Sirius Black was feeling very confident.
Remus' request that he try to date other people had a whole different meaning in Sirius' mind. To put it simply: Make Remus Jealous.
That, he thought, would be relatively easy....
Except there weren't as many male students that were interested in other men as he had thought. The Prewitt brothers had graduated last year and Sirius had already had his way with them both at one point anyway. There were a few 'curious' fourth year Ravenclaws, but Sirius had standards at the very least, and itty bitty fourth years were definitely one of them. He wasn't looking to be anyone's 'first time' and he definitely didn't need any of them growing attached. It also wasn't enough to just find a bloke to snog, he had to get Remus to catch him doing so.
"I don't see why you can't just do what Remus told you to do." James sighed, struggling to hold a squirming niffler still as Sirius tried to paint a large, red number 1 on it.
"I am doing what Remus said." Defended Sirius with a frown. "D'you reckon it'd be cruel to put a body bind on these guys while we do this?"
Peter rolled his eyes, his arms full with the other two nifflers they had stolen from Professor Grubbly-Plank's stables. "You're really concerned with animal cruelty at this stage in the plan, Padfoot? Besides, It's not like it will hurt them."
Sirius gave a small shrug and pointed his wand at the creature in James' arms. "Sorry little guys. Patrificus Totalus." The Niffler's eyes grew wide in shock, but the rest of it's body went rigid. He turned and gave the same treatment to the Peter's.
"Hooking up with Benjy Fenwick behind a suit of armor during Remus' rounds to purposely get caught is not what Remus told you to do." James said pointedly, laying the inanimate niffler on his bed and taking one from Peter so he could paint a number 3 on it.
"No idea what you mean." Sirius lied, feigning an air of innocence. "What Benjy and I had was very real, thank you very much."
Peter snorted. "Right. All twenty minutes of it, I'm sure." The shorter boy ducked as Sirius swung at him, but ended up with a face of of red paint regardless. "Look," Peter spat out some paint. "All we're saying is that Remus isn't stupid. He knows you're not taking it seriously and you're only trying to make him jealous by snogging other blokes right in his face. You need to show him you're trying."
"Right," Grumbled Sirius, painting the number 4 on the remaining niffler.
James gripped his shoulder, squeezing it reassuringly. "Come on, Pads. It's like you told me in the beginning of the year. 'There's plenty of kelpies in the lake', and Mary and I have been dating for a while now."
Sirius shrugged him off, shaking his head. "Yeah, except you're a bloke that likes birds. So you've got a whole lake full of kelpies. I've got a pond with some toads and a goldfish or two if I'm lucky."
"And what's that make Remus, exactly?" Peter chuckled.
"The bloody frog you kiss on a dare that turns out to be a damn prince." Sirius muttered miserably.
Rolling his eyes, James grabbed Sirius by the arm and dragged him up. "That's enough of that, Princess. C'mon, we've got to get these guys down to the Great Hall before everyone heads down for dinner." He and Peter counter jinxed the nifflers before getting them back into their cages. Peter took the cages, placing a silencing charm on them as James threw the cloak over his head.
Lily climbed through the portrait hole with an excited bounce in her step. She had spent the last few hours digging in the furthest corner of the library, determined still to find any information of the mating habits of werewolves. She was covered in dust and had been bitten by a particularly angry book, but it had been worth it for some of the things she had managed to find. Smiling broadly, she made her way to the sofa by the fireplace where Mary was curled up reading a battered copy of classic muggle poetry.
"Hey Mary, have you seen Potter?"
Mary glanced up at her and blinked. "What's he done wrong?"
Lily frowned. "Wha-? Oh! Nothing! I mean...not that I know of, anyway. I'm sure he's up to something." She found herself laughing nervously and turned into an unconvincing cough that Mary raised an eyebrow at. "Sorry," Lily blushed. "Dust." She cleared her throat once more and tucked her hair behind her ear as her friend stared at her in confusion. "Anyway, I just had to talk to him about something, but it's not important. I mean, it's important but it can wait, you know..."
