Harry Potter, So You Want To Transfigure Yourself a Rock Band

Title: So You Want To Transfigure Yourself a Rock Band [Remus/Sirius]
Rating/Warnings: NC-17 for rampant glittersex.
Summary: Glam, glitter, guitars, and groping.
A/N: Strange to think how long ago I wrote this, how hard I worked on it, and how many people still reread it now. Certainly it’s one of my favorite fics, ever.

You can also read the director’s cut here.

So You Want To Transfigure Yourself a Rock Band

Remus felt that he had prepared himself sufficiently for the sight of Sirius coming towards him on the platform. It was true that the absence of Sirius’ presence had indeed made the heart grow fonder, but Remus’ body at least seemed to have settled into relative dormancy. He took a deep breath, reminded himself for the four hundred and fifty-sixth time that morning that his physical attraction to Sirius last semester had been a phase and it was now over.

Peter was occupied with his parents, and James was fighting an over-piled and toppling trolley, so Remus was the only one paying attention as Sirius appeared through the gate of Platform 9 3/4. Sirius scanned the crowd, searching, and when his gaze met Remus’, an electric thrill ran through the werewolf.

Remus was utterly unprepared for the sight of Sirius coming towards him on the platform.

Sweet Merlin above, Sirius looks good, some part of Remus’ brain announced as he stared, eyes locked with Sirius’. He would have been suppressing a lovesick sigh, but he couldn’t breathe.

None of them had seen Sirius all summer, since he’d run away from home and hid out with his cousin Andromeda and her Muggle husband. Remus had expected him to look a little different, but he had not expected…this.

Sirius stopped in front of Remus, grinning, and was opening his mouth to say something when James finally noticed him.

“Good lord, man!” James exclaimed. “What’s on your face?!”

“Is that eyeliner?” Peter asked, jogging over and waving off his parents. “How on earth does Sirius manage to make eyeliner look masculine?”

“I think he should take it off, don’t you, Moony?” James elbowed Remus, who was suffering from full-body paralysis.

Remus wished very much that Sirius would do away with the eyeliner before the paralysis wore off, because as soon as his body shook off the torpor, he had a sinking suspicion that his little infatuation would be returning full force.

Somehow the others tugged Remus onto the train and into their compartment, no one noticing his silence as any different than his usual tranquility as James and Sirius expressed their happiness through roughhousing. In the midst of everything, Sirius told them about something that Muggles called ‘Glam’ and which seemed to be the explanation for the eyeliner, but Remus was having trouble concentrating on the words. He was too distracted by how wide and clear the eyeliner made Sirius’ eyes look, and how his thick black hair was now brushing his shoulders.

It wasn’t until Lily had retrieved James for some Head Student meeting that Remus felt he could exert enough control over himself to actually speak to Sirius. Peter had pulled out a book and was trying to finish his summer homework, and Sirius was staring at Remus, a bemused expression on his face. He reached over and nudged Remus’ foot with his own. The brush of physical contact shot straight through Remus, and he resigned himself to another term of carrying around the unabridged version of Hogwarts, A History, the only tome that could plausibly hide his Sirius-induced erections.

“You’re quiet,” Sirius said. He grinned knowingly, and for a split second Remus worried that, along with the ability to melt Remus into a pile of goo at a hundred paces, Glam might have also endowed Sirius with psychic ability.

“It’s good to see you,” Remus replied, avoiding the question, blushing very faintly as he met Sirius’ eyes, and glad he had changed into his robes already. “We were worried.”

“We?” Sirius quirked an eyebrow.

“I was worried,” Remus admitted, suspicious about what Sirius was getting at. “James was just treating it like you were off on hols or something.”

“It was rather like a holiday,” Sirius shrugged. “I could’ve used some company though.”

Remus thought Sirius had nudged his foot again when he said that, but it might just have been the jostling of the train. Before Remus could reply, James was back, hollering at him to get to the Prefects’ car.

Remus glanced back at Sirius as he left the car, and Sirius gave a little wave with his fingertips. His lower body rebelliously doing a similar wave, Remus slid the door closed behind him.

* * * * * *

As it turned out, eyeliner was not the only thing Sirius had brought back from his summer with the Muggles.

“It’s an electric guitar,” Sirius announced to them proudly as he pulled the shiny thing out of his trunk.

“Electric?” Peter asked. “But electric things don’t work inside Hogwarts.”

“I’m meeting Arthur Weasley the first Hogsmead weekend,” Sirius explained. “He’s going to show me how to enchant it.”

Remus, sitting beside Sirius, reached over without thinking to stroke the side of the guitar. It was deep red and had a touch of iridescence in its sheen that glinted in the warm light of their room.

“It’s beautiful,” he told Sirius, and Sirius beamed, running his fingers up the frets and producing a metallic rasping.

“What’s it sound like?” James eyed the guitar suspiciously.

“I’ll show you, but,” Sirius warned, “it isn’t going to sound too impressive without a functional amplifier. That’s the bit I need Arthur to enchant.”

Remus withdrew his hand and Sirius strummed a few chords and plucked a few notes. Sirius was right, it wasn’t very impressive, but Remus didn’t think it deserved James and Peter’s hoots of laughter. Sirius, however, didn’t seem offended.

“You just wait,” was all he said as he tucked the guitar carefully back into his trunk. “After Arthur gets through with this thing, it’ll be able to blow McGonagall right out of Gryffindor Tower.”

* * * * * *

Remus was glad the first Hogsmead weekend was early this year, because he’d been dying to know what the shiny guitar was supposed to sound like after Sirius’ continual mention of the thing. James and Peter remained uninterested and decided to go drool over Quidditch supplies, but Remus tagged along with Sirius to meet Arthur in the Three Broomsticks.

“She’s a beauty, all right!” Arthur whistled when Sirius produced the guitar from the Neverfull bag he had borrowed from James. The amplifier followed and tinkering ensued.

“How’s Molly and that brat of yours?” Sirius asked while they worked. “Not showing any Black tendencies, is it?”

“Bill’s getting huge,” Arthur replied with a laugh. “He’s talking all the time now, babbling like Dumbledore…and Molly’s more than halfway through producing another one!”

“Honestly, Arthur,” Sirius snorted. “Take a breather in between or Molly’s going to put a cork in you!”

Remus wondered if Sirius had any normal relatives at all. And exactly what part of Arthur Molly would cork. And if there was any chance of him tearing his eyes away from the flex of Sirius’ arm muscles as he dug around the innards of the amplifier.

No, don’t want to know, and no, Remus concluded grimly.

After half an hour, Arthur sat back in his chair and told Sirius to test it. Sirius pried the shiny plug out of Arthur’s hand, then connected the amplifier to the guitar and strummed a test chord. The electric thrum that washed over Remus was an auditory version of catching Sirius’ eye on the train platform.

“Do it again,” Remus said before he could stop himself. Sirius looked at him questioningly, but Remus nodded firmly, barely managing not to blush.

Sirius strummed again, this time loud enough to make several people in the pub turn their heads, and Remus shivered gleefully.

It appeared he was going to like Glam after all. Rather more than he wanted to, in fact.

* * * * * *

In the weeks that followed, Sirius pulled out the guitar several times a week to practice in their room. At first he only practiced when he was alone or when Remus was the only one in the room. Sirius would sprawl across his bed and lazily pick out riffs from various songs on the Wizard Top 40; Remus would lay on his own bed with a book, pretending he was not affected in the slightest by the either Sirius or his guitar. Or his eyeliner. Or his jeans, which he had to be using a Shrinking Charm on.

Most of the time, Remus could have sworn Sirius was using a Shrinking Charm on his trousers as well.

Eventually James discovered the practicing, and it devolved into Sirius accompanying James’ loud rendition of “A Wizard’s Staff has a Knob on the End”, a pub song which James had once taught one of McGonagall’s parrots to sing and subsequently been kicked out of Transfigurations for.

After James seemed to accept the guitar, Sirius was not as secretive about playing it, and besides his riffing and James’ crooning, sometimes Peter would launch into an impromptu fevered drum solo, which usually ended up with him tumbling off his desk chair and snapping at least one of the quills he was using.

“Do you want to learn?” Sirius asked Remus abruptly one night when they happened to be alone in the room.

“Me?” Remus asked, startled.

“I know you like it,” Sirius coaxed. “I’ll teach you a few chords if you want, it’s really easy.”

Remus set down his book and slid to the edge of the bed, torn between desire and the knowledge that this was a Bad Idea.

“I don’t think I’d be any good,” he said dubiously.

“You’ll love it,” Sirius said firmly. “Come on, Moony, get over here.”

Giving in with a sigh, Remus climbed out of his own bed and sat down on Sirius’. Sirius slipped the guitar’s strap off his shoulder and dropped it over Remus’ head. The smooth weight of the guitar felt good in Remus’ hands, and he gave a test strum of the strings, smiling self-consciously at the not-quite-discordant sound it produced.

“What do I do?” he asked.

“Well,” Sirius moved some of Remus’ fingers around, “It’s like…damn, that’s not right…hell, I can’t do it backwards. Hold on.”

Remus could hear his heart pounding in his ears as Sirius shifted over to sit on his knees behind him and reached around to put his hands over top Remus’. Remus was painfully aware of Sirius’s Quidditch muscles pressing into his back and arms, and stifled a giggle as he recalled a lewd comment James had made about how Sirius kept those muscles in shape during the off-season.

“He’s not called a Beater for nothing,” James had snickered.

Sirius repositioned Remus’ fingers in the right places a little awkwardly. Remus tried subtly to take a deep breath to steady his nerves, but even the air was suddenly tinged with Sirius-ness, and Remus had to bite his lip to keep from making a soft noise of pleasure. He was reluctantly relieved when Sirius leaned back and said,

“There, try that.”

Thankful to concentrate on the guitar rather than look Sirius in the eye, Remus brushed the strings lightly, and only half of them sounded. He tried again with more confidence, and this time a recognizable chord hummed forth.

Remus discovered that if the sound of the guitar made him shiver, the feel of the guitar vibrating with the chord was nearly unbearable. He swallowed hard, trying to keep his excitement in the ‘acceptable’ range. It was clearly a losing battle.

Sirius, if he noticed Remus’ reaction, didn’t respond to it. He leaned forward again to move Remus’ still-buzzing fingers around some more. Sirius rested his chin on Remus’ shoulder to get a better look, and Remus’ neck felt like it was burning where Sirius’ breath slid over it.

“Give that one a go,” Sirius murmured, not sitting back this time.

Remus, senses completely overloaded, had no choice but to obey.

* * * * * *

In the cold shower that Remus’ first electric guitar lesson necessitated, Remus was finally forced to admit that at some point he had acquired an intense physical passion for his best friend, which matched his already questionable emotional attachment alarmingly well.

He had no idea whether it was the guitar or the eyeliner or just Sirius, or the inescapable combination of all three, but whatever it was, Remus’ response to the ‘hands-on’ teaching method Sirius was employing had produced an even stronger reaction than usual, one which was not taking its leave with the speed to which Remus was accustomed.

“I like GIRLS,” Remus reminded his erection harshly. It seemed to shake its head, and Remus blinked water out of his eyes.

The truth was that Remus never really HAD liked a girl, at least not any one in particular more than the others. They were sweet and pretty and they smelled nice and all…

…but none of them had ever ‘made the wand shoot sparks’, as James so eloquently put it.

“I’m sick of your surprise visits!” Remus grumbled to the offending member. “Why don’t you go back to where you came from!” The problem seemed likely to go nowhere without manual assistance. Remus was not entirely opposed.

“But this doesn’t mean I don’t like girls,” he told his erection firmly.

