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Remus pulls the sleeves of his jumper down over his hands as he gazes across the school’s bright green lawn. Peter is sitting beside him saying something about the Potions essay they’re working on together, but Remus is distracted.

It’s mid-February and there’s a chill in the air, but despite this, Sirius is over by the lake in a short-sleeved T-shirt chatting with a group of girls. And it’s not that Remus is jealous, oh no, he’s just worried his friend might catch a cold. That’s all.

“Remus?” Peter leans over and snaps his fingers in front of Remus’s face. “Earth to Remus Lupin.”

“Oh, so sorry Peter. What were you saying?” Remus asks, finally pulling his gaze away from Sirius to look at Peter.

“What are the three main characteristics of Amortentia?” Peter repeats, blinking owlishly, his quill at the ready to jot down anything Remus tells him.

“Uhhh, there’s a spiraling steam wafting out of it, a pearly shimmer on the surface, and a multi-layered scent that supposedly smells of whatever and whomever you’re most attracted to,” Remus explains to him calmly, though how Peter could forget so quickly after brewing the potion just last week leaves him scratching his head. He takes the moment that Peter looks back down at his parchment to glance up again at Sirius, but instead he’s met with a wild James Potter, barreling toward them at full speed.

“Oh, Merlin,” Remus mutters. “Take cover Peter, he’s a madman.”

Peter looks up just as James reaches their two-man study group and plops himself down beside him, looking even more smug than he usually does while he throws his arm around his chubby friend.

“Sooo, got any plans for Valentine’s Day yet?” James asks them both, poking Peter’s stomach and making him giggle. Remus rolls his eyes, but he’s smiling, knowing very well that James only wants to tell them his news.

“I’m taking Amber to Madam Puddifoot’s,” Peter says proudly. “Hoping to get to second base at least.”

“Great, great, top notch, good luck,” James says with a clap to Peter’s back, feigning interest but actually brushing him off. “Guess what? You’ll never guess what.”

“I’m assuming Lily finally agreed to a date with you,” Remus says as he flips a page of his textbook. 

“She did!”

Peter erupts in enthusiastic applause. “Yes! Atta boy, Prongsie!” 

James smirks and takes a mock bow. “Thank you, thank you. It was only a matter of time. Oh, Moony,” he says with a smile, placing his hand over his heart and tilting his head as if he’s downright smitten with the boy across from him.

“Yes?”

James sticks his foot out to kick at one of Remus’s tattered sneakers, making Remus pull his foot away and glare at him. “I suppose I should thank you for putting in a good word. She said, ‘If Remus vouches for you then I suppose you’re probably alright’. Hear that? She thinks I’m alright!”

“I suppose you should thank me,” Remus snips back at him playfully, tilting his chin up. “One of those fancy boxes of chocolates from Honeydukes should do it.”

“The frilly red ones that say ‘Love U’ on the front?”

“The very same.”

“Anything for you!” James exclaims, clapping his hands together. “Make it two! No, three! Forget Padfoot, you’re my new best mate.”

“Oi! I heard that!”

Remus glances up again to find Sirius now walking toward them with his confident, long-legged stride, but he quickly looks back down at his book when Sirius settles beside him. 

“You stole my best friend?” Sirius asks him while he drops his school bag onto the grass.

“I might’ve,” Remus responds without looking up.     “What’re you gonna do about it? Fight me?”

“Do you want me to fight you?” Sirius nudges him. “Pull your hair? Give you a good smack? Toss you around a bit?”

He’s smiling wide when Remus finally dares to look up at him, following the lines of Sirius’s leg bent at the knee, to his elbow propped up on it, to his annoyingly sharp jawline resting on his perfect hand and his stupidly handsome face. Remus does kind of want to punch him.

“Please. I’d kick your ass, Black.”

“Ooh, kinky.”

“Shut up, you dog,” Remus says. He can’t conceal his smile as he looks away though, too amused by this playful banter that Sirius has spurred on. “Aren’t you cold?”

“You know I’m hot,” Sirius says, nudging Remus again.

“I’m taking Lily out for Valentine’s!” James finally tells Sirius, interrupting the weird little flirting game going on between his friends.

