It was the third week of their sixth year and Sirius had already lost all of his faith in this year’s Defense Against the Dark Arts class being somewhat useful. The teacher knew things, alright, but he was extremely incompetent as a pedagog, since his classes consisted of him telling anecdotes about curses that he didn’t even stop to explain or describe, and a few ridiculous exhibitions of hexes and jinxes that wouldn’t be useful to anyone in the middle of the war. Even worse, he had established in the first class that he wouldn’t be taking questions since all the material that they needed was already in the books (it wasn’t) and since it was the students’ responsibility to keep their readings up to date, allowing questions would only make them lazy.
Sirius hated him. James hated him. Peter was confused and trying to compensate by reading the whole Ministry-approved textbook over and over again. Lily was on the verge of leaving the class for good. Remus sat through the classes, but Sirius could see his back getting more tense with every minute of every class.
Because with every week, not only did the teacher keep up his pointless rambles, but he was also becoming more sloppy, his ‘pureblood beliefs’ showing. Oh, Sirius knew he was a pureblood - he had done his research about the teacher, for sure. He was a Ravenclaw from a minor family that nevertheless, had deep family ties all over Europe, and he had made sure that all the students knew this right from the beginning of the school year. He kept bringing this fact up more and more often as he started talking about his hunts of dark creatures all over the world.
The first time he had mentioned a werewolf hunt, Sirius had almost jumped out of his seat to confront him, but James’ strong hand had stopped him, even though he himself had been trembling with anger. Remus, in front of them, had shaken his head almost imperceptibly. Sirius had bitten on his cheek and slumped back on the chair, trying to tune the teacher out, his eyes fixed on Remus’ wing bones. He could see how they had gotten closer and closer with every minute of the class. Peter had been chewing on his quill for the rest of the lesson, side-glancing at Remus.
They hadn’t said anything on their way to lunch, because all that Remus had had to do was give him and James a resolute, cold glance that only said I dare you. I dare you to do something stupid again. Both of them had looked to the ground, ashamed, knowing fully well that Sirius had already risked Remus’ condition being found out with Snape’s prank - and even though Remus had quickly forgiven Sirius, not even letting him apologize, things weren’t completely back to normal. So Sirius wasn’t going to let things fall out between them. He wouldn’t fuck up again. Not after all that he had almost lost - the Marauders, Remus’ and James’ friendship... His own stance in Hogwarts.
Not with all that he had lost, with Remus pulling away almost imperceptibly, and their first tentative snogging sessions coming to a sudden halt, since Remus had begun to avoid being alone with Sirius. After a few weeks, and later, the whole summer, Sirius had gotten the message and stopped trying.
And now it was the third week of the school year, roughly their seventh or eight class of DADA (Sirius had lost count), and the tension in the classroom was almost palpable while the teacher droned on and on about differences in the magic of different creatures and folks. Remus was so still in front of him, his shoulders so rigid - such a big difference with Peter’s nervous energy, bouncing his leg and chewing on his fingers -, that he could have been a statue. Sirius’ eyes were inexorably drawn to that tense back, instead of to the clown in front of the class.
So Sirius was prepared - he really was just waiting for the moment that the words would come out - but he was still shocked to the core at them.
“Of course, we all know that these same differences can be found amongst wizards. It’s no secret that magic has clear ways to get passed on from generation to generation that help to preserve its power.”
He heard a few gasps, and he could feel James shaking and taking a gulp of air, ready to talk, at his side.
Damn, he, himself, was about to get up and hex the hell out of the close-minded prick.
But it was Remus’ voice - tempered, contained, fueled with rage that only his friends could recognize - that echoed in the walls of the classroom like it had its own amplifying spell.
“I’m sure we didn’t hear you correctly, Professor. Did you mean that magic expresses itself in different people according to their talents and interests, right? I’m sure you weren’t implying that there are differences between wizards based on their blood status,” he said, his hair brushing his neck, his chin raised, challenging.
“Oh, the fucker knows what he said,” Sirius muttered to himself, James nodding at his side, his wand already in his hand on top of the table.
They weren’t in immediate risk of a brawl starting in the classroom, he thought, since they were with the Hufflepuffs. He still grabbed his wand.
The teacher scowled.
“I’ve said no questions, Mr…” he searched on his list of the class for dramatic effect “Lupin.” His lips tightened, and oh, it was on, Sirius was ready for a fight.
Again, before anyone could talk, Remus spoke.