Whatever it was about to retort, Remus choked off the reply mercilessly.

* * * * * *

“You’re getting pretty good,” Sirius said to Remus two weeks later. Remus blushed faintly and ducked his head, fully aware that Sirius always watched him intently when he played. Remus had actually picked up the chords quickly, but had feigned confusion for several more tries so that Sirius would continue to press against him for instruction. He finally had to stop when Peter asked him why his fingertips were so pruney all the time.

“I’m only doing chords,” Remus protested the compliment, still strumming a few strings lightly. He was trying very hard not to be aware that he could smell Sirius’ orange-flavored lip gloss, and was more than halfway through forgetting that orange was his favorite flavor.

“Perfectly respectable,” Sirius brushed aside his self-deference. “Make a good bass player.” Sirius hmmed thoughtfully.

“What?” Remus stopped brushing the guitar strings and narrowed his eyes. “What are you plotting?”

“Nothing,” Sirius waved him off, but a smirk played about his citrus-scented lips.

Remus’ suspicions deepened on the following day when he found Sirius reading a book titled So You Want to Transfigure Yourself a Rock Band.

“No,” Remus told him.

“No what?” Sirius asked, raising an eyebrow. Remus refused to be distracted by the eyeliner for once.

“What do you mean, ‘no what’?” Remus demanded. “You’re reading a book called So You Want to Transfigure Yourself a Rock Band and you have the gall to ask me ‘no what’?”

“I’m just reading it,” Sirius sounded a bit sulky as he reburied his nose in the book, but Remus noticed his lips twitching. Remus noticed a familiar twitch on his own person as well, but lower down.

“Huh,” Remus snorted, flopping down on Sirius’ bed beside him. “Last time you were ‘just reading’ I ended up with black dog hairs covering my bed!”

“Did it make you happy?” Sirius asked, sneaking a look over top his book.

“You know it did,” Remus grumbled, trying to ignore the way Sirius’ knee was touching his side, heat radiating out from even that simple contact. “But that’s not the point…”

“Poor Moony,” Sirius commiserated insincerely. “Such awful friends you have. On an unrelated note, how would you like to be in my rock band?”

“I KNEW it!” Remus exclaimed, leaning up on one elbow. Sirius stared back up into his eyes with his usual infuriatingly hot smile, and Remus wondered for a split second what would happen if he simply threw his body on top of Sirius’ and let nature take its course.

“Knew what?” James asked as he came into the room and collapsed onto his own bed. Peter trailed along after him and sat on the edge of James’ bed.

“Sirius is Transfiguring himself a rock band,” Remus informed them, rolling his eyes. He flopped back down on his back and stared at the hangings above Sirius’ bed, trying to remember how it had felt to not constantly battle his own body.

“Instruments,” Sirius corrected Remus’ sarcastic comment, sitting up and setting down the book. “I still need people to play them. What do you say?”

“Why’re you asking me?” James shrugged. “I don’t play anything.”

“Aha,” Sirius grinned, “but you don’t have to in order to be our heartthrob lead vocalist!”

“Heartthrob, you say?” James raked a hand through his hair. “I like the sound of that!”

“Not you too,” Remus covered his face with his hands.

“And Wormtail,” Sirius turned to Peter, “I’ve seen you walloping the desk with your quills. How’d you like to have a go at a real set of drums?”

“Er,” Peter looked unsure.

“Peter, no,” Remus tried to dissuade him, sitting up. “Don’t let them talk you into this.”

“I’d love it,” Peter answered. All three of them turned to stare at Remus.

“C’mon, Moony,” Sirius nudged his thigh with a knee. “I’m short a bass player.”

“No!” Remus glared at all of them. “I’m not encouraging this ridiculousness. And I’m not any good anyways.”

“Don’t be so modest,” Sirius encouraged. “I know you love the guitar, I’ve seen you at it. And someone’s got to organize this lot with me, James is only window-dressing.”

“Oi!” James protested, but neither Sirius nor Remus looked at him. Remus was clearly wavering.

Maybe, a small voice in Remus’ head wheedled, if everyone else is doing Glam too, it won’t be so distracting when Sirius does it. Remus wondered when his inner voice had defected to Sirius’ side of this battle.

“Please, Moony?” Sirius nudged him again, more gently this time. “This is our last year, we should do something great! It’ll be like our last hurrah.”

“Oh, all right,” Remus sighed, giving Sirius a small smile. Sirius beamed and reached over to ruffle Remus’ hair. Remus pushed him away good-naturedly and ignored the way his scalp was prickling.

“Excellent!” Sirius rubbed his hands together and picked up the book again. “Now we just need a few small items…”

* * * * * *

“Hey, it worked!” James looked surprised.

“Now there’s a ringing endorsement,” Sirius snorted, slipping his wand back into his pocket before examining the drum set they had just made out of some ‘donated’ cauldrons. Remus didn’t consider the drums nearly as hard as he did the way Sirius’ eyes scrunched up when he concentrated.

“Padfoot,” James gave him a playful shove, “if you can tell me with a straight face that you expected to make serviceable instruments out of a hairbrush, a broom, and 6 cauldrons of variant sizes and metals, I’ll bugger Snivellus.”

“Sod off,” Sirius laughed, pushing James back.

“How are we going to hide this from the roommates?” Remus interrupted, irrationally jealous that James got to wrestle with Sirius. “I mean, this is a secret, right?” Although there was no real reason why it should be, James and Sirius usually insisted on secrecy until they knew where a particular project was going.

“Course it is,” James answered immediately. “Everything good is a secret.”

“Absolutely, Prongsy.” Sirius flashed a smile to Remus, who again wondered when Sirius had learned to read minds. He ducked his head to cover his unease and pretended to examine his bass that had lately been a well-worn school broom.

“Stop calling me that, I’ve warned you,” James snapped, completely oblivious to the exchange between his friends.

“We could store them at the Shack,” Peter suggested hesitantly. “If you don’t mind, Remus.”

“We could practice there too,” Sirius considered, casting a sidelong glance at the werewolf. “It’s up to you, Moony.”

Remus looked at the rock band implements uncertainly. Spending more time in that place than he had to usually gave Remus the creeps, but if they were all together…

“We don’t have to,” Sirius interrupted his thoughts quietly. “We can find someplace else.”

“No,” Remus shook his head. “It’s the best place. It’s fine.”

Sirius, James, and Peter grinned excitedly and Remus answered with a more reserved smile. It would be fine, eventually.

“But how do we get them there?” Peter asked.

“Hmm,” Sirius scratched his head. “That’s a good question.”

* * * * * *

They managed to sneak their ragtag rock implements to the Shack largely without incident, although one of Peter’s drums changed back to a cauldron unexpectedly and nearly broke Sirius’ foot. Several nights a week they would slip away in the middle of the night and bang away at their instruments. Rumors about the poltergeist in the Shrieking Shack flew fast and thick in the village, and during their first Hogsmead weekend James and Peter could barely get a word around their snickers. Sirius just grinned and winked at Remus, and Remus told himself firmly that the warmth flooding his body was from the Butterbeer as he smiled back.

Several days later, Sirius marched into the Common Room where the others were studying and slapped some sheets of parchment down on the table, glaring at the other Marauders as though daring them to make fun of him.

“What’s this?” James asked, picking up the top sheet.

“It’s a song,” Remus answered for Sirius as he got a good look at another sheet. For once, the personal affection overcame the constant lust, and he smiled up at Sirius. “You wrote a song, Padfoot.”

“I wrote a song,” Sirius affirmed, still sounding a bit suspicious of their reactions.

“Can we try it tonight?” Peter asked, already tapping out a rhythm with his fingertips on the desktop.

“Of course we’re trying it tonight,” James said with authority. Sirius relaxed visibly, and Remus, still looking up at him, caught his eye without meaning to. Remus’ heart skipped a beat as he realized he’d been caught staring, but Sirius didn’t look away, his blue eyes seeming even more intense than usual, and Remus felt the lust come crashing back, making it hard to breathe.

“Sirius?” James asked loudly, breaking the spell. Sirius blinked and turned to James, and Remus stared down at the parchment he was holding, hands shaking slightly. “I asked,” James was saying, “if that was all right with you?”

“If what’s all right with me?” Sirius’s voice was a bit vague.

“If we had a go at your song tonight!” James snapped in irritation. “I’ve asked you three times now, did you overload your brain writing this or what?!”

Sirius answered by shoving James off his chair. James grabbed at Sirius’ robes on the way down and they both tumbled to the floor, wrestling furiously.

Remus had forgotten not to stare again, and Peter tapped his shoulder.

“You feeling all right?” he asked, and Remus shook himself.

“I’m fine,” he said quickly, cursing his inability to like girls and not Sirius for more than a few seconds in a row. Peter, unconvinced, watched Remus several moments longer.

Several minutes later, while Peter and James were occupied fixing James’ glasses, Sirius leaned over to Remus.

“I need your help with lyrics,” he said in a low voice that made the hair on the back of Remus’ neck raise.

“Me?” Remus blinked. “Why?”

“Because mine are ridiculous,” Sirius replied bluntly. “And you write poetry, that’s the same as lyrics.”

“No!” Remus was shaken by the sudden revelation that his other secret hobby was not-so-secret. “I don’t…I…”

“Don’t lie about it, I’ve seen you at it,” Sirius interrupted. “So will you?”

“You read my stuff!” Remus finally managed, voice sharp as he tried frantically to remember whether he’d written anything incriminating lately.

“Yeah, some of it,” Sirius admitted, at least looking sheepish about it. “You left that notebook you’re always scribbling in on your bed and I took a peek…are you mad?”

Remus was angry, then wasn’t, and changed his mind twice more before just asking Sirius what he’d thought about it.

“Clearly I liked it,” Sirius rolled his eyes, “if I’m asking for your help now.”

“I’ll help then,” Remus flushed, something in his stomach unknotting at Sirius’ acceptance of the poetry. “Padfoot…thanks for not making fun of me.” And hopefully for not seeing that ode to your ass I wrote after catching you in the showers the other week…

“It would be a poor way to get your help, even I have enough tact for that,” Sirius replied dryly, but he grinned a little. He leaned in to whisper conspiratorially. “It is a bit poncy though.”

Remus let out a mock-indignant howl and tackled Sirius, glad to finally have an excuse to get his hands on Sirius, the more violently full-contact, the better. Sirius fell backwards in surprise and hadn’t fully recovered before Remus had him pinned to the ground.

“I win,” Remus announced, breathing harder than he should have been.

“That’s not fair,” Sirius whined in a low voice. “You’re a werewolf, after all!”

“Too bad for you,” Remus smirked, and pushed down harder with his wiry frame when Sirius started to struggle. Sirius’ whine had evoked some primal instinct in him, something that made him want to crush Sirius beneath him into the carpet and force him to beg…

All at once, Remus froze, the gist of what his lower brain was demanding finally coming the attention of his intellect. He rolled off Sirius quickly, hoping in the scuffle he’d noticed nothing amiss, and busied himself gathering his stuff into his schoolbag.

“I’m going to finish this up in the library,” he announced loudly without looking at anybody. He deliberately positioned the bag in front of his betraying bulge. “I’ll see you tonight for practice.”

Remus was the whole way out the door and down the first staircase before Sirius caught him. Remus nearly jumped out of his skin when the warm hand closed on his wrist.

“Hey,” Sirius was breathing a bit hard from the chase and hair had flopped into his eyes; it took all of Remus’ willpower not to reach up and smooth the hair back. “When do you want to talk about…you know.”

Remus, distracted by the faint embarrassed blush on Sirius’ cheeks and the way he was biting his lower lip, took a minute to realize he was talking about the lyrics again.

