Remus pulled up short after he entered the Transfiguration Corridor, stopping so suddenly that Peter ran right into his back.
"Steady," Peter said, catching Remus' elbow as he swayed into a suit of armour. Remus winced slightly; his ribs hadn't quite recovered from the last full moon. "All right, then?"
"That depends." Remus pointed down the other end of the hallway, where James and Sirius were skulking beside a statue of Gormlach the Gargantuan. James' eyes were narrowed and Sirius' mouth was quirked at the corners, and they were standing too close together in a up to no good kind of way. "What does that look like?"
"Looks like plotting," Peter said, shrugging. "You've seen them do it before."
Remus considered this for a moment. "Evans throw Prongs over again?"
"Snape been mucking about?"
"No more than usual."
Remus frowned, tugging Peter toward the wall as a pack of first-years scrambled away from McGonagall's classroom. "Regulus, then?"
"I wouldn't know," Peter said, digging two Sugar Quills from his rucksack. He handed one to Remus, then bit the other in half with a sharp crunch. "Haven't seen much of him since that business with the Bubotuber pus."
Remus wrinkled his nose; he'd needed four showers to cope with that particular disaster, and their dormitory still smelled if a draught blew the wrong way. "Well, they're up to something." Sirius barked out a short laugh, ducking behind Gormlach as James tried to shush him. "I just can't figure what else it could be."
"Might be general purpose plotting." The corridor had started to clear; Peter pushed away from the wall, nudging Remus into motion as he headed for the classroom. "Friday's the last day of school before the Christmas holiday. Leaving feast, and all that."
"Right," Remus said. "Of course." Because James was Head Boy, life was a bit more settled on the mischief front this term, but Padfoot and Prongs wouldn't be Padfoot and Prongs if they let a fancy occasion pass without something going off bang. "I hope they don't set anything on fire."
"Hey now," Sirius complained, wagging his finger at Remus. He was lounging against Gormlach's huge thigh, his robe open and his tie so loose the knot was only pretending. "That was one time."
"You nearly burned down the Thestral stables."
"If you'd left the Doxy piss where I wanted, I wouldn't have -- "
"Oi, Moony," James cut in, slapping Sirius on the shoulder. "Where have you been? We haven't seen you since breakfast."
"I've been upstairs. Pomfrey wanted another look at my ribs."
Sirius elbowed James out of the way, then laid a careful hand on Remus' side. "Everything all right?"
"Yeah, it's -- I'm fine," Remus said quietly. His stomach knotted a little, the way it always did when Sirius got too close. "She just worries, is all. She dosed me with Skele-Gro and sent me off with a lecture."
James snorted. "Old bird's gone soft on you, if you ask me. Remember when she -- "
"Gentlemen," McGonagall said, her voice sudden and sharp in the now-empty corridor. She was looming in the doorway, her arms folded across her chest; Gormlach chuckled with a noise like an avalanche. "Class has already begun, if you're not too busy to join us."
Sirius offered her a bright, flirtatious smile. "Afternoon, Professor. You look lovely today."
"I look lovely every day, Mister Black," she said tartly. "Empty flattery will only earn you detention."
Remus cornered James in the common room, during the free period seventh-years had before supper. He rather didn't want to, but he figured it would be best if he headed this thing off before James and Sirius let their imaginations run wild. When that happened, potions cupboards got filled with trifle overnight. People ended up floating on the ceiling, or speaking Mermish for a week while covered in throbbing pustules. Remus found himself trapped in a third-floor storage room for nine hours, with nothing for company but several dusty tapestries and a goblin portrait with incredibly bad manners.
"Well, what is it?" James asked, budging over as Remus sat down beside him. He had a book open in his lap, but didn't seem to be actually reading it. Remus suspected he was just waiting for Evans to come along.
Remus shrugged. "Does it have to be something?"
"You just looked lonely, is all."
"You're so full of shit they can smell you down in Slytherin."
"All right, all right," Remus said, nudging James' shoulder. Behind them, the fire crackled and popped as someone tossed another log into the hearth. "I just want to know what you and Sirius are up to."
James pulled an innocent face, but his mouth was twitching too much to really sell it. "Up to?"
"For the feast on Friday."
"I don't know what you're on about."
"Now who's full of shit?"