“I’m aware you’ve said that, Professor, but since the current political situation is so tense, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind clarifying what you just said so that no one might get an incorrect idea about it.”
He could see Remus’ hand splayed on his table, his fingers digging into the desk, pale around the nails.
James opened his mouth at his side, trying to take the chance to talk while the teacher frowned, hiding his shock at the quiet student - who probably nobody had warned him against, not like Black and Potter - talking back to him, defying his rules.
“ No, Potter,” mumbled Lily Evans from across the aisle, rushing through the words. “I know you mean well, but don’t. We can take care of this. We can talk for ourselves.”
Sirius could feel how James’ words abandoned his body. Damn, he was shocked to the core too. He glanced around the room. Every half-blood, every muggleborn, was looking to Remus, the quiet Prefect that, nevertheless, had no qualms deducting points or even hexing - not like any other respectable Prefect - anyone who dared to use a slur in front of him. Never when it was directed to him, but always when someone else was being harassed.
All of the boys and girls that weren’t purebloods were looking at him. Some dumbfounded, others proud, all of them hanging onto every word he uttered.
They needed this, Sirius realized. They needed this. One of their own, standing against the prejudice, fighting their own battle. Not some purebloods talking about them, like they were still above them, like they were discussing cattle.
Sirius nodded to Evans, and saw her eyes sparkle. He kept the tight grip on his wand.
“What I said, Mr Lupin, is what I said. There are ways to assure that magic is preserved, transmitted. Proper magic, wizards’ magic that had existed since humanity exists. And that we should consider every measure that might help us conserve its properties, including the local variants. We have a very particular magical heritage here, that should be respected and taken care for, even when we gain knowledge of other forms of magic in other parts of the world - and even with new developments in magic.”
He could hear the deep intake of breath from James, he could see Peter looking to the floor, he could feel Lily, across the aisle, clenching her jaw.
He could see Remus’ hair reflecting the browns, reds and golds from the light that was coming from the window when he crooked his head, with what Sirius was sure was a perfectly fake expression of curiosity on his face. Sirius didn’t need to see it to know exactly how it made him look beautiful, terrible and unbeatable.
“Oh, you mean measures like inbreeding, incestuous marriage, and forced marriage between children? Or do you mean ‘measures’ like the ones being advocated by Voldemort and his followers,” and he didn’t even stop after spitting the name, his rage now visible not only for his friends. His hand was raised, stopping the attempts at interruption from their teacher. “Like killing Muggles and Muggleborns, taking the rights of half-bloods, dissolving families to create proper ones, so that pureblood isn’t wasted?”
Sirius gulped, feeling a bit dizzy, realizing how much of his own history Remus was referring to. How much was Remus defending himself, and other half-bloods and muggleborns, but also defending him, and the right of every pureblood to be themselves, to love and live as they pleased.
He was already in awe of his friend, but something warm started crawling in his belly. He was being seen by Remus. His decisions regarding his family were being defended with teeth and nails. His life being validated, being protected. He felt a new wave of affection towards the boy.
And then he felt something he hadn’t realized before. Something that he had been trying to keep in check, to give up since Remus was definitely not interested anymore.
Desire. It was desire for this amazing, strong boy.
He swallowed again, trying to push back the sensations - the arousal creeping up his back, the heat in his belly, the blood running to his groin. Now wasn’t the moment to let his attraction for his friend play its cards.
“Now, now, Mr Lupin, I have said no such things, of course!” Sirius was brought back to reality by the voice of their teacher, who had paled and, for the first time, looked nervously around the classroom, noticing the number of wands that were already at hand. “I’m talking about culture, of course! Of values, of traditions,” his demeanour went back to calm and proud, probably after seeing some students relaxing. “You don’t need to take things to an extreme. Most of the things you mentioned don’t even occur nowadays!” Sirius laughed grimly, remembering his own concerted marriage that had made him run away. The teacher looked at him for a split second but then went back to Remus, almost sneering. “Still, we need ways to preserve our unique magic, our own traditions. We can’t be swallowed in a wave of non-magical tradition only because some people won’t -”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, Professor, but you mean traditions like the Black’s black magic, hm? Or maybe you are talking about traditions like hunting down untransformed werewolves, as you mentioned a few classes ago? Oh, oh, I know! Maybe it’s traditions like Imperio’ing Muggles to make them fight each other and other beasts?” Remus raised his voice, the room pulsing with waves of Remus’ uncontrolled magic. “Or maybe it’s only the breeding that preoccupies you? You just want to bring back the laws that prohibited marriages between wizards and muggles, that allowed children to be taken from their families when they exhibited magic without being born to a wizard or witch, or even kill them if they refused to leave their parents? bring back laws -”
Remus was properly yelling already, so the teacher had to scream over him. Luckily, he didn’t take his wand out to Silencio him, or he would have been hexed by at least eight wands.