“We can sneak out of dinner early,” Remus finally said. “If we both get our homework done now, that is.”

“Oh, Moony,” Sirius laughed lightly, making Remus’ skin prickle. “So conscientious.”

Just then, footsteps rang out on the top of the staircase they were standing beside, and with a practiced motion, Sirius pushed Remus into the space under the staircase, pressing in beside him tightly. Remus bit down on the moan Sirius’ nearness caused, but some of the sound escaped in a hissed breath.

“Padfoot,” Remus whispered as the footsteps pounded over their heads, “we’re not doing anything secret!” Remus tried to pull away from Sirius, aware that if he did not stop seeing and smelling and touching Sirius in the next few seconds, lines were going to be crossed. Bad lines, ones with capital ‘L’s’.

“Force of habit.” Sirius tightened his grip and moved closer. Remus pushed against him harder and encountered the last thing he wanted to, pressing into his upper thigh so that there could be no mistake about what it was.

Sirius was hard as a rock. Every single rational thought mass-exodussed out of Remus’ head and he looked up into Sirius’ too-close eyes before he could stop himself. Sirius was staring back down at him with a surprised expression. They remained frozen that way for several more heartbeats as the oblivious students above them pattered down the last few steps and into the next corridor. Sirius didn’t move immediately, and Remus was unable to entirely swallow the low warning growl in the back of his throat.

Sirius shook himself a little before slipping out of the space they were pressed into. He hurried up the stairs without looking at Remus again, only tossing a quick “See you at dinner” over his shoulder as he left.

Remus remained frozen where he was for quite some time, so hard it was painful and trying desperately to come up with another explanation for Sirius’ arousal than the Obvious Yet Really Bad one.

By the time he got to the library, Remus had come up with several plausible explanations:

1. Sirius was merely reacting to the physical friction of two consecutive wrestling matches.
2. Sirius was randomly hard. It happened.
3. Sirius wanted James.

All of those are perfectly reasonable, Remus told himself fiercely as he snapped his second quill in a row trying to restart his essay. Nothing is different here. There is no cause for alarm.

Remus bit down on his lip hard and tried to shake the sound of Sirius’ soft whine from his ears.

*****

Remus had himself mostly under control by the time he came to dinner, although it was hardly a sure thing when Sirius fixed a brilliant grin on him, not looking at all perturbed by what had happened under the stairs. Remus noticed Peter raising an eyebrow when they slipped some food into their pockets and hurried off.

When Sirius joined him on his bed with the guitar and the sheets of parchment from earlier, still acting as though nothing was amiss, Remus steeled his nerves.

I can act normal just as easily. He distracted himself by taking a good look at the lyrics Sirius had scribbled down and suppressed a smile; they were ridiculous.

“Told you so,” Sirius grumbled, reading his expression perfectly.

“It’s not too bad,” Remus soothed. “Why don’t you just tell me what it’s about and we’ll see what I can do?”

Sirius was hesitant, stumbling over his words at first, but he eventually got his point across by half explaining and half playing, and Remus set to work. Before James and Peter returned from dinner, Remus had constructed a perfectly workable set of lyrics.

“We’ll see what James can do with it,” Remus said, setting down his quill. “He’s the one who’ll be singing it, after all.”

“I spent two hours coming up with that tripe and you fixed it in half an hour,” Sirius complained, but his eyes were excited as he read over the new lines again. He looked up and Remus caught his breath as their gazes met. “It’s brilliant!” There was a slight pause, in which Remus’ nerves threatened to snap, before Sirius added softly. “You’re brilliant.”

James and Peter thankfully slammed in the door before Remus had to come up with an intelligent reply.

Later that night, in the Shrieking Shack, Remus fingered a few chords unconsciously as he watched Sirius and James fumble out the vocal part, dark heads bobbing close together as they leaned over Sirius’ guitar. Remus sighed a little more heavily than he’d intended to.

“Remus, are you really all right?” Peter asked from behind his drums. “You haven’t been yourself lately. And you’re always rushing off somewhere.”

“I’m…” Remus had been about to answer that he was fine again, but then stopped. Maybe it would help his recent lack of control to talk about the problem rather than bottling it up all the time. Peter was a good listener. Not the whole truth obviously, but… “I’m desperately in lust with somebody, Wormtail.”

“Finally!” Peter grinned. “We thought you’d never get round to it!”

“Wish I hadn’t,” Remus huffed another sigh. “I feel so stupid and out of control…it just pops up at the worst times imaginable. Er. No pun intended.”

“That’s rough,” Peter agreed, nodding knowingly. “Maybe you should just tell her how you feel.”

“It would just make things worse,” Remus shot another envious glance towards James and Sirius who were now snickering at some private joke.

“Still, you ought to do something,” Peter advised sagely. “Otherwise you’d be me, wouldn’t you?”

“Want to trade?” Remus asked darkly.

“Sure,” Peter laughed. “Who…”

“All right, we’re ready to give it a go,” Sirius interrupted them, and Remus shrugged at Peter. That had been a close call. Remus was glad to distract himself with the throb of his bass and the loud mess that was their sound so far.

Lost in the feel of it, he snapped back to himself with surprise when James said they’d been at it for two hours and ought to quit. He was even more surprised when he listened more closely to their last run-through and realized they were nearly a rock band.

* * * * * *

More than once in the next week, Sirius came to Remus with something new and they worked out a song-draft together. After the other Seventh Years were asleep, they closed the curtains around Remus’ bed and cast a Silencing Charm before going at it, Remus struggling to ignore the highly questionable nature of it all. James seemed completely oblivious, but when Sirius gave Remus an exhausted grin at breakfast the next morning, Peter glanced and forth between them with a furrowed brow.

That afternoon Remus was slower than usual copying down his Runes assignment, the late nights with Sirius starting to take their toll. He was the last student in the room, and he lingered over packing up his things, yawning slightly.

As he finally moved towards the door, he heard Professor McGonagall’s voice out in the hall.

“…band’s cancelled! Cancelled! I don’t know what we’re going to do, the Yule Ball’s only a month away, it’s far too late to book another decent act…”

Remus cleared his throat as he stepped out of the door.

“Professor,” he said to a startled McGonagall, “I might be able to help you…”

* * * * * *

There was dead silence in the Seventh Years’ dormitory when Remus broke his good news.

“Well, say something!” Remus finally demanded, still grinning like a fool because for once he’d done something that shocked the others into silence, instead of the other way round.

“A gig?” Sirius caught his grin. “You got us a gig, Moony!”

“Um, but we…” James started.

“I can’t believe McGonagall said yes!” Peter interrupted him.

“Yes, but…” James tried again.

“After last year, she said she’d do anything that would keep us four occupied for the whole Ball,” Remus replied, shooting a sharp glare towards Sirius.

“Oi!” James raised his voice.

“She can’t prove a thing!” Sirius interrupted him loudly. “It could’ve been anybody with that Inebriation Charm and they shouldn’t have left that cauldron of punch just sitting out like that…”

“WE’VE ONLY GOT ONE SONG!” James finally roared. Everyone else fell silent again.

“Well, yes, that’s true,” Peter said, looking hopefully at Sirius. “But I bet Padfoot’s got something worked out, haven’t you?”

“Er.” Sirius looked over at Remus, and Remus realized with a buzz of pleasure that Sirius was asking permission to tell the others about their brainstorming sessions. Remus nodded firmly.

“Yes,” he said. “Sirius does have a few somethings up his sleeve.”

“I knew it!” Peter exclaimed, looking supremely pleased with himself. “So that’s why you’ve been sneaking into Moony’s bed every night!”

“What?” James asked, looking startled.

“Right,” Sirius agreed briskly, not noticing Remus’ embarrassed cough. “Prongs, you and Wormtail go ahead to the Shack; Moony and I’ll bring the, uh, somethings, and we’ll have an emergency practice.”

Peter raised an eyebrow at Remus, who shrugged as Sirius tugged him up the stairs to their dormitory. James stared after them, agog, and Remus was glad he had only mentioned his situation to Peter. He seemed to have thankfully leaped to the wrong conclusion.

“I can’t believe you talked McGonagall into letting us play!” Sirius exclaimed with glee as he was digging the parchments out of his trunk. “And to think you didn’t even want to be in the band in the first place!”

“The irony has not escaped me,” Remus commented, sitting down on the edge of the bed for a moment. “You know what this means though, don’t you?”

“Yes, we need a name,” Sirius replied briskly. “The Marauders is the obvious choice, but I’m open to suggestions…”

“That’s not what I meant,” Remus headed him off. “If we’re going to play a dance, we’re going to need slow songs too.”

“What?” Sirius stopped rummaging around in his trunk and craned his neck to stare at Remus.

“Slow songs,” Remus repeated. “You know, love songs? Songs that people might actually dance to? They might want to dance at the dance, nitwit.”

Sirius scowled and threw a loose sock at Remus, who batted it away without looking away from Sirius.

“I can write slow songs too,” Sirius grumbled after a few moments, more to himself than Remus. “Just haven’t tried yet, is all.”

* * * * * *

True to his word, Sirius set to work writing a slow song, and within several night sessions he had produced two and a half more fast rock songs, plus one wireless jingle for Zonko’s.

“Still no good?” Remus asked as a very shagged-out looking Sirius plunked himself down in a chair across from Remus at the library. He eyed Sirius warily, the constant nearness of him lately having wreaked havoc with his nerves, his concentration, and his homework.

“No,” Sirius replied shortly.

“You’ve dated half the girls at school, Padfoot,” Remus pointed out. “Hasn’t any of them inspired any deeper feeling in you?”

“I’ve a deep aesthetic appreciation for the female form,” Sirius propped his head up on a hand. “It’s not helping. Besides, I haven’t seen anybody yet this year, I’ll have you know.”

Remus did know, in fact, but had refrained from reading deeper meaning into this knowledge and wasn’t about to start now. He tried to lighten Sirius’ mood instead.

“It’s just as well, I’ve run out of words that rhyme with ‘breasts’.” Remus gave Sirius an encouraging smile and returned to his book. After a few minutes, Remus heard frantic quill scratching and looked up to see Sirius scribbling on a piece of parchment and bobbing his head to a rhythm only he could hear.

Remus made to stand quietly, thinking to slip away so he might actually get some work done instead of the preferable pastime of watching Sirius, but Sirius jerked his head up and fixed him with a piercing stare.

“Don’t,” he said quietly. “If you move, I’ll lose it.”

Perplexed but obedient, Remus sank back down into his chair and tried to go on reading, pausing every few minutes to savor the sight of Sirius in fierce concentration, the warm light of the library sconces glinting in his tousled hair. Remus had not read a page in a long time when Sirius finally threw down his quill and began massaging his writing hand with the other.

“Ready to work on some lyrics?” Remus asked.

“I think I’d rather give this one a go on my own,” Sirius replied as he read through what he’d written again. “If you don’t mind, Moony.”

Sirius looked up questioningly, lower lip puffy from where he’d been chewing on it, and in that moment, Remus came within an inch of leaping the table and snogging him until he begged for mercy. Pleading with his body to be placated by a more acceptable form of contact, Remus answered Sirius’ question by reaching across and pushing away Sirius’ clumsy attempt to relieve his cramped hand. Smoothing Sirius’ palm out between his fingers, Remus rubbed out some of the stiffness with practiced thumbs, hoping it wasn’t obvious on his face how much the heat and roughness of Sirius’ skin was affecting him. When Sirius could flex his fingers without wincing again, Remus reluctantly pulled his hands away, cold after the warmth of Sirius.

“They’re your songs,” he reminded lightly before he picked up his book yet again.

