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Lay Your Hands on Me

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The first time Remus sees Sirius with his hair tied up, it’s in fifth year. Remus is sitting on his bed, his transfiguration textbook in his lap and his notes messily strewn around him, when the door is forcefully pushed open and Sirius enters. He looks utterly exhausted; his shoulders are sagging, his shirt is plastered to his chest with sweat, and there’s a rather large smudge of dirt on his right cheek. Despite his uncharacteristically exhausted appearance, the first thing that Remus actually notices about him is his hair. He’s tied it back in a messy bun, but it’s not executed very well. Wispy flyaway strands stick out in every direction as if he just woke up from a very long nap, and most of the hair that usually frames the front of his face has fallen out of the bun and is matted to his cheeks with sweat. He looks utterly disheveled and completely exhausted, and Remus can’t look away.

He finds himself still staring as Sirius collapses, face first, on top of his bed without a word, his loud groaning muffled only slightly by the pillow pressing against his face. With the force of his landing, the bun on top of his head comes undone even more, and Remus wonders briefly whether Sirius even knows how to properly put his hair up or if this was just done in a hurry. Regardless, Remus is transfixed as he watches more of Sirius’ hair escape its confines.

“Mmmpid mmditch mmactice,” Sirius mumbles unintelligibly into his pillow.

Remus raises an eyebrow and does not say anything, instead just choosing to watch as Sirius turns onto his side lethargically, looking up at him with an absolutely pathetic expression on his face.

“Stupid Quidditch practice,” he clarifies to Remus without prompting.

“Ah,” says Remus, breaking eye contact to glance at his hair once more.

Unable to look away, Remus blinks a few times before blurting out, “Your hair.”

“Hmm?” Sirius fixes him with a slightly confused look before he makes sense of Remus’ observation. “Oh yeah, I tied it up during practice. It was annoying… in my eyes the whole time…. ‘S getting too long.”

Sirius looks mere seconds away from drifting off, his eyes already closed, so Remus hoists himself out of his own bed and walks over to Sirius, shaking his shoulder to jostle him into full consciousness.

“At least go take a shower first,” Remus tells him. “You’re filthy and your sheets are gonna be full of mud.”

Sirius snorts with laughter, slowly pushing himself up into a sitting position.

“Whatever you say, mom,” he replies, already across the room and heading for the showers.

Before he shuts the door behind him, Remus sees him reach up and pull out his hair tie, allowing his hair to fall back down into its natural state: several inches past his shoulders, knotted, and falling into his face a bit. Remus swallows hard and turns back around to sit on his bed, reaching for his transfiguration book once more but finding the chapter he was reading even more incomprehensible than before.

 


 

It’s sixth year and the Marauders and a few other Gryffindors are sitting around the fireplace in the Gryffindor common room. It’s almost eleven at night and just an hour ago they’d all decided to form a spontaneous mass study group in order to prepare for their potions exam the following day. Though everyone’s original intentions were good, the only students who are still actually motivated to study are Lily and Remus, and while Remus is used to this lack of focus among the Marauders, Lily is becoming increasingly fed up with the group.

“Ok, listen,” Lily says loudly, raising her voice above the ceaseless chatter throughout their study group.

All conversation ends abruptly as the Gryffindors turn to give Lily their attention, along with a few apologetic looks. Sirius, who had forcefully whacked James with a pillow mere seconds before Lily began speaking, is sitting on the couch directly across from the fire with James and Peter. He reluctantly looks over at the armchair where Lily is sitting to give her his attention. Remus and Mary MacDonald also look up at Lily from their spots on the floor in front of the fire, surrounded by their textbooks and stacks of handwritten notes. Mary is laying on her back, her upside-down gaze now fixed on Lily instead of on the ceiling above her.

“All of you insisted on studying in a group together, and even though we’ve been going at it for a hour, we’ve barely accomplished anything,” Lily remarks, frowning. “I didn’t want to be the one to say it, but whatever. This isn’t working. If you actually want to do well, you’re going to have to put in the effort.”

“We’re trying to put in the effort, but it’s late,” Sirius complains loudly. “How do you expect us to focus on studying this late at night?”

“It’s not my fault you only started studying an hour ago,” Lily replies indignantly.

“Lily’s right,” James pipes up, leaning over Sirius to look at her more clearly. “As always.”

A quiet, collective groan spreads throughout the circle at James’ less than subtle attempt at flirting, and Sirius mutters something under his breath that causes James to shoot a glare in his direction.

“If none of you really want to study, that’s fine. It’s your own loss,” Lily says with a shrug. “But either leave so that those of us who are actually working can focus or stay and help quiz us on the material.”

After a brief moment of consideration, Sirius sits up a little straighter on the couch and turns to look Lily in the eye.

“Alright, I’ll stay to help,” he announces, reveling in the surprised look on Lily’s face. “I’ll quiz you. On one condition though…”

Sirius’ voice trails off and he smiles widely as Lily’s eyebrows draw together in annoyance and anticipation.

“I’ll only do it if you braid my hair.”

Immediately, all tension in the air dissipates. Lily is visibly startled and almost immediately bursts into a rousing fit of laughter. Lily’s laughter combined with James’ incredulous expression has Remus rolling his eyes good-naturedly and laughing along with Lily. Mary next to him shakes her head slowly, a smile on her face.

“I think I should just come to terms with the fact that no matter how well I think I know you, you’ll always surprise me, Black,” Lily says to him, almost endearingly, before patting the space in front of her chair in invitation for Sirius to sit.

Sirius bounds off the couch and plops himself down in front of Lily, taking the sheet of notes she hands him and angling his body so that she can’t read over his shoulder.

“Alright…” Sirius’ eyes flicker over the paper, searching for a good fact to quiz the group on as Lily threads her fingers through his hair. “What should a properly brewed batch of Amortentia look like?”

