There was nothing too exciting about the muggle town that was walking distance from The Potters' estate, other than the fact that it was a change of scenery for the boys who had spent the last few weeks pestering Euphemia and Fleamont, running around the manor and the grounds and causing the usual ruckus that comes with being 15 year olds. It was mostly a few family run shops, an ice cream parlor and a pub. But to Sirius, who had never been allowed around areas heavily populated by Muggles, it was an entirely different world. Remus had watched in amusement as Sirius, James and Peter tore through the stationary store, eyes wide and minds blown by the idea of writing utensils that didn't need to be dipped in an ink well every few lines.
"But how does it work?"
"The ink is stored inside." Explained Remus, holding back his laughter while James inspected an average ball point pen.
"Muggles," The pureblood sighed, utterly impressed. "They really do think of some of the greatest things."
"I suppose they have no choice." Sirius agreed, picking up a stapler which Remus immediately took from him, muttering under his breath about sharp things and not wanting to have a trip to the hospital if Sirius put an eye out. "Since they haven't got magic, they've got to figure out how to get by..."
It had taken far too long to drag them all out of the shop and Remus, being the only one of the four with any muggle money on him, had gone as far as to buy a pack of cheap pens for the other three so they could experiment with them all they wanted, without bothering the elderly shop keeper that had been watching them suspiciously for the last half an hour. It was closing in on dinner time and they were going to call it a day when something caught Sirius' eye, and without a word he sped across the street to press his nose against the glass window of the storefront.
"Told you to leash him." James smirked, nudging Remus with his elbow as they crossed to meet Sirius outside what turned out to be a boutique that sold clothing and records. The store had Sirius written all over it.
"I'm going in," Sirius announced, not waiting for a reply as he swung the door open and hurried inside. James, Peter and Remus all exchanged a look and shrugged before they followed him in.
Sirius had made a b line directly to the front corner of the shop where he was stood in awe, admiring a mannequin that was sporting a simple, sleek, black leather jacket. At first he just stood completely still, staring at it as if it were the most beautiful work of art known to man. Then, tentatively, he reached out and touched the surprisingly soft material.
"Alright Pads?" Peter asked, raising an eyebrow. They were all a little confused at just what about the jacket had Sirius so bewildered. Sirius didn't respond, he appeared to be contemplating something as his eyes narrowed and he chewed his bottom lip. Finally, and with surprising care for the usually rambunctious teenager, he slid the article off the plastic model. He inspected it again at a closer glance before turning to face the mirrored wall behind him and slipping the jacket on over his black t shirt. His grey eyes widened a little as he watched his reflection, running his hands over his sides and observing himself at different angles.
"So how does it look? Pretty badass, eh?" Sirius flashed a grin over his leather clad shoulder, addressing his friends as though he had just remembered they were with him. He looked for all the world like he stepped right off the cover of a biker's catalog
"Hot." Said Remus, eyeing his boyfriend up and down with the shadow of a smirk pulling at his lips. Sirius' grin turned devilish and he winked at the other boy.
"Oh yeah? You like it that much, Moony?"
Remus snorted and rolled his eyes. "No, you prat. I meant you look bloody boiling. It's August and that thing looks like it weighs a ton. Take it off, you'll die of heat stroke."
James and Peter both held back laughter as Sirius' face fell slightly.
"I think I look fit as hell." He said, jutting his chin up slightly in confidence. "Don't lie, Moony. You know you agree."
Remus' expression softened and he chuckled. "Yeah Pads. I mean...it does look really nice on you. But it hardly matters, you've not got any muggle money and besides," he reached forward and grasped the tag that hung from the sleeve. "It's really expensive." He winced at the price.
Sirius deflated, looking again at his own reflection and wearing a face of wishfulness that Remus actually found very endearing. He looked like a puppy who had been told he couldn't have the left over table scraps.
"Come on, Padfoot." James said, sobering up slightly as he caught the look of disappointment on his friend's face. "I'm sure you'll be able to get one like it eventually. And like Remus said, it's bloody August. You don't need it now."
