R for language, 1000 words
Summary: James pines, Sirius' intestines go to war, and Remus does an awful lot of sitting about in the dark.
James and Remus are sitting in the dormitory. In the dark. On a Friday night.
‘Of course, these aren’t avoidance tactics,’ explains James. ‘We could go and sit in the common room and watch all of the happy couples leave and come up with imaginative ways to commit suicide. We are merely choosing not to.’
Remus makes affirmative noises – he’d hate to stop James mid-angst.
‘Anyway, if we were to go downstairs, it would only lead to trouble. I am sure that, were I to casually bump into Evans on this most romantic of nights, she would instantly recognise just how passionately she loved me, and be forced to promptly ditch the poor bastard that’s taking her out. And would be cruel in the extreme. It is,’ James concludes virtuously, ‘for the greater good.’
James groans and collapses onto his bed. ‘Moony! Why? Why won’t she just go out with me already? This is getting stupid!’
‘I know, I know – she’ll come around.’ Inwardly, Remus is sitting very firmly on a variety of other responses.
‘Wormtail got his date… Obviously, Padfoot’s with – oh, what’shername – you could have got a girl if you’d wanted one,’ (Remus inserts a disparaging noise here), ‘but me – no! My soul is turned to dust by one stupid girl with green eyes.’
Ever logical, Remus takes this monologue point by point. ‘Wormtail’s date can barely remember his name and only said she’d go because all of her friends were doing something, Sirius’ evening will end abruptly due to having water thrown in his face either by his date or by one of the string of broken hearts he’s left in his wake. No girl would ever spend an entire evening with me voluntarily, and you could have been out tonight if you hadn’t been so set on Lily. So, you see, it’s actually not so bad.’
‘You’re so infuriatingly right,’ glowers James. ‘I don’t think you get it, though.’
‘Don’t get what?’
‘Just the agony of being so scorned and yet continuing to be attracted anyway, hopelessly besotted with one person, and her just stealing your soul, and, well, that kind of thing,’ James hastily finishes.
‘Well why can’t you just say something like that instead of acting like a complete berk whenever she’s around?’
‘I don’t know. It’s a load of bollocks anyway, she’d probably hate me more. God, Moony, she hates me.’
‘She doesn’t hate you, not really.’
‘Could have fooled me,’ James mutters darkly.
A light shines in from the corridor. ‘Prongs? Moony? What the fuck are you doing in the dark?’
Sirius clatters in and it sounds like James has just buried his head under his pillow. Sirius sighs, and shares a glance with Remus in the half-light.
‘Evanitis?’ he asks resignedly. ‘She’s downstairs, you know, seems her evening didn’t go too well in the end.’
Instantly, James jumps out of bed and springs downstairs, slamming the door behind him.
Sirius shakes his head, not that anyone could see him.
‘You’re back early,’ remarks Remus.
‘Yeah, bit of a dull evening as it turned out. Figured I’d rather be here, really.’
‘Because this is where the party’s at, evidently.’
Sirius huffs companionably and plonks down next to Remus. ‘Has Prongs been whining all evening?’
‘Damn, I’m sorry. That’s my job, not yours.’
‘Don’t be silly, it’s fine. He’s quite endearing when he pines.’
Remus wriggles slightly. ‘And we’re still sitting in the dark. I think we’ve finally lost the plot, communally.’
‘It may well be so – d’you mind?’
‘No, doesn’t bother me.’
‘Me neither. And I can’t be arsed.’
The tension in Sirius’ stomach is almost unbearable now. He raced home full of strange revelation, but he’s a man of plans marked by masterful execution, and he fights the impulse to get ahead of himself.
‘Ah, Valentines Day,’ he says with forced nonchalance. ‘What insanity.’
‘The whole concept is completely mad, really.’
‘Makes everyone do the strangest things – did you see what Evans had on? Madness. Not you, though.’
‘No, not me. Except for this whole sitting in the dark thing. That’s a bit odd. More Prongs, though.’
‘Yeah, well, Prongs is deranged all the time – bedazzled by red hair, the poor sod. You did get asked, though?’
‘Sorry, what? You lost me there.’
‘Out. Tonight. Right?’ A clench of inner fists.
‘Yeah, I suppose.’
‘Does it matter? I’m still here, after all.’
‘But… why? Why didn’t you?’
‘Someone had to look after James.’
‘Don’t be stupid, that’s a crap reason.’
‘Oh come on Padfoot, can you really see me sitting in Puddifoots all dressed up with some girl? Really? That would be stupid.’
A silence. A breath, then Remus continues. ‘Anyway, I have a touch of the James myself.’
‘What?? You mean… Merlin, who?’ Sirius’ insides are really rebelling now, molten dread running through them. ‘Marlene? Alice? Oh Christ, it’s not Evans is it?’
‘No, no, look – it doesn’t matter, forget I said anything!’
‘Don’t be ridiculous – who is she?’ The words taste like poison.
‘No, never mind, it’s, it’s’ Remus voice suddenly drops and Sirius almost misses the next part. ‘It’s not a girl.
‘Oh.’ The very air in Sirius’ lungs is launching an assault now.
Remus sounds panicked. ‘Fuck. Oh God – please, forget that, it doesn’t matter, it’s just a, a thing, I’m not… you know. Oh fuck.’
Very slowly and deliberately, Sirius says, ‘Moony. Shut. Up.’ Deep breath. ‘Who?’
Out of the darkness comes one word. ‘You.’
The next moment seems to stretch on into the stars. Sirius can’t move, breathe, think.
But ‘Oh thank God’ takes him across the gap which might have been the other side of the world, and then Remus is there. The kiss does nothing to quell the war inside, only ignites it and unifies it, with a battle cry sounding like RemusRemusRemus. Victorious at last.