Written for the QLFC Season 5, Round 11.

Team: Wigtown Wanderers

Title: Diabolical

Position: Captain

Position Prompt: Write a slice of life story set on a summer day(s) OR write about a horror-themed story on a winter night(s).

Word Count: 1,700

Beta(s): Aya Diefair, VanillaAshes (Thank you!)

It amazed Sirius Black how powerless he'd been rendered in the space of a single day. Lupin was, in a word: diabolical. It had started out with a simple conversation; how ridiculous it seemed that Remus could be the last person on the team whose name Sirius had learnt.

It was midsummer, Sirius pulled his sleeves up and let the sun heat his skin.

"How do you like playing with the Wanderers?" Sirius asked, not completely sure if the man's name was Remus or Phoebus at this juncture and not willing to chance either. They'd been sent out into the summer sun to clear the pitch of spare Quaffles.

"It's a bit shite being a reserve, but we're not really getting anywhere this season anyway," Remus/Phoebus replied, shrugging. "What about you?" he added.

"Well, everyone has been really relaxed with me being new, and I guess I'm just really excited to be playing professionally at all." Sirius was growing used to the lack of enthusiasm from the other members of the reserve team, as the newest player Sirius had none of their blasé attitude. He still practically vibrated as he got ready for work each morning. Admittedly he'd sacrificed a lot to be there, not even his brother was replying to his owls at this point.

"Yeah. It's kind of a 'take what you can get' situation isn't it?" Remus/Phoebus kicked a Quaffle up in the air and caught it. He was their Keeper, and the only member of the team who Sirius still hadn't really spoken to properly. Remembering to read the back of the man's robes, Sirius saw 'Lupin' written in silver.

"I don't know. I'm glad I made it onto the team, I don't think I've ever worked anywhere where everyone was so… sane, I guess?"

Lupin tossed the Quaffle into the pile in the middle of the pitch, a strange look on his face. "I heard that playing Quidditch was actually known for being one of the bitchiest professions," he said. Sirius's decided that Remus looked amused.

"Well if it is, everyone has had the decency not to complain about me to my face, which I appreciate," he remarked, and Lupin laughed.

Remus looked at Sirius like he'd surprised him, and Sirius noticed, not for the first time, that Lupin's eyes were always narrowed as though he were permanently caught in the wind.

"I reckon any one of us could be good enough to play in the league if a spot opened up," James Potter said, executing a swift pass to Alice Longbottom, his fellow Chaser.

"I'm alright, I'm sort of relying on you two to pick up the slack most of the time," Sirius replied; he was the third Chaser and not nearly as experienced.

"We haven't been playing professionally that much longer, it all comes in time. It's just that bit different to competing in school," Alice said, feigning a tumble with her catch to divert attention from her abrupt change of direction. They had all grown used to shouting as the wind whistled by.

Sirius was surprised when he caught the pass which followed Alice's stunt. The three of them moved together toward the goal. "I get the sense that Quidditch was taken more seriously in Hogwarts than it was in Durmstrang. I remember from the few weeks I spent in Hogwarts that the Quidditch cup was a big deal." Sirius had been sent to school abroad when he failed to secure a place in Slytherin house, something his parents insisted was unacceptable as they shipped him off to the hinterlands each year.

"I didn't know you went to Hogwarts," the team's Seeker, Africa Duffy, announced as she shot passed.

"I hardly remember it, but James swears he was in my dorm," Sirius explained, not sure how Africa had heard him or if she was likely to hear his reply.

"Remus too!" James added brightly, as they approached Remus at the goal. "But he missed nearly the whole first month and you were gone by midterm."

"You always did have a disturbingly good memory, James," Remus said, Sirius took a shot for the far hoop which Remus sped forward and intercepted without looking away from James.

"I'm surprised to see you remember even that much," James laughed, catching the Quaffle as Remus returned it to him and shooting back off to the opposite goal, Alice in tow.

"That wasn't a bad shot," Remus told Sirius.

"Right." Sirius was a little embarrassed. Remus had never addressed him like that before, perhaps after the morning they were forming more of a rapport.

"Get a room!" Duffy shouted in passing. She was gone again before either had time to do anything but look startled.

"Right. Thanks, Remus." Sirius grinned and turned to follow the others.

As Duffy sped back toward Remus at the goal, Sirius thought he might have heard Lupin ask her if she was jealous.

Alice and James were taking an impressively long time to return from the changing rooms, which was probably the only reason Sirius approached Lupin and Duffy as they conspired together by the base of a towering goal post. He'd spoken to them more that day than any other day of his fortnight of training combined. As he walked over he heard them complaining about the team manager: Mick Flicker.

