Sirius thinks about this for a moment before saying, "But he's married to that Endora girl." Before Remus can say anything Sirius adds, "Of course she is flat enough to be a boy."

"There you have it." Remus gets off his bed and the nausea hits him. He tries to convince himself that it could have been worse. There were worse things to admit to your friends, and Remus had already had to tell them about his lupine condition. Nothing else could have shocked them. Not unless he'd admitted that he was related to Snape and they were having some sort of incestuous love affair.

These uncontrollable thoughts do nothing to quell the sickness in his stomach.

"I should go now," Remus says. He is swaying on his feet and for some reason can't locate the part of his brain that allows him to move forward. "I... Um... Need to study for those NEWTs. Only a year and a half away, you know."

Remus chances a look at Sirius. Sirius is leaning back against the wall, staring at the canopy of his bed and looking as cool and disinterested as any boy whose friend didn't just announce he was a poof.

Remus's stomach doesn't feel calm about the way Sirius's looks, or the way Remus can't stop looking at him. It gives a turn to remind Remus that he should be running, not standing there with his mouth a gape and letting his mind conjure up images of beds and tangled sheets and his wrists attached to the headboard with the gryffindor tie. "Right. I'm going."

Sirius sits up. He asks, "Remus?" Remus stops, not even halfway to the door. "How would someone know they were, say, a poof?" 

"I don't know," He admits.

Sirius rolls his eyes. "Of course you do," He says. "I mean, how did you know?"

The tumbling in Remus's stomach calms a little. He takes a seat on the edge of Sirius's bed. "I knew," he says. "I knew because giving up a date so that I could hang out with you guys was never an issue."

"Because when I was with boys I talked about us, and with I was with girls I talked about boys."

"Because I would have rather been sitting a little to close to a boy then have a naked girl on my lap."

"Because I had to stop myself from blushing every time any guy looked at me for longer than a minute or two."

"Because I can't stand seeing certain guys hanging around with girls, and it has nothing to do with the girls."

"Because it's easy to picture myself in bed with another guy."

"Because I spent more time looking through the quidditch section of the paper than James's 'collection'."

"Because the first time I kissed a boy, it tasted good."

Sirius asks "It tasted good?" and makes Remus turn about five hundred shades of red.

"It's stupid," Remus says. He studies his nails before he bites at them so that he doesn't have to look at Sirius.

Sirius isn't looking at Remus either. He's licking the insides of his cheeks, finding the last few drops of cold and rotten tasting spit still clinging to his mouth. "Remus?"

"Yeah?"

Sirius says, "I need your help with something."

Remus shrugs and says, "Sure," because he knows that he'll help Sirius with anything he needs. He's not sure if this is a good thing or not, but he doesn't really have a choice in the matter.

Then they kiss.

Sirius kisses Remus, because he can't take the way his tongue feels heavy and his breath is stale as a reminder of kissing Felina. It's Remus's fault that he had to kiss her in the first place, because if Sirius hadn't been forced to touched Remus so that he'd stop ignoring Sirius then his skin wouldn't have set on fire and his mind wouldn't have gone all haywire.

Sirius kisses Remus, sweeping his tongue into Remus's mouth and gathering his taste. Remus helps him, just like he always does. He's warm and alive and kisses Sirius right back until Sirius loses all of his own taste and Remus is in his mouth, licking away at the last hints of moldy fruit.

When Sirius is satisfied with the flavor he pulls away. Somehow, Remus has gotten his hands knotted in Sirius's hair. 

Sirius sweeps his tongue through his mouth. Felina's taste seemed to last forever, but Remus's was already disappearing from his mouth. Sirius didn't like that. "You're going to have to kiss me again," he says.

Remus does, and the conversation is over.

*

James comes back to the commons with his glasses off. He cleans them on his robe, concentrating so hard on the task he nearly trips down the stairs at three different points.

When he gets back to the couch Peter asks, "Is Sirius dead?"

Lily asks, "Is Remus yelling at him yet?"

James doesn't answer. He still hasn't put his glasses back on. "Lily, do you think you could get us some extra blankets?"

Lily has never seen James such an interesting shade of red before, and can't remember the last time he'd made such a big deal of avoiding eye contact. "Sure," she says. "Are you okay?"

James shakes his head no and says, "Yeah, fine." He puts his glasses on, takes them back off, and falls back into a chair. "I think," he says, wiping his glasses off on Peter's robe. "I think we're going to be sleeping in the commons tonight."