Harry Potter, Just That Sort (The Epiphany Remix)

Title: Just That Sort (The Epiphany Remix) [Remus/Sirius, James/Lily]
Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for language
Summary: Lily is just that sort of girlfriend, and James is just that sort of best mate.
A/N: Written for Naomichana for the 2004 Remus Remix.

Original Drabble:

It was probably unfair to blame James. Lily Evans, Head Girl and Charms whiz, was just the sort of girlfriend who *would* modify a Locator Charm to track James over three monthly absences.

“– you weren’t serving detention, you weren’t harvesting moonflowers, and you certainly weren’t practicing Quidditch against the Whomping Willow –”

Remus blamed James anyway. While he was at it, he blamed Sirius and Peter, who had detoured to the kitchens under James’s cloak.

“So either you’re having a *bloody* inconvenient affair with Lupin here, or you’re frolicking with a werewolf in the Forest.”

Perhaps if Remus had been less annoyed with James — who was still opening and closing his mouth like a puffer-fish — he would have thought up another story. But perhaps not.

“Correct as usual, Evans.” Remus Lupin flashed his best former-Prefect smile, grabbed James’s Gryffindor tie, and proceeded to snog him silly.

Just That Sort (The Epiphany Remix)

Voices echoed down the corridor as Sirius was coming up the last set of stairs, but he wasn’t paying any attention to them. He was more occupied juggling an armload of biscuits and sandwiches while trying to keep James’ Cloak from dragging on the ground, not because he was worried about James raising hell about scuffs in the fabric, but because Peter was right behind him and would trip over any damn thing in his path.

He did, however, note that the shrill harping assailing his ears sounded Evansian in nature, and huffed a little sigh at the thought of having another encounter with the dreaded Girlfriend of the Best Mate. As he and Peter came within sight of the last corner separating them from the source of the racket, actual words started to become distinct from the general cacophony.

“… you weren’t serving detention, you weren’t harvesting moonflowers …”

Sirius became a little concerned when it became evident that Evans had figured out somehow the pattern of their group disappearances, and he didn’t hear the comforting sounds of James coming up with a decent fabrication. When the word ‘werewolf’ reached his ears, Sirius broke into a trot, ignoring Peter’s whispered questions.

The voice halted suddenly as Sirius reached the corner, and he had a bare second of relief before he tripped on the trailing edge of the cloak and went crashing around the corner, getting a good long look at what had made the voice stop as his shoulder cracked into the stone floor and biscuits scattered in all directions.

Remus was snogging the daylights out of James. James was frozen in shock, eyes wide open, and Lily had gone white, hands covering her mouth. No one seemed to notice Sirius’ abrupt arrival.

“Hey,” Peter finally caught up, trotting around the corner, “what’s all the…HOLY HELL!”

All three of the others whipped their heads around to stare at Peter, James wobbling a little as though he might faint. Sirius saw Remus notice him on the floor and go very still, his mouth forming an ‘O’ of some emotion, guilt or maybe just surprise.

A heartbeat passed before Lily shattered the silence with a shriek of outrage, pulled back a hand before anybody knew what was happening, and cracked James across the face as hard as she could. James swayed backwards but didn’t go down, like the inflatable punching Muggle of Regulus’ that Sirius had exploded as a child.

He was thinking very seriously about exploding something right now, although it was a toss-up between whether the explodee would be James or Remus. Lily might also have been an option if she hadn’t already been pelting down the corridor, muffled sobs echoing off the stones of the walls.

“Please don’t shout,” Remus’ voice sounded hollow as Sirius dragged his glare from Lily’s retreating back to his darling explodee, “not until we get back to the dormitory so I can explain.”

Sirius had not calmed at all by the time they had managed to drag themselves up to their dormitory so they could argue in earnest.

“JUST WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING!” he roared as soon as he had kicked the door shut with a slam. James, still shaken but mostly recovered, sat heavily on his bed, while Peter plopped down next to him, hugging all the salvageable sandwiches to his chest.

“Which one of us are you shouting at?” Remus asked, sinking into his desk chair as though he hadn’t the strength to go any farther, his eyes fluttering shut. The trip up all the stairs had left him pale and wheezing this soon after being released from the Infirmary, and the sheen of sweat over his nose elicited a tinge of sympathy in Sirius, even in his enraged state. He decided to go for prey that would put up more of a struggle and rounded on James.

“POTTER, you were KISSING REMUS!”

“That’s a lie!” James shot back, wiping his palms compulsively on the thighs of his trousers. “He was kissing me! On purpose!”

“On the mouth,” Peter added in awe, and James gave him a sharp elbow in the side.

“I hadn’t meant to,” Remus murmured, eyes still closed. “Just happened.”

“What do you mean, just happened?!” Sirius demanded, arms flailing. “How is it possible that you hadn’t meant to snog somebody! If you were trying to punch him, it was a bloody brilliant miss! One in a million shot, was it?!”

