"Underwear should be worn on the inside"
- Nancy Cartwright
"This is a bad idea."
"You say that about all of our ideas, Moony." Sirius grinned cockily as he carefully gestured with his wand, earning a strangled shout from above.
"Well they're all bad."
"Where's your sense of adventure?" Sirius stepped aside as a quill sailed down, narrowly missing his head.
"It stayed in the dorms. My sense of self-preservation tagged along instead. And it's not happy with me. In fact, it doubts my choice of friends in general."
"Well send it packing and have a bit of fun for a change. Your devotion to the standards and principles of your Prefects badge is, frankly, worrying me. I think you're forgetting the important things in life." Sirius lowered his wand, ending the spell at the sound of a fleshy sort of thud from above.
"And the important things would be? Preserving the spirit of mayhem?"
"Well there's FUN, which is important in itself. And the most essential thing of course."
Sirius flashed a white grin as he flicked his wand and muttered the spell, Remus' stomach heaving as he levitated into the air. "ME. Now hang on, I'll have you up there in a tic."
"If you drop me, I'm going to come back from the dead and haunt you. I'll pop up in the middle of every carnal act you ever attempt. No girl will ever shag you again."
"I won't drop you." Sirius flicked the wand and Remus rose – promptly whacking his head into a rather unforgiving branch. He glared down at Sirius, whose grin was unrepentant. "Well – I didn't DROP you."
"Remind me to be more specific next time."
"Right. Up you go." Remus found himself suddenly rising – a good deal faster than he was comfortable with, really. His stomach gave an uneasy wobble and he decided that throwing up on Sirius' head would be just revenge for being dragged along on this outing in the first place.
He made contact with the slanted roof and gripped the nearby spire for support as the spell released him.
The first thing he saw convinced him that he was, definitely, hanging about with people who were warped in some deeply inexplicable way. James had disappeared, save for his feet and ankles. Those were being held by a red-faced Peter who was huffing and puffing in a way that did NOT inspire confidence in his grip. The rest of James hung over the edge, levitating Sirius up to join them.
Remus reflected that most of his problems in life would be solved if he simply shoved the two off, since they would take Sirius down with them, and Remus could . . . be stuck on the roof.
Well there went that plan. He sighed and made his way over, taking one of James' ankles. Peter relinquished it with a grateful look, pretending not to notice as Remus took most of James' weight away from him. There were few advantages to being a werewolf, but being far stronger than his skinny body showed was definitely one of them. It meant when he finally caved in and strangled Sirius, he'd be strong enough to do the job properly.
Sirius arrived on the roof with a graceful little skip that was, quite frankly, rather girly. Remus and Peter – Remus, mostly, as Peter had given up any real pretense of helping and was instead gazing about with a dumbfounded expression that made Remus wonder if he'd somehow managed to forget that they'd spent a week planning how to get up here in the first place. He looked like someone had just chucked him up here and he was still trying to suss out where he was. It was –
"Not that I'm not grateful, mate, because I am, but could you maybe consider letting go of my leg at some point? I'd like to use it. To stand on, and such, you know?" James was grinning up at him from behind his cracked spectacles. Remus didn't have to ask how they got cracked – he'd watched Sirius' first attempt to levitate James.
He promptly dropped the leg and crossed his arms over his chest. "Fine. Let's get this over with then.'
"You're being a bloody woman about this, you know. Could at least PRETEND you still enjoy our company." Sirius' voice had the peevish tone it took on when he was about to embark on his favorite topic. Lily bashing. "I mean it's bad enough Potter can barely find time to yank himself away from his harridan –"
"You LIKED Lily before I started dating her, you know," James interjected placidly. Remus felt "dating" was actually a strong term to use, considering she'd only agreed to go out with him twice, and the second time she'd ended up tossing a butterbeer at his head.
Sirius went on as if he hadn't heard him. Which was, Remus reflected as he tuned out the overly-familiar tirade, highly possible, as he rather doubted that Sirius' ears and mouth were capable of functioning at the same time. His brain didn't function when EITHER of the other two was in use, so it made good sense. Frankly he would be amazed if Sirius could walk and chew gum at the same time, as it would require some kind of focus, and Sirius had the attention span of a gnat, save for when it came to finding new ways to create mayhem.