“It should have a mother-of-pearl sheen to it and emit wisps of spiraling steam,” Lily answers almost immediately.

Peter emits a quiet groan from the corner of the couch, and he buries his face in his hands.

“I’m going to fail,” he wails.

“You and me both,” James says, giving Peter a reassuring pat on the knee.

Remus’ gaze flickers back over to Lily and Sirius as Lily separates Sirius long hair into three distinct sections before carefully weaving them together into a braid. Sirius hums happily to himself as his eyes skim over the notes in his hand, looking for his next piece of information.

“Daisy roots are an important ingredient in what potion?” he asks, his eyes flickering upward and scanning the group.

Lily hesitates, the answer not appearing to come to her, so Remus guesses, “Shrinking solution?”

Sirius’ head snaps around to look at him, and he flashes Remus a grin.

“You got it! Good job, Moony.”

Remus isn’t sure whether it’s the sudden praise from Sirius or the way in which his almost-completed braid reveals the entirety of his face to Remus for the first time in a while, but Remus’ stomach flips and he only manages to give Sirius a small smile in return. Moments later, Lily is done with Sirius’ braid and doesn’t sacrifice her hair tie for the cause until Sirius promises he won’t lose it. Lily ties the end of his braid securely, and Sirius immediately reaches around to feel the braid, his smile widening as his hand travels downward to the end of it.

“I love it,” he all but gushes, turning to face Lily.

His happiness is infectious, and Lily instantly returns his smile before urging him to ask the group another question. As Sirius resumes quizzing the group, Remus continues to answer questions when he knows the answer, but he finds his attention slipping more and more often as his focus shifts to the long braid now draped over Sirius’ shoulder and the smile that hasn’t left his face since his braid was completed. Amid thoughts of how nicely Sirius looks with his hair pulled back out of his face, Remus briefly wonders why Sirius’ hair is proving to be so damn distracting.

 


 

The most staggering moment of realization in Remus’ life occurs in Potions at the end of their sixth year. After a brief lecture on the steps and merits of brewing Doxycide, the class is urged to begin brewing their potions, and Sirius stands alongside Remus, nudging him gently in the side.

“Partners?” he asks with a hopeful smile.

“Nah, I think I’d rather work with Mulciber over there,” Remus replies, jerking his head in the direction of the Slytherin, who is shoving forcefully through a group of Slytherin girls to get to his cauldron at the back of the room.

Despite Remus’ obvious joking tone, Sirius’ face falls slightly for a brief moment, barely detectable if Remus hadn’t been looking at him so intently, before glancing over at Mulciber and relaxing.

“Very funny, Moony,” he says drily, but Remus can see that he is a little bit relieved.

“Come on, let’s get this over with. I have a feeling I’m gonna be bollocks at brewing this one,” Remus tells him, grabbing his arm and tugging gently.

Sirius reaches for his notes, where he had hastily scribbled down the steps without much detail, and grabs his quill off the table. Removing his arm from Remus’ grasp, he uses both hands to pull his hair back, twisting it into a loose bun before sticking his quill right through it. When Sirius removes his hands and the bun stays in place, Remus gapes a little, amazed.

“Where you learn that?” he asks incredulously.

Sirius beams at him.

“Lily taught me! Pretty cool, huh?”

To prove his point, Sirius proceeds to turn to the side so that Remus gets a full view of his profile, flashing a smile and posing for a moment before angling his face more toward Remus, tilting his chin up and posing again. For his last pose, Sirius faces Remus front-on and cocks his head to the side, his hand reaching up to brush his loose hair back dramatically and his eyes twinkling.

“What do you think? It looks good like this, right?” he asks, clearly fishing for Remus’ approval.

The reality of the Sirius’ words hits Remus hard and fast, right in his stomach. His throat suddenly feels dry and he can only hope that his mouth isn’t hanging open because yes, Sirius’ hair does look good like this. Really good, actually. For the first time, Remus allows himself to really take in Sirius’ entire face: the sharp angles of his jaw, his defined chin, his slightly crooked nose, the faint scar near his left eyebrow, his shining grey eyes, the loose strands of black hair ghosting along the sides of his face. Remus notices it all, and he’s not sure how it’s taken him this long to realize just how attractive Sirius really is.

Remus’ mind is in overdrive. His thoughts are practically yelling inside his head and he can barely formulate a response to Sirius’ question because Oh my god I’m attracted to Sirius Black is chanting through his head at maximum volume and everything is suddenly becoming too much.

Remus makes to open his mouth in an attempt to form words but finds it already hanging open slightly. Fuck. Blushing, he looks away from Sirius’ face and his panicked eyes find the cauldron beside him instead. After swallowing hard, he is finally able to croak out a quiet, “Yeah… looks good,” before turning to read the first step of his handwritten brewing instructions and hastily reaching for the Bundimun on the table.

Remus can feel Sirius’ eyes on him, but he doesn’t know if he can meet his gaze again after his staggering realization that he’s incredibly attracted to his best friend. His best friend. Oh my god.

Miraculously, Remus is able to extract juice from the Bundimun without incident while Sirius works on grinding Streeler shells at his side, but when Sirius’ elbow accidently bumps against Remus’ arm, Remus can’t stop himself from jumping slightly. He mutters a quick, “sorry,” under his breath, and he can feel Sirius’ eyes on him again. Despite the knowledge of being watched, Remus continues to work without pausing, determined to complete this potion as quickly as possible in hopes that they might be allowed to leave early. It’s the only comforting thought that Remus is able to hold onto at this point.