"Yeah, all right. Don't get your knickers in a twist." James snorted out a rough laugh and pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "We were thinking about it, but we couldn't come up with anything worth the bother." He paused, cocking his head to the side like a bird. "What gave us away, then?"
"You gave you away," Remus said, shifting uncomfortably. Their chair wasn't quite big enough for two people, and James' hipbone was digging a bruise into Remus' thigh. "You looked like you were plotting, earlier. Before Transfiguration."
"Been staring at Sirius again, have you?"
Heat crept up the back of Remus' neck; he sighed and pinched James' arm. "Prongs."
"Here, I'm just taking the piss," James said, slinging his arm around Remus' shoulder. "I haven't told him, and I won't -- not unless you want."
"Well, all right. There's no feast prank, and I won't tell Sirius -- I guess that's you sorted." James glanced across the common room, frowning anxiously at the portrait hole. "Bugger off then, will you? Evans is meeting me here at half five."
"He was lying, of course," Remus said, just before bed.
Peter looked up from his open trunk; he had a dirty sock in one hand and a pair of pyjama bottoms in the other. "Probably. Unless -- maybe Evans got to him before you did."
"She gives out worse than you," Peter said, ducking as Remus threw a shoe at his head. "You know, she's still sore about that thing with the Lobalug, and that was years ago."
"Her skin was grey for a week."
Peter shrugged, his nose twitching slightly. "She didn't look so bad. It was McKinnon got the short end of it. The seaweed in her hair made her look like that portrait of Medusa on the fifth floor."
Remus was ten feet from the Ancient Runes classroom when someone grabbed the collar of his robe and yanked.
"Merlin's pants, what -- Sirius?"
Remus tugged on his tie, trying to straighten it out before it choked him. "What are you doing here?"
"Looking for you."
"Aren't you meant to be in Divs?"
Sirius dismissed this with a lazy shrug, then caught Remus' elbows and herded him back into the shadow of an alcove. "I needed to talk to you."
"And it couldn't wait until Charms?" Remus asked, biting the inside of his cheek. His crush on Sirius was annoying enough on its own; it didn't help things any when Sirius put his hands all over the merchandise. "Well, what is it, then?"
"Have you got rounds tonight?"
"Of course I've got rounds tonight." Remus pressed closer to the wall, hoping to put some distance between his cock and the curve of Sirius' hip. His elbow bumped a tapestry of Aurelanus Gringott; it grumbled and coughed out an acrid cloud of dust. "I've got rounds every night."
"Who's your partner?"
"Janet Mills. Why are -- did you really skive off class just to ask about my rounds?"
Sirius narrowed his eyes. "Mills... Mills -- Hufflepuff, right? Nice legs, but kind of titchy? Comes up to your armpit, like?"
"When you do the dungeons, do you think she'd notice if you nipped into Sluggy's private stash? We need -- "
"Oh, go on," Remus said, sighing heavily. Sirius was still holding his arms; he tried to pull away, but Sirius just huffed and crowded him closer to the wall. "I should've know James was just winding me up."
"Of course he was winding you up. You give out worse than Evans, sometimes."
Sirius laughed, low and throaty and warm. "Wanker." He danced to once side as Remus aimed a kick at his shin. "Don't be such a girl's blouse. It's just a bit of fun."
"It's never just fun," Remus complained, shaking his head. "It's always wild animals and shoes full of treacle and McGonagall yelling herself hoarse."
"You've never seen my mum when she's angry. Compared to her, McGonagall doesn't even rate." Sirius slid his hand up to Remus' shoulder and brushed the tapestry dust from his robe. "C'mon, Moony. Please?"
"No exploding boils?"
"You won't flood the Arithmancy Corridor again?"
Remus deflated with a sigh. "Yeah, all right. Tell me what you need."
"Sorry," Remus said, rubbing his hand over his face. The dormitory was overly warm; Remus' collar was sticking to the back of his neck. "Did you say turkeys?"
James frowned like Remus was the one who'd gone round the twist. "Yes."
"You want to bugger the Christmas biscuits so they turn everyone into turkeys?"
"Not everyone," James said slowly, as if that somehow made it less ridiculous. "And not permanently, or anything. Just for a few minutes." He paused for a moment, his mouth twitching at the corners. "It was Sirius' idea."