“Ours,” Sirius corrected, hand hovering absurdly in the air where Remus had let it go. Remus gripped his book tighter and tried to ignore the way his hands were shaking slightly, the way he could still feel Sirius’ guitar calluses under his fingertips.

* * * * * *

“I’ve got a bit of a slow song,” Sirius announced at their next practice. “I don’t have the lyrics down yet, Prongs, but I thought the rest of us might give the parts a go, get the feel of it.”

He gave them the gist of the melody with his guitar, Remus and Peter picking up on it after he’d run through it a couple times. Sirius shouted some directions and the tweaking helped, but it was obvious from his face that he wasn’t getting what he wanted.

“Stop a moment, let me think,” he finally asked.

“It’ll sound different with James in,” Peter reminded. Sirius shook his head.

“No, it’s something with the…like the rhythm, but not the drums…” Sirius was clearly frustrated, and he strummed through a verse again, biting down on his lip.

Remus allowed himself to stare with obvious appreciation while everyone else watched Sirius. It was something about the way Sirius concentrated, the fierce look, the way he shook his hair out of his eyes, the tense line of his body practically curling around the guitar, making Remus intensely jealous of the glinting instrument. Remus’ heart sped up just watching, thumping loudly in his ears, and suddenly he knew exactly what the song needed.

Sirius was still going at his part, and Remus joined in suddenly, playing the same chords he had been before, but with a stronger pulse that echoed the way Sirius made his heart pound. A heartbeat, that’s what had been missing.

Sirius jerked his head up and stared at Remus with his mouth open before breaking out into a wild grin. He took the half dozen steps over without ceasing his own playing and leaned into Remus, letting the pulse into his own guitar. It wasn’t faster exactly, or louder, but more driven, more intense.

“Exactly what I needed,” Sirius murmured near Remus’ ear, and Remus pressed his body back against Sirius’, too wrapped up in the sound and feel to remember that the heat washing through him was supposed to be a secret.

“If you two are going to do that onstage, no one’s going to even notice me,” James commented sourly, snapping Remus out of his trance. He flushed scarlet and moved away from Sirius. He felt Sirius staring at him, but refused to look back while he willed his body back under control.

“Let’s practice something else,” James rolled his eyes. “Anything to keep you two nancies off each other.”

Remus flushed, but Sirius whipped out his wand and cast Autorixa, commonly referred to as the Stop Hitting Yourself Hex.

“All right then,” Sirius said as though James were not on the ground, pummeling himself into submission, “I want to do that again.”

So do I, Remus practically ached to say, but he kept his physical distance from Sirius this time through, completely unable to trust his body’s response.

When Sirius was finally satisfied and they quit for the night, Remus’ nerves were still too raw to allow him into the confined space of the secret passage anywhere near Sirius. He lagged behind to help Peter re-enchant the one drum that had a disturbing habit of turning back into a cauldron in the middle of a song.

“It’s Sirius, isn’t it?” Peter asked him suddenly.

“What’s Sirius?” Remus tried valiantly to keep his voice from cracking.

“Don’t treat me like I’m simple,” Peter snapped. “It’s Sirius you fancy, isn’t it?”

“Keep your voice down,” Remus commanded, glancing over his shoulder to make sure James and Sirius had already left the room.

“There’s no point in trying to hide it,” Peter obediently spoke softly. “If you hadn’t said, I wouldn’t have known, but then I started watching, and you’re always staring at each other.”

“What do you mean?” Remus demanded, rather more sharply than he’d intended. He softened his voice with an effort. “What do you mean, at each other?”

“He’s worse than you are,” Peter made a face. “James’s been at him for weeks, haven’t you noticed? We thought he had some secret girlfriend he’s been mooning over but…” Peter interrupted himself with a small snicker, “…sorry, mooning over…”

“But…” Remus swallowed, thinking of being pressed underneath the stairwell with Sirius. “But, Sirius likes girls. He can’t…Peter, he likes girls.”

“Don’t you?” Peter asked, and Remus was caught off-guard and answerless.

“It’s never come up,” he finally answered, a note of pleading threading through the words. “Does that mean no?”

“Why’re you asking me?” Peter shrugged. “I’m not a…I mean, I’m not…damn, Remus, you know what I mean.”

“So James doesn’t know?” Remus changed the subject quickly. Peter shook his head.

“He’s rather daft about things that aren’t Quidditch,” Peter rolled his eyes. “Girls especially.”

“There’s the truth,” Remus laughed. “If he would just shut his mouth for two seconds, Lily would be all over him.”

Remus froze, realizing he’d just let another secret slip, but Peter looked less than shocked.

“Moony,” he laughed, shaking his head, “everybody knows that! First Years know it! Dumbledore probably knows it!”

It felt good to laugh at somebody else’s expense for a change, but Peter’s words about Sirius kept him awake long into the night.

* * * * * *

As the week of the Yule Ball approached, Remus very nearly forgot about his conversation with Peter in the crush of exams, emergency rehearsals, and a monumental case of nerves. With six days to go, James found him in the common room shredding a piece of parchment compulsively. He laid a hand on Remus’ shoulder, and Remus shot into the air with a muffled curse.

“All right, Moony?” he asked, looking concerned. “Usually you’re this jumpy before the full moon, not after it.”

“I think I’ve got stage fright,” Remus admitted, forcing himself to set down the parchment. “I just keep thinking about all those people, staring at me…all of Hogwarts! Is this what it’s like to play Quidditch?”

“Plus the threat of permanent physical injury, yes,” James said dryly. “So you can see why I’m a bit less worked up.”

Remus gave a wan smile.

“I’m just not used to doing things that are so public,” Remus sighed. “Even being a Prefect, it’s nothing like this.”

“Far slighter chance of getting a hot date out of it,” James laughed, then looked suddenly thoughtful. “Speaking of girls, have you noticed how strange Sirius has been acting lately? I think he’s got a girlfriend we don’t know about.”

“Do you?” Remus began shredding the parchment again. “Who is it?”

“I haven’t the faintest idea and it’s driving me mad,” James looked disgusted. “It’s not like him to be hooked up on one person so long either. She must be fantastic. I wonder where he’s hiding her?”

“Maybe it’s not a girl,” Remus blurted out before he could stop himself, then stopped mid-shred, horrified at what he’d just said.

“Course it’s a girl,” James waved him off. “He never gets this weird about anything but girls, not exams or Quidditch or anything…”

Remus relaxed slightly as it became obvious that James had completely misconstrued his comment but remained perplexed at his own behavior. First Peter, now James, what was wrong with him?

“…too bad we won’t find out at the Ball,” James was saying.

“What?” Remus narrowed his eyes. “What do you mean?”

“We don’t need dates since we’re the band,” James pointed out. “If we did we could see who Sirius was taking. Shame about it too, now Evans won’t have the pleasure of hanging on my arm all evening.”

“Oh,” Remus said. He couldn’t think of anything else to add, so he just said “oh” again.

“You’re acting a bit off as well, lately,” James peered at Remus closer. “You’re not hiding away some girl yourself, are you?”

“No!” Remus’ laugh was a bit forced. “Definitely not girl problems.”

“Just nerves, then,” James slapped Remus on the back as he got up. “It’ll be fine, you’ll see. The trick is to imagine that everybody in the audience is in their underwear.”

“Shouldn’t be hard, given the number of times we’ve seen Severus’s,” Remus commented sourly. James raised an eyebrow.

“Knew you’d be glad I did that one day,” he winked.

Meanwhile, Sirius was taking out his own case of nerves on every First Year in sight, regardless of house, hexing them with everything from the much-loved Bat Bogey to something new which made the victim profess his undying love to the nearest person of the same gender. Irritation began to overshadow lust as Remus spent more and more time convincing Lily that expelling him wouldn’t help, just make him go freelance.

“It was just cruel of you to cast it while Gilderoy was standing next to Severus!” he snapped after he’d cornered Sirius in the common room.

“Deserved it,” Sirius grunted sullenly.

“He was just walking down the corridor!” Remus hissed, despising himself for still noticing how sexy Sirius’ pouted lips were.

“S’my corridor,” Sirius retorted, folding his arms like a two-year-old. “First Years should know better than to go blundering down it.”

Remus closed his eyes and took a deep breath, his hand fisting compulsively with the desire to stab Sirius up the nose with his wand. He settled for reminding Sirius curtly that if he lost his privilege of going to the Yule Ball he would have wasted several months of all their lives, then stormed up the stairs to study.

That night, Remus was staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep, when he heard movement in the neighboring bed. This was followed by several soft footfalls, and then the rustling of his own hangings.

“Remus?” Sirius’s voice was soft and muffled. “Are you awake?”

“Go away,” Remus replied, not quietly and not caring whether any of the other boys could hear. “I’m still angry with you.”

He could hear Sirius fumbling with the hangings anyway, and rolled over onto his side away from him. He felt the bed sink under added weight and heard the hangings swing back into place. A muttered “Lumos” lit the inside of the hangings with soft blue light.

“I can’t sleep,” Sirius informed him.

“Not my problem, is it?” Remus refused to roll over and face Sirius. “Get off my bed.”

“C’mon, Moony.” The note of pleading in Sirius’ voice shot heat through Remus’ torso. “I’ve got something I want to show you.”

Remus rolled over to shout at Sirius, prepared to kick him off the bed if necessary, but stopped short as he took in the sight in front of him.

Sirius was sitting cross-legged on the end of his bed, wearing only pajama pants (Damn his infernal high metabolism, Remus snarled mentally), the wand light picking up indigo highlights in his bed-mussed hair and glinting off the curves of his muscles, his eyes looking wider without their usual dark outline of eyeliner. The light also played over the glossy surface of the guitar cradled in Sirius’ lap — not his guitar, though.

This guitar was a bass, four silver strings catching the light prismatically as the guitar shifted with Sirius’ breath, and much darker than Sirius’ bright red. It was a rich midnight blue, Remus knew despite the peculiar lighting, because it shone exactly the same color as Sirius’ eyes in the glow of the wand.

Remus pushed himself up to a sitting position slowly, simultaneously trying to work out what Sirius was at now, and memorizing every detail of the scene happening on the end of his bed. The whole thing was so achingly beautiful, so unbearably seductive, and so nonchalantly Sirius, that Remus could think of no response that would not blow his secret wide open.

“Happy early Christmas,” Sirius grinned, sliding the bass off his lap and into Remus’. Remus gripped the hard length of it, warm from Sirius’ body, with numb hands and still could not think of a response, still could not take his eyes off Sirius.

“Too much,” Remus finally managed in a low voice, and it was not clear whether he meant the guitar, Sirius, or the way his desire was threatening to stop his heart.

“Sold Zonko’s the jingle,” Sirius shrugged, Remus watching the artlessly graceful motion helplessly. “Half of it was yours anyway. You needed a real bass, not a transfigured broom.”

Remus forced himself to look away, down at the bass. He even managed to work up a little flame of frustration that Sirius always did this, bought his way out of trouble with some gift and never actually apologized.

He was right though, the real bass did feel different somehow than the transfigured one had, more right in an indefinable way, smoother and more alive underneath Remus’ stroking hands. Remus knew instinctively it would sound better as well, clearer and more powerful.

“Oh.”

Remus looked up in question at Sirius’ breathy noise, and saw Sirius staring at him intently, as if really seeing him suddenly, a new light in his eyes that held Remus motionless with terror. Sirius’ eyes were wide and his mouth parted slightly, and before Remus could move, he leaned across the space between them.

Fuck, Remus had just enough time to think, before warm lips slid over his, and something that had been pulled tight in his chest for weeks, for months, snapped violently.