 


 

It’s October of their seventh year and the Marauders feel invincible. The previous weekend, James had used the secret pathway leading to Hogsmeade to buy Firewhiskey and smuggle it back into the castle, and now, the bottle is nestled securely under his arm as the four boys make their way down to a small, secluded clearing in the trees near the edge of the lake. They each cast several warming charms over the area before setting up camp. Peter spreads out a giant quilt, sacrificed from his very own bed, for everyone to sit on, and once each boy is settled snuggly on the quilt, James passes the bottle around so that each boy can take an initial swig before the drinking games begin.

James and Peter are each wrapped up in individual blankets, James in his own and Peter in Remus’, since he offered his own blanket for sitting purposes. Remus and Sirius are left to share the remaining blanket, Sirius’, and when Sirius shimmies his way under the blanket and up against Remus’ side, Remus begins to wish that he had been the one to sacrifice his blanket.

When the bottle is returned to James and everyone’s throats are burning pleasantly from the alcohol, Sirius claps his hands for attention, beaming as he looks around the small circle they have created.

“Truth or dare!” he announces, flinging his arms into the air dramatically enough to make Remus question whether he had really just witnessed him take his first sip of the night. “Ok, here are the rules we’re using tonight, boys. When someone chooses either a truth or a dare, anyone in the group can provide them with one. This is just to help speed the whole process along…”

Everyone glances at Peter, who they all know has a history of taking absolutely forever to think of a truth or dare when put on the spot.

“To make things more interesting,” he continues, “you can opt out of a truth or a dare by taking a shot of Firewhiskey. This means that we can make the questions and dares extra interesting tonight.”

Sirius’ eyes gleam in the wandlight and Remus wonders exactly how worried he should be about Sirius brainstorming questions and dares for him.

“Let’s do it!” Peter exclaims, his voice slightly muffled by the Gryffindor scarf that’s wrapped securely around neck and almost half of his face.

“James, truth or dare?” Sirius asks, pulling his side of the blanket around himself a little tighter for warmth.

James scoffs, puffing out his chest a little and declaring, in a tone implying that there was no point in even asking, “Dare, of course!”

The smirk on Sirius’ face tells Remus that he already had a dare planned, even before he asked James to choose. Sitting up a little straighter, Sirius locks eyes with James from across the circle and, his voice slow and deliberate, says, “Jump in the lake. Naked.”

Remus groans, because he knows James, and James would never back down from a dare, no matter how humiliating. Sirius knows this as well.

“You’re on!” James bellows, scrambling to his feet before beginning to unzip his pants right in front of them all.

“Oh my god, at least strip over there where you’re not facing us,” Remus pleads, covering his eyes.

James shrugs, and Remus wonders how the boy can have no shame. When Remus uncovers his eyes, James is outside the circle, his figure barely illuminated by the wandlight, and completely naked. He glances over his shoulder at them, uttering a dramatic, “see you on the other side, boys,” before racing towards the lake’s edge and plunging into its icy depths.

Their laughter echoes through the trees, and Sirius is clapping his hands, applauding James as he emerges from the lake’s surface, stumbling and shaking with the cold. He holds a quivering hand outward and Remus tosses him his wand, looking away politely as he spells himself dry and dresses back into his warm clothes.

“Holy hell,” he’s sputtering as he steps into his pants. “Bloody fuck.”

“Glad to hear the water’s nice tonight,” Sirius replies cheekily, grinning at James who snorts before reemerging into the light, fully clothed but still shaking slightly. He grabs his blanket eagerly, wrapping himself in its warm confines before turning to Peter.

“Y-You’re turn,” he manages. “Truth or dare?”

“I was gonna go with dare…” Peter begins slowly, “But now I’m rethinking that decision.”

Sirius laughs.

“Is that truth then?” he asks, waggling his eyebrows.

“Yes?” Peter answers hesitantly.

“Brave choice, my friend,” Sirius comments, eyes scanning the circle. “Well, I’m not going to do two in a row. Who has a good one for Wormtail, here?”

James’ eyes are narrowed in thought, and Remus thinks he might have a good one, but he’s not sure if it’s too much too soon. Well, James did just jump into the lake naked, so Remus is going to go for it.

“Peter…” Remus addresses, and he can practically feel Sirius bouncing next to him with the excitement of what Remus is going to ask.

(Remus always comes up with the best truths, hands down. Sirius envies him for it, but also appreciates it wholeheartedly.)

“If you could have sex anywhere at Hogwarts, where would you do it?” Remus asks, not even bothering to stifle his laughter when Peter’s blush is visible even in the dim lighting.

“Umm…” his voice trails off, eyes flickering around the group sporadically. “In my bed?”

“No. Anywhere, Peter,” James prompts helpfully. “Anywhere.”

Peter’s expression is slightly perplexed and he doesn’t seem to know what to say. At Remus’ side, Sirius suddenly leans into him, turning his body slightly so that his lips are lined up with Remus’ ear, and he whispers discreetly, “Do you think he’s really that straight-edged?” Remus’ laughter is half startled from Sirius’ sudden proximity and half amazed at Peter’s apparent innocence.

“I think Remus wanted you to think outside the box a little more on that one,” Sirius clarifies for Peter after leaning away from Remus again, leaving just their shoulders and upper arms touching. “For example, James would probably say something ridiculously predictable like ‘on the Quidditch pitch—‘”

“Hey!” James exclaims, his mouth hanging open as he slaps a hand over his heart, mock-offended. “I would leave that up to dear Lily. I’d go wherever she’d have me.”

Sirius and Remus immediately start making loud gagging noises, and James’ cheesy smile doesn’t falter. Recovering from his fit of fake gagging, Sirius looks over at Remus, and Remus freezes slightly, suddenly very aware that if he turned his head as well, their faces would be entirely too close.

“What about you Remus?” he asks, nudging him with his elbow. “Where would you do it?”

Remus’ arm is on fire where Sirius touched him, and if he’s being honest with himself, his face probably is as well. Remus shrugs a little, trying to play it cool while his entire body seems set toward spontaneous combustion.

