Bewitched, Bothered, Bewildered
by Victoria P.

"I have a bad feeling about this."

"Shut up, Remus."


"I said, shut up. This is going to work."

"I really don't think--"

"Remus, you promised."

Remus sighed. "I promised to help with a Valentine surprise for Lily, not mess around with a seduction charm so you could finally get into her knickers. This is a really bad idea."

James ignored him and lit the candle -- crimson, for heart's blood -- and pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket. Unfolding it, he revealed a long strand of fiery auburn hair. He plucked a hair from his own head and attempted to braid the strands together. When it didn't work as expected, he reached over and pulled at Remus's fringe.

"Hey! Ow!"

"Need three -- should have remembered that," James muttered vaguely.

"Use your own. Or Sirius's. God knows, he sheds like a dog." They shared a secret grin.

"With my luck, she'd fall for him instead of me."

"Oi! And I'm not a potential suitor?"

"The fact that you referred to yourself as a suitor is the kind of thing that keeps you out of the running, Moony. Not that girls don't fancy you. I'm sure they do." Another wicked grin. "In fact, I overheard Sarah Skidmore and Elspeth Morris talking about you during Quidditch practice."

Remus flushed. "They fancy Sirius."

James shrugged. "They were talking about you. They're not in his league anyway." Remus nodded, knowing James didn't mean anything insulting by it. It was only the truth. Both girls were pretty, but Sirius didn't give the time of day to younger girls, and they were only fourth-years.

Remus felt he should say something about not wanting Sirius's rejects, or maybe even finally admit to James that he didn't fancy girls at all, but James began muttering in Latin before he could form the words.

James handed the braided strands of hair to him, and he chanted in counterpoint, reading from the scroll spread on the floor in front of them. Remus had never seen a charm quite like this one, and he didn't ask where James had found it. Best not to know. Bad enough he was involved at all. If only Sirius didn't have such animosity toward Lily, Remus was sure James would have asked him to help. As it was, Sirius had threatened to hex James into oblivion the next time he mentioned Lily's name, and Peter was useless at keeping secrets from Sirius. Thus, Remus had been elected to help this time, despite his wishes and better judgment.

They finished reciting the spell at the same time, and Remus fed the hair to the candle-flame, wrinkling his nose at the smell as it burned.

They heard feet clattering in the hallway outside their room, and James looked around, startled. "Shit." He rolled up the scroll and shoved the handkerchief back into his pocket.

"Blow out the candle," Remus hissed.

"You blow it out."


They could hear Sirius in the corridor, singing loudly and off-key, massacring the lyrics to 'Bennie and the Jets.'

"We never should have let him listen to the Muggle radio," James said.

"James, you have to finish the spell." Unfinished spells had a way of wreaking havoc on their casters, and Remus wanted no part of that.

"Just blow out the candle. Blow it out!" James ordered.

Remus blew out the candle just as the door swung open. A draft rushed through the room, sending a chill down his spine and turning his skin to gooseflesh.

"You all right, there, Moony?" Sirius asked, giving him a lingering once-over.

"F-f-fine," he said, teeth chattering.

"You don't look fine." Sirius draped an arm around his shoulders, led him to his bed. The shiver running through him this time had nothing to do with the cold. Sirius pushed him down on the bed and pulled a blanket over him. "Are you sure you're okay?"

"I'm fine," he said, through gritted teeth as Sirius pressed a warm hand to his forehead. Sirius had been overly solicitous in the months since Remus had finally forgiven him his trick on Snape, and while it had been nice at first, lately it was grating on Remus's nerves. Especially since he knew it didn't mean anything, was just Sirius's way of showing he was sorry.

Remus didn't want 'sorry' from anyone, least of all Sirius. He flushed, thinking about what he did want from Sirius, especially while they were both on his bed. Probably better not to think about that right now, not unless he wanted Sirius to figure it out. Which he didn't.

"You're awfully warm and flushed."

"I'm fine," he said for the third time, a warning growl in his voice. Being a werewolf had its advantages when one was dealing with Sirius Black.

Sirius backed off, hands held high in mock surrender. "If you say so."

"I do. Three times. If you ask me again, you will not be fine."

James laughed. "It's after midnight. Where's Wormtail?"

"Off with his Hufflepuff again," Sirius answered. "Saw them sneaking about the library earlier."

"You were in the library?" Remus said, genuinely surprised.

"I do occasionally visit the library, yes."

"Did you make it into the Restricted Section?" James asked, leaning forward.

Sirius sighed. "Madam Pince was too quick. If you'd let me borrow the cloak--"

James shook his head. "Not after what happened last time."

"That was an accident--"

"It's bad enough we lost the map. I'm not taking a chance on losing the cloak, too. It's our only advantage," James said. Sirius grumbled, but subsided. "Now, I need to sleep, so I'm ready to--" he hesitated, "get in some early Quidditch practice."

Remus snorted, and snuggled down under the covers. He had some qualms about the charm they'd cast, but comforted himself with the thought that it probably wouldn't work. He'd never seen a charm quite like it, and while James was brilliant and powerful, he was crap at creating new spells. Remus had a feeling it would be quite hilarious watching James attempt to seduce the always-recalcitrant Evans, thinking she'd been magically softened up. He finally fell asleep after convincing himself that was the case.

If he'd known how badly they'd mucked it up, he wouldn't have slept at all.


Valentine's Day at Hogwarts was not so much a celebration of love as it was an occasion for truly nasty prank wars, or it had been until James was made Head Boy. He'd put the word out this year that he was in a mood for romance rather than practical jokes, and everyone except the Slytherins would abide by his request. His pursuit of Head Girl Lily Evans was something of a joke amongst the seventh-years, who'd been watching it go on almost since the day they'd arrived at school their first year. Word amongst the girls was that Lily was close to caving, that the abrupt change in James's demeanor in spring of sixth year (leading to his appointment as Head Boy over Remus, the incumbent Gryffindor prefect and most likely possibility) had impressed her, and that working with him in her position as Head Girl had revealed previously hidden layers of his personality.