Mary closed her book slowly, not taking her eyes off her flustered friend. "Is everything alright, Lily?"
"Of course." Lily smiled. "Why?"
"You've just been acting a little strange, that's all...specifically regarding James." She gave a small shrug. "You're still alright with me and him being together, aren't you?"
"Don't be silly!" Said Lily, laughing just a little too loud. "It's been, what? Three months? I think it's great that Potter has managed not to irritate you for that long. Keep at it, whatever it is you're doing. I...I have to go find Remus. I'll see you at dinner." Without waiting for a response, he hurried back out of the common room. Once the portrait swung closed behind her she took a deep breath. "What the bloody hell was that about?" She muttered to herself, running a hand through her hair. She found herself feeling like that more often around Mary lately, like she had to force herself to act normal and the harder she tried, the farther from normal she behaved.
Lost in her confused thoughts, she was surprised to find herself standing in front of the Great Hall, where Remus was leaning against the heavy, closed doors, seemingly keeping a lookout. For a split second Lily considered asking why, but she decided against it. "Hi Remus." She forced a smile once again.
"Bit early to be down for dinner, isn't it?" Asked Remus with a concerned look.
"I could say the same for you, couldn't I?" Lily countered, smirking a little.
Remus laughed. "You could, yes. But you and I both know I'm not standing here to be first in line for pudding." He rolled his eyes before cracking the door open just enough so he could peek inside. He closed the door again and looked back at her with a sigh. "I don't know how I continue to be dragged into their shit."
"Oh Please," Lily grinned, folding her arms. "Everyone knows it's you that plans half of their shit. No one's buying that sweet, innocent face anymore, Lupin."
A smirk more worthy of James or Sirius crossed Remus' face and he shrugged. "Oh plenty of people still buy it. You just know me better." He gave her a quick once over. "Seriously though, are you alright?"
"I was looking for James- Or...Or you, really." She added quickly as both of Remus' eyebrows shot up. "Either of you."
Remus nodded slowly, a small smile tugging at the corner of his lips. "Uh huh...Well, you've found me."
Lily stood there for a moment, staring blankly at him. What had she wanted to tell him? She had become so flustered earlier with Mary she couldn't remember what she had originally had to say. Mentally she retraced her steps...Ah!
"Well, it's...It's actually something you may want to discuss in private." She said with a meaningful look that Remus thankfully caught onto right away.
"I see," He nodded, biting his lower lip. "Well...I-" He stopped speaking as he saw a group of students coming around the corner. He opened one door again, this time wide enough to see that James, Sirius and Peter were all seated innocently in their usual spots at the Gryffindor table and with a heavy sigh he opened the door the rest of the way. "We'll talk later, then?"
She nodded, taking a step forward into the hall just to have Remus grab her by the wrist.
"Wait!" He dug into his school bag and pulled out a plastic fork, spoon and knife. "Take these if you actually want to eat dinner tonight."
Lily frowned. "Do I want to ask?"
It didn't take long to find out exactly what the boys had done. As soon as the feast appeared on the tables there was a loud clatter and a few screams as Nifflers, with the numbers 1, 3 and 4 painted on in red and gold, crawled over the tables, stealing all the silverware in their wake. Students and staff alike were driven into a panic, with the exception of course of the Marauders, who were calmly eating with their plastic utensils.
Lily sighed and shook her head as Professor Grubbly-Plank frantically searched for the missing Niffler, much to the amusement of the boys sitting beside her.
"You four are never going to grow up, are you?"
James snickered around a spoonful of pudding. "Not if we can help it, Evans."
Whatever strange feelings Lily had been experiencing earlier about the boy were promptly forgotten.
After a very stern and detailed lecture about the dozens of school rules they had broken with this particular prank, Professor McGonagall had assigned all four boys separate detentions for the night, with the exception of Remus who had prefect duties to attend to and would be writing a long letter of apology on behalf of the four of them instead.