“In the library, I guess,” he answers, staring at the illuminated wands in the center of the circle rather than at anyone’s faces.

“The library?” James sputters. “How is that any better than the Quidditch pitch?”

Reddening further, Remus tries to shove down his embarrassment before continuing, “I mean… I think it would be pretty exciting, especially at night. You’d have to be really quiet, you know, or someone could hear you…”

Sirius stiffens at his side, stunned into silence while James and Peter whoop and howl with laughter. Peter laughs so hard he falls onto his side, rolling onto his back and cackling into the night sky.

“Our dear Moony’s got an exhibitionist streak!” James yells before adding another, “Moony!” for emphasis.

“Oh my god,” Remus groans, covering his face in embarrassment. “James, I think I might need some more of that.”

He’s pointing to the Firewhiskey bottle nestled in James’ lap, and with a grin, James hands it over, insisting Remus takes “as much as he needs”.

Remus isn’t sure he’ll ever recover, and by the looks of it, neither will Sirius. Or anyone in the circle, for that matter. After Remus’ confession, the air feels more electrified than ever, and moments later, the Firewhiskey is passed around the circle again because getting drunk suddenly needs to happen much faster.

“Truth or dare, Padfoot?” James asks, stretching his legs out in front of him and leaning back onto his hands, a small smirk playing on his lips.

“Truth,” Sirius replies smoothly, the smile on his face telling James to do his worst.

Before James can even think of a question for Sirius, Peter shocks the group by leaning forward, almost toppling over due to sheer amount of layers weighing him down, and bluntly asking, “If you could shag any of the professors, who would it be?”

Eyebrows raised in slight surprise, James hums appreciatively at Peter’s question. Sirius grins at Peter, and it’s clear that he also approves of the question.

“Hm…” he ponders dramatically, fingers tapping lightly on his chin. “I’d probably have to say Hooch.”

“My thoughts exactly!” James declares, and leans across the circle to give Sirius a rousing high-five. “Ok Moony, what’s it gonna be?”

“Truth,” he responds automatically, allowing himself to sink a little further into his blanket.

He’s starting to feel slightly buzzed, and it’s a nice feeling, he decides, especially when he has Sirius pressed up against his side, his long hair tickling the bare skin of Remus’ neck. Sirius smells like the outdoors, like pine and fresh air and wet grass, and Remus loves it. He loves everything about him. Remus is hit with the sudden urge to tell him, to tell him everything and confess everything he’s realized since he worked out his feelings for Sirius at the end of last term. He wants to reach over and take his hand in his. He wants to let his head fall onto Sirius’ shoulder and snuggle into the crook of his neck. He wants to touch his hair, oh god he really, really does, and feel it runs through his fingers. He wants to know how soft his lips feel against his. He wants him so bad. He wants to tell him.

Just as quickly as the desire to tell Sirius began, it’s extinguished. Sirius is speaking to him, asking him a question. His truth, Remus realizes, and scrambles to pay attention, but it’s too late. He’s missed his question and now everyone is staring at him expectantly with curious expressions, obviously eager to hear his response.

“Sorry…” Remus apologizes, and his voice sounds slightly groggy, like he just woke up. “I completely missed that.”

Sirius laughs and without giving Remus a hard time about it, asks for the second time, “If you were an Animagus, what do you think you would be? Or what would you want to be?”

Remus raises an eyebrow and replies, “Those are two different questions. You only get to ask one.”

“Fine,” Sirius says with a shrug. “What do you think you would be?”

Remus allows his eyes to wander around the group, looking for anything that might inspire him because honestly, he’s never thought about this before. He’s become so accustomed to transforming into a wolf on a monthly basis, so used to embracing his canine characteristics, that it’s difficult to consider much else.

“Honestly,” Remus begins a little nervously, “I can’t really picture being anything else besides a wolf. It’s all I know, and at this point, I feel like there’s a small part of me that’s kind of… permanently canine.”

“Huh,” Sirius says, almost to himself, his surprise evident on his face. “I guess that makes sense.”

“What were you expecting me to say?” Remus asks, genuinely interested.

Sirius shrugs and replies, “I don’t know. I just always thought you’d be a cat. You know, kinda laid back, likes naps, sometimes affectionate, not afraid to let people know how you feel, independent…”

Sirius is facing him now, and Remus has to shuffle backwards when he turns toward Sirius so that their faces don’t end up too close. Remus gives Sirius a small smile and says quietly, “yeah, I can see that.” He doesn’t want to tear his eyes away from Sirius’ face now that he’s looking at him, but James is insisting, “My turn!” from across the circle and Sirius is already turning back to face the group. Remus licks his lips a little out of nervousness before shimmying back over to Sirius, pressing their shoulders together more insistently than before and fighting the urge to press his cheek against Sirius’ shoulder.

“Send the bottle around again, James?” Sirius asks, just as Remus is thinking the very same thing.

As the Firewhiskey makes its way around the circle, Sirius dares James to serenade the entire group with any song he’d like, and when James makes it to the first chorus of Tiny Dancer by Elton John, Sirius begins singing along as well. Sirius’ voice is rough, but it’s nice to listen to. He’s swaying a little and pressing into Remus, and Remus can feel the heat radiating off his body and enveloping him and oh my god he is in this so deep.

When Peter is dared to lick between all ten of Remus’ toes minutes later, Remus complains loudly but unties his shoelaces and takes off his shoes and socks anyway, wiggling his toes in the cold night air while Sirius laughs next to him. Peter crawls toward him and, face scrunched up in distaste, sticks out the tip of his tongue, inching his face slowly toward Remus’ left foot. Before Remus knows what’s happening, Sirius’ hands are latched onto his right arm in support and he’s stage-whispering encouragements into his ear.