"I could do a better job, and I say that without full knowledge of what the man is even supposed to be doing," Remus mumbled, watching Flicker lean too close to a young reporter the Prophet had sent.

Sirius was slowly becoming aware that Remus was rarely satisfied with anything, something which fit with conversations he'd had with him earlier in the season. Sirius's memories of Remus were finding a new order. James mentioning that Remus was as arrogant as he was shy, all the times Sirius had glanced at Remus to see him silently shaking his head at something inexplicable, he wondered how he hadn't seen it sooner. Seen Remus sooner. It appeared that Africa was happy to encourage Remus in his griping.

"Whatever he's supposed to be doing, he's rubbish at it. I spent the morning helping him organise his office. I've never seen more Howler soot and red ink on one desk in my life." Africa shook her small, shaved head.

"Oh Merlin, I can feel his breath on my neck just looking at him talk to that woman," Remus said, shivering visibly. He reached up and grabbed his scarred neck as if to shield it. "I hope she lodges a complaint."

"If she doesn't, I will," Sirius said, trying to imitate their respective tones of relaxed disdain.

Africa smiled over her shoulder at him. "You should Black, they might actually listen to you."

Remus nodded without turning and asked: "Do you have your wand with you? Mine's in my locker."

"Uhm…" Sirius reached into his travelling cloak, finding and presenting his wand. "What for?"

Lupin turned around then, the sweetest smile on his face. He nicked the wand from Sirius's hand and pointed it at their manager in one clean motion. "Depulso," Remus whispered, and Flicker was thrown back several feet from the petite reporter, his back hitting the base of the stands with a blunt whack.

"Are you mad?" Sirius demanded, promptly snatching his wand back.

Africa couldn't contain herself and immediately broke into fits of giggles.

"Completely," Lupin replied, his eyes crinkling. That look again: like a bold child.

"I wonder if Flicker can cast Prior Incantato," Africa snickered.

Sirius scowled at her.

"Don't be cruel Duffy, the man's not a complete imbecile," Remus chastised, and it wasn't completely clear if he was referring to Mick or Sirius with his defence.

Mick Flicker was approaching them now, his face an unattractive shade of puce. Sirius shoved his wand back in his pocket and pulled out a packet of Muggle cigarettes to disguise the movement.

"Oi, what are you lot playing at, you shower of second string Squibs?!"

Remus was still visibly full of mischief. "Alright, Flick?" he replied innocently. Standing to the side a little so as to put Sirius more clearly in Flicker's line of sight.

Africa had just about managed to quieten down and was breathing slow shaky breaths in an effort to contain her mirth.

Sirius stood aghast for a moment, before Remus bobbed back between him and their manager, his movements unhurried. He took the packet of cigarettes from Sirius's hands. Graceful fingers opened the carton and tapped a cigarette within reach. Lifting the packet to his mouth Remus caught the loose cigarette between his lips and looked at Sirius as he tugged it free.

"You don't mind," he said to Sirius, reaching into Sirius's coat.

"Bastard," Sirius complained. Remus returned the packet to Sirius's pocket, his hand warm against Sirius's side.

"Oi!" Mick repeated, too close now.

Sirius felt it happen before his clouded brain could think to stop it. Remus's hand emerged triumphantly carrying Sirius's wand back into the bright light of day. "Old habit," Remus explained, his smiling eyes on Sirius, the cigarette resting unlit at the corner of his scarred lip. Not glancing behind to greet their assailant, Remus bent his head and whispered: "Incendio." A flame emerged from the wand and lit his cigarette.

"Which one of you fancies yourself to be a comedian, then? Because you'll be in the market for a new profession once I get to the bottom of this."

Remus looked back over his shoulder at Flicker and shrugged as he exhaled a lungful of smoke.

"You want to test the wand?" Remus asked, offering it up, and Sirius helplessly barked out a laugh. Lupin stood on his foot.

"Something funny, Black?" Africa asked, her dark colouring not completely successful in concealing the pink in her cheeks.

Sirius shut his mouth and shook his head as Flicker eyed him suspiciously and pointed his own wand at Sirius's. "We'll see now, won't we?!" Mick announced, breathing loudly through his nose.

"That we will," Remus agreed, passing the cigarette to Sirius with a wink. Sirius felt their fingers brush as he took it and cast his mind back to the day before, when he had somehow been immune to Remus Lupin. Bloody diabolical.