Written For: Fill the Calendar Challenge: October 5th, OC: Arsenio Van Achthoven. AU Battle Competition: Bartender!AU with the dialogue prompt "'You mean… that happens a lot?'" Both on the HPFC forum.

"So tell me, Lily," Remus sighed, climbing into the cab, "why exactly are we going all the way across London for a few drinks at a bar?"

"Because we've been to all the bars around here," James answered for his girlfriend. "Besides, a friend of mine just got a job there."

Lily smiled warily at Remus. "Sirius is very nice… once you get used to him."

Remus didn't know if he liked the sound of that, but he nodded in acceptance. The cab ride didn't take long. Soon enough James was hopping out, grinning as he led Remus and Lily down a short alley and into a swanky looking bar. In his head, Remus counted the money in his pocket, budgeting how much he could spend tonight and still retain enough of this week's paycheck to buy groceries.

Loud music was blaring within the building, and it was heavily crowded with young twenty-somethings. It took Remus all of ten seconds to realize that all but a few occupants were men.

"James," he murmured warningly, "did you take me to a gay bar?"

The answering grin told Remus exactly what he needed to hear. "It was Lily's idea, actually," he smirked, putting an arm around his girlfriend, "she thought that you probably had enough of going to regular bars and getting hit on by all those birds."

Remus had really never minded going to straight bars. He told James this.

"Just relax, Moony," the young man exclaimed, "we're spending tonight at a gay bar, and then next Friday we can go back to the straight ones."

It was a fair deal, he supposed. Perhaps this wouldn't be that bad. "Fine," Remus replied, "but no setting me up." James and Lily had a nasty addiction to matchmaking where matchmaking was not needed. Remus didn't need a relationship right now, least of all one set up by his pitying friends.

"Alright, alright," James said placatingly, his eyes now set to scanning the room. He lit up after a moment. Remus followed his gaze to the bar. Behind the counter one of the bartenders was grinning handsomely, shaking a tumbler while speaking animatedly to a couple patrons.

Remus understood why all eyes seemed to by locked on the young man. He was tall and broad-shouldered, but not in a stocky way. His hair was long and jet-black, tied at the base of his skull in a strangely masculine red ribbon. He wore a tight black button-down shirt that showed off his physique. He looked good in his body, and he knew it. With a handsome grin, he flashed his perfect white teeth at a pair of women he was speaking to – probably the only females in the whole bar – and they, along with every other man nearby, swooned.

"That would be Sirius," Lily said lowly. Remus couldn't help the hitch in his breath. Sirius. The name fit perfectly with the man standing at the bar.

Remus realized a second later why James had wanted to come to this particular gay bar. His friend Sirius worked here, his handsome, probably gay friend.

"Come on," James said quickly, putting a hand on Lily's waist and pulling her along. Lily grasped Remus' arm, looping her hand around the crook of his elbow and bringing him with them.

Sirius perked up at the first sight of James. "Oi, Potter!" he shouted, another handsome smile turning his lips. Many eyes darted in their direction. James continued to strut towards the bar, pulling Lily and Remus along.

"Good to see you, Padfoot," James chimed, patting Sirius on the back over the counter. "How's your mum?"

"Still the worst bitch on face of the earth. But hey, you can't expect everything to go your way. Can I get you something to drink? Lily! You're looking radiant as ever." Sirius took Lily's hand and kissed her knuckles extravagantly. "And who's this?" he asked, his eyes finally settling on the third member of their group.

Remus had to remind himself to stop gaping like a fish at the man in front of him. "This is Moony," James supplied.

"Remus Lupin," Remus immediately countered, extending his hand to Sirius.

"Nice to meet you," Sirius said, shaking Remus' hand, "any friend of James' is a friend of mine. I'm Sirius Black. How about I get you three some shots? I hope you're still a vodka man, James."

"We're actually trying to keep James away from hard liquor after the New Years incident," Remus found himself saying. Sirius quirked a brow in confusion, and Remus elaborated, "I don't think anyone will forget the image of his pasty arse streaking naked through Trafalgar Square for a long, long time."

Sirius' eyes lit up, and Remus was delighted in the sound of the man's guffawing laughter. James crossed his arms and frowned when Lily joined in on the laughter as well. "It was horrible," she muttered between breaths of laughter, "by the time I talked the police out of arresting him we'd missed the countdown."

Once their laughter died down Sirius immediately sprung into action. "Alright, vodka for Remus and Lily. James gets a virgin Strawberry Daiquiri." In a flash he swept away to the other side of the bar, preparing their drinks while juggling the orders of several other customers. Remus watched Sirius' back for a few seconds too long.

"Do you like him?" Lily asked, a coy smile on her lips.

Remus tried to play it cool. "He's nice, I suppose."

James was still pouting in embarrassment when Sirius came back with their drinks. He sipped his daiquiri with a sour expression, looking at the wall of alcohol behind the bar wistfully. "Can I at least have a beer?" he asked, offering Sirius a pleading expression.

Sirius chuckled, reaching under the counter and grabbing a bottle. "There you go, mate." Within a second he swept away, pouring drinks and chatting with the other customers at the bar. He really was a great bartender, charismatic and quick on his feet. Remus envied the man's confidence. When Lily caught him staring again he looked away.

After doing their shots, Lily proceeded to order two beers from the other bartender. James, Lily, and Remus settled into their seats, catching up after a long week. They'd long ago made a tradition of going out on Friday nights and catch up. Everyone had time-consuming jobs and busy lives nowadays, so they always made a point to spend time together, just like they'd done back in Uni.