“You got this, Moony,” he reassures, his grip tightening. “I believe in you! You’ll make it through this.”

Peter’s tongue hasn’t even made contact with Remus’ foot yet, and he sticks it back in momentarily to glare up at Sirius and demand, “What about me? I’m the one licking his toes!”

Sirius laughs and pats him lightly on the head.

“Sorry Peter, but Remus is the one with ticklish feet.”

At the reminder, Remus cringes even more, toes tensing in anticipation.

“Peter, just do it,” Remus grinds out through clenched teeth.

Peter’s eyes skirt to the side in panic before he blurts out, “I don’t think I can.”

“Hah!” James shouts, jumping up onto his knees. “You have to drink!”

“Anything’d taste better than Moony’s feet…” Peter mutters to himself as he crawls back over to his spot on the ground and wraps himself back up in his blanket.

Peter takes a long swig out of the bottle before coughing a bit, and without prompting, Sirius announces in a sing-song voice, “I’d like a truth, please!” His voice sounds distant to Remus’ ears. He’s too busy looking down at his right arm, where Sirius’ hand is still resting lightly, the warmth of his fingers searing into Remus’ skin. Breathing is suddenly difficult.

“No problem,” James replies smoothly, a smile playing on his lips. “Padfoot… what’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?”

Sirius’ hand suddenly twitches on Remus’ arm, and within seconds, it’s gone. Sirius brings his hands into his lap, bracing them on his knees as he leans forward and laughs a little nervously.

“I’m taking the Firewhiskey on this one,” he admits, earning shocked looks from everyone in the group.

What?” James exclaims indignantly, his mouth falling open. “What could possibly be that bad?”

Sirius looks almost bashful, and Remus isn’t sure, but he might be blushing as well. Remus knows he should respect Sirius’ privacy and whatnot, but wow, he’s really curious now.

“You don’t have to tell us, but can we at least have a hint?” Peter presses, face eager.

Sirius hesitates and opens his mouth as if planning on actually dropping a hint before shaking his head forcefully and saying quietly, “Sorry. It’s pretty bad.”

James whispers an awed, “wow,” as he hands him the Firewhiskey bottle, and Sirius takes a long swig, eyes screwed shut tightly.

“Moony, truth or dare?” Sirius asks, and when Remus chooses a dare, Sirius smiles. “Good, because I already have one for you.”

“Oh?” Remus asks, taken aback. “What is it?”
“You have to do impersonations of all of us!” he replies with a grin. “Better make ‘em good, Moony.”

Remus falters a bit. Impersonations? James’ comes to him first, and it’s almost too easy. He’s basically a living parody of himself. Puffing out his chest, Remus locks eyes with James before clearing his throat loudly.

“Do you think Lily will be at the game tonight?” Remus asked loudly, feigning anxiousness. “What if she’s not? What if she doesn’t get to see how incredible I look in this Quidditch uniform? But oh god, what if she is there? What is she shows up to watch me play and I fuck it all up? What if I can’t even catch the snitch? I mean, I do practice every day, so that’s highly unlikely, but—”

“Stoooop,” James moans, his hands over his ears as the other three boys laugh.

“He just can’t handle the self-realization,” Sirius says to Remus, quietly enough that James can’t hear him.

“Clearly,” Remus replies with a snort.

Remus angles his body to face Peter, brain working quickly as he tries to identify Peter’s most notable traits and quirks to use in his impersonation. Once he thinks he can pull off a fairly convincing impersonation, he slouches his shoulders, curling in on himself slightly, and looks around with fake nervousness.

“Do you really think this is going to be on the exam? Oh god,” Remus moans loudly. “I can’t believe I slept through the whole class period! Ok, yes, I slept through some of the last class too, but that was only for like… twenty minutes. It hardly counts.”

James and Sirius are laughing uncontrollably, and even Peter is chuckling to himself, mumbling, “yeah, that’s pretty accurate, actually.”

“Me next!” Sirius demands, as if Remus forgot about him.

Remus preps himself, rolling his neck and sitting up straighter to imitate Sirius’ constant carefree and excitable state.

“Alright guys, here me out,” Remus begins, waving his arms dramatically for attention like Sirius is known to do. “What if we just… set the whole thing on fire. The entire Slytherin table. Imagine their faces! Imagine Snivellus! What do you mean we can’t do that? If we don’t set the Slytherin table on fire, who else will? Stop walking away from me! Pay attention to me! C’mon guys, look at me! Look at my beautiful hair—”

“Beautiful hair?” Sirius interrupts, his expression partially amused but mostly startled.

Remus freezes, sucks in a quick breath, and clamps his mouth shut. James and Peter’s laughter is starting to die down, and Sirius’ eyes are burning into the side of his face. Remus laughs nervously, ruffling his own hair a little just for something to do with his hands, and reluctantly raises his eyes to meet Sirius’. He shrugs, trying to stay calm while his brain is screaming a mantra of you fucked up Remus. Oh god, you really fucked up.

He’s panicking slightly and still struggling to form words when Sirius wraps both his arms around Remus’ waist, pulling him flush against his chest while crooning, “Aww Moony! You could have just told me you were obsessed with my hair! I would have understood.”

Remus is barely able to register Sirius’ joking tone over the truthfulness of his words. He feels like he’s been punched in the stomach, and his face, buried into the soft fabric of Sirius’ jumper, is flaming embarrassingly. He hears James and Peter laughing good-naturedly across the circle, and he frantically pries himself out of Sirius’ arms, managing to merely roll his eyes in response to Sirius’ joke before swallowing hard and collapsing in on himself mentally, his brain shutting down.

Denial, denial denial, he thinks to himself. Deny everything if you have to. But then Sirius is pulling the blanket tighter around the two of them, tugging on the ends so that only their heads and shoulders are visible among the large, bulky blanket, and his hand finds Remus’ thigh, settling itself there and causing Remus’ brain to short-circuit.