“Congrats mate! Moony finally bribed her into it, huh?” Sirius jokes, tickling Remus on his side. 

Remus squirms and smacks his hand away. It’s bad enough that Sirius is cracking flirtatious jokes and sitting this close to him, their thighs touching whenever Sirius jostles about, but to have Sirius’s hands on him is another matter altogether.

“Oi!” James hollers angrily as Peter cackles at the joke. “No one asked you lot!”

“Actually, you asked me,” Remus says, matter-of-factly. He licks his index finger and turns to the next page in his book. It’s all for nothing at this point however—there’s no way he can ever concentrate on anything else other than Sirius’s warmth beside him, the woodsy scent of his hair, and the way he had smelled that exact scent in his Amortentia and felt like some sort of pathetic lovelorn fool.

“That’s true,” Peter chimes in. “Moony didn’t bribe Lily; James bribed Moony.”

“Three boxes of those fancy Honeydukes chocolates, I believe was our agreement,” Remus confirms with a smirk.

“Those girly looking ones that say ‘Love U’ on the box?” Sirius asks.

James puts on his terrible impression of Remus, hiking his eyebrows up and lifting his pinky finger as if he were having tea with the Queen. “The very same,” James mocks in a sing-song faux Welsh accent, earning himself a swift kick from Remus.

“I don’t sound like that! You two gits are the posh ones!” Remus says, smacking Sirius’s arm again as he laughs his head off. 

“Formerly posh,” Sirius corrects him.

“And you kind of do,” Peter says with a chuckle.

“You kind of do,” Sirius agrees and puts on the same ridiculous face James is making. “Look at me! I’m Remus Lupin. I like ugly old man jumpers, being a swot, and kissing blokes.”

“Jesus Christ, you’re annoying!” Remus says with a snorting laugh while he shoves Sirius away from him, making all three of his friends cackle even louder.

“But you love me, really,” Sirius says with a smirk. Remus can only roll his eyes as he feels his cheeks heat up and tingle, and he looks away from Sirius again. “So Jamie’s got a date with Evans, Pete’s probably doing something with that Hufflepuff—”

“Amber,” Peter supplies, but Sirius ignores him and continues on.

“What about you, Moony? Got a hot date?” 

“No,” Remus answers. “I’m going to lie in bed and enjoy my winnings from James while you’re all out holding hands and feeding each other heart-shaped biscuits or whatever it is couples do.”

“Excuse you, but I don’t have a date either,” Sirius tells him.

“No? I figured that’s what you were doing with your fan club over there.”

Sirius pins him with an unfamiliar look, and there’s something like hurt behind his storm-grey eyes. Remus immediately regrets his joke when Sirius turns his face away from him.

“We were talking about other things,” Sirius says.

“Ooh, what kind of things?” James questions.

“Sexy things?” Peter asks with an accompanying eyebrow waggle.

“Actually,” Sirius says, “we were talking about Moony.”

“What about me?” Remus asks, curious about what kind of gossip is going on involving him now.

There’d been several rumours in the past about Remus that seemed to be the hot talk amongst the students in their year, some of them true, some of them not—like how Remus’s scars were due to his rabid pet bunny, or how he was gay, or how he’d almost killed Snape by punching him in the nose for making fun of his being gay.

“Excuse us gentlemen, but I need a word alone with our beloved Moony,” Sirius says and shoos them away, but no one makes any move to get up. 

“Aw, come on!” James protests, throwing his hands up. “Moony doesn’t mind if you tell us!”

“I mean. I might?” Remus says with a shrug, causing James and Peter to both groan with disappointment. 

“Now scram before I hex you both,” Sirius tells them. It’s not an empty threat either—Sirius usually doesn’t even think twice about throwing a harmless jinx or hex at his friends, so they’re lucky to have been given the warning.

“Fine,” James finally acquiesces, rolling his eyes as he stands up. He nudges Peter’s shoulder with his knee. “C’mon Wormy. We have better things to do than watch these two play grab ass all day.”

Sirius laughs heartily, but Remus can feel his cheeks and ears burning bright red at James’s insinuation, and he wonders if his infatuation with Sirius is really that obvious. Honestly, he wouldn’t be terribly surprised if either James or Peter had figured it out, just incredibly embarrassed.

