I was going to have this up a few days ago but was struck down by the stomach flu ;_;
Lets see if we can't get Sirius thinking straight!
Disgusting. Sirius had called it disgusting. Remus' insides squirmed nauseously every time he thought about it. He wondered if he'd just been reading the atmosphere incorrectly. While they had been in the shower he'd been sure that things were going in the right direction. He'd even thought for a moment that Sirius was about to kiss him. But apparently it had been disgusting. The word kept floating around in his head, Sirius' voice echoing over and over. He was glad they'd been stopped before he'd told the truth, terrified to imagine the reaction his friend might've had.
When Sirius had pushed his way past Peter and past a rather furious looking James, Remus had promptly told him to fuck himself. Sirius had left after that, and after James apologized to Remus for their black haired friend's stupidity he went to find him, promising to set him straight. Peter had simply scampered off after taking the piss that obviously couldn't have waited. Remus was having a hard time caring, and was actually feeling relieved to be alone, even though that state didn't last long. He wondered if snapping at Sirius had been the best idea.
"Remus?" Lily's voice broke the silence as she quietly pushed the door open.
"What do you want, Lily?" Remus' voice came from inside his curtain drawn bed.
Sighing, Lily made her way into the room and immediately parted the curtains enough to have a look inside. She never would have imagined she'd see Remus sulking so blatantly, but that is exactly what he was doing.
"I heard about what happened." She said, pulling the curtains open further so she could sit on the edge of his bed.
There was a long silence before Remus managed to say anything at all, and when he did his nose sounded slightly stuffy. Lily felt her heart break a little when she realized he'd been crying. She couldn't remember a time when she'd seen him cry, even when she found out about his condition. She always thought that he was the strong type who wouldn't cry over anything.
"I'm really sorry, Remus." She tried to console, but just as her words left her mouth, Remus interjected.
"I'm finished, Lily." He said, sitting up, his shoulder slumped defeatedly. "I really appreciate all your help, but I'm finished."
"Oh, come on. Don't be like that. We're so close..." She said gently, turning to face him directly.
"We're not close at all. Not only have I nearly died a few times, it's obvious now that he's never going to like me the way I want him to. The right thing to do, the thing that a good friend should do, is give up. I need to make sure our friendship doesn't get any more strained than it has..."
Lily was quiet for a few moments, not sure what to say to his obviously firm decision. She wondered if she had made the wrong choice in pushing him the way she had. Admittedly, the rescues she'd set up for him had begun to get a bit dangerous, and things did seem a bit strained between the two boys. She had told herself that the complications were all Debbie's fault, but she wondered now if that was merely an excuse to absolve herself from responsibility. Maybe her meddling was simply an excuse to put her nose in someone else's business.
"I'm sorry I almost got you raped by a giant squid." She said after a moment.
There was a moment of silence after her apology, and then Remus began snickering, then laughing openly. Lily was relieved when she saw Remus lean forward, clutching at his sides as his body shook with laughter.
"Honestly, not something I thought I'd ever hear someone say to me." He said, wiping a few tears from his eyes.
"Well you know. I like to mix things up." Lily said, smiling as well, glad she was able to cheer her friend up, even if it was in an ironic sort of way.
"Do I even want to know how you managed something like that?" Remus asked, folding his legs so he was sitting up properly.
"Probably not. Though I wouldn't hold onto the clothes you were wearing any more." Lily said with a sheepish smile, not wanting to give away the fact that she'd brought James in on the plan.
"Well considering they're torn to shreds, I had planned to throw them away." Remus said, then sighed. "I should go apologize to Sirius. It's not his fault that I'm all messed up in the head."
"You're not messed up." Lily said sternly, but comfortingly as she took hold of his hand. "You can't help the way you feel."
"I know, Lils. Thanks. But... I really should apologize. The whole point of this was to avoid messing up our friendship... and that's exactly what I'm doing right now."
At the same moment, James was attempting a similar conversation with Sirius who he'd caught up with out at the quiddich pitch. He was being decidedly less comforting than Lily, though.
"Honestly, Sirius, could you have been a bigger prat? Do you just not think about the things that come out of that flap you call a mouth?" James lectured, even though Sirius was pointedly ignoring him in favor of swinging the small bat he used during games. "Oi! Are you listening?" He snapped, yanking the bat out of Sirius' hands.
Sirius glared silently at him a moment before picking up the second bat that had been in the trunk he'd drug onto the pitch. He was determined to work off some steam before getting into a conversation about it, knowing that he was too fired up at the moment to think things through. He was notorious for saying stupid things when he was angry... or shocked apparently.