Sirius motions for more alcohol and Remus realizes at this point that Sirius might be a little bit drunk. It would definitely explain his close proximity at the moment and the inexplicable warmth radiating from his body. Sirius hums contentedly after taking a few more sips of the Firewhiskey, and he hands the bottle to Remus, accidentally brushing his fingers when Remus reaches for the bottle. Remus takes several sips and has trouble determining whether the way his head is spinning is due to Sirius or the alcohol.

As they listen to the story of James’ first crush, followed by a poorly-told version of the weirdest dream Wormtail has ever had, Sirius’ hand remains on Remus’ thigh, and Remus is heavily resisting the urge to squirm under his touch. The urge only intensifies when Sirius chooses a dare and James, a sly grin on his face, tells Sirius, “Switch clothes with Remus, and pretend to be each other until the game is over.”

This is the end, Remus’ brain insists. Sweet Merlin, this is it. Remus feels Sirius remove his hand from his thigh, and, determinedly looking away from Sirius, Remus stands so that he can take off his jumper and pull down his trousers. A small spark of panic hits him and for a second he wonders if James wants them to take off their underwear as well, but a quick glance over at Sirius, who’s standing awkwardly in nothing but his black boxers and binder, tells him that it wasn’t part of the dare.

Under normal circumstances, Remus knows he would be significantly more anxious about standing around in only his underwear, but he’s more freaked out right now about the naked Sirius mere feet from him, running his fingers through his long hair absentmindedly.

“Here,” Remus offers, handing Sirius his jumper, which he takes gingerly, grazing his fingers over the fabric before pulling it up and over his head.

Remus is taller and lankier than Sirius, so his navy blue jumper is slightly too big on him, but the color compliments his olive skin so well and his dark hair looks so striking against the blue fabric that Remus has to busy himself by picking Sirius’ burgundy jumper up off the ground and putting it on. As Remus pulls it over his head, Sirius’ smell envelops him, and he quickly forces his head through the hole, suddenly desperate for fresh air. Both boys swap trousers without a word, and as Remus begins to step into Sirius’ trousers, he nearly topples over and is assaulted with the sudden realization that wow, maybe he’s a little drunker than he thought.

“How are you feeling, Remus?” James asks once both boys are fully clothed, and Remus’ head snaps up, ready to answer when he realizes oh, he’s talking to Sirius… right.

Sirius does a spin for the group in attempt to show off his new outfit, but he’s stumbling slightly and Remus has to put a hand on his shoulder to steady him.

“Thanks,” Sirius says, eyes bright, and he’s beaming at Remus, causing Remus’ chest to ache a little. “You look good, Sirius.”

Remus is taken aback because is this Sirius’ weird, roundabout way of complimenting himself, or is he actually complimenting Remus? He manages to reply with a hesitant, “Thank… you?” as he sits back down on the quilt. Sirius follows suit and pulls the blanket around them completely, squirming to get comfortable at Remus’ side. As he’s fidgeting, his head turns toward Remus for a brief moment, and in a voice so quiet that Remus isn’t quite sure he’s not imagining it at first, Sirius whispers, “I’m not kidding, Remus.”

Remus freezes and some small part of him is aware that it’s his turn now, but he’s pretty sure that Sirius just complimented him and oh my god, Sirius thinks he looks good in his clothes. His head snaps around to face Sirius, and he must look pretty surprised (he certainly feels pretty fucking surprised) because Sirius is laughing softly and his hand is reaching over to resume its position on his thigh, obscured from sight by the blanket. Remus isn’t religious, but he thinks that right now might be a good time to start praying. He’s hyperaware that if Sirius doesn’t remove his hand very soon, Remus will undoubtedly end up fully hard in a matter of minutes, and honestly, he’s not sure he could ever recover from the shame if Sirius noticed.

“Truth or dare?” Sirius prompts, his voice completely unfazed, and wow, he’s really acting like his hand isn’t on my thigh right now, isn’t he?

“Truth,” Remus responds automatically because there’s no way he can stand up now and conceal the fact that he’s sporting an embarrassing tent in Sirius’ already too-tight trousers.

“Would you rather…” Sirius begins, his voice trailing off in thought before his face twists into a wicked grin. “Would you rather have to watch Prongs have sex with Lily, every single time they do it for the rest of their lives, or give up sex forever?”

James’ jaw drops and Peter clamps his hands over his ears, mumbling a stream of “ew”’s under his breath. Remus cringes and turns to Sirius accusingly.

“What the fuck, Padfoot?” he asks, face contorted in disgust as images of James and Lily pop into his head.

“I think you mean, ‘what the fuck, Moony’,” Sirius corrects him cheekily before shrugging his shoulders. “That’s the truth I’m giving you. Either answer it or drink.”

Remus has seen James completely naked countless times; they’ve lived together for over six years now. Seeing him naked across their shared room while he’s changing, however, hardly compares to watching him shag the girl of his dreams… repeatedly… for the rest of their lives. Plus, although he assumes sex is just as good as it’s made out to be, he’s technically a virgin, so he doesn’t have a good basis for comparison.

He’s about to choose to renounce sex for the sake of his theoretical mental wellbeing when Sirius’ hand twitches on his thigh. Remus’ eyes widen fractionally, and he’s suddenly reminded of its presence. As fingertips slowly ghost toward his inner thigh, Remus is hit with the realization that Sirius’ hand is not twitching. This is completely deliberate.

Thoughts of how incredible it would feel if Sirius only inched his hand a few inches upward flood his mind, and suddenly he’s not quite sure he could ever choose to renounce sex, even in a theoretical scenario.

“Firewhiskey please,” Remus croaks out, his voice embarrassingly rough.