Sirius was serving his detention by polishing the frames of the portraits in one of the second floor corridors, and instead of being under the supervision of a Professor, it was the Prefect that was on duty of that particular hall that he was suppose to answer to.
Ravenclaw sixth year, Gilderoy Lockhart.
This in itself was enough of a punishment in Sirius' opinion. The blonde prefect was an absolute narcissist to say the least and about as flamboyant as a pygmy puff on steroids. He was a bigger flirt than Sirius himself and on top of that, he wasn't even good at it. Although, his stereotypical good looks and irritatingly perfect smile seemed to do the trick, as he was never without arm candy when flouncing through the streets of Hogsmeade, and he wasn't picky about the gender of said arm candy. His very existence made Sirius want to stab his eyes out with his own wand.
"Bad luck, mate." James' reflection muttered quietly when Sirius had complained into the two-way mirror. "I'm sorting all the missing silverware with Grubbly-Plank checking in every ten bloody seconds..."
"Rather that than this bubble headed nitwit." Grumbled Sirius. "As if his ego wasn't bad enough, now they're letting him watch over detentions..."
James snorted. "Maybe he'll go easy on you, Pads. Everyone knows he's a pushover for attention. Offer him a snog, maybe you'll get out early."
Sirius gagged and shuddered. "You're a sick man, Potter."
James laughed, then let out an irritated groan. "Fuck, Grubbly-Plank's back. I'll see you at the dorm. Give Gilly a kiss for me, eh?" His reflection was gone before he could catch Sirius' rude hand gesture.
"I assure you, Black, you look just fine." A twittering laugh made Sirius' eye twitch and he turned around to face Lockhart.
Gilderoy nodded to the mirror still gripped in Sirius' hand. "I always wondered how you managed to look so good all the time." He flashed his irritatingly bright, white teeth as he leaned against the wall opposite Sirius. "Though I never took you for the type to carry around a mirror." He sighed and shook his head. "My image of you as a 'carelessly handsome bad boy' is shattered."
Stuffing the mirror back into his jeans, Sirius rolled his eyes and turned back to the portrait of Beatrix Boxam to continue scrubbing at her frame. "Sorry to disappoint, I suppose."
"Oh, I'm certainly not disappointed." The Ravenclaw hummed in approval as Sirius bent to dip his rag in polish. "Not at all."
Gritting his teeth, Sirius glared over his shoulder at the other boy. "Flattering. But I have a-"
"A boyfriend?" Gilderoy finished for him, pushing off the wall and strolling over to stand beside him. "Sources say you don't, actually. Word travels around school, you know..."
"Nice try." Sirius smirked and took a threatening step forward, towering over Gilderoy, who's smile vanished immediately. "But I was going to say, I have a few hexes I'd love to test out, and if you aren't interested in becoming my test-dummy, I suggest you keep your third year level flirting to a minimum and let me finish out my detention."
Gilderoy huffed in disappointment and stepped away, leaning against the wall again and watching Sirius out of the corner of his eye. Sirius did his best to ignore him, putting all of his concentration into scrubbing the silver frames of Witches and Wizards he was probably related to in some way.
"So what happened?" Asked Lockhart, sounding bored after the long, extended silence that Sirius had been thoroughly enjoying.
Sirius didn't look away from Xavier Rastrick's portrait. Mother's great uncle's second cousin, I think...
"What happened?" Gilderoy repeated, unaffected by Sirius' outburst.
Sirius stared at him, he must be dumber than he looked. "What do you-? Ugh. My friends and I let a bunch of nifflers loose in the Great Hall to steal the silverware, weren't you there-?
Gilderoy rolled his eyes. "I mean between you and your boyfriend. That Lupin kid." He waved his hand dismissively at Remus' name, making Sirius want to punch him. "I mean, everyone knows you two have been practically married since first year. Though I can't imagine why..."
Sirius' fists clenched so hard he heard his knuckles crack. He let out a slow breath.
"Remus decided that we should see other people." Sirius sighed. He wasn't sure why he was answering to that pompous oaf anyway, but he supposed it was better than letting any rumors fly around. "And it's only temporary." He added quickly.