He'd not even been entirely sure what was happening in that shower. He'd been able to feel the tension, and for a moment was certain he was about to snog the other boy within an inch of his life. In retrospect it may have been that particular feeling that frightened him so much. He'd never had a problem with blokes who liked to "run with their own" so-to-speak, but he'd never considered it for himself. He'd never been attracted to another man. But there had been something about that moment, about the look of Remus' scarred body slick with water and flushed from the heat, and possibly embarrassment, that had started a slow coil of arousal in the pit of his stomach. He'd felt the urge not only to kiss him but to run his mouth over every inch of his body, and he'd found himself suddenly wondering if the other boy's body would react the same way his own did when he touched those intimate places. Then there were those thoughts that brought him to places he never thought to touch. Though he had no experience with, or interest in, other boys, he wasn't naive. He knew how things worked between men. He suddenly found himself wondering if this strange, hot, interest he had in his friend was a stand alone incident or if he'd just never noticed the inclination in himself before.
The fact that he had a strange fascination with the asses of girls he dated suddenly came to mind. He'd always been told that he was just an "ass man," or more directly that he had an ass fetish. It was true that he often gauged the attractiveness of a woman by her ass before any other body parts, and it was also true that he would always try to talk the girls he dated into doing some experimenting round the back. He'd yet to find a girl who would let him, something he was immensely disappointed about. But men had to do it that way, didn't they? Then he suddenly remembered a moment of weakness when he was alone in the shower, enjoying the privacy of a good wank and out of curiosity had slid a finger into himself. He told himself it was just because he wanted to know what it would feel like for the women he dated, hoping to understand why they all refused him. Instead he found the surge of pleasure it gave him a bit terrifying. He came harder than he ever had and then tried to forget it had happened. He'd not done it again since.
"Oi, you fucking mutt, stop ignoring me!" James shouted, suddenly batting a bludger he'd released in Sirius' direction.
"Hey!" Sirius shouted incredulously as he just managed to knock the bludger away before it clocked him in the head. "I'm not ignoring you, ponce! I'm thinking!"
The bludger shot upward but quickly adjusted it's course, looping back around to make it's way toward James.
"You expect me to believe that, you gobliphile!" James countered, smashing the bludger in a straight line back at Sirius' head. "Your problem is that you never think!"
"Why the hell is this my fault?" Sirius shouted with the exertion of smacking the ball back, hitting it harder this time. "I don't even know what the hell is going on!"
"That's your bloody problem!" James scoffed, watching the bludger make a beeline for his face. "You're so blind that you haven't even figured out that Remus-" He paused as his bat connected with the bludger one last time. "is in love with you!"
Sirius felt the anger inside him dissipate immediately as his friends words connected with his brain. This also distracted him long enough for the bludger to make another connection, this one happened to be with his solar plexus. Even as the wind was knocked violently from him, he had enough sense to hold onto the angry little ball as James began to drag the chest over toward him. Together they were able to wrestle the squirming thing into it's case.
"So you really had no idea?" James asked as he flopped down into the grass next to his still recovering friend.
Sirius was only able to shake his head, still gulping for air as his abdominal muscles continued to convulse every few seconds.
"I really shouldn't be the one telling you this. Remus doesn't even know that I know. Lily told me." James rubbed his arm slightly, unused to the stress the bat put on him.
After a moment, James glanced over to check on his friend's condition. He was obviously in shock, staring at the grass in front of him while still gripping his stomach. James thought he looked surprisingly pale.
"So you're actually, genuinely surprised?" James asked, unable to stop the smirk that spread across his face.
"Well of course I'm surprised!" Sirius sputtered. "Weren't you?"
"Not really. I had more or less sorted it out before I heard anything from Lily. And I thought with the way things had been going between the two of you, that you'd figured it out as well. At the very least, I figured you knew after that scene Wormtail and I walked in on."
"There wasn't anything going on." Sirius insisted, looking a bit angry, though his face was turning a traitorous shade of red.
"If you say so." James said with a shrug, leaning back to prop himself up with his hands. "But to me it looked like the two of you were naked in a shower and extremely close to making out."
"That's not funny, Prongs." Sirius snapped, seeming to have finally eased the pain in his stomach.
"Oh, that's right. That would be, oh what was the word you used? Disgusting. That's it."
"That's not funny either..." Sirius said, sounding a bit more sulky this time.
"You know you probably really hurt him by saying that." James said, his voice gentler this time.
Sirius didn't need to be told that he'd hurt his friend's feelings. He could tell simply by the look in his eyes. He could kick himself now for not being able to figure out what Remus had been trying to tell him. Why hadn't he been able to tell that it was him he was talking about. He met all the criteria. Remus had said it was a close friend. He'd been upset that Sirius hadn't been able to see the people he was hurting, "people" obviously referring to Moony. But he'd also said that he liked someone whom he knew would never like him back. He suddenly wondered if that part was true as well.