He had exactly enough presence of mind to set the bass on the floor with a clunk before taking two fistfuls of Sirius’ hair and yanking him forward, collapsing backwards with Sirius’ weight pushing him into the bed. Sirius sighed into Remus’ mouth and kissed him harder, pressing against him.

Remus growled in the back of his throat and rolled them over as he had when they were wrestling, this time giving in utterly to the urge to crush Sirius beneath him, Sirius’ breathy whines keeping any sort of reason from taking hold of him. He bore down harder, wanting to be closer, wanting more.

Sirius’ hand pushed up Remus’ pajama shirt to press into his back, arching up into the other boy. Frustrated by the way the material separated his skin from Sirius’ and constricted his movement, Remus jerked the shirt over his head impatiently without unbuttoning it, a perk of wearing clothes big enough to hide in. He pressed back down, and Sirius gasped when their bare chests touched. Remus kissed him again, fierce and desperate, the soft noise of Sirius gasping into his mouth and the friction of Sirius’ hips pressed into his own driving him mad. He ground into Sirius mindlessly, every breath a sharp moan.

A year’s worth of unrequited love plus four months of unrequited lust equaled Remus not lasting very long. Sirius let out a long sigh only a moment or two later and the full weight of what had just happened began to permeate Remus’ brain, even through the scent of post-sex Sirius that he was enveloped in. Remus clung to Sirius for several moments longer, the thought of separating his skin from Sirius’ trembling heat actually painful.

By the time his breathing had slowed, he’d made his decision. He slid off Sirius and curled up on his side, facing away from him.

“Get out of my bed,” he told Sirius in a low voice.

“Remus.” Remus hunched his shoulders against the brush of Sirius’ hand.

“Now.” Remus voice gained an edge of steel. “We aren’t going to talk about this.”

Remus heard a soft huff of irritation, then felt Sirius slide off the mattress and take his wand with him, plunging Remus into darkness. As his eyes adjusted, he heard Sirius flop hard onto his own bed.

Remus lay very still, not even bothering to find his wand and spell himself clean. His bed seemed too large and cold, and smelled strongly of Sirius.

* * * * * *

Remus stared at the side of his hangings until dawn, wrung out both emotionally and physically but completely unable to sleep. He slid out of bed silently, dressed quickly, and then went to hide in the library until classes.

Several hours later, Sirius came in search of him. Remus knew it was him without looking up, the way the hair on the back of his neck stood up being clue enough. Sirius stood in front of him and cleared his throat when Remus continued pretending to read.

“Moony,” Sirius began, but Remus cut him off.

“Thank you for my present, Sirius,” he said, still not glancing above his book.

“Remus,” Sirius tried again, more firmly, but Remus refused to let him get a full sentence out.

“I told you we weren’t going to talk about it, and I meant it.”

“Be reasonable!” Sirius snapped.

“You be reasonable,” Remus finally did shut the book with a snap and gave Sirius a cold stare. “You’ve got a crush and you acted on it, like you always do, and by the end of the week you’ll be over it and move on to somebody new and do the same with them, like you always do. Be smart for a change, and get to the next down the line as quickly as possible.”

Sirius spluttered something angrily, but Remus stood up and pushed by him. Sirius grabbed his arm, halting his escape.

“Dammit, Remus!” he snarled. Remus didn’t try to pull away, but came to a stop and gave Sirius a dispassionate stare.

“Let go of me right now,” he ordered, each word clipped sharp enough to draw blood. Sirius dropped his arm and said nothing else as Remus left the library, but Remus could feel Sirius’ gaze burning into his back the whole way out.

*****

Sirius was one hell of an actor, Remus had to admit, especially when it came to acting like nothing was wrong. Remus had witnessed this byproduct of Sirius’ childhood many times, but had never seen such a flawless performance as Sirius gave in the final days before the Yule Ball. Remus’ nerves were more raw than ever now that he knew exactly what he was missing, but Sirius wrestled with James and hexed First Years and teased Peter and finalized the band’s set list with Remus exactly as he would have BCE, or Before the Cataclysmic Event as Remus came to term it mentally.

In fact, the only difference was the conspicuous absence of the song Sirius had been working on by himself. Peter and James didn’t notice, or didn’t comment at any rate; they had more than enough songs if they combined the original stuff with some covers of Top 40 singles. Remus wondered about the song, but had a suspicion that it had to do with him and Sirius and what had happened between them, so he refrained from asking questions.

They exchanged presents early, in the Common Room on the morning of the Ball, and Sirius rolled his eyes before unwrapping Remus’ gift.

“Book again,” he sighed as Remus handed him the square package. “It’s always a bloody book with you, isn’t it?”

Remus said nothing, even though Sirius’ traditional comment was a bit more sharp this year than usual. He patiently waited until Sirius figured out what his present actually was.

The cover of the leather-bound book said nothing, and Sirius furrowed his brow as he opened it, then his eyebrows shot up.

It was a book of blank music sheets, dozens of them, more than Sirius could fill for a long time, even if he wrote songs every day for the next couple years. At the top of each page was printed “From the Paws of Mr. Padfoot”.

“It’s spelled so you’ll never run out,” Remus explained quietly as Sirius flipped through the pages. “Happy Christmas, Padfoot.”

Sirius looked up and stared at him intently, and Remus stared right back knowing exactly what Sirius was searching his face for and refusing to give it.

It’s better this way, Remus thought hard, as though he could send the message mentally, or maybe just talk himself into believing it. It was hard to believe it when Sirius stared at him like that, like he could see right through Remus’ act.

“Oi!” James said suddenly through a mouthful of the chocolate frogs Remus had given him. “Wha ur ee onna ear oon eye?”

“What?” Sirius flicked his gaze over to James in irritation. “Swallow, git.”

“I ed,” James gulped hugely, “what are we going to wear tonight?”

“What do you mean?” Peter asked, perplexed. “We’ve always worn dress robes before, haven’t we?”

“We can’t wear dress robes!” James looked horrified. “We’re the BAND for Merlin’s sake! How’m I supposed to be a heartthrob lead vocalist in a dress robe?!”

“Lads, lads, relax,” Sirius said easily. “I’ve got it totally covered. It just so happens that my dear cousin Andromeda has sent me the necessaries. Package arrived yesterday.”

“Oh really?” Remus raised an eyebrow. “I’m sure I can’t wait to see what sort of ridiculous get-up you’ve got planned for us now. Go on then, show us. It’s likely to be more entertaining than when we play tonight.”

“You’re going to eat those words,” Sirius told him archly. They traded heated glares before he stood up and stalked towards their dorm, Remus watching him swagger away with a barely audible snarl, half of irritation and half of sexual frustration.

When Sirius reappeared several minutes later, Remus cursed the way Sirius was always right. Or at least, he would have been right if Remus’ throat would have unconstricted enough for him to swallow anything, words or…whatever else.

Sirius had apparently decided that Muggle rock music required a Muggle approach to costuming as well. The skintight jeans were back, the acid-washed denim squeezing his ass in a way that made Remus’ palms itch to do the same. The T-shirt was similarly tight, but made of a silvery sort of material, stretched taut across his shoulders and riding up over his navel as he moved, revealing a line of pale flesh. Remus, unable to tear his eyes away, squeezed them shut, but they flew open again when an image of him licking the skin right above Sirius’ jeans played across the back of his eyelids.

Sirius strutted across the room to the catcalls and cheers of James and Peter, and he tossed floppy packages wrapped in brown paper to each of them, presumably containing similar clothes. He stopped in front of Remus and leaned close to drop his package onto Remus’ lap.

“What do you think?” he murmured huskily, his face within six inches of Remus’. Remus glared at him, knowing his face, his whole body, was betraying him with the answer already. He opened his mouth to snarl, but it was then that he noticed it.

A collar. Sirius was wearing a collar.

The swing of Sirius’ hair half-concealed it and the rest of the outfit was too distracting for Remus to have noticed it before, but now that it was right in front of him, Remus had no idea how he could have missed it, how he would ever be able to get the image out of his mind of black leather fitting snug against Sirius’ throat. Remus could practically taste the pulse throbbing underneath it.

“See something you like?” Sirius whispered, his mouth twitching in a half-smile.

Remus clawed his way back to composure, positive the effort to rebuild his neutral expression was visible to Sirius. When he was sure he was under control, Remus met Sirius’ gaze and stared back at him impassively.

I’m not giving in to you, Remus thought, letting that be the only thing his face showed. A flash of irritation crossed Sirius’ eyes, but he smirked as he pulled away. Remus clung to his outward indifference with grim determination.

* * * * * *

Sirius changed back into his robes and they snuck off to the Shack for one last rehearsal. With only a few hours to go until they had to report to the Great Hall for set-up, the Marauders rustled up an early dinner from the kitchen elves, then returned to their dorm to get ready before any of the other Seventh Years returned from dinner.

Remus had slipped off the showers, hoping to rid himself of some of the sexual tension that was battling the stage fright for control of his body. He changed into his Muggle clothes there so that he could get a good look at himself without the others around.

It was every bit as bad as he had feared. His jeans, a much darker blue than Sirius’, fit him like a second skin, and the dark green T-shirt clung to his wiry frame. The look had fit Sirius perfectly, who would show off his admittedly pleasing body under any pretext, but was absolutely mind-blowing on Remus, if for no other reason than because the change was so startling. Remus had spent seven years cultivating a wardrobe which let him hide his body in shapeless obscurity; under the thin fabric hugging his torso, the nearly supernatural ripple of muscle under skin was breathtakingly obvious.

I’m a sex god, Remus thought gloomily as he scrutinized himself in the mirror. If Sirius only had two hormones to rub together I’d be in trouble. I’m going to have to beat him off with a stick.

“No pun intended,” he snarled out loud.

He threw his robes back on before returning to the dorm, hoping to put off showing the others for as long as possible. He found James and Sirius reviewing their own results with glee and charming James’ shirt a more Gryffindor-esque red than it had started out.

“So now I’m in it,” Peter, who had never had an ideal body, looked ridiculously uncomfortable, despite the fact that his belated growth spurt made the tight clothes reasonably attractive. He tugged the hem of his T-shirt down futilely. “I’m just not sure I’ll be able to get out of it.”

“That’s what girls are for!” James replied, turning suddenly towards him right as Sirius said “Rubra!”. The charm missed James completely and struck Remus’ desk, turning his Arithmancy essay the gaudy red.

“Watch it, can’t you!” Remus snapped, pulling out his wand and casting the countercharm.

“Sorry!” Sirius chirped, not sounding sorry at all. Remus felt Sirius eyes follow him over James’ shoulder as Remus went over to his bed and sat down.

“Where’s your stuff?” Peter asked suspiciously, the implication clear that if he had to do it, so did everyone else.

“Got it on,” Remus grunted.

“Aha!” Sirius turned, James’ shirt forgotten. “Let’s see it then.”

“No,” Remus replied shortly. “It’s cold in here. Finish James’ shirt.”

“I said let’s see it.” Sirius crossed his arms and set his jaw. “Don’t make me turn you upside down, Moony.”

“Shove off,” Remus scowled.

“Will you leave him alone and do my shirt already?!” James demanded irritably. Sirius refused to budge. “Oh for the love…Remus, take off the damn robes!”

Remus stood up, glaring blackly at the floor, and reached up to undo the clasp of his robes. The heavy fabric slithered down his body to the floor, rasping in the expectant silence.

“Holy fuck,” Peter was the first to speak after a long moment.

“Merlin’s left nut!” James swore.

Sirius made an odd sort of squeak. Werewolf instinct raised Remus’ head before he could stop it. One look at Sirius’ open-mouthed stare and Remus’ ever-present erection decided to join the party, and this time there were no robes and no Hogwarts, a History to hide behind.