Remus glared at Sirius, who was sitting cross-legged on James' trunk, looking rather pleased with himself. "Are you mad?"
"Runs in the family," Peter said.
Sirius flipped Peter the bird, then offered Remus a dangerously sweet smile. "It's brilliant."
"It's daft, is what it is," Remus said, shaking his head. "Completely daft. Also, it'll never work. You can't put a Transfiguration Hex on food."
"Yeah, we know. Gamps bollocks Law, and all that," James said. His glasses were smudged, and his hair looked like birds had been nesting in it. "We figured we'd dose them."
"Hang on, that's potions," Peter said, pointing his finger at James. He was curled up at the head of his bed against a huge mound of pillows; one of them slid to the floor as he sat up straighter. "We agreed there wouldn't be any more potions after that business with the Blistering Solution. My eyebrows were a month growing back."
James dismissed this with a wave. "You agreed. You and Moony. I never said anything."
"That doesn't count," Sirius said, pushing his fringe out of his eyes. "Prongs grunts all the time, especially when he's -- "
"Rictusempra," James muttered, flicking his wand in Sirius' general direction. The spell whizzed past Sirius' ear and crashed into the window; Remus sighed as the drapes began to twitch.
"If you and Sirius need a potion, then you and Sirius can bloody well brew it," he said.
"You and Sirius need to brew it," James said, Summoning his Invisibility Cloak. "Peter and I are going to the kitchens. We need to get the house elves to lend us those biscuits."
"I'm pants at potions," Remus said.
James' trunk creaked mournfully as Sirius got to his feet. "It'll be all right, Moony. If you slice and dice, I'll do the brewing."
"This is a terrible idea," Remus complained, rolling up his sleeves. "This is probably the worst idea you two have ever had."
Remus hunched over the work table he'd Transfigured from his rucksack and tried not to dwell on the stuff bubbling in Sirius' cauldron. Whatever it was, it smoked like anything and smelled like tripe flavoured Bertie Botts left to pickle in vinegar. It was roughly the colour of dried blood, and it was also strangely sentient; it started climbing the sides of the cauldron if Sirius stopped paying attention to it.
"How's that knotgrass?" Sirius asked, giving the potion a few quick stirs. It was thicker than mud, so he mostly looked like he was stabbing it.
"Almost done." Remus grabbed another handful and started chopping. "Do you need the Fanged Geranium roots yet?"
"It's knotgrass first, I think -- yeah." Sirius tapped the instructions with his finger, then gave the potion another poke. "Three handfuls of knotgrass, then we let it simmer for twenty minutes, and then the Fanged Geranium roots."
Remus slid a pile of chopped knotgrass toward the cauldron with the edge of his knife. "That's two. I'm doing the last one now."
The potion coughed out a wet, squelchy noise, then erupted in Sirius' face like a volcano.
"Could be worse," Sirius said, his voice muted by the spray from the shower. "Could be Bubotuber pus again."
Remus couldn't really argue with that. The Bubotuber pus had burned his eyes, itched like fire, and left his skin feeling scraped and raw for days. This stuff was just clammy and cold, and it came off all right if Remus scrubbed hard enough.
Being naked in the showers with Sirius was a bit of a sticking point, but there was nothing for it. Remus angled his shoulders under the hot water and tried to pretend he wasn't already half hard. He could probably muddle through this, if he kept his eyes to himself and Sirius didn't come to close.
"What you do think went wrong?" Remus asked, his voice surprisingly even.
"Hell if I know," Sirius said, ducking his head under the spray. Water ran down his back in heavy rivulets; Remus bit his lip and cursed himself for looking over in the first place. "I just followed those instructions James gave us. Tosser probably copied them down wrong."
Remus rubbed his washcloth over his face, then dug a blob of potion from his ear with his finger.
"Balls. I lost my soap," Sirius grumbled, peering down at the tile floor. He felt about with his foot, but the steam was too thick, clouding around his ankles. "Have you got one over there?"
"I think so," Remus said, working more potion from the crease of his elbow. He turned around to check, but Sirius was behind him suddenly, his hand sliding over Remus' hip as he leaned in to fumble with the soap dish on the wall.