Admittedly, in that moment, he hadn't been sure if he'd planned to kiss him. He wondered if that meant he liked him as well. He suddenly remembered the other things that had flitted nonchalantly through his mind in those moments. He remembered the heat he felt in his body while he'd been undressing him, the urge he'd felt to kiss those little pink spots he could see through the other boy's shirt, the hot desire to touch his full lips to find out once and for all if they were really as soft as they looked.
"Oi, are you ignoring me again, you mutt?" James said, shoving his shoulder, nearly causing him to tip over.
"Damn it, Prongs, will you give a man a chance to think!" Sirius said, feeling agitated.
"What is there to think about? You either like him or you don't!"
"Its not that simple!" Sirius countered, reminding himself of Remus' commentary regarding his crush.
Recalling those moments in the shower only made more of the tantalizing interactions rush back to his mind. He felt his face begin to heat up as he recalled the feeling of Remus' wrists held tightly in his hands, the feeling of his breath brushing against his lips as he leaned so inappropriately close to him. He stopped this train of thought faster than he had the first time.
"I just don't know yet..." Sirius admitted after a moment.
James sighed, seeming annoyed, but understanding.
"Well whether you've figured it out or not, you need to apologize to him." he said.
"What if... what if he's just feeling this way about me because of everything that's been happening lately? I mean, with Debbie doing all this horrible stuff to him... maybe he's just got some weird admiration for me since I've been the one protecting him." Sirius said after a moment, obviously trying to find a way to make this all seem a bit more normal.
"Well..." James said, rubbing the back of his neck.
He knew that this was all stuff that he'd been told to keep secret, but the kneazle had already been let out of the bag, so he figured it would be best to get everything out in the open. As much as he loved Lily, he found the sneaky ways that girls used to handle things unnecessarily difficult and convoluted.
"I think you've gotten that a bit backwards." He said after a moment.
"What do you mean?" Sirius asked, his brows creasing, getting the impression he wasn't gong to like what he hears.
James sighed in defeat.
"Again... I really shouldn't be telling you this." he said. "And you really shouldn't get mad about it. But, Lily and Remus have been planning most of the things you've been saving him from."
"...What?" Sirius asked, sure he'd heard wrong.
"Yeah... The owlery, the near fall from the astronomy tower, the suit of armor... Lily cast that jelly legs jinx on him... and I um... sort of put squid pheromones on his jumper..."
Sirius stared at him like he just said he'd used kittens as bludgers.
"What the hell is wrong with you two? Merlin's bloody back hair, why would you put him into danger like that?" He'd gotten to his feet, looking like he was ready to fight to defend the fair Moony's honor, something that nearly made James chuckle.
"Relax, Pads. They were all regulated to make sure he wasn't hurt... mostly." He said.
"Mostly?" Sirius' voice was getting dangerously angry.
"Look, mate, you can get as mad as you like, but the bottom line is that Remus knew about all of this, and agreed to let us do it!" James said, squaring up his shoulders, refusing to be intimidated by Sirius. "Well, agree to let Lily do it. He doesn't know she got me involved."
"Remus is too smart to let you knobs do this sort of thing to him." Sirius said sternly.
"Sorry, but I'm telling the truth." James said with a shrug. "Lily has him convinced that if he acted more helpless like the girls you usually hook up with, it might spark some interest on your end."
"What?" Sirius seemed honestly surprised. "But... Why would he want to act like them? I mean... I never stay in a relationship with any of them because they're all wretched. They're all either totally helpless and need me to do everything for them, or they're only in it for my looks or my title. Remus is way smarter than that, and way more capable!" He seemed so baffled that it was comical.
"Well..." James said, grinning a little. "Love can make us think and do stupid things."
Sirius felt a strange kind of warmth bubble up inside him, something he'd never really felt before. He wondered if it might be happiness, but immediately realized that the prospect of that scared him a little too much.
"Oi, speak of the devil." James said as he stood up from his spot in the grass, looking to where Remus was making his way up the slope to the pitch.
Sirius' frame stiffened, seeming a bit terrified all of a sudden, he was also frantically trying to straighten his clothes, as though worried about his appearance. Unable to help the roll of his eyes, James put a steadying hand on his friend's shoulder.
"I'm gonna head back. You get this sorted out, yeah?" He said, giving him a firm squeeze to the shoulder to give him confidence. "He's bonkers for you, mate. It'll be hard to mess this up."
Giving him one more thump on the back, James walked toward Remus, planning to head back to the castle. As he neared his other friend he stopped and smiled reassuringly at him.
"Give him a break, alright?" James said, stuffing his hands down into his pockets. "He's kinda stupid."
"I know." Remus said with a sort of soft admiration that was nearly blinding in its beauty.
Remus smiled his thanks to James who made his way back down the slope and away from the quiddich pitch, leaving him alone with the boy who he was sure thought his love was disgusting.