Sirius sighed and shrugged out of the jacket, putting it carefully back in its place and giving it one last hopeful once over before he followed his friends out of the store.
As they walked back to the Potters', Sirius didn't say much. After a while of allowing the boy to sulk, Remus gently grabbed him by the elbow and smiled softly when the sad grey eyes met his. "You did look really good in that jacket, Sirius. Really. Like it was made for you."
The corner of Sirius' mouth twitched up in a cocky smirk. "Yeah?"
Remus nodded, a pink tinge flushing over his cheeks as he added. "But then...I think you look bloody fit in nearly anything..." He admitted shyly as their hands found each other and their fingers laced together. Sirius' face lit up and the two of them slowed their walk just a bit so that they fell behind James and Peter by a few strides. Remus bit his lower lip as his eyes lingered for a moment on Sirius' mouth and he ducked his head down to kiss him. He had meant it to be just a quick brush, but when Sirius sighed contently, he couldn't help himself and he let his tongue slide slowly between his boyfriend's parted lips. They had stopped walking altogether, forgetting their friends momentarily as Remus' arms wrapped around Sirius' waist and Sirius slid his hands up to rest at the back of the taller boy's neck where his fingers began to toy with the soft curls there. There was nothing but the two of them in that second, their lips and tongues moving against each other, not mattering that they were standing on the side of a relatively public road.
The sound of James clearly his throat brought them both back to earth and they reluctantly ended the kiss, though they stood for a second longer, foreheads resting against each other and smiling somewhat sheepishly.
"Are you two done eating each other's faces? You won't be hungry for supper, you know." James teased as he and Peter both snickered at the flustered couple. The two of them pulled away from each other, regaining their composure and Sirius shot James a dirty look and flipped a finger up at him. Remus blushed, but he was smiling as he reclaimed Sirius' hand in his own and they continued the walk back to the Potters'.
Lily worried her bottom lip between her teeth as she gazed down at the pin that lay in the palm of her hand. A Prefect. They had made her actually made her a Prefect. Her stomach felt queasy.
"You're not happy about it?" Asked Marlene, brows knitted together in confusion. "It's a huge deal, Lil. And think of how it will look on your transcript."
Lily sighed, turning the pin over between her fingers, fidgeting nervously. "I am happy about it. Really." She tried to sound confident, but she knew she was failing at that. She blew out a gust of air that sent her fringe flying up and sat heavily on her bed. "Alright, I'm a little...nervous."
"Why? What's to be nervous about?" Marlene sat beside her, folding her long legs underneath herself and picking up the letter from the school that announced Lily's new title.
"It's..." Lily trailed off and laughed lightly. "It's silly probably, but...I'm a muggleborn." She mumbled the last part. Marlene frowned.
"So," She sighed again, averting her eyes. "With the way some of the other students have been picking on muggleborns, I'm just...I suppose I'm a little uneasy about being given a position of authority. There are...certain people...that I'm sure won't respect anything I say." It bothered her to admit it out loud, but it was the truth.
"Bullshit." Swore Marlene sharply, the angry tone in her voice making Lily look up in surprise. "That is not the Lily Evans that I know." She said firmly.
"No." Marlene held up a hand to silence her. "You're the brightest girl in our year, Lily. And you've got wicked talent with a wand and more than a few good hexes up your sleeve. You deserve this. Don't let some pureblood supremacist gits take that from you."
Lily smiled weakly and met the fierce blue eyes of her friend. "You're right. I told you it was silly."
Marlene shook her head, smirking. "I should say so. You should be bloody well proud of yourself, Lils. I'm proud of you. Your parents are proud of you. That wench of a sister is probably reeling with jealousy, but in my opinion that makes it even more of a victory."
At that Lily actually did laugh. "That's not funny, Marley."
"Didn't mean it to be. I'm serious." The blonde grinned and playfully nudged at her friend. "There's the other bright side, you get to give Sirius and James detention, eh?"
Lily rolled her eyes and laughed. "I thought you said they weren't so bad?"
