Sirius Black has a Problem. Capitalised. In fact, he has a Whopping Great Problem, that needs to be Dealt With, As Soon As Possible.
You see, it is all very sudden and unexpected. When they parted ways after fifth year, Moony was just good old Moony. Soft, warm, a little tattered around the edges; smelling of old books, chocolate, and a light wolfish undertone that Sirius has only been able to pick up on since Padfoot came around. Moony with his comfy, oversized jumpers, his cardigans, of all things (really, what teenage boy wears cardigans?), his common sense, dry wit, and secret wicked humour.
But when they come back for sixth year, Moony is hot.
It's completely and utterly unfair, really. It is a Disaster of the Gravest Kind.
It is making him resort to far too many capital letters in his mind.
He just can't stop staring at Remus. He's shot up, is now a good inch or so taller than Sirius (and how is that even possibly fair?). He's gotten his hair cut up, and it makes his facial structure all the more striking, makes his cheekbones stand out more and leaves him no fringe to hide those pretty green eyes behind. He is no longer the rumpled, scared little boy they first met; he's transformed into a young man, and it has only just occurred to Sirius.
Puberty has turned his Remus into a Sex God and it is Not Fair.
“Merlin's Beard. Who are you, and what have you done with our Moony?” James rises to block Remus from stepping into their compartment, waving his wand threateningly in front of him. Remus laughs and bats it away. “Honestly, mate. You look different.”
“Good different,” Peter pipes up.
“You're hot.” Sirius practically spits the word, shock turning his tone to disgusted disbelief, and Remus gives him a look that is torn between amusement and offence. After a second he settles on the first, nudging James out of the way.
“Shut up. Let me in.”
No one says anything else, but five minutes pass before Sirius realises his jaw is still slack.
“Moony is hot.”
“Good for him.”
“Like, really hot.”
“Yes. Seriously hot.”
“Get out of my bed.”
“You don't understand.”
“You have a raging boner for Remus. We are all aware.”
“Why don't you tell him?”
“I can't just tell him. You don't just tell people things like that. Well, maybe people. Not Moony. I need a plan.”
“Can't it wait?”
“No! Prongs! Have you seen how hot he is? Someone is going to snatch him up. Come right along and just snatch him up in their filthy, unworthy claws, all for themselves.”
“If it were Evans, I'd help you.”
“You're a lost cause by now. Can we focus on me? I think my problem is a little more urgent than yours. Evans will still be available to reject you in heart breaking and tragic ways all year. Actually. You are a lost cause.”
“So you've said.”
“Why am I asking you for help? No. You are useless to me.”
“As is Wormtail. Ah, my pathetic comrades, I must go alone in my pursuit for- OW!”
Sirius needs a plan. A special plan. Not his usual Marauder genius, but a plan that will appeal to Remus. That he will appreciate. It is with this in mind, that he finds himself in the library during the first week of term. Feeling like a proper swot as he digs through the Muggle Literature section, because he knows Remus has a fondness for Muggle Literature. He also has a fair knowledge of Remus' favourites.
By the end of the day the dorm is covered in fragments of Eliot's 'The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock”. Handwritten on torn pieces of parchment, the notes begin on Remus bed, and form a trail around the dorm, ending at Sirius' bed. He thinks it is both subtle and charming.
“This sticking charm is going to take days to lift.” Remus is frowning as he tries to peel the first note from one of the legs of his bed. Frowning is not the response Sirius was seeking. Frowning is Not Good. “Really, Sirius.”
He doesn't even mention the poem.
Sirius is temporarily heartbroken. He sulks for a full evening, before accepting Plan 1 as a Failure, and moving on.
There is mistletoe everywhere.
There is mistletoe on all of the beds. There is mistletoe under all of the beds. This is mistletoe on James' glasses, in Peter's shoes, mixed through Sirius' hair. There is so much mistletoe; the dorm is thick with it.
“No offence, chaps, but there is no way I am kissing any of you shirtlifters.”
“I'm with Pete on this one.” James' stretches, and when his blanket topples down, he notices the mistletoe sticking in the waistband of his boxers. “Sirius!”
“That one's for Evans.”
All the noise stirs Remus, who blinks awake slowly. He looks around the room for a long second, before calmly closing his eyes.