He was like an idiot savant when it came to mayhem.
He looked up as Sirius said his name, having reached a point in his ramblings when Remus was supposed to in some way give validity to his moaning. "You're a jealous shrew who can't work a proper levitation spell and ought to be put back in first year until you suss it out. Now can we get this over with before someone falls off the roof and I have to buy new black dress robes for the funeral?" Sod being supportive, anyway.
"You could borrow mine," James offered, more out of habit than out of worry that someone would fall.
"Beside the point."
Sirius glared and James tried to look like he wasn't laughing and Peter tried to look like he wasn't laughing, but failed miserably, which shifted Sirius' glare to him. "You're one to be laughing, Wormtail. I seem to recall you having to do extra homework after levitating Flitwick's desk – twice – first year."
"True enough. But that was first bloody year. I have improved since then."
"So says the bloke who smacked Remus' head into a tree." Sirius' glare hardened and Peter lifted his hands in a placating gesture. "But fine. Your levitation skills are legendary, as are all your m-many t-talents." It was the stutter more than anything else that softened Sirius back up, Remus suspected. Peter controlled it right well most days, but when it popped back up he got embarrassed about it.
Sirius, of course, hadn't ever noticed that until Remus and James had both pointed out that his habit of making fun of it was a sure sign that he was an ass. But after a few hundred reminders, he was careful of it now.
A few hundred wasn't really bad, considering Sirius was as subtle and sensitive as a block of dead wood, most days.
"I believe we came up here for a reason," Remus remarked, more to speed the process along than anything else, since James had begun gazing about with a disturbingly appraising look, as if he were contemplating other things they could do on a steep slippery, and entirely unsuitable rooftop to which Remus had no intention of ever returning.
"Right. Alright, here, you start hanging these on the weather vanes and steeples." James handed him a pile of carefully folded – honestly, Sirius was SUCH a bloody woman – faded white underwear. (There was one black and one rather disturbing Christmas-red with green trim.)
"We're going to be expelled," Peter offered with what Remus felt was an excessive amount of cheer.
"Oh sod off. If we didn't get tossed for that stunt with the beds this won't even register on the radar," Sirius countered gruffly.
"I'll remember you said that when I'm strangling you on the train ride home," Remus grumbled.
Sirius pulled an abrupt about-face, his attitude going from annoying and peevish to sweetly entreating. He smiled at Remus, the bright, innocently seductive smile that got him out of detention and into girls' pants – not simultaneously, thankfully. "Please Moony? Try to have some fun. We don't get to do this all that much anymore."
Remus felt his annoyance melting away, despite the obvious calculation in Sirius' plea. Damn him. Just ONCE Remus wanted to stay brassed off at the bastard. "Fine."
He took the pile of underwear and began hanging it, securing it with a glue-charm, to various spires, weather vanes, and a few artfully hung from the edge of the rooftop. He surveyed his work when he finished and sighed. "We are going to get expelled." He grinned slightly despite himself. He'd put the Christmas-red ones in the middle – they stood out nicely. He finished with an engorgio charm on each to make them large enough to be seen from the ground.
"They won't know we did it," Sirius murmured from directly behind him.
Remus spun, nearly knocking into him. "Don't DO that. I hate it when you do that. Make some bloody noise. You're part cat-"
Sirius opened his mouth and Remus cut in. "NO DOG JOKES."
"You're no fun." He pouted and Remus watched the way his lips moved for a moment before he remembered himself and tore his eyes away. "We won't get caught. All the things we've done over the years – how many times have we been caught?"
Sirius' mouth twitched. "You've counted?"
A bright flash of scarlet caught his eye as James and Peter hung a large banner above where all of the underwear were scattered. Scarlet with gold trim. Fantastic. "You put the banner in Gryffindor colors? You're all daft. Utterly insane and dumb as mules."
"Won't do us any good if the Slytherins don't know it was Gryffindor retaliation for that shower stunt," Peter offered as he stood on tip-toe to hang his end of the banner, swaying precariously as he did so.
"I'm sure the rest of the house will thank you for it when we lose them the cup."
"We'll win the points back," James offered confidently.