On the up side, the damn jeans were so tight that the only pronounced outward effect was a faint blush across Remus’ nose.

“Bastard,” James grumbled, completely oblivious as always. “I’M supposed to be the heartthrob!”

Sirius shook himself slightly, but instead of the lust Remus expected to see on his face, Sirius’ expression settled into one of anger.

“Stop whinging!” he snapped at James. “Do you want your shirt done or not?”

“I’ve been waiting for you!” James replied indignantly. Remus sank back down onto his bed, too strung out to break up their bickering for once. Instead he turned to Peter and they exchanged a nervous smile.

“All right,” Sirius said shortly, turning away from James’ finally-charmed shirt. “All that’s left is the make-up, then.”

“The what?!” James exclaimed. “I feel like enough of a nancy as it is, there’s no way you’re putting anything else on me!”

“It’s GLAM, Prongs,” Sirius snarled through gritted teeth. “Do you want to look it or don’t you?”

They argued some more, but Sirius won in the end, and ten minutes later, Sirius was putting the finishing touches on a disgruntled James. Remus watched from his bed.

“Stop scowling,” Sirius ordered. “Unscrunch your eyes.”

“Takes too long,” James complained, fidgeting.

“Don’t be a child.” Sirius finished with the eye pencil. “There, you’re finished.”

“Well?” James asked, opening his eyes and glaring at them. “How is it?”

“It’s hot,” Peter assured him. “Do me next.”

After doing the same to Peter, Sirius pulled a lip gloss out of his pocket and tossed it to them before striding over to Remus’ bed.

“You’re next,” he scowled.

“What’s wrong with you?” Remus asked, more out of academic curiosity than personal concern. Sirius sat down heavily.

“Nothing,” Sirius spat the word. “Close your eyes.”

Remus closed his eyes obediently and felt Sirius outline his eyelids with short angry strokes. Fearing for his eyes, Remus reached up and seized Sirius’ wrist.

“Either tell me what you’re on about,” Remus warned without opening his eyes, “or let someone else do it. You’re going to poke my eye out.”

“You’re the one who said we weren’t going to talk about it,” Sirius growled in a low voice. He shook off Remus’ hand, but the pencil was far more gentle when it again touched Remus’ face.

Sirius worked in silence, then Remus felt his touch disappear. He kept his eyes closed until Sirius had slid off the bed and returned to where the others were.

“Remus, get over here.”

Remus opened his eyes to see the other three Marauders staring at him, Sirius holding a small jar. He stood up and joined them, eyeing Sirius warily.

“It’s not Glam if there isn’t glitter,” Sirius informed them, and Remus realized that was what the jar contained, very fine silver glitter.

Sirius poured himself a liberal handful and turned to James, ordering him to close his eyes again, then blowing the glitter over him in a steady stream. The shimmering dust swirled in the air before settling on James, spiraling in patterns that caught Remus’ eye and made him think of the snowflakes he liked to watch outside the tall window beside his bed.

Sirius repeated the process for Peter and then Remus. Remus allowed himself a small smile as Sirius’ breath washed over him, noticing the return of the orange lip gloss.

“Let me,” Remus said when it was over, reaching over to take the jar from Sirius. He tipped some of the stuff into his own palm and tilted it to catch the light before blowing his own steady stream of silver over Sirius.

“Messy,” James wrinkled his nose as he scuffed at the now-glittery floor. “Could’ve done it just as easily with magic.”

Sirius shook himself a little, and Remus watched with fascination how a small cloud of silver rose from his hair, how every line of his body was outlined in silver with every motion, every breath. He realized that it was magic really, just not the kind you did with wands.

I am so far gone, he thought with a soft sigh.

“AH!” James exclaimed suddenly, making Remus jump. “We’re supposed to be in the Hall in ten minutes!”

“Let’s go then!” Sirius grinned maniacally. “We’ve got a show to put on, lads!”

* * * * * *

The last hour before the dance started passed in a blur of set-up and sound checks and dire warnings from McGonagall about what they were not to play (“If I hear so much as the opening bar of that ‘Wizard’s Staff’ song…”).

People were peeking in through the double doors far too early for Remus’ taste. He clutched the soothing weight of his guitar tighter, more nervous than he could ever remember being in his entire life. Which was ridiculous, given that he was a werewolf hiding in plain sight with three unregistered Animagi as best friends.

After all, he thought while tuning the bass, how many students get to play the Yule Ball? In front of all their friends, and professors…and everybody they know…

Remus swallowed hard and tried to remember everybody in their underwear. He grimaced as his gaze swept over Professor McGonagall and turned his gaze back to the stage. Sirius in his underwear was a much more pleasing thought.

Of course, there was no way Sirius was wearing underwear underneath those jeans.

Remus ducked his head to hide his grin as a hot wash of lust overcame the stage fright quite effectively. He decided to save that technique for later use.

Years later, his first students never did find out why their teacher spent the whole class trying to smother an embarrassed grin.

“Ready to go?” James asked, looking back over his shoulder from the front of the stage where he and Sirius were standing. Peter gave him the thumbs-up, and Remus bared his teeth more than he smiled.

“Ready,” he lied. Sirius glanced over his shoulder at Remus and played a chord as though he was testing his sound. Remus recognized it as the very first chord he had ever heard Sirius play, an echo of that first shiver running through him. He grinned back at Sirius, the first real smile he’d given him in days.

“Ready,” he repeated, and this time it wasn’t a lie. Sirius winked at him before turning back to face the crowd.

“Hello, Hogwarts!” James said into the microphone. “Are you ready to rock?”

The purebloods looked perplexed, but several of the Muggle-borns laughed and shouted “Yeah!”.

“I said, are you ready to ROCK?” James tried again, and this time the response was more unified.

“Not exactly a ringing endorsement, Mr. Padfoot,” James said to Sirius leaning away from the microphone.

“Better show them then,” Sirius grinned. “And now for the traditional count: a-one…a-two…a-one two three four!”

Once the first chords washed through Remus, loud and pure, his nerves died down to a dull buzz and he threw himself into the song. Sirius faded back slightly after starting them off, letting James take center stage, and Remus glanced at him from time to time, memorizing his scowl of fierce concentration and the way his body curled around his guitar perfectly, as if neither he nor it had been made for anything else.

Remus started when the song finished and the people on the floor applauded enthusiastically. He’d practically forgotten there even was a crowd, forgotten the whole band idea was for anybody but them. He barely had time to remember before Sirius was driving them into the next song, and Remus, the adrenaline finally starting to take hold, followed him willingly.

*****

“Whew!” James swallowed when they were nearing the half-set mark. “I need a break, boys. What do you say we call the half-set a couple numbers early, hmm?”

“You go on,” Sirius shrugged a shoulder. “We’ve got one we can do without you.”

“We do?” Remus looked up, narrowing his eyes.

“That one we were working on before,” Sirius raised an eyebrow, and giving and inflection to ‘before’ which only Remus understood. “Didn’t I tell you? I’ve finished it.”

Remus glanced at Peter, who shrugged.

“I’m up for it if you are,” he said. Remus looked back to Sirius and nodded.

Remus stepped forward as James hopped off the stage, rubbing his throat.

“Sure you want to do this?” Remus asked, keeping his voice light.

“You know what I want,” Sirius retorted. Before Remus could respond, he was already playing, and Remus was right there with him, his fingers moving over the strings in a rhythm he could have played in his sleep.

“Bet no one can cut you like me, and I’ll twist the knife so deep…”

Sirius’ voice was not as smooth as James, but it had a depth James lacked, a tone made out of power rather than finesse. Remus recognized pieces of Padfoot’s growl in it, its gravelly throb what Remus had been echoing from the beginning. He rose to the challenge, his bass thrumming with an intensity he’d never had during a practice.

“Take shelter till it all blows over, go back to being one more shoulder…”

Remus had known the song was going to be about him, there was really no other plausible reason why Sirius would have wanted to work on it alone. He hadn’t expected it to be this good. He hadn’t expected to press against Sirius’ back like he had at that very first practice just so he could keep from watching the glittery seduction that was Sirius and his eyeliner and his guitar and his jeans, all humming with a song that was only for him.

“When you’ve never seen the full moon…”

Somehow, Sirius managed to take lyrics that should have been accusatory and make them simply true, to sum up the entire unbearable situation in three verses and a chorus, but Remus still didn’t grasp the full message right away. It wasn’t until the first ‘full moon’ lyrics that the terrifying reality struck Remus like a Bludger:

Sirius was in love with him. He didn’t just want Remus, wasn’t just having a crush, wasn’t just looking for some willing body to expel hormones with. He was as in love with Remus as Remus was with him, possibly more.

It was too much. Remus promptly stopped thinking and let himself slip under the spell of the song, glad to simply feel it washing through him. It was almost a physical jolt when the last chord died away and he snapped back to reality. He set down his bass, listening vaguely to Sirius’ announcement that they were taking a break, and wandered off the stage and out onto the balcony to get some air.

He dusted the snow off the railing and leaned on it, telling himself that he didn’t care if the cold marble was freezing his bare forearms. He watched with detached amusement as several professors flushed students out of the bushes below like game at a pigeon shoot.

He didn’t turn his head when he heard Sirius follow him out, cursing the cold in a low voice, and didn’t look when Sirius leaned on the rail beside him, close enough to feel the heat radiating off him.

“How long?” Remus asked.

“It’s colder than a Muggle’s tit out here!” Sirius huffed. “How long what?”

“Don’t be difficult, Sirius,” Remus replied sharply, finally turning a piercing gaze Sirius’ way. “How long?”

“Third year,” Sirius answered, lowering his eyes. “You said you wouldn’t speak to me for a week if James and I didn’t leave Regulus alone. We didn’t…and then you didn’t.”

“You fell in love with me because I stopped speaking to you for a week in Third Year?” Remus asked incredulously.

“You don’t make idle threats,” Sirius clarified wryly. “That’s a big turn on in my family.”

“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Remus spat, looking back down at the bushes below. The third one from the left seemed very popular.

“How long for you?” Sirius asked. Remus remained silent until Sirius poked him with a shoulder. “I told you, it’s only fair.”

“Who says I’m in love with you?” Remus asked in a low voice.

“Don’t be difficult, Remus,” Sirius mimicked his voice meanly, but Remus still refused to answer. The silence stretched out several heartbeats longer.

“Wouldn’t matter if I was,” Remus finally said.

“Course it matters…” Sirius started.

“Doesn’t,” Remus cut him off, shrugging. “What are you going to do next year?”

“I…” Sirius blinked, caught off-guard by the random question. “I dunno, take the test to be an Auror, I suppose.”

“So will James,” Remus nodded. “Peter’ll work for the Ministry like his father, of course. Do you know where I’ll be next year?”

“I’ve no idea,” Sirius said brusquely. “What does any of this have…”

“I’ll be registering myself as a Dark Creature, that’s where I’ll be,” Remus interrupted. “You’ll all start careers and families and lives, and all I’ll have is you. All I’ve ever had is you three, and that’s all I’m ever going to have. That’s why I can’t be in love with you, Sirius.”

“Did you miss the part where I said I loved you?” Sirius demanded. “It’s not exactly a risky proposition!”

“Keep your voice down,” Remus warned. “It isn’t that simple.”

“If I’m in love with you,” Sirius was clearly losing patience fast, “and you…feel whatever it is that you feel for me, where’s the problem?!”

“What happens when you get tired of it, Sirius?” Remus asked, finally looking up. “What happens when we figure out it isn’t forever? What happens when James and Peter find out?”

“Why should they care?” Sirius retorted.