“Whoever is responsible for this-”
“- I am going to pretend I haven't seen it, and by the time I am back from the shower, it will be all gone.”
“No. No, no. I don't want excuses. I just want it gone.”
Sirius is beginning to empathise with James, and that is Truly Tragic.
His next move is just to make everything Remus owns smell like him. Because if Remus is smelling him, he will be thinking about him, and the more he thinks about him, the more he'll like him. Simple.
Also, it's only fair that if Sirius is constantly thinking of Remus, that he should be thinking of Sirius.
So when Remus comes back from Prefect Duties, he finds Sirius in his bed. In one of his jumpers. Reading one of his books.
“What are you doing?”
“For some reason, I highly doubt that.”
“You wound me! There is no trust in this relationship, my dear Moonykins.”
“Mhm. May I have my jumper back?”
“No. It's warm and comfy.”
“I am aware. That is precisely why I am so fond of it myself, funnily enough.”
“Don't you want me to be warm and comfy, too?”
“You always call my jumpers ugly.”
“They are ugly, but that doesn't deduct from their comfort factor.”
Remus sighs, in that long suffering, 'all my friends are idiots' kind of way. Sirius is very familiar with that sigh. Sirius is often the cause of that sigh, and he prides himself on it.
“Off my bed then.”
“I will lie on you.”
Not an unpleasant concept.
“I shan't be moved.”
The strain in Remus' voice has Sirius on his feet in seconds, instantly transitioning from playful to concerned. He steps closer, palm to Remus' forehead, eyes crinkled at the side with worry.
“Are you okay?”
Remus laughs; but it is a thin, tired laugh.
“I'm fine. Just tired.”
“Pre moon.” Remus nods his agreement, sinking in to the bed once Sirius clears from it, rubbing his eyes.
“Do you want your jumper?” Sirius asks; soft, quiet.
“No. It's okay. You can wear it.”
And the plan is forgotten.
Sirius feels like he's bursting from his skin in the best way. He lands on four paws, shakes himself vigorously, and Padfoot lifts his head to howl at the moon. Prongs nudges him with his antlers, a warning to be quiet, but he gives a playful growl in response, and races off across the grounds.
Nothing gives him this freedom; not even a broom. The force of each bounding leap vibrating up through his paws every time they hit the ground, and he can feel it in his whole body. Tongue out, heart pounding against his ribcage, and the world passes in a blur of colours. All the human worries fall away; all the stress and worry and all that awful frustration. It is just Padfoot and the cold night air, the smell of dirt and dew, and he runs great circles until his muscles ache.
He is back by Prongs' side by the time he and Wormtail are at the Willow, panting heavily, his fur damp with dew, but he has worked out some of his restlessness. He pads ahead down the passageway, able to manoeuvre it much easier than Prongs. He picks up the scent of the wolf as they get closer to the Shack, and his doggy instinct identifies it as part of his pack. Tail wagging furiously with excitement, Padfoot runs ahead. He slows when he reaches the Shack, sniffing his way to Moony.
He is particularly wild tonight; always is after he's spent a few moons without the rest of them. He is more wolf than Remus, and he turns on Padfoot when he pads into the room, teeth bared. Padfoot whimpers, automatically submitting, recognising Moony as higher in pack order than him. Moony makes a leap, and his instinct is to roll over, bare his throat, show he knows his place. He fights past that, leaps back, growling and baring his teeth in response. They snap at each other, more show than genuine aggression, before Moony backs up. He'll give another warning growl, but he makes no further move to attack.
They just do the forest tonight. Moony has been locked up for the last couple of moons, and they know it is good for him to get out, for him to have the opportunity to work off some of that pent up energy. Padfoot races along at his side, barking happily as they swerve around the trees. Prongs keeps to the rear, ready to steer Moony back if he tries to run for it. But tonight is a good night, and when they make it back to the shack, Padfoot is aching and exhausted, but satisfied.
“Hey.” Remus gives Sirius a tired smile. He looks pale and small in the hospital bed, as he always does. There are dark circles beneath his eyes. He sounds exhausted.
“Just brought you some supplies.”
Sirius drops down in the chair by his side, and starts digging chocolate from the pockets of his robes. By the time he is done, there is a small pile on Remus' bed.
