Sirius Black knew James Potter like he knew himself.
He knew when James was plotting an ingenious prank because his hazel eyes would grow to nearly twice the size of his glasses. His lips would twitch up in a smirk and the tip of his tongue would poke out the left side of his mouth as he concentrated on the finer details.
He knew when James was about to make a fool of himself in front of Lily Evans. A hand shooting up to ruffle his already messy mop of hair and a cocky grin on his face. His voice would sink an octave lower and his gate would change from quick paced walk to a slow swagger, approaching the red head and preparing to blurt out whatever ridiculous poem, sonnet or speech he had prepared.
He knew when James was angry. It took a lot to get James Potter angry, and once he was it would take days of avoidance tactics before the boy finally exploded. He'd pace a lot, and grumble under his breath. He'd be on the Quidditch pitch trying dangerous new moves on his broom or chucking a quaffle as hard as he could. Then eventually he'd confront whoever or whatever was angering him and finally there'd be yelling. But it wasn't yelling the way Sirius yelled. It wasn't insults and swearing and shit he would regret later on. It was more like when a parent yells, and they make you feel utterly guilty for disappointing them.
And Sirius knew when James was upset. It didn't happen often at all, but Sirius still knew. First he'd act indignant. There was pouting and whining and huffing as he tried to pretend that he really was okay, honest, and nothing was bothering him. Then he'd force a laugh and a smile and wave off any concern anybody expressed to him. But Sirius could see past it. Because the laugh never reached his eyes and it always ended in a forlorn sigh.
"Prongs needs to get laid." Sirius mused out loud as he leaned against the cold glass of the greenhouse.
"Sirius," Remus growled, resting his forehead against his boyfriend's bare thigh and trying to control the urge to throttle him. "Are you really thinking about James when I have my mouth around your-!"
"No! I mean...well I guess that's not entirely true. Ow!" Sirius flinched when Remus pinched him and glared down at the boy kneeling on the ground in front of him. "No need to get violent, Moony!"
"You were thinking about James while I was sucking you off, you prat!" Remus stood up and brushed the dirt off his knees. Sirius' eyes went wide.
"Come on, Moony! Don't stop!" He pouted, grabbing the werewolf by the wrist and pulling him close to nuzzle against his neck. "I'm sorry, love. I was distracted. Please keep going?" He pressed his lips to the sensitive skin of Remus' throat and one of his hands slid down, past the waist of the boy's jeans to give him a teasing squeeze through the fabric of his boxers.
Remus sighed, pressing up against Sirius' hand despite his annoyance. He cupped Sirius chin with one hand, tilting his face up and smirking a little when their eyes met.
Sirius gave a small shudder as the bright amber eyes locked on his and moaned when he felt Remus' lips cover his own. Remus wasted no time at all before parting Sirius' lips with his tongue and exploring every inch of his mouth. He gave him a gentle but firm shove so he was pinned against the greenhouse and growled softly as he ground his hips against the other boy's.
Sirius had a feeling this was what was bothering James so much lately. Not that he and Remus hadn't always had a...very enthusiastic...sex life, but recently Sirius found himself being dragged off to broom cupboards or behind greenhouses more often than usual.
He certainly wasn't one to complain. He enjoyed every incredible, hot moment of his boyfriend's suddenly and mysteriously overactive libido. But he couldn't blame James for feeling like they had abandoned him.
Now, however, was clearly not the time to worry about James' abandonment complex. Not when Remus' mouth was leaving a hot, wet trail of kisses down the column of his throat, making him whine and writhe against the greenhouse glass.
"Moony..." He moaned, fingers tangling in Remus' soft curls as the werewolf kissed down his chest and continued downward.
Sirius' eyes snapped open. That wasn't Remus' voice. He looked down to see Remus' eyes baring into him, looking irritated. He bit his lip.
Remus sighed. "Answer it." He stood once again. "You're right. James is obviously going through...something. So go on and answer him before he has a meltdown." He smiled and pressed his lips to Sirius' temple in a sweet gesture that was only slightly contradicted by the possessive growl of "But you're mine later." Against his ear.
Sirius smirked. "One hundred percent yours, Moony. I promise." He reached into the pocket of his leather jacket and retrieved his two way mirror. "James?"
James' face appeared where Sirius' reflection had been.
"Alright, mate?" Sirius asked.
"Er, yeah..." James said slowly, frowning a little and ruffling his hair. "I did what you said, Pads. I asked Mary out."
"Alight," Sirius sighed, rubbing his temples and leaning against the post of James' bed where Remus and Peter were sitting on either side of James himself, who looked slightly panicked at what he had done. "When I said you should go for any other girl than Evans, I didn't mean for you to pick her best bloody friend of all people!"
"Technically Marlene is her best friend." James tried weakly to defend himself.
Sirius rolled his eyes. "Her best straight friend, then."
"How did this happen exactly?" Remus asked, frowning a bit. "It just seems so...out of nowhere..."
James huffed and crossed his arms. "I was getting the common room ready for tonight and she offered to help. She asked me if I had some big elaborate plan to ask Evans to be my date for the night since apparently Evans didn't even know there was a party, and they all assumed she was kept out of the loop on purpose so I could do something big," He glared as his friends all snickered to themselves. "And I told her I wasn't planning to ask Evans at all. Then she said, and I'm not making this up, 'so you're planning to go stag then?'" The other three all snorted at the girl's brilliant use of a pun she wasn't even aware of. "And I laughed and she laughed, even though she didn't know why, obviously...and then I said I was actually wondering if maybe she'd like to be my date for the evening."