“Fuck off, Black!” James snarled. Beside him, Peter was sorting out the least crumpled sandwiches for himself and enjoying the fun. “This hasn’t got anything to do with you anyway! What the hell am I going to tell Lily?!”

“I don’t care what you tell her, do I?” Remus snapped. “What I do care about is you getting rid of that Locator Charm!”

“Locator Charm?” Peter snickered, pausing with a sandwich in the air halfway to his mouth. “James, she’s really got you on a lead, hasn’t she? And you aren’t even the dog…”

“Shove it up your arse!” James shouted at him before putting his head in his hands. “Listen, I’ll just tell her…I’ll tell her you have a crush on me or something, a mad, UNRECIPROCATED passion…”

“YOU WILL NOT!” Sirius bellowed, loud enough to make Remus moan and grab his head. “YOU LEAVE REMUS OUT OF THIS, YOU CUNT!”

“He’s the one going round snogging innocent blokes!” James exclaimed, looking stung. “He’s put himself in it! He’s defamed me in front of my girlfriend, and that is NOT ON!”

“What’s NOT ON is YOU,” Sirius continued, refusing to stop for air even though his face was gaining an alarming tinge of lavender, “thinking that you can WHORE Moony out for your own benefit! Putting your lips all over him and then SLANDERING him…!”

“The FUCK is wrong with you, BLACK?!” James demanded, having reached the end of his tether. “You’re acting like a jealous lunatic, like Remus is your…”

James trailed off suddenly, and everyone in the room froze, Sirius turning red, Remus turning white, and James’ eyes looking like they were about to pop out of his skull. The only sound for several seconds was Peter chewing.

“No,” James said, very quietly, “no no no no…” He was shaking his head as if to knock the thought loose from his brain, but both Remus’ stricken expression and Peter’s sympathetic smile were giving the truth away. Sirius felt rather like he might faint.

“Prongs…” It seemed like he was moving underwater as Sirius approached James to put a hand on his shoulder.

“DON’T TOUCH ME!”

James’ shout startled Sirius so badly that he stumbled backwards and came down hard on his tailbone. Meanwhile, James had shot to his feet and was pressed against the wall beside his bed, body leaning as far away from Sirius as possible like a cornered animal. His chest was heaving, and his eyes were so wide Sirius could see the whites all around his pupils.

Deer in the lights, Sirius thought, and couldn’t stop a hysterical giggle from burbling across his lips.

“James,” Remus began in a soothing voice, but James cut him off as well.

“Shut up, shut UP!” James looked jerkily back and forth between Sirius and Remus. “How could you be! You’ve been sleeping in here with me all the time! I’ve been SHOWERING with you!” He pointed a shaking finger at Sirius on the floor. “You nick food off my PLATE!”

“It’s not a communicable disease, for Chrissake!” Remus snapped. Sirius was still sprawled on the floor, staring up at James dumbly.

“You’d know all about those, wouldn’t you!” James shot back. His voice was weirdly high and was giving Sirius the shivers. “Weren’t you abnormal enough?! Are you TRYING to be the biggest freak possible?! Not to mention that you’ve turned Sirius into a shirtlifter!”

“Sirius does what he wants.” Remus’ voice was low and dangerous. He pushed himself out the chair rather shakily, but once standing his glare looked like it should have crisped James’ underwear. Sirius and Peter watched in silence as non-verbal threats were exchanged.

James dropped his eyes first.

“Fuck you all,” James muttered to the carpet. “I’ve got to find Lily, if you poofters haven’t destroyed that as well.” He stormed from the room without meeting anyone’s eyes, the door crashing shut behind him. Remus sank back down into his chair. Sirius didn’t move, just continued staring at the wall where James had been standing.

“What’s he going to tell Evans?” Peter asked.

“I don’t know,” Remus answered flatly, putting his head in his hands. “Doesn’t matter.”

Sliding off the bed, Peter announced that he was going to get food that hadn’t been squashed, and fled the scene. Sirius still hadn’t moved.

“Padfoot,” Remus murmured, “are you all right?” There was a long moment before Sirius answered.

“You kissed James,” he said. It felt as though his voice was coming from somebody else very far away. “You kissed James, and now he hates me.”

“You would latch onto that, wouldn’t you,” Remus sighed. “It isn’t as if it meant anything, it was just to distract Lily, there’s no reason to…”

“No reason?!” Sirius lurched to his feet suddenly, but then couldn’t decide whether he wanted to advance threateningly on Remus or just run away and hide, so he settled for standing there and shouting. “You won’t let me so much as TOUCH YOUR HAND in the corridor, and I come around the corner and you’re SNOGGING JAMES!”

“Lily’s been using a Locator Charm on James!” Remus interrupted, lifting his head to glare right back. “I had to do something, she kept going on about werewolves! She probably has it figured out already, she isn’t stupid. Oh god,” Remus slumped in his chair, “first Severus, now Lily, sometimes I feel like everybody in this fucking castle knows my secret. I should’ve never told any of you.”