“You're a life saver, Sirius.” Remus immediately opens one of the bars and takes a bite, moaning at the taste. That sound is definitely Not Fair, and Sirius feels his stomach twist.
“How're you feeling?”
“Tired, mostly. Not too much damage this time. What about you guys? Did I-”
“No, no. All injury free.”
The relief on Remus' face is clear, and Sirius watches a bit of the tension drain from his shoulders.
“You look tired as well.”
“I haven't had a decent run in ages. It was absolutely fantastic!”
Remus gives Sirius a fond smile.
“I'm glad you enjoyed yourself.”
“Yeah. Oh, you've got a little-”
And Sirius is suddenly struck with another plan. So simple, so obvious, he can't believe he's never thought of it before. He leans forward and abruptly licks the smudge of chocolate from the corner of Remus' mouth.
Remus laughs, batting him away.
“You really are a dog.”
Sirius can only gape for a moment. Is Moony that oblivious?
This is hopeless.
“It is official.” Sirius sighs, dropping onto the couch, and, consequently, on to Peter and James. He sprawls out across them in dramatic fashion, head dangling off of James' lap, hand over his forehead.
“I am joining you in the legion of lost causes.”
“Don't even try to defend yourself, Petey. You know I'm right.”
“No luck, mate?”
“It is entirely hopeless, my good friend. I have mocked you all these years, but I have never truly understood the bitter sting of rejection. It has struck deep into my very being, Prongs.”
“Have you tried just telling him?”
“Don't be ridiculous.” Sirius sighs again, all drawn out, melodrama. “I've given up. It's hopeless, I tell you, completely and utterly-”
Sirius' head shoots up, and over the back of the couch he can see that Remus has just come through the portrait hole. He turns at the sound of his name, crossing so he doesn't have to shout across the room.
Sirius digs his elbow into James' stomach, but it doesn't stop him.
“Sirius is completely and irrevocably smitten with you and would probably quite like to snog your face, among other gooey things, like holding your hand and feeding you chocolate."
Betrayal! Sirius lets his head fall back again, and he is going to die here. He is going to die on top of James and Peter's laps and James will just have to deal with that on his conscience for the rest of his life. Traitor!
“Oh.” Remus' lips quirk into a little smile. “Is that all, then?”
Somehow, he manages to revive himself from Death by Mortification long enough to crack open an eye.
“Yeah?” His voice is a little more hoarse than he would like it to be.
“Word in the dorm?”
This is it. This is The End. The ultimate rejection. Goodbye, world. He's walking off the astronomy tower after this.
Except, when they reach the dorm, Remus crosses to his bed. He takes his bag off. He sits it on his bed. Sirius lingers by the door, suddenly horribly, awkwardly aware of every inch of his body. Self conscious about his movements. Remus turns to face him. He crosses the room again. He cups Sirius' cheek with one of his hands and he leans up to kiss him.
Sirius' brain stutters, then kick starts again.
Remus is kissing him! Not rejecting him! But kissing! Which is Really Very Good. Wow!
“That means I like you, too,” Remus murmurs against his lips, and Sirius can practically taste the amusement in his voice.
“I'm not sure I caught that. Best do it again.”
After Many Kisses, which are all Really Very Good, Remus moves back to look at Sirius. He is slightly flushed, his hair ruffled, and his lips are saliva damp. Sirius is very much a fan of that look. He thinks Remus should look like that all the time.
“Why didn't you just tell me yourself?”
“Because, my good Moony, you don't just come out with these kinds of things!”
“Oh? What do you do, then?”
Sirius scowls, feeling foolish because none of his plans worked.
“What about the poetry? Or the mistletoe? The wearing your clothes? Merlin, Remus, I licked your face.”
“Oh. Ohh. Some of those make a lot more sense now.”
“But you are oblivious and hopeless and awful at picking up on things.”
Remus laughs, brushing Sirius' hair back from his forehead.
“Well, in my defence, those were all the kinds of things you would usually do, anyway.”
Sirius huffs, pressing his face against Remus' neck, breathing in chocolate and books and wolfish undertones.
“Hopeless,” he repeats, muffled by Remus' skin, and Remus laughs against his hair.