So there were any number of people interested in seeing what the new, mature James Potter had planned for the day, his good friends among them.

James and Sirius led the way to the Great Hall that morning for breakfast, Peter and Remus trailing behind as always. Remus felt eyes on him and noted that all the girls were staring at them. It was a feeling he'd never quite got used to. He and Peter tended to fade into the background when James and Sirius were together, and Remus preferred it that way.

When they slid into place at the Gryffindor table, Katie Hobbes giggled. Sally Rozinsky blushed when she asked Remus to pass the pumpkin juice, and Ariadne Calder flashed her cleavage at him when she reached for the salt.

Remus shifted uncomfortably and leaned closer to Sirius, who grinned and patted his knee under the table, which was far more intriguing than Ariadne's breasts.

James, meanwhile, was attempting to come over as charming and sophisticated while trying to grope Lily, who rose with a sniff.

"See you in Transfiguration, Remus," she said, favoring him with a brilliant smile as she walked away. All four boys stared, mesmerized by the slightly exaggerated sway of her hips.

When she was out of sight, James glared at Remus, who shrugged. "We wrote our essays together. She probably wants to compare the final versions."

"That better be all it is."

Both Remus and James blinked, as it was Sirius who'd spoken. Remus smiled weakly. Sirius had finally come around to James's view of things, and no doubt he'd now throw the considerable force of his personality behind James's efforts to win Lily.

"I'm sure it is," Remus said, but even to his own ears he sounded unconvincing.

He was saved from having to make more conversation by the arrival of dozens of owls swooping in with the morning post.

As usual, Sirius and James ended up with piles of Valentines, but for the first time since a prank-gone-wrong in third year, Remus found himself with three in hand as well. Two were from the girls James had mentioned yesterday. He looked up to see them staring at him -- him, not Sirius -- and the third was from Guinevere Shacklebolt, a sixth-year Ravenclaw whose older brother was the Ravenclaw Quidditch captain.

Sirius read over his shoulder, apparently more interested in Remus's mail than his own. He snickered at the first two, but when he saw Guinevere's name, he frowned.

"She's very pretty," Remus said.

"You think?"

Remus nodded. "Yes."

"If you like that type, I suppose," Sirius replied dismissively.

Remus wanted to say, no, he didn't exactly, but he had eyes and Guinevere was certainly a pleasure to look at, with long, shapely legs, eyes that sparkled with intelligence and a full, laughing mouth. If it weren't for the fact that Remus preferred boys to girls, he'd have said she was precisely his type.

"She's clever and funny and has legs that go on for days," he said.

Sirius raised an eyebrow. "Yes. And her brother would kill you if you laid a hand on her."

"You're worried for my safety, Sirius?"

"Someone has to be."

There was nothing Remus could say to that that wouldn't cause trouble, so he kept his mouth shut.

They finished the meal in silence. Every time Remus looked up from his plate, someone was staring at them; he hated the blush that burned in his cheeks. He wondered if he'd been hexed and hadn't realized it. He ran a hand through his hair and frowned, until Sirius grinned and, as always, he felt the urge to grin back.

"You look fine, Moony."

"I should be used to people staring at you, but it still makes me uncomfortable sometimes."

"They're not staring at me," Sirius said. "Well," he conceded, "some of them are." He surveyed the Great Hall. "Portia Santangelo and Margery Perry are looking at me, but Iphigeneia Walsh and Elizabeth Dunleavy are definitely giving you the eye." He smiled, but it didn't reach his eyes. "Hey, Prongs, our ickle Moony's all grown up. He's started noticing girls." Remus shivered at the coldness in his voice. Sirius didn't like sharing the spotlight with anyone but James; Remus wanted to reassure him that he wasn't interested in the girls at all, but thought that might go over like a lead balloon.

"As long as he doesn't notice Lily, I don't care," James said, rising from the table. "Let's go. Sirius, you sit with Remus; I'm going to grab the seat next to Lily today."

Lily, however, had other ideas. As did most of the female population of the Transfigurations class, who hovered in the doorway as the four boys entered.

Remus had a confused impression of hair and skin and soft, powder-scented flesh pressed against him as he attempted to take his seat, and when it was all sorted out, Lily Evans was next to him, smirking at the girls who clustered in the seats nearby.

James and Sirius, sitting behind them, both cast dark glances his way, but there was no time to say anything as McGonagall strode to the head of the class.

"Good morning," she said. "Please pass your essays forward."

There was much shuffling of parchment as they did so. Remus shifted uncomfortably as Lily's foot brushed his calf. She scooted over in her seat until her shoulder was pressed to his. He heard a low groan from behind them, though he couldn't tell if it was Sirius or James.

"Ah, Mr. Lupin, lovely handwriting. Five points to Gryffindor," McGonagall announced. The girls -- even the Ravenclaws -- sighed and applauded. McGonagall smiled at him. "I know teachers aren't supposed to admit to it, but you've always been my favorite, Remus."

And she batted her lashes at him.

That was the moment it all became clear to Remus.

Something had gone very, very wrong with James's spell. Terribly, horribly wrong.

Remus spent the rest of the class trying to shrink down into his robes, as Lily ran her bare foot up his leg beneath his trousers, and brushed his arm with her chest when she claimed to be reading his notes.

Lily moved closer, and Remus slid sideways until his body was half out of his chair. Her coy smiles reminded him of the illustrations of sirens in his Defense Against the Dark Arts textbook, luring helpless sailors to their deaths. There would be death after class, he was certain. It was just a question of whose death it would be -- his or James's.