"We always do," Sirius affirmed. "Wormtail, your end is crooked."
"Is not. James' is."
"My end is perfect. Just ask Lily. I see her admiring it all the time."
"Not that end, you ass."
"Ass, end, same thing."
Remus rubbed his forehead. They weren't even making any sense, and it was irritating and infuriating and Sirius was standing far too close to him, and he wanted to laugh when he knew he should be serious and angry. And he was. Or he was trying to be. He latched onto Lily's name. "Lily'll have kittens if she knows it was you."
James paused, considering. "We'll transfigure the banner another color."
Remus sighed in relief. "James?"
"What about the lion?" Remus pointed to the slightly out-of-proportion lion that was stalking its way back and forth beneath the banner's message.
Sirius' face fell and Remus thought, not for the first time, that it wasn't fair when even the little lines that frowning made around Sirius' mouth just made him more . . . .
He abandoned that line of though as Sirius pouted. "Moony, it took me all morning to paint that!"
"Ah. So that's why you skived off potions."
"Well that and I didn't feel like getting up."
Remus rolled his eyes. "Your dedication to academic excellence is astounding."
"I get top marks, don't I?"
"Dumb luck. Emphasis on dumb." Sirius grinned and leaned companionably against him. Remus sometimes thought that Sirius would be a much better and infinitely less irritating person if he wasn't quite so beautiful and brilliant.
The sad thing was Remus doubted he would actually change anything about Sirius, if he could. Save maybe his singing voice. He WOULD insist on singing in the showers, and the entire House had banded together to research silencing charms which he'd somehow managed to avoid, usually.
No. He'd leave the singing voice too.
"Alright, now we just set the charms." James and Sirius grinned and Peter smirked and Remus sighed as he smiled. All four of them set the charms.
Sirius reached for his wand as they all made their way to the edge and Remus gave him a slanted look. "Not on your life."
"I'll do it," James offered, grinning."
"Sod that. I'm doing it." Remus grinned as Sirius looked faintly apprehensive. "You first, Padfoot?"
Remus didn't wait, levitating Sirius off the ground and over the edge. Sirius looked at him entreatingly as he started to sink lower. "Moony – remember you love me."
It was hours before Sirius forgave him for almost dropping him at that. And Remus just KNEW it would be months before it wasn't mentioned whenever Sirius wanted a favor.
The next morning Remus was tired, cranky, apprehensive, and entirely fed up with James, Sirius, and their over-abundance of post-prank energy. He was even more fed up with the two-hour conversation about the attributes and sexual habits of various girls the two of them had shagged. (Well, three of them, but Peter's contribution had been significantly less than James', which had been dwarfed by Sirius "Snogging my way Through Hogwarts" Black's conquests.)
They spent the night in their room, huddled into one bed with a silencing charm around it. Sirius kept laying down – taking up more room than he was entitled and not particularly caring when he got shoved off repeatedly for doing so – with his head in Remus' lap. Remus had been torn between the desire to lean down and kiss him whenever he preened as he told a particularly lascivious tale; and an equally strong urge to shove him off the bed. The latter had won on three occasions, but he'd managed to control the former.
When it was barely dawn they'd all bounced down the stairs – well Remus had walked. With great dignity that they seemed to lack, he might add. And then hung about in the hallways, waiting in a manner that Remus did not deem inconspicuous enough.
The first outcry of laughter and surprise wasn't long in coming, and it gave the buffoons he roomed with an excuse to go zooming outside to do the absolute worst impression of surprise he'd ever seen.
You'd think they'd be better liars by now. Not as good as him, but better than this. It was shameful.
He arrived in time for the first verse. The altered banner – which admittedly would have lacked a certain punch without its badly drawn stalking lion – declared: "Between a Man and His Briefs There are no Secrets." The first verse – sung in a horrible falsetto - came from a dingy gray pair off to the right.
"Oh it's sad, and oh it's true,
if his friends only knew!
Worn four times without a wash;
six times for his favorite socks.
Twice a day pushed down and away,
For a bit of hands-on play,
Which is a natural reaction,
Since THADDIEUS BLART gets no action."
"Casimir Crinnich, is quick at Quidditch,
first to every snitch.