He eagerly wraps his hands around the bottle and takes three long sips without pause. Sirius insists on drinking as well, and Remus watches his throat as he swallows. Once. Twice. Thrice. Four times. A little bit spills down his chin and he wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, tongue darting out to lick his lips once his hand is removed. As Peter and James drink and Remus hears James ask Peter something about the “likelihood that Lily would shag him every day for the rest of his life”, Sirius’ fingertips begin tracing slow circles up his thigh. When his fingers ghost over the small, uncovered patch of skin between his—Sirius’— slightly too-small jumper and his trousers, Remus jolts and an embarrassing squeak escapes his mouth. James and Peter haven’t seemed to notice anything, thank god, and they appear to be pretty drunk and engrossed in a conversation that sounds like it has something to do with girls.

Sirius’ lips are suddenly against his ear again, and Remus can feel the heat of his breath when he whispers, “Shhh… can’t be too loud, Moony. Wouldn’t want them to hear us, would we?” Remus tries to stifle it, he really does, but he can’t stop the quiet whine from escaping his mouth. His face is on fire and oh my god he sounds so needy this is so embarrassing, but he can hardly bring himself to really care because the tips of Sirius’ fingers are teasing under the edge of his trousers now. Remus is leaning into Sirius, and he fights to keep his head from collapsing onto Sirius’ shoulder and to ignore the overwhelming urge to crawl into his lap and bury his face in the crook of his neck.

“I believe it’s your turn now, Prongs,” Sirius proclaims, interrupting the conversation between James and Peter.

“Alright,” James says, turning away from Peter and back toward the group. “Truth me.”

“What’s the weirdest thing you would ever do to get Lily’s attention?” Peter asks, and James’ answer seems to serve as a segue back into their conversation from before.

Sirius’ hand begins undoing the button on Remus’ trousers now, and Remus inhales sharply when he pulls the zipper down, fingers brushing lightly over Remus’ erection. His fingers wander across his length, their pressure light and teasing, and Remus can’t believe this is happening. He really can’t. Remus allows his eyelids to flutter closed for a moment as he exhales shakily, swallowing hard.

“Fuck Moony, you look so beautiful like this,” Sirius tells him quietly, leaning over Remus’ shoulder so that his hair falls forward and brushes against Remus’ cheek.

Remus takes a deep breath, forcing his eyes open and trying his best to calm his facial features. At any moment, James or Peter could look over and see Sirius’ nose buried in the crook of Remus’ neck, his hand moving underneath the blankets, the rapid rise and fall of Remus’ chest, his flushed cheeks. The thought of getting caught terrifies him, but the wrongness of Sirius touching him right now, barely concealed by the blanket and in front of their two best friends, is exhilarating.

Sirius’ hand sneaks underneath the waistband of his underwear, and when he begins to stroke Remus fully, Remus’ head falls forward a little, his lips parting slightly and his hair falling into his eyes. Fuck, he’s not as good at concealing this as he thought he’d be.

“Peter.”

Sirius’ voice startles Remus, and his head snaps up. He tries to relax his face as Sirius’ hand continues to stroke him slowly, his wrist twisting slightly as he approaches the head.

“I dare you to let James give you a piggyback ride all the way to the castle and back,” Sirius tells him, a challenge in his voice.

Peter turns to James, a drunken grin on his face, and asks, “Well? You up for it?”

“Hell yeah,” James responds easily. “Let’s show them!”

Seconds later, Peter is clumsily leaping onto James’ back and clinging to his shoulders with an impressive grip, his knees squeezing into James’ sides for extra support. Laughing loudly into the night, James takes off toward the castle, swerving slightly, with Peter whooping and hollering on his back. The darkness swallows them within seconds, and Sirius briefly muses, “I wonder how long it’ll take until someone hears them and tries to give them detention,” before grabbing Remus by the waist, scooping him up, and pulling him into his lap.

“Oh,” Remus breathes, suddenly feeling a lot shier than before.

Both of Sirius’ hands are on his waist, travelling up his sides underneath his shirt and making him shiver.

“You did so well,” Sirius tells him, fingers brushing against his right nipple, and Remus moans lowly. “They didn’t even notice.”

“I can’t believe this is happening,” Remus says, almost to himself. “This doesn’t feel real. Is this real? Are you really into me or am I just imagining it?”

Sirius barks a laugh and replies, “do you think I would have touched your dick if I wasn’t into you?”

“I don’t know,” Remus admits, blushing.

“Moony,” Sirius whispers, reaching up to cup the side of his face. “I like you. I like you a lot, and I have for a really long time now.”

He is only able to utter a quiet, “oh,” in response before Sirius leans in and presses his lips gently against his. Remus freezes for a brief moment before returning the pressure against Sirius’ lips and kissing him back softly. Sirius’ tongue runs along his bottom lip and Remus parts his lips in response, giving Sirius the opportunity to deepen the kiss as Remus’ hands reach up to finally, finally thread through Sirius’ hair. He sighs contentedly into the kiss at the softness of his hair between his fingers, and Sirius has to pull away a little to laugh breathlessly.

“You really do like my hair, don’t you?” he asks in awe, as if this is the best news he’s ever received.

“You have no idea.”

Remus eagerly presses their lips together again, his hands automatically tangling themselves in Sirius’ hair, and when he tugs gently, Sirius tilts his head back and groans. Their lips reconnect more forcefully than before and the kiss becomes hungry, tongues battling and noses bumping and quiet noises filling the chilly nighttime air. Remus grinds down into Sirius’ lap once, experimentally, and Sirius keens, his head falling forward so that his forehead rests against Remus’, their breath intermingling but their lips not touching.

“Fuck, Moony,” Sirius breathes, and Remus grinds against him again, causing Sirius to moan breathily and reach his hand back down into Remus’ pants.