Another nudge of her hip and he went sprawling into the aisle. Almost instantaneously, every girl in the class -- and Professor McGonagall -- was at his side.

"Remus, dear, are you all right?" McGonagall asked, her hands sliding over his shoulders and down his chest, while Lily stroked his hair and Margery Perry attempted to put his head in her lap. Linda Eliot, bolder than the rest, grabbed at his crotch, at which point he gave up being polite and hauled himself up off the floor without worrying about knocking any of them over.

"I'm fine," he shouted, attempting to straighten his robes, which were all askew.

"My dear boy," McGonagall said, "I insist you go see Madam Pomfrey at once. I shall take you there. Class dismissed."

She hustled him out of the classroom, an arm around his shoulders. He looked back to see James, Sirius and Peter staring, and he mouthed the words, "I'm going to kill you," at James. James didn't react.

McGonagall walked Remus to the hospital wing with an honor guard of witches that grew with every girl they passed. They cooed and sighed and attempted to pet him when McGonagall wasn't looking.

He thought of many bloody, painful ways to kill James during the walk, and felt only the tiniest bit of regret that he couldn't carry any of them out with Sirius's help, because he thought he might kill Sirius too, just for showing up at the wrong moment last night and causing the spell to go awry. Though Remus doubted it would have worked even if James hadn't bungled the ending because of Sirius's untimely interruption. Maybe Sirius could help him kill James, and then he'd handle Sirius on his own.

The thought of handling Sirius sent his brain -- and other body parts -- in different, yet interesting directions, and he blushed, grateful for the loose robes he wore.

Madam Pomfrey was bandaging a Hufflepuff first-year when they arrived in the hospital wing.

"Poppy," McGonagall said, "You must see to Remus at once. He's had a terrible fall--"

Madam Pomfrey didn't look up. "Is he bleeding?"

"Not visibly."

"Then he can wait until I'm done with Mr. Farnsworth," Pomfrey said, indicating the Hufflepuff.

"Poppy," McGonagall's voice took on a tone of command. "Remus needs your assistance immediately."

"I only fell off my seat. I'm perfectly fine," he said loudly, struggling out of McGonagall's grip.

Madam Pomfrey turned at the sound of his voice. "Oh, my dear, sweet boy," she said. To McGonagall, "He's so fragile." To Remus, "Come, let's have a look at you." She walked away from Farnsworth without a backward glance.

"Uh, Madam Pomfrey?" the Hufflepuff said.

"Not now, child. Remus needs me."

"I really don't," Remus responded, backing away

She ignored him. "And what are all these young ladies doing here? Too many sweets? Broken hearts?"

"We're here for Remus," Lily said.

Pomfrey crossed her arms over her chest and looked at him questioningly. "Mr. Lupin?"

"Make them go away, please?" Remus asked, willing to beg to be free of his entourage.

"Out, all of you," the nurse said, shooing them out. They lingered, staring calf-eyed at him as they wandered out. "You too, Minerva."

"I certainly will not, Poppy. Remus is my responsibility. I shan't leave until I'm assured he's in perfect health."

"And I shall make sure that he is. I've been caring for him since his first day at Hogwarts, Minerva. I'm perfectly capable of doing so this morning."

Remus opened his mouth to disagree that he needed any care at all, but McGonagall rounded on Pomfrey, her face set in a fierce frown.

"And as the head of his house, I shall stay and make sure he's all right, and then escort him back to Gryffindor Tower. Remus, you are excused from all further classes today."

"If you had been as diligent in your responsibilities as you claim, Minerva, the boy wouldn't have been injured in your class!"

"Now, see here, Poppy. He can't help it that these silly girls are continually pawing at him. He needs a mature woman to look after him."

At that point, Remus realized they were no longer paying him any attention, and that it would be prudent to leave immediately. He couldn't decide if he wanted to laugh hysterically or obliviate the scene of McGonagall and Pomfrey fighting over him from his mind.

He sneaked away, thankful he knew the school better than almost anyone else. He wished they still had the map, but he managed to get to the library without incident.

He tried to act casual as he walked past the shelves on Defense and Transfiguration. He was almost to Charms when Madam Pince came out of the stacks. He held his breath, but she simply nodded curtly at him and continued reshelving books. He opened his mouth to say something, but decided it wasn't worth it.

When he reached the Charms section, he muttered a spell he and Sirius had worked up, which enabled them to find books containing the words or phrases they were looking for without having to manually search each one. Unfortunately, every book in the section began emitting a soft, gold glow when he was done.

Love charms were very popular. Remus was not surprised, though considering his morning so far, he didn't understand the appeal. He shrugged and took down the first book that came to hand: "Charms for the Charming" by Henrietta Lovegood.

Absorbed in his reading, he didn't notice he had company until a hand brushed over his shoulder, making him jump.

"You're charming enough, Remus. I don't think you need any help," Guinevere Shacklebolt murmured in a husky whisper, slipping into the seat next to him. By the slant of the light streaming through the windows, he'd been there a while, and still hadn't found anything like the spell he and James had cast.

"Um, thank you?" he said, voice breaking in a way it hadn't since he was thirteen. He was going to kill James when this was over. Kill him a lot. "And, uh, thank you for the valentine." Shit. When had she sent it? Did that mean she'd liked him before the spell? He needed more information.

"You're welcome. It's just words and parchment, though. I'd like to give you so much more." She leaned in, attar of roses wafting off her skin, tickling his nose. One of her hands landed on his thigh and the other played with the hair that fell over his collar. He shivered, and for the first time in a very long time, he felt like prey instead of predator.

"That's really not necessary," he choked out, the bitter taste of panic rising in the back of his throat.