Peter tucks his books and parchment back into his bag and is quick to jump to his feet, trailing behind James as he is often wont to do. Internally, Remus is screaming and even a little bit terrified of whatever it is that Sirius is going to tell him, but he tries to school his features into a look of silent nonchalance as he sits awkwardly beside his friend. Once James and Peter are out of earshot, he turns to look at Sirius who is not looking at him, but more focused on twisting the long blades of soft grass between his fingers and pulling them out of the ground. Remus watches him do this for a while, but when it seems Sirius has no intention of speaking first, Remus clears his throat instead.

“Sirius?” he asks tentatively. “What were you going to tell me?”

Dusting the grass from his hands, Sirius smiles a bit, but he doesn’t turn to look at Remus. Instead, he only stares straight ahead. 

“I was talking to Marlene and Dorcas,” Sirius says. “About Valentine’s Day.”

“Yeah?” 

“Well. Apparently, you told Lily and Lily told them that—”

Sirius pauses, as if working out how to word the next part of his statement, but Remus knows exactly what he’s going to say and he can hear his own heartbeat pounding in his ears, and suddenly he’s very hot inside his ugly old man jumper.

“Yes?” Remus forces himself to ask.

Sirius turns to look at him then, his mouth a crooked smile, his expression indecipherable.

“They said… they said you have a bit of a thing for me,” Sirius tells him, and Remus wishes the ground would open up and swallow him whole or that the giant squid would throw out a tentacle from the lake and drag him down to the very bottom of it.

“I—” Remus begins, his words catching in his throat. He rubs his hands over his face and lets out a groan. “Sorry.”

“So it’s true?” Sirius asks. His dark eyebrows are both raised, his forehead wrinkled in concern.

“I’m sorry,” Remus says again, feeling rather defeated. “I’ll eventually get over it.”

“Wait,” Sirius says and laughs quietly. “Let me start over. They asked if I had a date for Valentine’s, and I said no, but there is someone I fancy and I’m working up the guts to ask him out.”

“Oh?” Remus asks, feeling a pang of jealousy lodge itself deep between his ribs as he stares down at his hands. “Who is it? Or—that’s okay, you don’t have to tell me. It’s none of my business.”

“Well, I told them who it is and they just kind of… looked at each other and smiled, then Marls passed Dorcas a Galleon.”

“I’m not following,” Remus admits.

“They had some kind of bet going on. I told them who I like and they told me to stop dawdling and go for it already because he fancies me too,” Sirius tells him. 

A dawning realization falls upon Remus then, and he looks up from his sweating hands to face Sirius—Handsome Sirius, who is smiling brilliantly at him, the loose strands of his dark hair billowing around his head in the gentle Spring breeze as casually as can be. Sweet Sirius, who Remus has pined after from a safe distance since he can remember. Courageous Sirius, who fancies him too, who is making this dreamscape declaration at last, and thank Merlin for it, because Remus would’ve likely never said a word about it to his face.

“You fancy me?” Remus asks.

“I smelled chocolate, spilt ink, the Shack’s moldy old furniture, and the scent of the forest just after it’s rained in the Amortentia we brewed,” Sirius explains.

Remus blinks in confusion, his mouth hanging open as his brain processes what Sirius has just told him. “Really?”

Sirius laughs again. “Yes, you beautiful git. Why do you think I’m always flirting with you?”

Remus laughs then too, feeling happy and light as his worries flutter away and leave him, but he’s unsure of where to go from here. 

“Here,” Sirius says, and opens his school bag to dig through it. “It doesn’t mean much now that James is giving you three, but—” He shrugs, then reaches in and pulls out a red box of chocolates, one of those frilly ones from Honeydukes, and passes it to Remus. “You can have it early. I’ll get you something else. Something nicer.”

Remus takes the box, smiling down at the pretty script ‘Love U’ on the top of its lid.

“Will you be my Valentine?” Sirius asks him, and holds his hand out to Remus, palm up. Remus shakes his head in disbelief, laughing again as he slips his hand into Sirius’s.

“Yeah,” Remus tells him, squeezing his hand. “As long as you share all this chocolate with me.”