But Lisa Lyning finds it quite trying,
to never scratch her itch..
Cassy persists, and Lisa insists,
Someday he'll come AFTER his witch."
Remus listened to a Caddius' briefs with a sudden sense of dread. He hurried over toward where Sirius and James were propped against one another, tears streaming from their eyes. Peter was curled in a ball of mirth on the ground as the underwear continued their songs. The knots of students were fast growing to a genuine crowd and the Slytherins were already gathering to the side, desperately trying to figure a way to get up and stop the all-too-true limericks.
He elbowed Sirius to get his attention. "They're naming names! I thought they'd just hint at things!"
James shrugged, wiping tears from his eyes. "So did we. But apparently the charm worked TOO well."
"We're going to have half the bloody school after us!"
Sirius flashed him a grin. "They'll live. It's bloody funny, you have to admit."
It might have been, had Remus not gotten a sudden and deeply sick feeling in his stomach. They were all singing at once, and he had a vague hope that maybe . . .
"Bryson Blunn stands six foot one,
muscle and power and glares.
When he walks the ground shakes,
When he bends the girls stare.
A manly man, a man of steel,
Blunn, he can't be stopped.
But when Lupin had him in the tower,
'twas Lupin up on top."
Remus felt the color drain from his face and in that moment he thought of perhaps a thousand ways he could have cheerfully killed James, Peter, and especially Sirius. And Blunn too, for good measure.
He felt a good fifty pairs of eyes, at least, trained on him but the only ones he really cared about weren't so much staring as gaping. Sirius looked like he'd been hit by the Whomping Willow, and James and Peter weren't much better off.
He turned and with great dignity walked straight-backed away. Until he was out of sight, whereupon he immediately took off at a full run for the Gryffindor tower, where he indulged a long-dormant childhood instinct and burrowed his way under the bed, praying the world would end before anyone else made it back up.
It was a very, very small comfort that he'd passed a rather angry looking Filch on the way in, and the man had been muttering something that sounded a great deal like "Black and Potter."
Beneath his bed were the socks that time had forgotten, a pair of briefs which he deemed fitting victim for his rage, and were quickly reduced to scraps of unrecognizable fabric, and a few stray dust bunnies that had eluded the house elves.
He stayed there for some time, amusing himself by creating scenarios in which when he finally emerged, the world outside had ceased to exist, everyone had had their minds erased, or Sirius Black and James Potter had grown immense bunny ears on their arses and everyone forgot about the underwear's damming songs in their amusement.
Eventually that palled and he lay down, reading the various dirty things generations of bored boys had carved into the underside of the bed frame. Sirius himself had carved a filthy rendition of an improbable "meeting" between professors McGonagall and Dumbledore. The first time he'd shown them his handy work Peter had announced that he was scarred for life, and it had taken Remus a month to stop having to fight down a giggle every time McGonagall mentioned having spoken to Dumbledore.
He must have drifted off to sleep because the next thing he knew the light seeping in from the windows had changed its shape, and something heavy was thudding onto the bed above him.
He stayed quiet in the vague hope that whoever it was would leave, but he had no such luck. Sirius voice, sounding somewhat churlish, came from directly above him. "You can stop hiding under the bed like a bloody infant you know. I know you're there. Now come out."
"What do you mean no?"
"No. The opposite of yes. A refusal. A disinclination to do as you so charmingly ordered me to do."
Silence and then a very grudging addition. "Please?"
Remus digested that a moment and then emerged with a sigh and crawled onto the bed to sit cross-legged opposite Sirius. The two stared at one another in absolute silence and Remus resisted the urge to squirm, finally breaking it himself. "So . . . Filch catch us out?"
"Not you. James and Peter and me lost Hogsmeade weekend next week, and have five nights detention. Would have been worse, but the bloody Slytherins went apeshit after you left. Started throwing hexes left and right. James has a pumpkin growing out of his nose, and Peter's got both hands affixed to his face. So they got deep in it too." Sirius looked pleased at that and then added. "Bastards."
Remus rolled his eyes. "You escaped unscathed?"
"Prongs was standing in front of me. It was right nice of him really."