"Oh, I insist." Her lips brushed his ear, tongue outlining sensitive skin. He swallowed hard, more from nerves than desire. If he'd needed definitive proof that he didn't fancy girls, he now had it. A beautiful girl was molesting him in a dark corner of the library, and all he wanted to do was flee.


"Remus! There you are."

He'd never been so grateful in his life to hear Sirius's loud voice. He swallowed his sigh of relief. Guinevere sat back with a pout, glaring at Sirius.

"What do you want?" she asked pugnaciously.

"We need Remus up in Gryffindor tower -- prefects' business."

"You're not a prefect."

"No, but James and Lily sent me to fetch him."

She made to rise. "I'm a Prefect, too. I'll come with you."

"Gryffindor business," Sirius snapped, baring his teeth.

She seemed to accept that, slumping back down in her chair. Remus jumped up, so grateful for the rescue he didn't say anything about Sirius's rudeness.

"I'm really sorry, Guinevere," he said, thinking, 'and you'll probably hate me when the spell wears off,' "but I have to go."

"Okay. See you later?"


Sirius glowered at her and said, "Remus. Let's go."

He smiled apologetically and left her sitting there. When they exited the library, Sirius drew him into a shadowy corner of the corridor and pulled out James's invisibility cloak.

"Does James know you nicked that?"

Sirius raised an eyebrow. "Do you want to be fondled by McGonagall again?"

"Good point." He let Sirius cover them with the cloak and they shuffled off carefully down the hallway. It was warm under the cloak, and they were no longer as small as they'd been as eleven-year-olds. They had to crouch and huddle to remain completely hidden, which made progress slow.

"What's going on, Moony?"

"James and I did this spell--"

"So you could have girls swooning about over you?" Sirius sounded angry and disgusted, and Remus couldn't blame him.

"No!" he said, much louder than intended, causing the portrait of Sir Cadogan to start and demand, "Show yourself, you lily-livered dog!"

"Shut up," Sirius hissed, pushing him into an alcove to let a group of Hufflepuffs pass. Again, when they'd been eleven, or even fourteen, the niche had been large enough to fit both of them easily, and James if they really shoved in, but now, Remus had his back to the wall and there wasn't a spare inch of space between them. Sirius's chest and thighs pressed against him, and -- 'Oh God,' -- their groins brushed and he sucked in a breath.

"Sirius." His voice was barely recognizable, hoarse and strained, and not because of the need for silence.

"Remus," Sirius murmured. He felt it more than heard it, a whisper against his lips, and then Sirius kissed him. He gasped, and Sirius took his parted lips as an invitation to deepen the kiss, tongue sliding along the roof of his mouth, sending a pleasurable tingle through his body. He buried his hands in Sirius's thick, dark hair and tried to pull him even closer, their noses bumping as they moved in the same direction. He would have laughed had Sirius allowed him the breath for it, but the kiss was long and slow, the slick slide of tongue against tongue setting the rhythm for the way their hips thrust, searching for blissful friction, so good even through robes and trousers.

Sirius moaned into his mouth, and the sound snapped Remus back to reality. He shoved Sirius away, heedless of the cloak or their need for secrecy.

"What the--" Sirius growled.

"It's the spell," Remus said. "The spell James and I cast. It's a right cock up and it's all your fault."

"What spell? My fault? Moony, tell me what the hell is going on."

It was easier, in the warm, huddled darkness of the cloak in the hidden corner, to tell Sirius about the spell than it was to think about what had just happened. "James cooked up some kind of rubbishy charm to get Lily to shag him."

Sirius frowned. "He spends all his time nattering on about her--"

"D'you want to hear this or not?" Remus interrupted in exasperation. Sirius nodded. "Okay. He wrote the spell for two people, but he knew you wouldn't help, so he made me. I was just doing some research--"

"Oh, is that what you call it? What was Guinevere? Your study guide?"

Remus forced down the growl that rose in his throat and continued on as if Sirius hadn't interrupted. "But so far I haven't come across anything like it. We did this chant, and he braided our hair together--"

Sirius snickered. "He braided your hair?"

Remus cuffed his shoulder. "Pay attention. He braided strands of his, Lily's and my hair together. We did the chant, burned the hair, but then you bumbled in, singing that stupid Muggle song--"

"I like Elton John."

"And James wouldn't blow out the candle to finish the spell, so I did."

"There was that great gust of wind--"


Sirius shook his head. "You're daft, Moony. End the spell."

Remus blinked. "Merlin. I am daft. Of course." He pointed his wand at himself. "Finite Incantatum."

"Good." Sirius pressed in again, lips already sliding hot and wet along Remus's jaw. Remus pulled him closer, hands running along his shoulders and back, loving the feel of hard muscle moving beneath his fingers, hips automatically seeking friction again.

Sirius pushed Remus's robe off his shoulders and unbuttoned his shirt, dropping openmouthed kisses against his bare chest. He pulled Sirius's shirt out of his trousers and sought the soft, warm skin of his back.

A thought was trying to push its way through the haze of desire clouding Remus's brain as they kissed.

"Wait," he said breathlessly, pulling back.

Sirius whimpered and attempted to kiss him again. When Remus eluded him, he whined, "What now?"

Remus ran a hand through his hair, starting to feel suffocated beneath the cloak. He didn't think he could be responsible for what would happen if Sirius kept groping him. He knew it wasn't right to take advantage, but it was growing increasingly difficult to resist, as he'd been fantasizing about Sirius for months.

"You're still -- you still want me. The spell hasn't been broken."

Sirius frowned at him. "I don't feel this way because of Prongs's stupid spell, Remus. I--"

"Of course that's what you'd think," he replied, wincing at the edge of hysteria in his voice. "None of those girls realize it's a spell, either. We need James. James and I cast it together. We probably have to end it together."