“I think they’ll care when you switch sexual orientations,” Remus said softly. “If you haven’t noticed, our good friend James is not the most tolerant person at Hogwarts. I’ve no idea what Peter would do.”

“James would learn to live with it,” Sirius insisted staunchly. “And Peter will do whatever we tell him. It’s not even like they have to know yet, you’re just too scared to give it a go.”

“That’s the first sensible thing you’ve said yet,” Remus agreed. “Drop it, Padfoot, please. I can’t do this with you.”

There was a short silence.

“Could we at least shag casually?” Sirius whined. “In a very exclusive manner?”

“Stop it,” Remus ordered.

Sirius growled, the soft sound raising goosebumps on Remus’ arms, but didn’t argue. He occupied himself by scraping some snow off the railing and making snowballs to pelt the hapless snoggers below. Finally he stopped and stared at Remus, then tugged him away from the railing sharply.

“You’re going to make yourself sick,” he snarled, taking hold of Remus freezing arms with his equally cold hands.

“You’re the one burying your bare hands in snow,” Remus pointed out, trying to make himself step away from the too-close heat that was Sirius. “No,” he said when Sirius bent his head closer, but Sirius ignored him and brushed cold lips against Remus’.

As usual, the tiniest physical contact from Sirius unraveled every bit of Remus’ hard-won self-control. He made a soft noise and pressed closer, the slow and deliberate smoothing of Sirius’ mouth on his making him ache.

Sirius was the first to pull away, and Remus stared up at him, dazed.

“Listen to me, Moony,” Sirius’ voice was low and breathy, and started a dull heat burning in the pit of Remus’ stomach, “I’m not giving up. I’ve waited damn near five years for you, I can wait as long as it takes. Sooner or later you’ll get tired of saying no.”

“No,” Remus started to come back to his senses and tried to step back, but Sirius tightened his grip.

“I could make you, you know it,” he said fiercely. “I should, there’s a war about to start. We could all be dead by next year and you want to whine about forever? I could take you right here in the snow and you wouldn’t stop me.” Remus made a soft noise and closed his eyes, shaking his head almost imperceptibly. “I’m not going to, but I could. You always have to make everything so hard.”

“We should go back in,” Remus whispered. “Please, Padfoot, I just don’t want anything to change.”

“Nothing has changed,” Sirius replied. “If you’d use that brain of yours, you’d realize it’s always been like this. I’ll wait as long as you need, Moony, but I’m not going away.”

He reached up with a still-wet hand to brush Remus’ hair away from his forehead and kissed it before letting go, turning to go back inside. Remus was suddenly freezing, except for the places on his arms where Sirius’ had been holding onto him.

What’s the thing James says? Remus thought to himself as he watched the muscles of Sirius’ back and ass slide underneath his clothes. ‘I hate to see her leave, but I do love to watch her go…’

Shaking his head as if to clear it, Remus followed after a moment.

* * * * * *

Back onstage, Sirius tapped Remus with his wand as he slipped by, murmuring a Warming Charm. Remus smiled his thanks as his teeth stopped chattering.

“Always with your wand at the ready, hmm, Padfoot?” James asked archly, voice mostly recovered but still with an edge of roughness. “And speaking of, just where were you all that time anyhow? Off with that girl of yours, weren’t you?”

“What girl?” Sirius raised an eyebrow. “What are you on about, toerag?”

“James thinks you’ve been chasing after some phantom girl all term,” Remus informed Sirius solemnly, but couldn’t keep the amusement out of his eyes.

“Ahh, I see,” Sirius gave him a quick wink.

“So did you get her or what?” James interrupted loudly.

“Time will tell, Prongsy,” Sirius shrugged, turning away from Remus. “Don’t we have the rest of a gig to play here? Get up front and look vapidly alluring, that’s what I hired you for.”

James made an obscene hand gesture, the one which the Marauders had nicknamed ‘Miss Lily’s Salute’, and stalked to the front.

Remus shared a laugh with Sirius and Peter, feeling better than he had in weeks, as if finally some of the pressure was off. He and Sirius had had The Talk and the world had not ended, leaving Remus to actually enjoy being in a rock band for all it was worth. The rest of it could wait, he decided.

For now it was enough that he had a loud guitar, a fast song, three best friends, and the best view in the house.

“Merlin charm the man who invented Glam,” Remus murmured. And Sirius’ jeans, he added mentally.

The set flew by even faster than the last, and Remus was taking a short breather off to the side when someone leaned onto the stage and tugged his jean leg. He looked down to see a delegation of Ravenclaw girls whispering and giggling.

“Er, can I help you?” Remus asked, puzzled.

“We’d like to request a song,” one girl stepped forward to announce.

“All right,” Remus shrugged. “I can’t guarantee we’ll know it, but we’ll try.”

“No, we want one of yours,” the girl shook her head. “The one you played right before your last break. The one about the full moon.”

“Oh.” Remus blinked. “Guess we can manage that. I’ll tell the others, then.” The girls moved away, nudging each other and giggling some more as they peered over their shoulder at Remus. He waited until James and Sirius finished the song they were currently doing before coming up behind Sirius.

“What’s up?” Sirius asked when Remus tapped him on the shoulder. He was scowling slightly. “Noticed your entourage.”

“We’ve had a request,” Remus informed him sheepishly. “They want to hear your song. The one you wrote on your own.”

“Your song, you mean,” Sirius replied pointedly.

“Right, that one,” Remus lowered his eyes. “You up for it? James sounds like he could use a break again.”

“Could he ever,” Sirius snorted. “He’s starting to sound more and more like Moaning Myrtle. Gurgling included. Plus, when we were doing the Beatles song he got bored of singing ‘Love is all you need’ and started singing ‘love me on your knees’.”

“Ri-ight,” Remus rolled his eyes. “Let’s get him off the stage before McGonagall catches on.”

“Not much chance of that if Peter put the you-know-what in the you-know-which like he was supposed to,” Sirius said loudly, giving Peter the Eye.

“I told you I wouldn’t!” Peter shot back. “Being kicked out of a Yule Ball is a once in a lifetime affair for me, thanks very much!”

“Best be kicking Croaking Beauty off the mike then,” Sirius said hurriedly. “Oh Prongsy!”

They convinced James that if he took a break now, he might have enough voice left to do whatever he wanted for the last song. Sirius tugged Remus up towards the front microphone with him, and as they were getting ready to start, leaned his head close to Remus’ ear.

“You never told me what you thought about the song,” he murmured.

“Should be obvious if you know me so well,” Remus replied archly, refusing to be baited.

“Show me then,” Sirius grinned, puffing an extra breath into Remus’ ear to make him shiver before turning back to his guitar. He set off again without warning, and Remus finally understood that he wasn’t challenging him by constantly starting the song so quickly, but racing him, just like Padfoot raced Moony underneath the real full moon.

Remus threw back his head and laughed, the back of his head bumping against Sirius’ shoulder, their sides pressing together like pack. Sirius, ridiculous hopeless fartoosexy Sirius, had managed to wrap up everything good about being the wolf and hand it to Remus, to shout it in front of dozens of people and still keep the secret perfectly. Sirius might be an insensitive bastard, but he always did managed to find the perfect gift.

It ended all too soon again, and James, who’d been glaring at them from the side of the stage, strode forward to shove them away from his microphone.

“Right then,” he rasped, voice clearly just about done for the night. “Time for the big finale. I’ve got just enough voice left for one fantastic song, and I know exactly what it should be.”

“Oh no,” Peter groaned, knowing exactly what was coming.

“Oh yes!” Sirius agreed with a wicked grin.

“James, no,” Remus shook his head. “You swore you wouldn’t, McGonagall made us promise!”

Ignoring Remus utterly, James swung round to the microphone and caressed an affectionate hand down it. He smiled benignly down at the audience as if about to start the most soulful of love songs.

Since James is about to sing about his one true love, it’s very appropriate, Remus thought caustically, knowing there was nothing he could do to stop James and Sirius, as usual.

“Ooooooooooh,” James drew out the first syllable for as long as possible, eyes roaming the crowd until his gaze locked with McGonagall. Remus saw her eyes narrow even across the room and realized with a sinking feeling that she must already know what was coming.

“A wizard’s staff has a KNOB on the END, a KNOB on the END, a KNOB on the END!”

Knowing from experience that if he was going to take the flack for it, and he always did, he might as well have the fun, Remus joined in just as enthusiastically as the other three. He didn’t even pause when McGonagall began to stride towards them, plowing through the mob of students like a tank.

Remus thought it was possible he might die laughing when Dumbledore, dancing enthusiastically amidst the students, grabbed her by the arm and twirled her along with him.

“I LOVE this song, don’t you?!” Remus lip-read him shouting.

He exchanged knowing looks with Sirius when James’ voice finally blew during the fifth or sixth chorus, but Remus knew it was just as well, since he’d already run through the generally accepted verses and had started in on the ones he’d made up himself. It didn’t matter anyways, since there were four Years of Hogwarts students and most of the staff singing along by then anyhow.

Furious applause and catcalls broke out after they finished, and the four Marauders grinned at each other madly. It didn’t seem real to Remus that they could really be standing there, that the audience really could be screaming for them, that they’d done the whole thing and now it was actually over.

James broke the spell by breaking out into a racking cough. He opened his mouth to tell them something, but only little squeaks came out. Peter found this especially funny, and James glared at them before hopping off the stage to get a drink from the for-once-unadulterated punch bowl.

“Wonderful!”

Remus turned to see Dumbledore had climbed onto the stage and come up behind him, clapping his hands delightedly.

“Absolutely marvelous, young Gryffindors!” he continued, beaming. “I was in a rock band myself! We used to shake the roofs of quite a few pubs, in my younger days. Girls were absolutely mad for us, they’d throw their things up onto the stage…in those days, if we didn’t have twenty pairs of underthings dangling from our microphones at the end of the night we’d ask ‘What’s wrong? Isn’t our hair big enough?’…”

Dumbledore drifted off into contemplation, while the Marauders stared up at him in silent horror.

“Ah well, such is youth,” Dumbledore shook himself out of his reverie. “Speaking of girls, young Mr. Potter seems to be getting his share of attention over at the punch bowl.”

Sirius, Remus, and Peter craned their necks to see what he was talking about. Lily had James pressed against the refreshment table, hands tangled in his hair, and was not coming up for air anytime soon.

“She’ll be spitting glitter for a week,” Sirius said in awe. Remus and Peter were struck dumb.

“I always thought Miss Evans would have her way with him,” Dumbledore commented, “if he would only shut his mouth for a moment or two.”

Sirius jumped when both Remus and Peter exploded into raucous laughter suddenly, but Dumbledore didn’t seem surprised at all.

*****

Remus sat on the edge of his bed, staring down at his boots.

They seemed an awfully long way away, and Remus wondered if it was really worth the effort for him to bend the whole way down there just to untie the silly things. He was only going to put them on again tomorrow after all.

Peter lay on his own bed, fully dressed and snoring loudly. James had disappeared with Lily while Sirius, Remus, and Peter were putting away their instruments, so the remaining three snuck down to the kitchens for their own after-party. A few dozen pastries and half a bottle of Firewhiskey later, Sirius and Remus had quite a time hauling Peter up the stairs to their dorm. It never did take much to put the littlest Marauder under.

Sirius, complaining of being itchy from all the stage-sweat, had gone to shower. Remus had meant to do the same, but he had made the mistake of sitting down on his bed to untie his boots, and now he had no desire at all to go anywhere. After the adrenaline of the performance and the strain of the last few weeks, a pleasantly buzzed Remus Lupin was more than happy to just kick off his boots and toss his smelly shirt on the floor before sinking back into his pillows. The jeans could wait until tomorrow. It seemed like too much work to even crawl under the covers.