Marlene gave a half hearted, dismissive shrug. "I don't mind them. But that's got to give you a little bit of a thrill, eh?"
A grin made its way across Lily's face and she shook her head. "Alright it may be just a little satisfying." She admit. Then something clicked in her mind. "You never told me why you and Sirius broke up. I mean, personally I can't imagine why you started dating him in the first place, but you two always seemed to hit it off rather well."
Marlene made an odd face that Lily couldn't read. "We just weren't...you know...right together." She hopped off the bed. "Besides, it's not like it was anything more than just sneaking off to snog. It was just silliness, really."
"Mmm," Lily hummed thoughtfully. "Dorcas and Mary think he's not attracted to girls at all you know." She looked pointedly up at her friend through her lashes as the other girl seemed to tense up for a moment.
"Er...Dorcas says that, eh?"
Lily nodded, watching Marlene carefully. "They reckon he's got it pretty bad for Lupin. The way he fusses over him and all...d'you think-?"
"I think that's Sirius' business." Marlene said a little too quickly. She cleared her throat and began twisting a strand of blonde hair around her finger. "So what if he does, anyway? Did...did Dorcas...or....did they have a problem with it? If Sirius happened to be that way?"
Lily's eyes widened a little and filled with concern and she shook her head. "No. Of course not. It was just an observation, that's all..."
Marlene licked her lips, looking down at her feet. "And you? You haven't got a problem with that right?"
Again Lily shook her head. "No, Marly." She said softly. Then she smiled. "I can name about twenty problems off the top of my head that I've got with Black. But that's certainly not one of them..." She continued to study her friend's nervous behavior. "Marlene," she waited for the other girl to look at her. "I would never hold that against somebody. You love whoever you love. You know that, right?"
Finally Marlene nodded, smiling weakly. "I know."
"Is it me," Said Peter, peering out the window of their compartment at the crowd of people hustling along the platform at Kings Cross. "Or do the first years just keep getting smaller?"
Sirius laughed and stretched out across the seat, resting his head on Remus' lap where the werewolf's fingers instinctively began to run through his hair. "No they're definitely getting smaller. They look like infants."
"It's relative," Remus commented mildly, not taking his eyes off the book he was holding with the hand that wasn't petting Sirius. "We've gotten bigger and older so they seem smaller, that's all."
James frowned, watching a few tiny first years run past the compartment doors. "I don't know. I don't think we were ever that little...I've seen bigger cornish pixies than some of this lot."
Remus snorted and shook his head. "Nonsense. You were too that small. Hell, Sirius still is."
"Oy! I'm right here, you know." Sirius grumbled. "Besides, I'm taller than Peter. Why don't you pick on his size, you lanky prat?"
Remus tugged gently on Sirius' hair to quiet him. "Because you tease Peter enough and someone needs to put you in your place."
"Speaking of putting me in my place," Sirius reached up and pulled at his boyfriend's school robe. "Shouldn't you be wearing your shiny new badge, Mr. Prefect?" Remus swatted his hand away, eyes still glued to the pages of his book.
"I've told you, I'm not doing it." The muscle in his jaw twitched in aggravation. Sirius sat up so fast he knocked the book right out of the other boy's hand.
"Wait, you were serious about that?"
Remus bent to pick up his book, letting out a growl of frustration. "Of course I was."
"But why?" Asked Peter, his tone just as surprised as Sirius'. James too was looking at him in confusion now that the train had begun to move and he had taken his seat beside Peter. Remus looked between his friends and frowned.
"You lot spent the last three weeks teasing me for it, first of all." All three of them began to protest, but he cut them off. "And like I said, I just don't need the extra stress of it. It's too time consuming and it isn't worth it. It was stupid of them to give it to me anyway. It's not like I've done anything to deserve it. I don't have top marks and I may not hold a school record for most detentions like the two of you, but I don't have the best behavioral history either."
"Well yeah, but only because we-"
"James, I participate willingly in ninety percent of the pranks we pull and you know it. This is completely ridiculous. I'm not doing it." He skimmed through the pages of his book, trying to find where he was before it had been knocked away, but then it was plucked from his hands. "Give it back, Sirius..."