“Enough, Mr Lupin! Get out of my classroom right now, you just earned a month of detention and cost your House 50 points for your disrespect. Out, now!”
Remus stood up, without another word, letting his chair hit the floor, and turned to leave. His eyes were fire, his jaw was set, and his chin was still up when he made eye contact with Sirius.
Oh, fuck, this boy, was the only thing his brain provided, while Remus’ eyes sparkled, before he nodded to him, something softening in his gaze for a second.
“That’s not fair!” exclaimed Lily Evans, standing up. Remus’ steps could be heard outside of the classroom, even after he slammed the door, almost breaking it with his pulses of magic. Sirius jumped on his feet with James quickly at his side, and a clattering of chairs being pulled back rumbled through the room.
“That’s enough!” yelled the teacher, his face red, huffing. “THAT’S ENOUGH, I said NO-QUESTIONS! If anyone else wants to interrupt the class like Mr Lupin, you are welcome to leave! Leave right now and don’t come back! You’ll face the consequences of that on your own!”
Lily gathered her stuff and yelled “Of course we are leaving! Remus is right and you are a racist, prejudiced little man, so there’s nothing for us to learn from your horrible classes!” she huffed, turning around.
There wasn’t much to add after that, so as he turned to leave, he made sure that the tripping hex hit the teacher’s shoes and that he got a clear view of Sirius’ middle finger.
Lily and some other students decided to head towards Professor McGonagall’s office to talk about the situation, while a second group went to the greenhouses to talk with Professor Sprout. A third group, surprisingly led by Peter, strolled to the library to write down a letter that could be signed by every Hogwarts student to demand the sacking of the teacher.
Sirius and James looked at each other, unsure of what to do, before Lily yelled, “Potter, get your ass here! I’ll need your stupid storytelling skills to make sure that McGonagall gets all the information. I’m too angry at the moment to make much sense.”
James looked bewildered but answered “Sure!” before looking at Sirius.
“Go,” Sirius nodded. “I’ll go find Moony, make sure he’s okay.”
He opened the door to their bedroom with his heart beating fast, his stomach heavy in his belly, and arousal ( what? how could he still be aroused? ) coursing through his veins.
“Hey, Moony,” he said, gulping down, putting his weight against one of Remus’ bed posters, trying to make eye contact with the boy splayed on the bed, looking rumpled, school shirt out of his trousers and tie hanging loosely on his neck. Remus sighed at the nickname, but kept looking to the ceiling, resolutely. “That was amazing, mate. You were incredible. You are incredible.”
And even he could hear the reverence in his voice, so it was no surprise that Remus sat up slowly, his eyebrows up, and looked straight into Sirius’ eyes.
“Thank you for doing that,” Sirius added, not breaking eye contact.
Remus nodded, a small smile on his lips.
“Of course, Padfoot. I wouldn’t - I couldn’t,” he trailed off, one of his hands going to tousle his hair. All of this was so not Remus. Or at least, not recent times Remus - the worried-about-his-future-and-the-war Remus, the still-a-bit-guarded-against-Sirius Remus. He laughed a bit, making Sirius smile in return. “Thank you for letting me talk. I’m sure you and James were dying to jump into the discussion,” he said simply, his eyes assessing Sirius.
Sirius shrugged and sat on the bed, his leg knocking against Remus’. He pushed his shoulder against the other boy’s.
“Well yeah, you know us. But Evans made us realize how important it was to let you talk. To not try to talk for you.” He turned, grinning brightly to Remus, his smile only faltering for a second at the sight of Remus’ big, proud smile and his shiny eyes. “Doesn’t mean we won’t keep fighting all the bigoted assholes we run into.”
Remus laughed, bumping his shoulder into Sirius.
“That sounds good to me, Padfoot.”
They sat in comfortable silence for a few minutes, until Sirius gathered the courage to look to his side at his friend, not sure yet what he wanted to say.