He tried to move, but Sirius pinned him to the wall, the heat and strength of his body a pleasant contrast to the cold, stone wall at his back.

"It's not," Sirius kissed Remus's jaw, "a bloody," his temple, "spell," the sensitive spot beneath his ear, "Remus." And finally, his lips again. It was a few moments before Remus could work up the presence of mind to break it off.

"You're going to hate me when this is over," Remus answered, already anticipating the misery as he pushed past Sirius, beyond the claustrophobic dimness of the cloak.

"I could never hate you," Sirius said, but Remus ignored his disembodied voice.

"You'll hate me for taking advantage. You don't even fancy boys."

"Come on, then," Sirius said, doffing the cloak and grabbing Remus's arm. "Stop faffing about. I'll prove to you it's not a spell."

They set off for Gryffindor Tower.


Remus was too busy trying to understand what Sirius had just said to pay attention, because Sirius hadn't really agreed that he didn't like boys, and that was a new and interesting thought to chew over. And Sirius was too used to attention to notice, but by the time they passed the Great Hall, they had quite a following of young women, all of whom were trying to get their hands on Remus.

"Remus, come to Hogsmeade with me this weekend."

"Remus, want to borrow my Potions notes?"

"Remus, I think I love you--"

Sirius shoved Remus behind him, and stood facing the throng of females gathered around them, blocking their path in all directions.

"I told you the spell was still working," Remus muttered.

Sirius ignored him. "He's not going to Hogsmeade with you, Griselda. And he doesn't need your Potions notes, Rose. You're worse at it than he is." Rose flushed and dropped her gaze. "As for you," Sirius glared at Ariadne Calder, "you don't even know what love is, you silly bint." He made shooing gestures with his hands. "Now go away."

Narcissa Black pushed her way to the front of the crowd and stared down her nose at Ariadne. "Yes. Go away. Remus is mine."

"Like hell he is," Sirius snarled. "I wouldn't let you or anyone else from the family near him." Remus decided it wasn't a good time to point out that Sirius himself was part of the Black family. Sirius pulled his wand out of his sleeve with one hand and with the other, pushed the Invisibility Cloak back toward Remus, who grabbed it and ran.

Sirius could hex his way out of the crowd, but Remus was more interested in finding James and ending the damn spell.

He pushed his way through the throng, holding tightly to the cloak and ignoring the hands that reached out to clutch at him and the confused voices crying, "But where did he go?"

Pulling off the cloak, he said, "Lethifold," to the Fat Lady, who winked, and the portrait hole swung open. The common room was uncommonly empty, but he didn't stick around. He rushed up the stairs to their room, closed the door and leaned against it, breathing heavily, thinking, 'Safe at last.'

He was halfway to his bed when he realized how foolish that thought was.

"There you are," Lily said, a feral smile on her lips, emerging from the shadows around James's bed. James was right behind her. "See, James, I told you he'd be here. I've been waiting for you."

"Oh, fuck me," Remus groaned, rubbing his forehead, where a headache had begun to throb behind his right eye.

"I'd like that very much," she said, stalking toward him, red hair gleaming in the sunlight.

He froze, his mouth working soundlessly as she advanced.

"Like hell you will," James snarled, placing himself between her and Remus. "What the bloody hell is going on, Remus?"

Finding his voice, he said, "Your sodding spell, James. It went wrong. We have to end it."

"End it?" Lily interrupted, attempting to move around James, who mirrored her steps. "We haven't even begun."

"Lily, you're a lovely girl," he said, "but James is the one in love with you, not me."

"James is an utter prat," she replied, peering around James's shoulder. "I need a real man, like you."

"Now, see here--" James interrupted angrily, but they ignored him.

"I don't like girls, Lily," Remus said desperately, as she continued to advance and James blocked her way, surprise replacing anger on his face at this revelation. "I'm sorry."

Her face twisted in anger. "You're sorry? You're sorry?" Her voice rose threateningly. "Is this all a game to you? Did you think you could make me fall in love with you and then drop me like an old shoe? You stupid son of a bitch, I'll give you sorry."

He backed away, keeping James between them, and said, "I-- James--" His brain seemed to have gone on holiday, leaving his mouth unable to handle the situation in its absence.

"Cambiarospo!" There was a burst of green sparks, and where James had stood now sat a toad. Lily shrieked and raised her wand again. The James-toad, no fool, hopped out of the way and Remus ducked behind Sirius's bed as the night table shattered.

Peter and Sirius rushed into the room.

"You had to see it," Peter said, practically quivering with excitement. "Sirius was holding them off like a champion. It was so cool."

Sirius smoothed back his hair and opened his mouth to speak but Remus shouted, "Close the door!" in an attempt to keep the James-toad, which was hopping toward escape, in the room.

"What the hell--" Sirius began, but another explosion cut him off. Lily was breaking everything she could aim her wand at.

The James-toad made a spectacular leap and Remus dove to catch him, but instead landed sprawling on Sirius's bed. The toad made for freedom and Remus yelled, "Peter, that's James! Keep an eye on him." Peter whirled and rushed out the door after the fleeing toad. "Lily, go with him."

"Don't want to," she said, crossing her arms over her chest and pouting at him. "Want to stay here with you."

Remus let the growl out this time, as Sirius stared at her, open-mouthed.

"I promise," Remus lied, "that if you turn James back into James, you and I will-- spend some time together." 'Plotting to kill him, no doubt.'


He crossed his fingers behind his back and said, "Cross my heart and hope to die."

She took his face in her hands and pressed a wet kiss to his mouth. He didn't respond, and she pulled away, pouting again.


She went.

He flopped back down onto Sirius's bed, exhausted.

"The spell is still in effect," Sirius said after a long silence.

"No, really?"

Sirius shot him an injured look. "No need to be sarcastic, Moony."