I’ll just rest for a moment, he thought sleepily. Muster my energy reserves…

He woke up when Sirius slid into his bed beside him, throwing an arm across his bare chest and snuggling in close to his side. He smelled of water and clean and just Sirius.

And he hadn’t taken off the collar.

Oh god, Remus whined mentally as the leather rubbed against his shoulder, WHY did he have to leave that on?

“Don’t worry,” Sirius sighed, “I’ll be gone before you wake up.”

Remus pried open his eyes to peer at the arm on his chest, considering making a snide comment about idle threats. The shower had not washed the glitter off Sirius; it was so fine that the water had merely glued it to his skin more firmly and smudged it to the parts of his body previously covered by clothes. Sirius was only wearing pajama pants as usual, and his bare torso glimmered as it rose and fell with each breath. Remus reached up to run his fingertips over Sirius’ shoulder, then up to the collar, brushing the warm leather.

“Sirius?” Remus said after a moment.

“Mmm?” Sirius sighed, leaning into his touch.

“Why were you angry this afternoon?”

“Looked too good in those damn jeans,” Sirius murmured against his neck. “I knew you’d look hot, but when I actually saw…didn’t want them all to see you like I do. Only me.” He yawned lightly before continuing. “How long?”

“Last year,” Remus answered honestly. “It was after…after. I hated you so much… eventually I figured out that I must have loved you first to hate you that much.”

Sirius didn’t answer, but ran his hand down Remus chest lightly, expertly, fingers stroking his skin as though he were playing some guitar riff on it. Remus opened his mouth to protest, to make Sirius go, but a huge yawn wracked his body instead, and when he expelled the air he sank deeper into mattress, Sirius settling in more firmly against him.

“Should’ve got the lights,” Remus mumbled, giving in to the inevitable.

“James’ll get it,” Sirius replied, voice muffled against Remus’ neck. There was a short pause before what Sirius had said registered with Remus.

“Oh bugger,” he said, opening his eyes again. “James.”

Heaving a sigh as though it were tremendously taxing, Sirius pushed himself up and reached out to savagely yank Remus’ bed hangings shut.

“He’ll never know,” Sirius grunted, looking over at Remus as if daring him to argue.

“Sirius,” Remus started, but Sirius cut him off.

“Don’t you dare try to have a talk with me,” he growled, moving one arm to the other side of Remus in order to lean over him menacingly and glare. “I’ve done all the talking I’m going to do today. What I am going to do is go to sleep curled up with you, and don’t even try to tell me you don’t want the same thing. Tomorrow you can pretend it means whatever you want, but so help me if you bring up one more niggling reason why we shouldn’t, I’m going to shag you until you’re too tired to scream my name, much less argue!”

Remus swallowed hard, exhaustion forgotten as desire took over, the heat of Sirius’ dark blue eyes burning into him. God, he loved being the center of Sirius’ attention. Sirius was so close that their chests were barely touching each time they breathed.

“Too tired to scream your name?” Remus found himself saying, voice was so low and husky he could hardly recognize it himself. He reached a hand up and hooked a finger in the collar, pulling ever so slightly. “That would be about once at the moment.”

“Moony.” Sirius’ voice held a note of warning that only turned Remus on more.

“Peter might wake up,” he whispered, giving Sirius his best innocent frown. He tugged harder.

“Warned you,” Sirius said before dropping his weight onto Remus, one hand sliding under his back and the other into his hair to push him up harder into the insistent kiss. Remus made a harsh noise in the back of his throat and pressed up into Sirius, their noses banging together. He slid his fingers under the collar and Sirius moaned softly.

Gasping for air, Sirius pulled away and dropped his mouth to run his tongue over the hollow where Remus’ neck met his shoulder. Remus arched against him, growling louder. Sirius’ hand left his hair to trail along the waistband of his jeans, and Remus squeezed Sirius’ back harder involuntarily.

“Isn’t this the part,” Remus panted, “where you ask me if I’m really really sure, cause if I’m not you’ll stop?”

“No,” Sirius lifted his head again to rub his cheek against Remus’, breathing in his ear. “This is the part where if you stop, I’ll kill you. PS- if those jeans aren’t off in the next half minute, I’m going to Disappear them permanently.”

“Good luck,” Remus replied, rubbing his chin against the collar, his nose pressing into Sirius’ cheek. “Do you have any idea how long it took me to get these on?”

Sirius grunted dismissively and rolled over, yanking Remus by the waistband so he was on top. Reaching between them, Sirius deftly undid the button and tugged on the zipper.

“Careful!” Remus hissed, fighting the urge to thrust now that Sirius’ hand was so near. “Things are packed in rather tight down there.”

“So I see,” Sirius grinned appreciatively. He gave the zipper another pull and this time it slid down obligingly. Sirius slipped his hands inside and around to Remus’ ass, then pushed the warm fabric down out of his way. Remus gave a sharp cry of relief as his erection sprang free, and he ground into Sirius mindlessly.

Sirius pushed his pajama pants down with a dismissive motion, and arched against Remus as their bare cocks brushed against each other for the first time. His breath caught with a whine, and Remus’ eyes flared with heat, the wolf clawing its way to the surface. He bent his head to suck Sirius’ neck savagely, wanting to own Sirius, wanting to mark him as his.

“Moony,” Sirius whined again, clutching Remus’ ass convulsively. Remus felt the hard press of Sirius against his stomach and suddenly wanted to own that piece of Sirius just as absolutely.

All pretense of seduction and subtlety gone, Remus simply dropped lower on Sirius’ body and sucked the tip of him into his mouth, far past worrying that he had never done this before and had no clue how to go about it. His lower brain insisted that just hot and wet would be good enough right now, and Sirius’ sharp cry seemed to support that theory.

Sirius tangled hands in his hair, yanking him closer, but the pain was good pain and Remus moaned as he slid as far down Sirius as he could, the vibration low in his throat making Sirius repeat his name desperately.

Sirius came suddenly, thrusting up hard enough to nearly choke Remus, and Remus swallowed in surprise, then swallowed again deliberately, the sharp taste of Sirius making him slightly light-headed. He didn’t take his mouth off Sirius until the other boy tugged him up to lie against his body.

Not giving him a chance to collect his thoughts, Sirius kissed Remus fiercely, hot hands on his back pressing him closer. Sirius snaked a hand between them, then stopped, resting it tentatively on Remus hip.

“Can I?” Sirius asked, pulling back just far enough to see Remus’ eyes.

“Yes,” Remus hissed, circling his hips helplessly against Sirius’ thigh. “Yes, god, anything Padfoot…”

Sirius slid his hand just that little bit further and brushed the tip of Remus, making him groan and push up against his hand. Sirius pushed Remus over onto his back and moved down his body slowly, pausing to nip Remus’ skin at what felt like infinitesimal intervals.

“Fucking tease,” Remus growled, pushing at Sirius’ shoulders. Sirius did not reply and did not speed up, just kept up the exact same winding route, pushing himself up so that his chest was brushing Remus’ erection just barely, and holding down Remus’ hips so he couldn’t arch.

“Keep fighting and I’ll only go slower,” Sirius threatened, his smile curving against Remus’ stomach.

“Kill…you…” Remus panted, eyes clenched shut, nearly past words.

And then the collar, the fucking leather was on his fucking cock, Sirius was stroking him with it, and that was nearly the end right there. Remus dug his nails sharply into his palms to keep himself from the edge, swearing that if Sirius did not get his mouth where it was going in the next millisecond, James was going to return from his evening out to find a dead Marauder on the floor.

Finally, FINALLY Remus felt wet, searing heat envelop him, sliding the whole way down his length in one smooth motion, and Remus didn’t care if Sirius had acquired his skill by practicing on every person in the entire castle, Dumbledore included, because it was JUST THAT GOOD.

Suddenly Sirius’ mouth was gone and Remus jerked his head up in a snarl, ready to kill.

“Open your eyes,” Sirius commanded, deep voice sending tremors up Remus’ body. “I learned it for you, you’re going to watch, dammit!”

Remus’ eyes flew open and Sirius grunted in approval before lowering his head again. One look at the sight of his cock disappearing between Sirius’ swollen lips, about a second’s worth of Sirius’ tongue wrapping around him, and Remus came with a harsh cry, clenching his fists so hard his nails cut into the skin.

Remus came back down slowly, still humming nearly inaudibly as Sirius gave him several more leisurely sucks. Brushing his tongue over Remus’ head one last time, Sirius slid back up to press the length of his body along Remus’, making soft satisfied noises in the back of his throat.

Remus uncurled his fists and held one of his hands up, noticing in a detached way the half-moons his nails had cut filling with blood. Sirius saw too, and pulled the hand towards his lips to kiss the blood off. Remus shivered as Sirius ran his tongue down the lines of his palm, then let his eyes flutter close as Sirius took the other hand and repeated the process.

He felt soft breath on his cheek and opened his eyes to find Sirius leaning close, smiling secretively.

“What?” Remus asked, voice still rough.

“Are you going to kick me out of bed after you’ve got what you want every time?” Sirius asked, quirking an eyebrow, “or was it just the once?”

“Git,” Remus growled, pushing him away lightly. Sirius flopped down beside him willingly, chuckling softly.

Remus turned on his side, tugging Sirius’ arm across him tighter so Sirius would understand that he wasn’t turning away, it was just that he always slept on his side. Sirius pulled away, and Remus wondered if he was leaving after all, but then felt the blankets pull underneath him and understood. He shifted further to the side accommodatingly, then snuggled contentedly into the blanket Sirius draped over him and against the returning warmth of Sirius’ bare skin.

Sirius pressed against his back, warm and soothing, curled against his body as perfectly as with his guitar, as if neither of them had been made for anything else.

“You can blame it on the Firewhiskey tomorrow if you want,” Sirius mumbled into the back the Remus’ neck. Remus reached down to twine his fingers with Sirius’ hand sprawled across his stomach.

Remus planned to do exactly that, but for now it didn’t matter. For now he was warm and sleepy and covered in glitter. And, besides the boy breathing softly into his hair, that was really all there was to that.

That, and the leather collar.

You can also read the director’s cut here.

21 people like this post.

4 Comments

  • By avoidetc, 2012.02.05 @ 12:17 pm

    Totally fantastically gorgeous, couldn’t stop reading this. Wauw I loved this so much 🙂
    That just makes so much sense – the Marauders as a rock band, just perfect. And the glam clothes yes yes yes – oh could just see those trousers and all that make up and Sirius with eyeliner <3 Love how you have written Remus in this, how hard he tries, first hiding what he is feeling and then trying to resist Sirius because he thinks it's for the best. I am so glad Sirius doesn't let him get away with that 🙂
    Found your story recc'ed at Crack Broom, so grateful for that place 🙂

  • By search, 2012.07.07 @ 11:03 pm

    A line from Full Moon popped into my head today for the first time in probably 6+ years, so I came back and reread this fic. Turns out the line in my head was from the full lyrics, not even the part that’s in this fic. I really wish I still had the mp3 of you singing the whole thing. That was a great song, and this is still a great fic.

  • By Mousapelli, 2012.08.09 @ 7:20 pm

    Oh goodness, I’m sort of glad you don’t since I felt that part was intensely embarrassing XD

    But I am glad you enjoyed it then and are still enjoying it now. The fic is one I still get comments on from time to time, so I’m glad that I spent all the time that I did on it.

  • By Alice, 2016.08.25 @ 12:43 am

    Reading for the first time in 2016 and I love it. Funny, sexy, in character, light hearted, everything I want in a Remus/Sirius fic TBH.

Other Links to this Post

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

WordPress Themes