When Sirius turned his head, he found Remus looking at him with a concentration that made a shiver run along his back. He swallowed when he saw Remus’ gaze going down from his eyes to his lips, staying there.
Sirius wasn’t sure of who moved first, but he didn’t care, because Remus’ hands were suddenly on his face, pulling him closer, while Sirius moved forward, one of his arms encircling Remus’ frame.
They were kissing before he could realize it, pent up energy making them moan and grab more tightly to the other. Their tongues sought each other desperately, tangling one moment, and then escaping to explore every corner of the other’s mouth in the next. Remus moved back an inch to ghost his lips over Sirius’ bottom lip, and then trace it with his tongue. Sirius huffed, his breath hitching, and his other hand went to grab Remus’ back, pressing his fingers desperately, trembling with the warmth and tingling of magic that came through his fingertips, Remus’ past outburst of uncontrolled magic making Sirius shudder with the traces of it that he could feel through Remus’ shirt.
Remus’ hands moved to his nape. Sirius lost any capacity of thought that remained in his head when the other boy moved to straddle him, putting his weight on Sirius’ legs before grabbing the sides of his neck to push him, strong and decided, on top of the bed. Sirius growled, his arm on Remus’ waist pulling desperately to get him closer again. Remus laughed faintly, a startled moan escaping his lips when he accommodated himself between Sirius’ thighs, hips against hips.
“Fuck,” was the only thing that Remus uttered before he was back at Sirius’ mouth, kissing him less desperately, but slow and purposeful. He nibbled on Sirius’ lip before sliding his hot tongue back into his mouth. Remus rested his weight on his arm by Sirius' head, and used his hand to play with his hair, making him sigh into Remus’ mouth. Sirius was a bit startled when Remus’ other hand began undoing the buttons of his shirt, slowly, waiting for any sign of discomfort. After the third button, Remus’ broke the kiss again, looking deep into Sirius’ eyes.
Sirius surged forward, trapping Remus’ bottom lip between his teeth, while he unbuttoned the rest of his shirt himself, hoping he got the message across.
Remus moaned softly when the pressure on his lip increased, and his hand went to touch Sirius’ chest. When Remus moved down to kiss him again, Sirius took the opportunity to slot their hips back together, and moved his hands slowly to squeeze Remus’ buttocks, making him growl into his mouth when their hips ground together.
Remus’ mouth moved to his neck, small puffs of air tickling him while his tongue roamed across his skin. Sirius didn’t care what sounds came out of his mouth anymore, one of his hands firm on Remus’ butt, the other moving under his shirt to feel the warm skin of his back.
And then, Remus suddenly moved back, making Sirius open his eyes to find a confused Remus looking at him.
“Shit, do you think he’ll try to get me expelled?”
Sirius felt a smile blooming on his lips.
“Nah. After you left, most of the class left too, except for a couple of assholes, too scared to leave, or too prejudiced themselves. I’m not sure which one, but we’ll keep a close eye on them. Anyways,” he tried to get back his train of thought, lost at the soft smile illuminating Remus’ face, and the mischievous hand sliding by the middle of his chest, coming to rest on the hem of his trousers. He cleared his throat, trying to act unaffected. “After storming away, a group went to talk to McGonagall and Sprout, and others went to write a petition to sack the fucker. I came here to see if you were okay,” he added, shrugging and closing his eyes for a second at the sensations that Remus’ fingertips, skimming the soft skin of his belly, were eliciting in him.
When he opened his eyes, Remus’ smile was wicked, his eyes full of mirth.
“Well, as you can see, I’m quite alright, Padfoot. Thank you for your concern,” he said, dissolving in a fit of laughter when Sirius’ fingers tickled his ribs. He took the opportunity to push his weight against Remus, flipping them around and climbing on top of him, making a show of making himself comfortable. He grinned, happy, and kissed Remus at the point where his neck and jaw meet, before snuggling into the crook of his neck, breathing him in.
“Mh, I’m glad. Just wanted to be sure, you know, that you weren’t pulling out all of your hair.”
Remus laughed softly again, his arms enveloping him, pulling him against himself, a soft kiss left on Sirius’ forehead.
“Nah, I’m alright,” and he swallowed, taking a few seconds before speaking again. “I’m quite proud of myself for speaking up, you know? I’m proud of everyone else for storming out too. It’s good to know that more people are on our side, you know?”
“Always on your side, Moony,” he mumbled, almost inaudible, against his neck, before leaving a soft kiss there.