"Oh, there's every need," Remus snapped, patience finally at an end. He raised himself up on his elbows and stared at Sirius. "James has turned me into some sort of woman-magnet and Lily's turned him into a toad. I think sheer panic is the appropriate response, actually, so you should be grateful I'm only subjecting you to sarcasm."

"Oh. Well." Sirius sank down onto the bed next to him. "Lily's never been that good at Transfiguration. I'm impressed." Remus hit him with a pillow. Sirius just took it and tucked it behind his head. Remus held his breath as Sirius's hand came down on his shoulder and began playing with his hair. "But you're safe now, Moony."

Remus let himself relax against Sirius, rested his head on Sirius's chest and listened to his heartbeat, shivers of pleasure running through him when Sirius's fingers brushed his neck. Sirius cupped his face and kissed him, and they spent a few minutes exchanging increasingly heated kisses and touches before Remus remembered.

He scrambled off the bed as if he'd been shoved.

"The spell. You're affected as well, for some reason."

Sirius groaned. "You're daft, do you know that?"

"You saw those girls -- Lily. Narcissa. McGonagall." He shuddered.

"And am I behaving at all like that?" Sirius asked, sitting up and frowning at him. "I am not," he said, answering his own question when Remus said nothing. "But fine, don't believe me. Even if it is the spell, I can tell you want me, and I want you. So why not just, you know, go for it?"

Remus froze. His heart was racing, his blood rushing south as he replayed Sirius's words in his head. Who would it harm, after all? Sirius was gagging for it, and he'd wanted it himself for so long now. Sirius lounged back against the pillows, waiting for a response, his whole body an invitation, from the disarray of his soft, dark hair and the pout on his kiss-swollen lips to the long lines of his legs, parted just enough to make lying between them comfortable, and the bulge in his trousers.

But he knew it was wrong to take advantage of Sirius.

"Look," he said, not unkindly, "I've wanted you for a very long time now, and the fact that you want me back, even if it's just because of a spell is-- incredible. But I can't. Because you'll hate me when it's over. And I couldn't handle that."

Sirius slid off the bed and came toward him. "So, if you and James lift the spell, and I tell you I fancy you, you'll believe me?"

"That won't happen."

Sirius was so close that he could feel the heat from his skin, the warm whisper of his breath. Remus swallowed hard and forced himself not to close the infinitesimal distance separating them.

"Oh, it will," Sirius said, and Remus felt the words down to his toes. "And when it does," Sirius leaned even closer, his lips almost touching Remus's ear, "I'm going to hold you down and lick every inch of your body. I--"

The door burst open and Peter, clutching a squirming toad, burst into the room, Lily behind him. She was pouting again, and both she and Peter had cobwebs in their hair and clinging to disheveled robes.

Sirius growled audibly at the interruption and Lily looked as though she wanted to turn him into a toad for standing so close to Remus.

Remus forced himself to remain calm. He pasted a false smile on his lips and said, "Thank you, Peter. Now, Lily, please return James to his natural state."

"I like him better this way. Suits him, don't you think?" she answered with a bright smile.

"No, I don't." Even he was startled at the authority in his tone. She pouted again. It was a look that worked wonders on James and other boys, but Remus was, at this point, heartily sick of it, and thus, immune. "Change him back."

"Kiss me first."


They all looked at Sirius, who'd spoken.

"What's the matter, Sirius? I'd say this works out great for you -- I'll occupy Remus and you can have James all to yourself. If I turn him back into himself, of course. I think he's quite charming as a toad."

"You mean 'when,'" Remus said.

"Don't want James," Sirius snapped. "I want Remus."

Which was flattering, Remus thought, or would have been if it weren't the love charm talking. Sirius had never chosen him over James before. However, given Lily's volatile temper, it wasn't perhaps the wisest thing Sirius could have said.

Lily had her wand out and her mouth was forming the words when Remus said, "Fine. I'll kiss you after James is James again, and we've ended the spell." 'By then you and Sirius will both be angry with me, so it shouldn't be a problem.'

"No," Lily said. "Kisses first. I know you. Otherwise, you'll welsh on the deal."

"I've never welshed on a deal," Remus replied, stung, though that was exactly what he'd been planning to do.

"No kisses, no James," she said, crossing her arms over her chest.

Peter stood behind her, holding the toad and smirking. Sirius looked as if he were about to explode.

"Deal," Remus said, stepping forward and brushing a chaste kiss over her lips. She grabbed him, one hand in his hair, the other tangling in his robe to hold him close. She opened her mouth and licked at his lips. He heard Sirius growl.

He pulled back, opened his mouth to speak, and she followed, kissing him again. He tried to keep still, because while it was nice, it was nothing like kissing Sirius. Who grabbed his arm and yanked him away from Lily.

"That's enough." He pushed Remus behind him and pointed his wand at Lily. "Change James back now, and keep your dirty paws off Remus."

"So that's the way of it, then?" she said, and licked her lips. "Can't say I blame you."

"Just take care of James," Remus interrupted. "Peter, put him down."

Peter hastily set the James-toad on the floor, not missing the irritation in Remus's voice. Lily was pouting again, but Remus glared at her, his patience at an end.

"Finite Incantatum."

"You can't want Remus! You want me!" James said, picking up the conversation exactly where he'd left off when Lily transfigured him. "That's why we did the spell!"

"Spell? What spell?" Lily waved her wand around dangerously.

"We mucked it up, James," Remus said, feeling tired. "It--"

The door exploded open once again, and a horde of screaming girls rushed into the room.

"There he is!" someone shrieked. Sirius jumped in front of Remus, Peter was shoved to the floor by the crowd, and Lily began hexing girls left and right. James dove behind his bed, looking bewildered. Remus crawled over to him, trying to evade the grasping hands and puckered lips coming at him, and Sirius joined Lily in hexing everyone within reach.

