It’s a Friday night and Remus is drinking alone again. It’s not a fact he’s particularly proud of, or even one that he’s opposed to changing, but all his friends are busy and his coworkers are currently attempting to ignore his existence, so here he is. He’d thought maybe it would do him good to get out, and the bar is close enough to his flat that he can walk home if he gets too sloshed to drive.
No one else at the bar seems keen to approach him, so alone he stays. Remus wonders vaguely what it is about him that is so unappealing. He’s busy indulging this thought and swirling the last swallow of his drink around the glass to avoid having to finish it when someone really does approach him.
The man hovers to the side for a moment, apparently debating whether or not to sit down. Remus keeps his eyes on the counter, waits for him to order a drink, say hi, or leave. None of these three things happen.
“I need your number,” the man says instead, without preamble.
“Excuse me?” Remus asks, finally looking up. He regrets it as soon as he does.
The man has a mess of brown hair in a weak bun that’s more fly-aways than anything else, the start of a scruffy beard, and a jawline so sharp that Remus is a little worried he’ll get cut just by looking at it. He’s wearing a leather jacket and a lazy smile. All of this adds up to two very important realizations that hit Remus simultaneously.
One- this man is entirely, unfortunately, and undeniably his type. Two- men that are Remus’s type are also nothing but trouble. But for some reason, Remus is still sitting here watching the man stumble through his pick up line, not sure if he’s more flattered or confused.
“I need your number,” the man says again, scratching his neck. “It’s for a bet.”
Remus’s eyebrows shoot up, and the man immediately backtracks.
“That makes it sound a lot worse than it is. I’m not hitting on you, it’s just…” He trails off, his confidence seeming to shrink with every word.
“You’re not hitting on me,” Remus repeats, baffled. “But you need my number?”
The man nods just a touch too eagerly. “Yeah, it’s complicated, but- let me explain?” he asks hopefully.
For whatever reason, Remus indulges him. “Well if it’s going to take a while, maybe you should have a seat.”
The man takes the offered spot gratefully. “You see that bloke over there by the pool table?” he says.
Remus cranes his head to see through the crowd.
“Brown coat, black hair, standing next to the gorgeous ginger that’s ten times too good for him? That’s my best mate, James. See, James is under the mistaken impression that the fact that I’ve been single for nearly a year means I’ve lost my charm. But as you can clearly testify for yourself, that’s not true.” The man punctuates that last sentence with a wink that’s just clumsy enough to save him from looking like a total douche. “So I bet him twenty pounds that I could get anyone in this room’s number, and here we are.”
“So how does this add up to you not hitting on me?” Remus asks, still confused and not entirely sure why he’s still having this conversation instead of getting drunk off his arse.
“Oh, you don’t have to give me your real number,” the man says as though that should’ve been obvious. “I’m just trying to score a little cash here and prove a friend wrong. So here’s the deal: I buy you a drink, you laugh and lean on my arm a few times, really sell it, you know? Then you write down a fake number and give it to me, I win the bet, and I slip you half the cash after he leaves for the night.”
“Okay,” Remus says too quickly.
The man blinks. “...okay?”
“Why the fuck not?” Remus shrugs. “Got no better plans for tonight. I’m in.”
His companion grins and gets the bartender’s attention. “I’ll get a vodka martini, dry, please, and whatever else my gorgeous new friend here would like.”
“Whiskey sour,” Remus supplies, blushing despite himself.
The bartender starts making their drinks and Remus turns back to the other man. “So, does this bet involve the two of us remaining nameless strangers this entire time or do I get to ask what I should call you?”
“Oh, you can call me Sirius,” he drawls. “But I’d rather you call me tonight.”
Remus rolls his eyes. “Remind me again why you’re so sure that friend is wrong about your charms?”
“You’re still talking to me,” Sirius points out with a grin. “So what about you? You got a name, doe eyes?”
“Remus. But I’d rather you call me darling,” he shoots back.
Sirius whistles. “You’re good. I think I’m gonna like you, darlin’,” he says, eyes dragging over Remus in a calculated way. The pet name sounds so much dirtier on his tongue, and Remus tries not to let the other man see what it does to him.
He is making the best mistake of his life right now.
“So why me, Sirius?” he asks, partly to change the subject and partly because he really is curious. “Of everyone at this bar, why choose me?”