Remus took a slow breath, hoping Sirius didn't look down and see how hard he was.
"It's barely a sliver," Sirius said, his wet hair brushing Remus' shoulder, his mouth too close to Remus' ear. "I'll just -- let me have yours when you're finished." He shifted slightly, and something nudged the curve of Remus' arse.
The silence was heavy and strange, just their uneven breaths and the sharp cut of the water. Remus' stomach twisted, and a prickly, feverish heat crawled over his jaw. He started to move away, before things got any more strained; his foot slipped on the tiles, and he swayed back into Sirius instead, and Sirius made a rough, throaty noise he tried to cover with a cough.
"Sorry," Sirius said finally, his voice tight. "I -- sorry."
"Wait. Padfoot, I -- wait." Remus turned around, catching Sirius by the wrist before he could pull away. "It's fine."
Sirius smiled, then curled his hand in Remus' hair and pulled him in for a kiss.
The water was going tepid, and the tile wall was cold and uncomfortable against Remus' back, but he didn't much care about anything right now, except for Sirius' hands on his skin and Sirius' tongue in his mouth, the soft noises Sirius' made when Remus dug his fingernails into Sirius' shoulders. Sirius' hair was still wet, dripping onto his neck, catching on Remus' fingers when Remus pushed his hand through it. They were mad to be doing this here, where anyone could walk in on them, but Sirius had his hand around Remus' cock, was dragging his teeth over the hinge of Remus' jaw.
"You should've told me," Sirius said, his voice ragged, his hand sliding up Remus' cock, quick and sure and even. He had calluses on his palm from swinging a Beater's bat, and the rough pull was perfect, too much in a way that made Remus' legs shake, sparked a strange heat beneath Remus' skin. "I've wanted -- fuck, I've wanted to do this since fifth year."
Remus gasped out a laugh, twisting to push himself into Sirius' hand. "Fourth year, and it's not -- it's not like you ever said anything."
His orgasm hit him by surprise, a slow shiver under his skin and a twist in the low of his gut; he came with his mouth at the hollow of Sirius' throat, with Sirius' fingers in his hair and Sirius' cock pushing against his hip, spurting hot and thick over Sirius' hand and the wet tile floor. He sucked a mark into Sirius' neck, lips and tongue and teeth, then curled his hands at Sirius' hips, digging his thumbs into Sirius' skin as he slid to his knees.
Remus had never done this before, but he had thought about it, and he didn't think Sirius would need much; his eyes were wide and dark as he stared down at Remus, and a slow tremor was working up this thighs. He pressed a wet kiss to the base of Sirius' cock, then drew his mouth up the length of it; Sirius moaned low in his throat, his breath catching and his hand sliding to the back of Remus' neck, and Remus sucked him in as far as he could, let his tongue curl and his cheek hollow until Sirius was spent and shaking tugging on Remus' hair.
James found them in the showers, trading lazy kisses against the wall. The water wasn't running any more, but Remus didn't hear his footsteps. He didn't realise James was there at all until he sighed and cleared his throat.
"Wotcher, Prongs," Sirius said, smiling at James over Remus' shoulder.
James studied them for a moment, then snorted and leaned into the door frame. He looked smug. "Potion explode, did it?"
"You tosspot," Remus said, narrowing his eyes. "You rigged it to go off, didn't you?"
"Of course I did," James said brightly. "I figured if you got naked together, you might -- you know. Get yourselves sorted." He pushed his hand through his hair; the humidity in the showers was making it droop over his forehead. "Don't be sore, all right? Just, I was tired of watching you sigh over each other like a Muggle romance novel."
Sirius laughed. "Been reading Evans' dirty books again?"
"James," Peter said, suddenly appearing at James' shoulder. "We should probably -- oh." His mouth twitched, and he muttered, "bloody well took them long enough, didn't it," then tugged on James' sleeve. "The feast starts in an hour. We should probably get downstairs, if you still want to do that thing."
"What thing?" Remus asked.
"Don't worry about it," Sirius said, pressing a slow kiss to Remus' jaw. "It's just a bit of fun."
"Padfoot," Remus said slowly, his fork halfway to his mouth. "Why is there Tentacula growing out of the Slytherin banners?"
"I haven't the foggiest," Sirius said, sliding his hand over Remus' knee.