Sirius’ hand is shaking slightly as he tentatively wraps it around Remus’ erection, so Remus whispers, “like this,” and wraps his hand around Sirius’, tightening his grip as he guides his hand.

“Ok,” he replies shakily, his eyes closed as Remus continues to grind down into his lap. “Moony…”

Sirius’ voice falters, and he opens his eyes to look at Remus. He suddenly seems nervous and his tongue darts out to lick his lips before he whispers, eyes downcast, “I’m really wet, Moony.”

Remus takes a long, shaky breath and tries to tell his body to calm down and take it slow, please, for Sirius sake, but Sirius’ hand is still on his dick and he’s painfully hard and fuck it. Whatever. Goodbye, self control.

“Can I…” he begins, words hesitant because he really, really doesn’t want to fuck this up. “Can I touch you?”

“Yeah,” Sirius breathes, most of the tension leaving his face.

Remus’ hand wanders under his oversized jumper and to the waistband of his trousers, running his fingertips along the edge teasingly and watching Sirius’ eyes flutter closed.

“They might be coming back soon,” Sirius reminds him, eyes still closed.

“Fuck it,” is Remus’ immediate response. “If they come back early, we can give them a show.”

Sirius’ soft laughter is cut off abruptly. Remus is rubbing him through his underwear, entirely uncertain about what he’s doing, but Sirius seems to approve, which is all that matters. He’s panting through his mouth as he arches up into Remus’ touch, moaning desperately. Remus slips his hand into Sirius’ boxers, and Sirius buries his face into his shoulder, his breath hot against Remus’ neck.

“Holy shit,” Remus whispers when sticks two fingers between Sirius’ folds and feels how wet he is.

“Oh my god,” Sirius moans before muttering a string of curses under his breath. “Only do…” he tries, both his body and voice shaking, “only do one finger.”

“Yeah, ok,” Remus assures him. “Only one finger… Can I touch you here?”

Remus circles his clit with his middle finger and Sirius hisses out a quiet, “fuck,” before assuring him, “yeah, yeah, that’s good. That’s really good, Moony.” Sirius’ hand, which had previously faltered and paused on Remus’ dick, resumes moving, and Remus hums appreciatively, arching into his touch. When Remus slowly and carefully slips a finger into Sirius moments later, Sirius surprises him by bucking forward into his hand immediately, a desperate whine escaping his mouth. Remus angles his hand so that his palm still rubs against Sirius’ clit as he fingers him, and Sirius’ hand increases its speed on his dick in response.

Sirius looks beautiful like this: eyes closed, red lips parted slightly, flushed cheeks, hair cascading over his shoulders and framing his face beautifully. Sirius is the most beautiful boy Remus has ever seen. He captures his lips in another kiss and is met with unbridled enthusiasm from Sirius. The kiss is a little sloppy and wet, but Remus doesn’t mind. He can tell that Sirius wants this just as badly as he does, and the thought makes his chest feel like it’s about to burst.

Sirius’ other hand wanders into Remus’ pants as well, reaching down to fondle his balls and fuck Remus has to break the kiss to warn him, “Shit, Sirius, I think I’m—” before coming abruptly all over his hand. Sirius slows his strokes over Remus and allows him to catch his breath for a moment before pressing into Remus’ hand insistently, reminding him that he still has a finger inside Sirius. Remus’ eyes snap back open and at once he’s fingering Sirius again, curling his finger upward and causing him to moan loudly into his shoulder. With each thrust of Remus’ finger inward, Sirius lifts his hips and matches it, pressing upward rhythmically until he’s choking out a sob and coming for Remus, hips bucking frantically. He’s practically mewling into Remus’ ear as the aftershocks of his orgasm roll through him, and Remus holds onto him tightly for the entirety of it, only pulling away and removing his hand when Sirius finally stills.

“Wow,” Remus says dumbly, but it’s the only word his mind can think of right now because fuck, Sirius looks beautiful with his hair plastered to the sides of his face like that.

Remus leans in to kiss him once, gentle and nothing more than a soft press of lips together. Sirius smiles warmly at him when they break apart, and his arms come to wrap around Remus’ waist lightly, holding their bodies close.

“I agree,” Sirius replies, his thumbs rubbing soothing circles on his waist. “Definitely worthy of a ‘wow’.”

Remus laughs a little and pulls back so that he can glance over his shoulder, eyes squinting in the darkness as he searches for any sign of James and Peter.

“Do you think someone caught them?” Sirius asks, reading his mind.

“Probably,” Remus answers, feeling a little guilty. “Guess we shouldn’t have sent our drunk and obnoxiously loud friends away just so we could get into each other’s pants.”

“I don’t know,” Sirius replies nonchalantly, a smirk playing at his lips. “I think it was a pretty good decision overall, don’t you think?”

“Yeah,” Remus agrees, his cheeks coloring a little as he smiles back at Sirius. “Though next time maybe we could try this inside on an actual bed instead of on the freezing cold forest floor.”

“You sure about that?” Sirius asks, slowly getting to his feet and offering Remus a hand. “Or would you rather we try the library next?”

Eyes narrowed in contempt but fighting back a smile, Remus ignores Sirius’ comment and takes his hand, allowing himself to be pulled onto his feet. After fixing their clothes, the two boys make quick work of shrinking the three discarded comforters around them, along with the nearly-empty bottle of Firewhiskey, and wrapping them all in the fourth comforter, along with James and Peter’s forgotten wands.

Sirius hoists the makeshift sack over his shoulder and holds it securely with one hand, his other reaching toward Remus and intertwining their fingers. Remus can’t help the grin that spreads across his face and the warm feeling that blossoms in his chest at Sirius’ sweet gesture, and he leans down to press one last kiss to his lips before the two set off toward the castle, hand in hand and hearts fit to burst.