“You mean besides that whole sexy professor thing you’ve got going on?” Sirius asks, waving a hand in the general direction of his dress shirt and half undone tie.
Remus mentally files that comment away to overanalyze later and waits for the other man to give him a real response. The bartender comes back with their drinks and Remus takes a grateful sip, not taking his eyes off Sirius as he waits for him to continue.
“You looked lonely,” Sirius answers finally. “Sitting by yourself over here, clearly mooning over something.”
Remus frowns. He didn’t know he was that obvious.
“I guess… I just wanted to break the monotony for you,” Sirius says.
“Mission accomplished,” Remus says lightly, and Sirius rewards him with another one of those blinding grins.
“So were you?” he asks after a second. “Mooning?”
“Nah,” Remus says. “Just… long day at work.”
“Right,” Sirius says, clearly unconvinced.
“No, really,” Remus adds. He really doesn’t want the hot man flirting with him to think he’s caught up on someone else. The hot man pretending to flirt with him, he corrects himself. “Management’s a bitch.”
“Oh I believe you, Moony,” Sirius laughs, and Remus smacks his arm.
“Never call me that again,” he warns, but it doesn’t seem to discourage Sirius in the slightest.
Remus finishes his drink.“Your friend is watching,” he says quietly.
Sirius takes the cue. “Is he now?” he murmurs, leaning in and letting one finger trail down Remus’s thigh. “Shall we give him a show?”
Sirius seems to be waiting for permission, and the gin has given Remus just enough courage to solve that problem for him and slot their lips together. It’s a messy kiss, fueled by alcohol and nerves and the sheer oddity of the situation, but Remus lets himself enjoy it anyway. He grabs a handful of the man’s leather jacket and uses the leverage to pull him impossibly closer. Sirius practically moans into his mouth, and the sound is way hotter than Remus is prepared for. He hasn’t felt this wanted in a long time. Sirius’s hand is still on his thigh, creeping gradually higher, and Remus’s own hands are in the other man’s hair, on a mission to destroy what little is left of the bun.
Someone drops a glass from behind them, and the sound of smashing glass snaps Remus back to reality. He reluctantly breaks away. They’re still in public, after all, and Remus is sober enough to realize that he won’t be able to control himself much longer if Sirius keeps on doing what he’s doing. His resolve is weakened by the puppy dog eyes Sirius gives him at their separation, but nevertheless, he straightens his tie awkwardly and stays in his own space.
“So,” Remus says, feeling absurdly shy for someone who has just had his tongue down Sirius’s throat. “I seem to remember something about owing you a phone number?”
“Oh,” Sirius says, slightly dazed and sounding suspiciously like he’d forgotten all about it. He offers Remus his phone, opening a new contact for him to punch the number in, but the gesture is lacking the bravado he’d had moments before.
There’s a split second of hesitation as Remus looks at the blank contact and then he’s making his decision, punching his real number in like it’s second nature. “Go win that bet,” he says, handing the phone back to Sirius, and just like that, the man snaps back into his overly confident self.
“Will do, darlin’,” he says. His voice drops as he stands and brushes a hand across Remus’s shoulder. “I’ll be back with your half after James pays up, just don’t leave before he does.”
“Making plans for the second date already?” Remus jokes.
“You wish,” Sirius says, shooting a wink over his shoulder as he saunters back to his friends.
The solitude is so much worse after Sirius leaves. Remus is suddenly aware of all the happy couples and loud friend groups around him, tuned into the tinny way the music pumps over the speakers and the high pitched laugh of the girl next to him. It’s kind of depressing, being alone in a crowd like this. The only thing that’s stopping him from leaving is the promise of Sirius’s return, so Remus digs out his phone and starts idly swiping through his newsfeed, wondering how long he’ll be waiting for.
It’s been a while since he’s pulled a con job or even a prank like this, he realizes as he sits there. Remus frowns. Adult responsibility has changed him more than he’d realized. He’s startled out of his thoughts by a voice suddenly whispering in his ear.
“What’s a fine gent like you doing all alone on a night like this?” Sirius’s voice asks.
“Christ,” Remus says, one hand instinctively flying to his chest. “Do you always sneak up on people like that?”