"We have to end the spell, James," Remus said desperately.

James nodded once, jaw set. They raised their wands and together said, "Finite Incantatum."

A great gust of wind blew through the room, ruffling hair and skirts. Remus shivered as it brushed over him, and, with an audible whoosh, spiraled out the door.

The girls who hadn't already been hexed collapsed in a heap on top of each other, robes flying, limbs flailing. When they stood, they all wore confused expressions.

"What happened?" they asked each other. "What's going on?"

Sirius folded his arms across his chest. "I think you'd best be leaving now." He tapped his wand against his elbow meaningfully.

The girls stumbled out in pairs and trios, muttering about stupid Black and daft Potter and didn't they have anything better to do than cause a ruckus?

Remus took a deep breath and rose from behind the bed. Guinevere looked over at him, and then looked away, her face crumpling with disappointment. She rushed from the room, one hand over her mouth, choking back a sob.

"Guinevere, wait," he called, but he knew his apologies would have to be made later, probably after his face met with her brother's fist.

Soon only Lily remained of the girls, her posture mirroring Sirius's. "Would you care to explain?" she asked.

James and Remus winced.

"I did this love spell," James began while at the same time Remus said, "We did this charm--" he stopped and looked at James. "It's my fault, not Remus's," James continued. Remus stared at him, amazed. "I just-- really want you to like me, Lily. I thought--"

"You thought you could use a love spell to make me fall for you? And then what? What would happen when it wore off?" She took a deep breath, hurt and anger easy to read on her face. "That's utterly despicable, James. How could you think-- Why would I want-- You horrible, infuriating boy!"

She turned to leave but he grabbed her shoulder. She stopped, but gave him such a venomous look he removed his hand immediately from her person. "Please, Lily. You turned me into a toad."

"Do you think that makes us even?" she yelled. "I could have left you a toad. I could have given you to Snape for his Potions experiments. Did I? No. I didn't--"

"That's because you were too busy trying to get into Remus's pants," Sirius interrupted. Remus put his head in his hands.

"Sirius, shut up," he muttered.


"Shut. Up."

But James was looking at Remus. "Remus, mate, you didn't--"

"Of course I didn't," he snapped. He turned to Lily. "Look, I'm sorry. The spell was a bad idea and it went very wrong. I'm probably going to be lynched by a mob of girls the next time I step out of this room, but let's forget about that for the moment, as James's love life is of such major importance that all of Hogwarts must be involved while he tries to sort it out."

He grabbed Lily's hand and deposited it into James's.

"Yes, James is a horrid, arrogant berk, and you're well shed of him. But he's a good friend, so I think you should give him a chance. It's obvious you two fancy each other, so stop being idiots and do something about it. I'm sick of this ridiculous charade."

They all stared at him in various states of shock.

Lily broke the long silence that followed. "I do not fancy you, James Potter," she said succinctly, "but I will allow you to buy me dinner in Hogsmeade this weekend, to make up for your horrible behavior. And then we'll see what happens." She swept out of the room, James behind her.

"You won't regret this," he was saying.

"I already do," she replied, and then they were out of earshot.

"Well, that was exciting," Peter said, sitting on his bed.

Remus followed suit, collapsing onto his bed and rubbing his eyes. "Easy for you to say, Peter. You weren't the one being mauled and molested all day."

"I don't know," Peter replied. "Sounds like a good time to me."

"Trust me, being fondled by McGonagall isn't anybody's idea of a good time. Except maybe Dumbledore's. And we all know he's a nutter."

"Remus, please," Sirius said faintly, wearing a moue of distaste.

"I'm sorry, did I upset your delicate stomach?"

Sirius frowned at him, but said, "Peter, don't get too comfortable."

"What? Why not?"

"Because you're not staying. Remus and I have things to discuss."

Remus groaned and covered his face with his pillow. Of course. How had he forgotten? He peeked over the pillow, trying to gauge Sirius's mood. "No, no. It's okay, Peter. Stay as long as you like," he said, voice muffled.

But Sirius was having none of it. "I think you should go find Virginia. She was in here flailing at Remus with the rest of them."

"Her name is Veronica," Peter said, jumping up. "I should go comfort her or apologize or something."

"Yes, yes you should," Sirius replied, clapping him on the shoulder. "There's a good man. Get the hell out." And the friendly shoulder-clap turned into a push, forcing Peter out the door.

With a click, Sirius locked the door behind Peter, and turned back toward Remus, who sat up, wary.

"Now," Sirius said, moving with almost feline grace to push Remus down on the bed and straddle him, "I believe I owe you a licking." He leaned forward and slid his lips along Remus's cheek.

Remus froze, stunned. "Excuse me?"

Sirius nipped lightly at his jaw. "Mmm, always so polite, Moony. It's one of those things that should be annoying, but because it's you, I just--" he broke off and licked Remus's ear. Remus shivered. "Merlin. You feel it too, don't you?"

"God, yes," he gasped as Sirius sucked on his earlobe, grinding down onto him so he could feel Sirius's erection pressing against his own even through their clothes, hot and hard, driving him mad with need. And then Sirius pressed that sweet, wet mouth against his. He let himself fall into the kiss, let all his worries go, because the spell was done and Sirius was kissing him, touching him, and nothing had ever felt so good.

"Told you it wasn't the spell," Sirius said after a good long while when neither of them had breath or brains enough to speak.

"Yes, yes, you did." Remus curled up against Sirius, unable to stop touching him now that he was allowed.

After another long, intense session of heavy petting, Remus noticed the room was almost fully in shadow.

"We're going to miss dinner," he said, pulling away reluctantly and straightening his disheveled and unbuttoned clothes.