After about twenty minutes a tap on his shoulder pulled Remus' attention away from his friends. He turned to see the once empty barstool to his right had been taken. The man beside him was large and heavily muscled. "Hello," the man greeted, his accent thick. Remus thought it was a Dutch accent, but he couldn't be quite sure.

James and Lily were talking quietly to each other. Remus realized that the man was focused on him alone. "Uh, hi."

"My name is Arsenio. Arsenio Van Achthoven. I noticed that you are alone." His accent was even more prominent with the pronunciation of his name.

"Oh," Remus shot a glance at James and Lily, who were purposefully ignoring him. Damn. He should have known better than to believe that this hadn't been a plan to set him up with someone all along. "Nice to meet you, Arsenio. I'm Remus."

The burly man smiled. He was handsome, but not in the way Sirius was. Remus couldn't help but compare. James had always said he was too picky….

"Remus," Arsenio mused, the name rolling off his tongue, "good to meet you. Tell me, you like men, right?"

Remus was sure he was blushing. Well that was forward. He stumbled over his words. "Ah- well- yes, I do. Yes."

"Good. I will buy you a drink, okay?"

He was sure his eyes were bulging out of his head. Had a man ever hit him on like this? Women, sure. But never a man. "Okay," he nearly squeaked.

Arsenio leaned over and ordered from the nearest bartender. Sirius was at the opposite end, talking animatedly and mixing drinks. James and Lily were giving Remus excited thumbs up on his other side. He rolled his eyes at them, turning away.

Arsenio engaged him in a casual conversation for several minutes before suddenly turning blunt. Remus felt a hand on his knee. He froze. "Remus," the man murmured, "how would you like to accompany me back to my flat?" The hand was inching up his thigh.

Remus pulled his leg away. "No thank you, Arsenio. I have to go home with my friends." He nodded over his shoulder at James and Lily. They were speaking quietly to each other, but obviously listening in on his conversation at the same time.

"I see," Arsenio quipped. "I will go." He stood from the bar stool and stepped away into the crowd of people. Remus let out a breath.

James was grinning from ear-to-ear when Remus turned to face him and Lily. "Moony!" he cheered, "I don't know why you're so picky. That bloke was right handsome."

Lily smacked her boyfriend lightly on the shoulder. "Just because you think beards are attractive doesn't mean Remus does as well."

"Maybe James should go home with him instead."

Remus nearly jumped at the sound of Sirius' voice. The man was in front of them again, having returned from the opposite end of the bar. He held out another pair of shots in his hand, one for Lily and one for Remus. "On the house," he told them, "Remus here looks like he needs it."

Remus was pale and still in shock after that hand on his thigh. He took the shot and downed it quickly.

Sirius chuckled. "Arsenio's a regular around here. Can't say I haven't had several other disturbed patrons after he was through speaking to them."

Remus met the man's steely grey eyes. "You mean… that happens a lot?"

"The Dutch can be especially blunt sometimes," Sirius replied by way of explanation.

"We're going to the bathroom," Lily whispered to Remus, shooting him a wink before slipping away with a grinning James. Remus realized that he was alone with Sirius now.

"So," Sirius started to make conversation, pouring some sort of elaborate mixed drink for the man two seats down. "James called you Moony when you came in. Where'd he get that nickname?"

It was a well-known fact that James Potter liked to give people nicknames. Remus had earned his only two weeks into knowing James. "We were roommates at Uni," he explained. "I was a big insomniac back then. James used to say that sometimes he'd wake up in the middle of the night to find me sitting at my desk reading, only the moonlight to see by. He got the nickname Moony from that."

Sirius nodded thoughtfully, his eyes still focused on the drink he was mixing.

"What about yours?" Remus found himself asking. "Padfoot, right? Am I to assume it has something to do with the Dog Star?"

Sirius perked up at this, looking at Remus with a thoroughly intrigued expression. "Huh," he huffed, "I've only met a few people ever who knew the constellation, and even fewer who connected it to Padfoot. You're sharp."

Remus chuckled into his beer, setting it down and fixing Sirius with a pointed look. "Did you think my looks were the only thing I had going for me?" He was kidding, of course. He knew he wasn't the best looking guy in the world.

"No," Sirius quipped, "I just thought they were an added bonus." Remus words had been sarcastic, but Sirius was acting as if they were nothing but true.

Internally taken back and flattered by the flirtation, Remus tried to act nonchalant. "Do you flirt with all your customers, Padfoot?"

Sirius' eyes lit up in amusement, and Remus nearly burst with pride at the thought that he'd caused that reaction for the second time tonight. "Not exactly," the bartender replied, "while that is part of my job description, I'm not flirting with you to get you to buy a drink. I'm flirting with you because I think you're attractive and because James and Lily, the serial matchmakers that they are, obviously brought you here to set you up with me, not that I mind, really."

Remus had to admit that he didn't mind either. James had outdone himself by introducing him to Sirius.

"Look," Sirius leaned forward across the bar, speaking lowly now, "I have to get back to the other customers, but before I go, can I give you my phone number?"

A bubble of confidence rose in his chest. And to think, here he'd been so reluctant to even come out tonight with James and Lily. "Yeah," he replied, "of course."

Sirius smirked, grabbing a slip of paper and a pen from beneath the bar and scrawling a phone number across it. He handed it to Remus, winking in an expertly practiced manner before sliding away.

Remus stared down at the paper for a solid ten seconds before folding it in his pocket as James and Lily returned.

Author's Note: This was my first Wolfstar fic ever! How did I do? Reviews and feedback are very appreciated.