Sirius, who was standing on the seat and holding the book above his head and out of Remus' reach, glared down at him. "No. That's stupid. You need to do this, Moony."
Remus huffed, his annoyance growing steadily stronger. "Why? So you three can reap all the benefits?"
Sirius whacked him not-too-lightly on the head with his book, thankfully a paperback, and rolled his eyes. "No, although I still think we could really get some good use out of the prefects lav," He narrowly dodged his boyfriend's hand that had shot out to retrieve the novel he still held hostage. "Because you do deserve it, Remus." He said seriously. "You work harder than anyone else in the school and, yeah, you may not have top marks but they're damn near close for someone who's got as much going on as you do. You're responsible, and you're always helping out the younger students that need help and...well...I'm proud of you, Remus. You should be recognized for what you manage to accomplish." His face flushed a little and he dropped the book into Remus' lap. "Besides...if you don't do it, it will probably go to someone that gets on all our nerves or something and we won't manage to have any fun whatsoever...so...you really should just...you know...do it." He finished lamely, feeling a little embarrassed and sat back down in his seat. Remus stared at him, completely lost for words although he felt his aggravation ease up.
"Sirius is right, Moony." Said James, as Peter nodded along side him. "If anyone in the whole school deserves to have their effort rewarded, it's definitely you."
Remus felt his face heat up and he smiled, looking down at his lap. "Thank you. Really...I...I appreciate that you all feel that way."
The door to the compartment slid open and all four of them looked up to see a slightly flustered looking Lily Evans standing over them. James grinned, standing up and running his hand through his hair. "Hey, Evans. Miss me this summer?" He had forcibly dropped his voice an octave, making Sirius, Remus and Peter have to stifle their laughter. Lily did him no such justice and it took her a good fifteen seconds to compose herself.
"Oh I'm sorry," She sighed with mirth and shook her head. "Sorry, that was just a new level even for you, Potter."
James scowled and he sat back down. "What do you want, Evans?" He asked irritably.
"Actually, I was looking for Remus." Said Lily, turning her attention to him. "Er...there's a meeting for all the new prefects in another car. They were looking for you so...I said I'd fetch you."
Remus blinked up at her for a moment, his nerves creeping back up. "Oh...um....right..." He stood up and turned to face his friends. "I guess I'll see you later then? It can't last too long..."
The others nodded encouragingly and after one last second of hesitation he followed Lily out of the compartment.
Once the door closed again, Sirius shook his head. "See? Like I said, if it's not him we'll be stuck with someone who gets on all of our nerves and we won't have any fun. Evans the Prefect...Just what we need."
"She's a prefect whether he is or not." Peter pointed out.
"Yeah," Sirius shrugged. "But she's much less of a threat when we've got Moony on the inside than if it were someone else."
Remus followed closely as Lily hurried through the cars to find the Prefects' compartment. He and Lily had never been particularly close, mostly because of her disliking of James and Sirius, but they certainly had always been on friendly terms with each other and he could tell that something was definitely off.
"Hmm?" She responded distractedly, eyes searching the compartments as they passed them.
Remus grabbed her arm gently and they both stopped. "Why do I get the feeling you're just as unhappy about this whole prefect thing as I am?"
Lily's whole body slumped with relief. "You too?"
He nodded, offering a sympathetic smile. "Not that I'm not, you know, grateful to Professor Dumbledore for thinking I can handle it or anything-"
"Me too!" Agreed Lily, clearly pleased to see that she wasn't the only one that felt a little pressured. "I'm thrilled, really...I mean, on a personal level, sure. I'm proud of myself but..." She shook her head. "I can't help but think it may be..."
"More stress than it's worth?" Remus smiled wryly and the girl laughed, nodding.
"Exactly." She sighed. "Can I be honest though?"
"I'm really glad that if I've got to do this, at least it's you that's with me." She held her hand out to him. "We'll work together, then?"
Remus took her hand and they shook on it. "Deal."