Gilderoy hummed thoughtfully, once again braving a step closer to Sirius so that the Gryffindor's back was pressed against the portrait he had been polishing. "It doesn't have to be temporary, you know. You shouldn't sell yourself short, Black. You're the best looking boy in the school, well, besides me of course-" Sirius groaned inwardly, using every ounce of self control in his body to not pummel Lockhart to the ground and knock those ridiculously stark white teeth out of his pretty head. "Why limit yourself to Lupin when you can do so much better?"
Before Sirius could stop himself, he grabbed a fistful of the blonde's shirt and flipped them so that Lockhart was the one pinned against the wall. He drew back his fist, prepared to deliver what was sure to be a very satisfying punch when he saw someone rounding the corner in his peripheral vision.
This better work. He thought desperately, and he pressed his lips against Lockart's.
For a second it felt like everything stopped. He heard Remus' footsteps stop short and he was sure the werewolf was staring at them. Might as well make it believable.
Pressing himself fully against the Ravenclaw, Sirius moaned and parted his lips to allow Gilderoy to slide his tongue in with a little too much enthusiasm. He tasted too strongly of mint, like he carried mouthwash with him for just such occasions, and it gave Sirius an instant headache. In a very bold move, one of Gilderoy's hands slid down his back and grabbed his arse a little too hard and Sirius had to stop himself from biting down on the boy's tongue.
The sound of Remus clearing his throat loudly should have been Sirius' excuse to stop, but he was feeling spiteful and he kept going until finally;
Success! Sirius thought smugly as he broke away from Lockhart with a smirk. "Hey Rem. I didn't know you were there."
Remus was standing with his arms crossed, amber eyes glaring daggers at his fellow prefect. "Lockhart, I should report you for abusing your post." He said coldly. "You're suppose to be monitoring students in detention, not snogging them."
"Detention's over according to my watch." Said Lockhart airily, making a show of wiping his mouth on his sleeve. Sirius saw Remus' eyes flash and his lip curled.
"So it is." Remus growled softly. He finally locked eyes with Sirius, who suddenly felt very small and not quite as confident and cocky as he had moments ago. "Which means you should be heading back to the dorm, shouldn't you?"
Sirius licked his lips. "Uh-"
Feeling like a dog who had been caught digging through the garbage, Sirius went to Remus' side with his figurative tail between his legs. Without another word or look to Lockhart, Sirius followed Remus toward Gryffindor tower.
Sirius could feel Remus' anger coming off of him as they walked in complete silence. Still, he had won, hadn't he? Remus wouldn't be so mad if he hadn't been jealous...
"So you're mad at me, then?" He asked once the silence began to bother him more than anything else.
"Yes, I am mad at you." said Remus, keeping his eyes forward.
"Well that's not exactly fair, Moony. I'm only doing what you told me t-"
"You are not doing what I told you to do!" Remus snapped, rounding on him. "You aren't taking this seriously! You're snogging random blokes and hoping I walk up on you. So what, Sirius? So I'll get jealous? So I'll realize how badly I want you to myself and how much it hurts to see someone else touch you? That's not what this is about, Sirius! It isn't about whether or not I want you! It's about you giving yourself a fair chance at finding-"
"For your information," Sirius cut in, his own anger rising as he met Remus' glare. "I wasn't just snogging random blokes to make you jealous! I happen to have a date with him in Hogsmeade next weekend!" The lie fell from his mouth before he had time to think and he almost immediately regretted it.
Remus stared at him, jaw dropped and eyes wide before he started to laugh. "Yeah right, Padfoot. You expect me to believe that? You bloody hate that twat!" Sirius remained expressionless and eventually Remus' laughter died. By now they were standing in front of the portrait of the fat lady, staring wordlessly at one another.
Remus swallowed. "Sirius-"
"You need to get back to your rounds." Sirius muttered. "Goodnight, Remus." He turned to the portrait. "Collywobbles"
The portrait swung open and Sirius stepped inside.