"Do you really care? Safer here, away from all those grasping harpies. Not to mention Shacklebolt's probably looking to put your lights out," Sirius grumbled but rose from the bed and did the same.

They meandered down to the Great Hall, bumping hips and shoulders, touching each other as much as possible in public without attracting attention. Remus kept his head down, but the halls were mostly empty, for which he was grateful.

He was mentally cataloguing the different tastes and textures of Sirius's skin when Kingsley Shacklebolt, who stood four inches taller and weighted a good stone more than he, appeared out of the shadows. Sirius tried to block the punch, but Kingsley was too quick, and landed a solid blow to Remus's stomach.

"Oof." Remus doubled over, clutching his belly and trying to catch his breath.

"That's for toying with my sister," Kingsley snarled. Remus blinked, dazed, and before he could react, Kingsley's right fist connected with his jaw, snapping his head back and sending him teetering. "And that's for breaking her heart."

"Sorry," he offered weakly, clinging to Sirius. "I'm really, really sorry."

"It's not what you think," Sirius said, wrapping an arm around Remus, who rubbed his jaw, trying to ease the pain.

Kingsley looked them up and down, lip curled in disdain. "Is that so?"

"Yeah," Sirius said, chin up in defiance, though Kingsley was taller and heavier than he was.

"Bloody poofs." Kingsley stomped away, and Remus started laughing so hard he had to lean against Sirius to remain upright.

"What? What's so funny?"

"You told me he'd kill me if I touched his sister," Remus choked out.

"And I was right. Sort of. You should listen to me more often, Moony. I was right about everything today."

"Don't let it go to your head."

He brushed gentle fingers over Remus's jaw. "Want me to kiss it better?"

"Mmm," Remus replied. "You know, on second thought, I'm really not that hungry."

When they got back to the dormitory, Remus wasted no time falling onto his bed and pulling Sirius down with him. After a few minutes of frantic kissing, Sirius pulled away, and Remus froze. Maybe the spell had affected Sirius differently, had had lingering aftereffects, and was just wearing off now. Maybe Sirius was going to give him a black eye to go with his bruised jaw.

But Sirius smiled at him, eyes glinting with mischief.

"I have a gift for you," he said.

"A gift?" Remus repeated skeptically.

"Well, it's customary, isn't it?"

"A Valentine's gift? Really?" Remus raised himself up on his elbows to enjoy the view as Sirius hurried to his own corner of the room and bent over to rifle through his trunk.

"No, not Valentine's." He ducked his head into the trunk for a moment, and when he straightened up, he was flushed and grinning. "I oughtn't give it to you until tomorrow, which is when I planned to --" he stopped, blush deepening even in the dim candlelight of the room.

"Yes?" Remus prompted.

Sirius crawled back into bed with him. "I planned to do this." He slid his hands into Remus's hair and kissed him, hard. Remus responded eagerly, the slick slide of Sirius's tongue in his mouth sent fire along his nerves. He put a hand on Sirius's neck to hold him close and broke the kiss in surprise.

Sirius was wearing a leather collar.

He ran his fingers along it; it was about an inch wide, and there was something carved on the front of it.

He pulled back slightly, surprised and overwhelmed.

Sirius looked both eager and anxious as Remus continued to caress the collar.

"Do you like it?"

Remus swallowed hard, barely able to breathe, his whole body on fire, aching with the need to see Sirius in nothing but the collar.

Instead of answering, he hauled Sirius close, claiming his mouth in a searing kiss, frantic hands making short work of his robes and shirt.

When the irritating clothes were out of the way, Remus pulled back again, admiring Sirius's chest, rising up and down rapidly from being kissed breathless, nipples peaked, and so inviting; Remus wanted to lower his head to lick and suck at them, but his eyes were caught again by the collar, stark and black against the pale skin of Sirius's throat. He traced the carving on it again with curious fingers--

He pulled back and grabbed his wand. "Lumos."

"The moon?" he asked hoarsely.

"In all her phases," Sirius answered. "All your phases."

Well, that certainly deserved another kiss, Remus thought; he dropped his wand and lost himself in doing just that. He couldn't say exactly how they both ended up stripped bare, but he wasn't going to complain at the feel of Sirius's hot skin and hard flesh moving against his body, his own hands tangling in Sirius's silky dark hair or hooking onto the collar, amazed at just how arousing such an ordinary item was when fastened around Sirius's throat.

When they were done, curled up together, sleepy and sated behind the drawn curtains of his bed, Remus asked, "So, why were you waiting until tomorrow? Valentine's is the holiday for lovers." Even now, he couldn't keep the note of dry sarcasm from his voice.

"Sure, Valentine's is for lovers," Sirius said, husky and warm against his ear, "but Lupercalia is for you and me."

Remus blinked, thought back to History of Magic, ancient Roman rituals and-- "You're sacrificing yourself for me?"

Sirius pressed a kiss to Remus's still-sore jaw. "More like... dedicating myself to you."

Remus considered this, everything said and unsaid. Again he found it difficult to breathe; his chest tight with something that might be more than attraction. On both sides, which was more than he'd ever hoped for.

"I think I'd like that," he managed, and felt Sirius relax against him. They were quiet for a few moments and then, "You know it's a fertility ceremony, right?"

Sirius's smile was slow and sweet as honey. "Well, then, wouldn't want to displease the gods, would we?" He skated a hand down Remus's chest and belly; Remus shivered, his body responding immediately. He turned toward Sirius, seeking heat and friction, his hands brushing lightly over Sirius's back and arse to urge him closer as they thrust against each other.

"Nobody quite knows which god the festival was for," Remus choked out, rational thought becoming more difficult by the second.

Sirius laughed wickedly. "Then we'll have to honor them all,"

Remus could only nod in agreement and kiss him again.


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