Sirius looks at Remus, and then looks down to Remus’s lips, and then looks right to the group. Or at Marlene, really, since she’s the only one being difficult about this. Suddenly, seventh-year veritaserum-fueled spin-the-bottle doesn’t seem like a good idea anymore. He shakes his head no, not trusting himself to say anything that physically can’t be the truth.
And the truth is entirely impractical, possibly dangerous, and oh so alluring.
Marlene taps her fingers against the near-empty glass, drawing his vision back towards her. Before long he’s looking at Remus again, and those lips, and he’s forgotten the question. He’s halfway between high on life and drunk on despair.
“Fine,” he rasps out. The word comes out of its own volition—further proof not to open his mouth more than necessary. Remus’s mouth. Remus’s lips. The thin white scar in Remus’s lips.
And the other thing is that it’s the end of his last year of school here, and his future is entirely disappearing. There’s the Order, but the truth is that Sirius isn’t actually all that brave (sue him, he’s spent enough time in this tower anyway). The truth is that although he left years ago, he still wishes it was different, and he still wishes Regulus would talk to him again.
And the other, other thing, really the only important thing now, because there are those lips and those eyes and even those eyelashes that are just there and beautifully framing those pink cheeks above those lips—the other other important thing is that Sirius didn’t know it yet. Which is impractical, or at least improbable, or quite possibly the other one. Halfway between impractical and improbable, but it means more of a “it’ll be simpler if you don’t see those lips and eyes and cheeks and eyelashes for what they are” than a “that’s impractical and improbable.” In any case, he’s already living with Remus now and he’s supposed to continue doing that when school ends in just a few months.
“I’m drunk,” he mumbles, because he is and it’s the truth but it’s not what he wants to say because it’s not the point, but the truth doesn’t care what the point is because the truth is vain and fickle and the other one. The one that’s halfway between vain and fickle and means more of a “veritaserum says you’re going to end up ruining everything because you keep looking at those lips and especially the plump bottom one and also the thinner top one with the white scar” than a “the truth is vain and fickle.”
The point is—possibly, he is drunk after all—it was the truth, remember—the point is that he’s now sitting in a circle (Remus called it an ellipse) and about to kiss—kiss, really—Remus, on those lips, and then he may even say “how it was” to the group, and Remus will hear him, and he will not lie, because the veritaserum is actually quite efficient and he’s already tried to lie without success three times tonight. And he’s going to like it because he already likes what he sees. He sees Remus’s lips and his cheeks and his eyes and his eyelashes and the scar in the top lip and plump pink of the bottom lip and—tragically or unfortunately or the other one, halfway between one and two and he’s too tired to even remember, but he knows Remus would know, Remus always knows—is that he likes Remus. He likes Remus, fully and completely—maybe more than likes—even though Remus is the kind of person that says a circle is actually an ellipse.
Marlene says “get on with it” and Dorcas makes an ooh noise and Remus is looking at him. And he looks sad. Or resigned or forlorn or the other one, halfway between “I don’t want to kiss you at three in the morning” and “well, if I have to kiss you at three in the morning I’d like to get it over with sooner rather than later, so hurry up.” And Sirius almost laughs, because that’s such a Remus thing to say, or think, but now they’re right in front of each other, and Sirius hopes Remus isn’t too resigned or forlorn or the other one, because in truth he really would like to kiss him, and if this is his only chance then he intends to do it squarely and then not again, and he intends to not even apologize afterwards, like Peter did to Mary even though they’ve been dancing around each other for weeks.
“Is this okay?” Sirius whispers, and Remus narrows his eyes. There is a rule about not asking unofficial questions, on account of the inability to lie. Sirius had already broken it three times—with no ill-intent—hence the three lies he tried to tell tonight, as responses to the questions he had been asked in retaliation.
“‘s fine,” Remus answers through gritted teeth. If Sirius had to guess, he would say that Remus is the best so far at navigating the veritaserum. Maybe it’s because he’s so smart, or brave. It could just be the wolf, too, but Sirius likes to give credit to the other qualities of Remus that he knows Remus neglects.
“Okay.” Sirius’s eyes look down—now they’re inches apart—scanning amber eyes and dark eyelashes and pink cheeks and beautiful lips.
Remus nods, and Sirius leans in closer, tilting his head a bit to the right. Their lips meet, and Sirius learns that Remus has incredibly soft lips. He knows because he only recently kissed Lily and then Dorcas, getting glared at the whole time by either James or Marlene. Sirius also learns that he can’t feel the scar but would like to, and that he loves the quiet hitch of breath Remus makes, and that his biceps are stronger than they look. Somehow he’s now holding onto them. He’s drunk, still.
They pull away, to wolf-whistles and cat-calls, and Remus’s adorable cheeks are now red, and Sirius scoots back to his place in the ellipse, and then Marlene strikes back. Whether it’s in retaliation for kissing Dorcas or for the slugs last week or the other thing before that, he doesn’t know. But, it doesn’t matter as much as the truth, which is very pointedly reminding Sirius that it does matter, amidst all of its vanity and fickleness and such.
“How was it?” Marlene asks, without permission or shame.
“Good,” Sirius can’t help but reply.
At this, Dorcas repeats the ooh sound, and Peter is maybe awake again, and Sirius shrugs either nonchalantly or defiantly or desperately, because Remus still won’t look up from the rug ever since they kissed. They kissed. And it was a good kiss—he was telling the truth, after all.
“What’d you like?” Marlene asks again, with a shit-eating grin that rivals even James’s.
Sirius feels the truth bubbling up in his throat, unbridled and unchecked, but he tries to hold it anyway.
When he hears a noise from his side, he learns that maybe Remus isn’t stronger than veritaserum after all, since he speaks a word through gritted teeth and clamped fingers—even though the question wasn’t quite directed at him—the truth is a bitch, remember—and the word sounds a bit like “him.”
The room drops to silence and Remus looks down again and Sirius is smiling because maybe it isn’t impractical or dangerous or unrequited, but now he’s waited too long and the truth is impatient and he feels himself begin to speak before he can arrange a coherent sentence or thought or suave line directed at Remus—because Remus wants him, and he doesn’t need to hide that he wants Remus too—and he hears himself say, to the delight or surprise of his friends, “lush lips.”