"And she just said yes?" Peter raised an eyebrow. "Just like that?"
James frowned. "Why does it seem so unrealistic that a girl would say yes to having a date with me?"
"Well because we've never seen it happen." Sirius smirked. "And because she's close with Evans and...I don't know, it's not like you two have ever even had a chat on your own before, let alone shown an interest in each other."
"How would you lot even know?" Said James coldly, making the other three stop laughing immediately and stare at him in surprise. "You've all been off snogging and shagging like bloody rabbits since September. How would you know how much time I've spent with Macdonald?"
Sirius, Remus and Peter exchanged guilty looks before their eyes dropped to avoid James'. He had a point.
"It's not like I've asked the bird to marry me! I didn't even ask her to be my girlfriend. I asked her to be my date for a bloody common room Halloween party. You're the ones who told me to put myself out there, so I've done it and now you're judging who I've chosen to put myself out there to." He ran a hand through his hair in frustration and stood up from the bed, turning to face the others. "I know Mary well enough to have things to talk about. She's a nice bird and she's good looking and easy to get along with and-" he paused, pinching the bridge of his nose. "You know what...why am I even explaining myself to you lot? I don't owe you an explanation. I certainly didn't ask you two for one when you were all but crying to me about your feelings for each other for two whole years," he glared at Remus and Sirius. "And I hid under the damn invisibility cloak and followed you and Emmeline around on your first date to make sure you didn't make a right fool of yourself, didn't I?" His eyes landed on Peter. "So why am I the one that gets a bloody interrogation?"
The other three gaped at him, completely speechless. Never had James Potter had an explosion like that, and especially not directed at any of them. And the worst part was, none of them could deny that they deserved it.
After a moment he took a deep breath and dragged both hands slowly through his hair, forcing a smile at them.
"Er..." He laughed weakly. "Sorry about that, I just-"
"No," said Remus gently. "Don't apologize. You're absolutely right, James. We've treated you unfairly. You've always supported all of us without a second thought and this is not the way we should repay you. We haven't been very good friends lately. I'm sorry."
Peter nodded along with Remus' words. "I'm sorry too, Prongs."
"Yeah, mate." Sirius agreed. "You can date any bird you like, no judgement here. And er...Sorry for being so...you know...busy all the time." He glanced sideways at Remus, whose face tinged pink.
James bit his lip, rubbing the back of his neck anxiously. "I, ah...I mean, I get it, you know? We're sixteen, we've all got hormones raging and shit. I'm sure if I had someone to unleash all that on, I'd rather be off doing that than plotting silly pranks-"
"Whoa," Peter's eyes went wide and he held up both hands. "'Silly Pranks'? James Potter is that really you?"
"Yeah, Prongs." Sirius laughed. "Sure, we may have been getting a tad carried away with our personal lives, but we're still Marauders first."
"We're really sorry if you felt we abandoned you." Remus concluded simply.
James nodded. "Er...right. Good...thanks." He cleared his throat, looking at his friends who were all still staring at him awkwardly. "So...I don't know, this feels oddly like one of those moments we're all meant to hug or something but...no offense, I love you all I just really don't want to."
"Right, because we're grown men now. No group hugs." Sirius said in a mockingly solemn tone. "Shots then? To get the party started?"
James and Peter both excitedly agreed, but Remus shook his head with a soft chuckle. "I think, more traditionally speaking anyway, you're suppose to end an argument with a peace pipe, lads." He stood and crossed the room to his own four poster, opening the top drawer of his bedside table and returning with an already perfectly rolled joint. "Not a pipe exactly, but it's the same idea."
"And that's why you're the smart one, Moony." James sighed happily, patting Remus on the back as they all headed over to the window and climbed out onto the roof.
Lily Evans was completely and utterly confused.
"I'm sorry," She sputtered, feeling as if she must have simply heard wrong amongst all the excited chatter in the Great Hall. "Who did you say asked you to be their date?"
Mary sighed, clearly having expected this reaction from her friend. "James asked me. And I said yes, Lily."
"Yes, I...I got that part. The part I don't really seem to grasp is why?"
Dorcas rolled her eyes and leaned over to pile some more pudding onto her plate. "Lily, when are you going to give up on this whole 'James Potter is the bane of my existence' act? I thought you two were finally getting on well."
"We are." Said Lily, poking at her own meal with her fork. "I just-"
"And," Marlene butted in. "Didn't you say the only reason Potter still got on your nerves were all those obnoxious date invites and proclamations of his undying love?" The blonde took a forkful of pudding off her girlfriend's plate. "So realistically, if he's dating Mary, haven't you gotten exactly what you wanted all along?"
Lily blinked, her mouth agape as she realized that yes, that was what she wanted. But something about it just didn't seem satisfying whatsoever. "I just don't want to see you get hurt, Mary." She said finally, sitting up a little straighter.
Mary raised an eyebrow at her. "You think I'll get hurt?"
"Well you know how much of a jerk Potter can be." Lily reasoned with her, looking at Marlene and Dorcas for back up, which they did not supply.
"I don't actually." Said Mary, folding her arms and regarding the redhead with a challenging stare. "He's always been nice to me. In fact, he's nice to almost everyone except Severus, and you two aren't even friends anymore. So what's the problem, Lily? Why are you so determined to hate James Potter for the rest of your life?"
And Lily realized she hadn't the slightest idea.