“Only when I owe them money,” Sirius replies, waving a tenner in the air. Remus smiles and takes it.
“You got out of there fast,” he observes.
“I told James I was taking you home,” Sirius smirks. “He knows when to get out of my way.”
Remus quirks a smile in return. “And here I thought you missed my company.”
“Company’s a bonus,” Sirius says easily, sliding back into his seat from earlier. “At the risk of repeating myself, Moony, what are you doing here tonight?”
Remus isn’t sure why he answers honestly. He should probably make up something cooler, spin the truth a little bit, but there’s something in his tone that makes him think the other man genuinely wants to know the answer. “I was tired of spending the night at my flat alone,” he says. “Figured I’d spend it alone here instead.”
“If you wanted to get me back to your place, Moony, you could’ve just said so,” Sirius quips, and Remus rolls his eyes.
"No, really,” he says. “It’s nice to have someone here. Thanks for talking to me tonight.”
“Thanks for being a good sport,” Sirius responds.
Right. A good sport. Remus feels his smile fade slightly at the reminder that it had all been for the bet. Still, he thinks. All of this has to be worth something.
“Hey, Sirius?” he asks. “I’ve been wondering. Why’d you even take the bet? Not to pry, but it just seems like an awful lot of trouble for ten pounds.”
“Because James is bloody impossible to turn down,” Sirius admits, sounding slightly pained. “And because I’m saving all the money I can get these days. I lent my bike to my mate Peter and the arsehole crashed it. Neither of us had insurance, so here we are. But like I said, I’ve been saving, and I’ve got my eye on this beautiful Triumph Bonneville model someone in Sheffield is selling. 1959, white detailing, original seat- god, she’s gorgeous.” His voice is reverent and Remus thinks he sees his eyes glaze over slightly as he speaks.
“Anyway, I could ask you the same thing,” Sirius says, abruptly leaving his daydream behind. “Why’d you take the bet, Moony?”
“Honestly?” Remus says, feeling impulsive. “Because I was bored and you’re hot.”
He doesn’t miss the way Sirius’s eyes flick down to his lips and back up. “So you’ve had ulterior motives this whole time,” he says, flinging a hand dramatically over his chest. “I feel so used.”
“I’m so sorry, however shall I make it up to you?” Remus laughs.
“Give me your number,” Sirius suggests immediately. The teasing smile drops off his face.
“But you already have it,” Remus says innocently.
“Hey, I mean it,” the other man responds, looking down.
“So do I,” Remus says. Sirius cocks his head. “I already gave you the real one. Just in case.”
Sirius beams. “Well then. I’m glad I didn’t delete it.”
They’ve missed last call sometime during the conversation, and the bar is starting to shut down around them. Patrons are gathering their things, settling their tabs, and Remus is suddenly very aware of the way the bartender has been shooting significant looks their way. “It’s late,” he offers. “I should be getting home.”
“Any chance you’ll be wanting company?” Sirius asks hopefully, but Remus shoots him down.
“Not tonight,” he says, trying to ignore the thrill in his stomach that accompanies Sirius’s suggestion. “But I was thinking, and after that drink you bought me, I believe I owe you.”
Sirius’s eyes light back up again. “And how do I cash that offer in?” he asks, leaning forward with elbows on the bar.
“Let me get the next one,” Remus says. “Sunday, same time?”
“I’ll be here,” Sirius promises, and then he kisses Remus so quickly and lightly that neither of them are fully sure it happened. “Sorry, couldn’t resist, darlin’,” he says in an attempt at an apology for something he in no way regrets. “Just saying goodnight.”
“Goodnight, Sirius,” Remus whispers, and then with a pointed cough from the bartender, he really does get up from his seat.
“I’ll see you Sunday,” Sirius calls after him, like it’s something Remus would ever need to be reminded of.
Remus waves slightly as the door shuts behind him, waiting until he’s entirely turned the corner and safely on the way back to his flat to break out grinning. He has a date, with an incredibly attractive man whose last name he doesn’t know. His phone buzzes in his pocket. It’s Sirius, or at least that’s the only person he can think of who would be sending him a picture of the moon at four in the morning.
“Missing this sight already,” the caption says, and Remus laughs. He’s eager to point out that it’s a bit rich coming from someone who’s literally named after a star, but that can wait for Sunday. They’ve got time.