"Would that we all had a human shield willing to take our pumpkin noses."
"I'd take your pumpkin nose for you, Moony." Sirius grinned slightly and Remus felt his breath freeze for a moment until the git added. "Even if you are a traitor." Remus started to protest but Sirius cut him off. "So. Blunn, huh? You like blokes then."
"No. She's actually a very large and muscular woman. The bulge in front is just socks."
"Funny." Sirius studied him with his dark eyes. "So. Why?"
Remus snorted, looking down. "What? Why am I a poof? A nancy? I don't know. I just am."
"Not that." Sirius waved a dismissive hand. "I get that. Blokes like blokes sometimes. Why Blunn?"
Remus reeled for a moment and answered stupidly. "Have you seen him?"
Sirius grimaced. "He looks like some bloody statue. And his head's too small for his neck. Plus he can't string two words together without someone coaching him."
"He's not that bad."
"He's a SLYTHERIN!" Sirius shot out furiously.
Remus stared at him and then started to laugh. He tried to quell it, but it bubbled up and out of his mouth in waves as Sirius glared. "What's so damned funny, Moony?"
Remus couldn't answer for a long moment and Sirius finally hit him over the head with a pillow until he shut up. When he'd recovered he choked out an answer. "You. You're brassed off because I had it off with a Slytherin, never mind that it was another bloke."
Sirius sat back, the pillow still in his hands. "Doesn't matter to me if you like boys or girls, Moony. You're still Moony." He eyed him, "Though you not bothering to ever mention it shows your absolute faith in us."
There was a faint edge of hurt in his voice and Remus blinked in surprise. "It wasn't . . . I mean . . . it's not something you bring up in conversation. 'Padfoot, pass the catsup, oh and by the way, I have sex with men.' Doesn't go over well."
"You could have tried. Not like we're prats who would throw rocks at you."
Remus looked at him. "Tell me Prongs wasn't having kittens, and Peter didn't start stuttering?"
Sirius avoided his eyes and shrugged. "They'll get used to it."
"Yeah," Remus said, with a great deal more confidence than he felt.
"So why Blunn?"
"He's good looking, he was interested. Not like there's lots of options, Padfoot. You either keep it in your pants or make do with what's available when you're not one for girls."
"You don't like girls at all then?"
"They're alright. They just . . ."
"Don't get a rise," Sirius finished.
Remus glared. "Generally, no."
"But Blunn does?"
"Jesus, why do you care?"
"Just answer and stop being a prat."
"Yes. Alright? He does. He's got a lovely arse and great arms and a decent face, and gives fantastic head." He was also blonde, which appealed to Remus because he didn't have the added guilt of looking down and imagining the dark head was Sirius'.
Sirius twisted about until he was flopped on his back across the bed instead, staring up at the ceiling. "He does?"
"Why, exactly, do you find this so fascinating?"
"I don't know. You've always been a good bloody liar but I was always pretty good at sussing it out. Now there's like this whole part of you I don't know. It's . . . . disturbing. Deeply disturbing."
Remus rolled his eyes. "You're such a bloody drama queen."
"This from the star of this morning's musical, complete with grand exit?" Sirius held up a hand to ward off the pillow that abruptly flew at his face. "Alright, alright. Sorry. Fine. I won't ask anything else." Remus silently began to count. He got all the way to fifteen. "So how did you know?"
"That Blunn was a shirt lifter."
"His name was on the Poof Monthly newsletter."
Sirius lifted his head enough to glare. "Seriously."
"I don't know. You just know, sometimes."
"Did he make the first move?"
"Sirius. I really would rather talk about something else. Anything else. Why don't you go back to telling me about those cat noises Ethilinda makes when you're-"
"Did you ever fancy me?"
Remus choked. Sirius watched – not offering to help, the prat – while he regained his breath. "Why the hell would you ask that?"
"'Cause I want to know. So did you?"
"Why would I?"
"I'm a flash bloke. Highly fanciable."
"You're an arrogant arse, you are."
"But still fanciable."
"No. Alright? I never used to fancy you." Which was true, he hedged, since it wasn't a past tense and . . . sod it. None of his business anyway.
"Really?" Sirius looked oddly disappointed and then abruptly changed topics. "I snogged Roger Cirsey last term."