Sirius, who had begun to shake a little when Remus mentioned Severus, at that point lost it completely.

“HOW DARE YOU EVEN SAY THAT, YOU TIT,” Sirius roared, eyes scrunched shut in fury. “WE SPENT THREE YEARS DOING NOTHING BUT RESEARCH TO HELP YOU! I BECAME A DOG FOR YOU YOU BASTARD AND I’VE BEEN KEEPING THIS WHOLE…THING WITH YOU A SECRET ALL ON YOUR SAY-SO! IF I DIDN’T LOVE YOU I’D MURDER YOU WITH MY BARE HANDS…”

It suddenly dawned on Sirius that he’d said the forbidden three word phrase, and he trailed off. Remus held very still, mouth hanging open a little. They stared at each other.

“Well, I do,” Sirius said at last, mouth set in a sullen line. “And you’re kissing James. So fuck off.”

“I’m going to bed,” Remus said faintly, standing up with an obvious effort. He looked as though he might topple over and shatter at any moment while he shuffled the dozen steps to his bed, but Sirius watched him without helping. As soon as Remus had pulled his hangings, Sirius stormed out to find James.

*****

That night, late enough that it probably wasn’t even night anymore, Sirius heard a soft “Sirius, are you awake?”

He was awake, he’d been awake all night, and he felt like he might never sleep again. He also planned to never emerge from bed ever again, he was just going to lay here on top of his blankets, fully dressed. He looked forward to the next 140 years or so being very boring, punctuated only by infrequent House Elf visits to deodorize him.

Apparently unthwarted by Sirius’ lack of response, Remus slid out of his own bed with a muffled grunt and staggered over to Sirius’. The uneven fall of his footsteps told Sirius that Remus was having an equally poor night. Not that he cared. Sirius remained hunched on his side as Remus slid in to sit on top of the blankets next to him.

“Can’t sleep either,” Remus said quietly, and Sirius could see without looking the exhaustion lines on Remus’ face as he stared down at his hands, twisted in his lap. “About earlier…it didn’t have anything to do with you…with us. It was just that Lily knew, and I was scared, and I was angry because James should’ve said something clever but he acts like such a halfwit in front of Lily, and I was so tired and it’s stupid, Sirius, I know, but I just wanted to distract Lily and hurt James and…”

“You knew, didn’t you?” Sirius finally interrupted, voice hoarse. “About James.”

“That he would take it like this?” Remus asked, after taking a moment to decipher the subject change. Sirius didn’t answer. “Yes, I knew. He knew about me, I think, and I tried to talk to him about it once, but he was…well…”

“I thought you just didn’t want anyone to know I was yours,” Sirius said. A long pause ensued.

“Oh,” Remus’ voice was soft with sudden understanding, “you thought…oh, Padfoot.” Remus tugged on Sirius shoulder to force him to roll over. Remus looked every bit as wrung out in the dim light of his wand as Sirius had imagined, and if he had been just a little less miserable he might have felt sympathetic. “That’s never what I …Padfoot, have you been crying?”

Sirius merely snuffled, because the day Sirius Black admitted to blubbering over a fight with his best mate was the day that Snape won the Miss Hogsmeade Pageant. Finally seeming to grasp the import of the situation, Remus shifted closer and ran a soothing hand through Sirius’ tangled hair.

“You tried to talk to him, didn’t you?”

“Yeah,” Sirius grunted. He pressed his face against Remus’ leg, the worn flannel of Remus’ pajamas soft against his cheek. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“What did he…”

“I don’t want to talk about it!” Sirius snapped, too loudly, voice cracking right in the middle. The hand in Sirius’ hair tightened, and Remus was probably about to make some other comment when James’ voice rang out from the other side of the room.

“Sweet merciful crap! Are you in each other’s beds right now?! Fucking hell, if you’re doing, er…whatever it is that you do, I’ll toss you out of the room right now! The NERVE…”

“James,” Peter interrupted from his own bed, “I think you had better fuck off.”

After a moment of silence, James demanded that Peter repeat himself, and Peter did, enunciating every word very carefully as though James were an imbecile, bless his furry little heart.

“Should’ve known you’d be in league with the poofters,” James snarled, and Sirius could hear him rustling around with his blankets and stomping across the stone floor. “I refuse to sleep in a room that’s been sullied by your perverted…whatever!” The door opened and slammed shut.

“Thank you, Peter,” Sirius heard Remus say, but it was faint over the sound of Sirius’ teeth chattering. Clenching his jaw, he tightened his muscles against the tremor shaking his body, but it only made him shake worse.

Peter muttered something sleepy in response to Remus and shifted around in his bed. A minute later, he was snoring like normal. Sirius wondered whether he’d even remember this in the morning.

“You’re shivering.” Remus went back to stroking Sirius’ hair, and his other hand pressed warmly between Sirius’ shoulder blades. After a few minutes, the tremors running through Sirius quieted, leaving him feeling limp and drained.

“He’ll come around,” Remus reassured eventually, and Sirius appreciated the lie.

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