Remus blinked. "Wh – why?"
"Drunk. He started pawing on me. Seemed the thing to do. It was . . . interesting."
Remus licked his lips. "Interesting how?"
"It wasn't so bad."
"You just . . . the once?"
"With him? Yeah. But I made out with Porpington – the 'Claw, you know – earlier this year. That was better."
Porpington was, Remus thought a bit sourly, out of his own reach. "Yeah?"
"Yeah. Fooled about a bit. Nothing serious."
"How come you didn't say anything?"
Sirius snorted. "I might have – if I'd known I wasn't the only one, Moony."
"I never snogged Porpington."
"Stop being an arse, you know I meant blokes in general, not just that bloke."
"Oh." He was a brilliant conversationalist today, he was. "So you like blokes?"
"Dunno. Sometimes. A few." Sirius canted his head. "I like you."
Remus' heart seemed to be trying to exit out of his mouth. He had to have heard that wrong. "Uh huh."
Sirius sat up and turned to face Remus, pulling his legs up to sit cross-legged. "You sure you never fancied me?"
Remus felt incapable of intelligent speech and was really rather annoyed about it, because he was usually fairly good at talking, given opportunity. He was much better at speaking logically – and without profanity – than Sirius, anyway. Not that this conversation was proving it, at all. "Ermm. Ah. I never though of you . . . I mean you liked girls . . ."
Sirius leaned forward and kissed him. It was a little too hard, and utterly unexpected. The full lips against Remus' were slightly chapped and he tasted of pumpkin juice, which Remus had never really liked.
It was the best thing he'd ever tasted.
He could practically feel his brain walking out of his head as thought became abruptly impossible and all he could think was Sirius. Sirius' mouth, Sirius hand on his side, Sirius' tongue against his own, Sirius laughing . . .
He jerked away, flushing. "What the hell is so bloody funny? That was YOUR idea!"
Sirius grinned, unrepentant, lips twisting in a smirk that Remus could decide if he wanted to smack or kiss away. "Dunno. It was just funny." He licked his lips and Remus bit back a groan. "You taste like chocolate. It's weird, since I don't think you've had any. It's just ingrained." He gave Remus a wicked grin. "I like it."
"You don't like chocolate that much," Remus said stupidly. Which was true – Sirius liked things that had a tart bite, lemon drops and the like. He had no idea why he chose that to comment on, but it was at least true.
"Guess I do on you." Sirius cocked his head and for just a moment the cocky expression faded and he looked uncertain. Remus could count on one hand the number of times he'd seen that expression. "Moony – is this okay?" He made a vaguely all-encompassing gesture.
Remus stared at him and felt a smile tug up the corner of his mouth. "Prongs and Wormtail will lose their minds."
Sirius grinned. "Let 'em." He leaned in again and Remus brain abandoned him again – bloody traitor – as Sirius kissed him. It was still too hard and it was utterly brilliant and he couldn't tell if that was despite the bruising or because of it.
Remus' fingers curled in dark hair and he grinned against Sirius' mouth as the door burst open and James' voice – squeaking in a feminine and completely undignified way – burst out. "Oh bloody HELL."
Sirius leaned against him and turned his head toward James. "Hey Prongs, pass the catsup, oh and by the way, Moony's a poof and I think he corrupted me with his rampant nanciness."
Remus smacked him upside the head and Sirius grinned and licked his lips again, looking like a cat who'd gotten into the cream. Remus considered that an invitation and, sod James anyway, leaned in to kiss him again.
Wormtail squeaked from behind James. "Catsup?"
Sirius started to laugh and from the corner of his eye Remus saw James look between them and shrug, smiling uncertainly.
James looked between the two. "So . . . Moony. Lupin on top, huh?"
Sirius lifted his eyebrows at Remus as a rain of pillows and anything else within Remus' reach sailed their merry way at James' stupid oversized head. Sirius grinned. "We'd have disowned you if the bloody Slytherin was on top."
"Oh shut the hell up," Remus snapped, not really angry because Peter looked confused but tolerant, and James was smirking, and Sirius was smiling.
It was going to be alright.
Sirius was still a bloody prat though.