One cold October day the book collection appears in a shabby cardboard box in the Gryffindor common room -- rumour has it that one of the fourth year girls is the culprit, having accidentally left it there, and that the recriminations in the girls' dormitories are terrible -- and within hours they have become a lending library for everyone in the House. No one wants to be caught checking them out, of course, and so they disappear quietly, often in the dead of night, but there's almost always more empty spaces than full in the box. Although there are several clever methods for magically surveilling the common room, no one implements them. Everyone is too invested in reading.
The books are a motley group of ancient Mile and Bones paperbacks, dog-eared and yellow-paged all, with pre-War-Against-Grindelwald publication dates and fantastical covers that demonstrate why the genre is often known as 'bodice-ripping'. Multiple people over the years have helpfully highlighted and annotated their raciest scenes, funniest euphemisms for genitalia, and anything else notable. Most popular is an entire series dedicated to Dark Creatures with titles like, 'Her Centaur Master' and 'Taming the Vampire Prince', the former of which has led to much discreet astonishment at the size of horse phalli and the latter of which has caused a rage for dressing all in black and trying to look as palely mysterious as possible.
One by one, the books make their way through the Gryffindor boys' dormitories, hidden under blankets and behind enchanted covers.
'All right,' James Potter declares one evening from his bed, where he has been lying for the last half hour seemingly engrossed in his Potions textbook, 'I give up.'
'Give up on what?' Sirius Black asks, yawning hugely and sliding his own Potions textbook, which is rather fatter than it should be, underneath his duvet. Across the room, he sees Peter Pettigrew sit up straighter against his pillows, carefully closing his thick copy of the Daily Prophet, and Remus Lupin, lying on his stomach, look up from the parchment on which he's been revising for their upcoming Arithmancy exam.
James scrunches up his nose, making his glasses rise to his eyebrows. 'So there's merpeople in the lake, right?'
'And they have a village down there, right?'
'So...' James pulls 'Virgin Mermaidens of the Deep' out of his Potions textbook and says, 'but how do they, I don't know, populate it? If all the mermaids are virgins?'
Remus snorts and puts his head down on the bed. 'James, that is a work of fiction.'
'Oh,' James says, looking spectacularly crestfallen. 'So you don't think they know thirteen tricks with their tails to turn human men to jelly?'
Remus lifts his head again, lips pressed into a thin line, and says, 'Why don't you go find out?'
'Wait, with their tails?' Peter interrupts. 'Because I guess I don't know where, uh, you would, uh, you know.' The others look at him with interest and he shrugs and says, 'You know. Where you'd put it.'
'Since they have tails,' Sirius agrees, seeing what Peter's getting at. 'Instead of, like. You know.'
James squints. 'This book says that doesn't matter. It says they've got an opening near the top of the tail. And one on the back. And one near the base of the tail.'
Remus snorts again and Sirius watches him go back to his parchment, his pen moving stiffly as he mouths whatever he's writing.
'Let me see that cover,' Peter says.
The cover artwork is three pale-skinned, red-haired mermaids with very large, bare breasts dramatically buoyed by their aquatic environment. They have gathered around a muscular wizard in now-antiquated bathing trunks (no doubt the height of fashion when the book was published), delicate hands outstretched, as if they are unable to stop themselves from stroking his body. Sirius joins Peter and James on James's bed and they all stare at it together.
'I reckon that's a work of beauty,' Peter says finally.
'Of course they're gingers,' Sirius mutters, but Peter continues to James, 'Remus is right, mate. You should go investigate.'
James bites his lip and looks at Sirius, who is distracted by watching Remus yank the curtains around his bed shut as he mutters something about the importance of revision.
'All right,' James says. He stands up and reaches for his Invisibility Cloak, handing Peter the book. 'You can read this,' he says generously. 'I'm going to really experience it.'
Despite James's soggy return to the room two hours later and the general air of reticence he has about whatever the Virgin Mermaidens in the lake might have done to him -- or perhaps because of the mystery -- the books continue to spread through the boys' room like a particularly fervid wildfire. Peter becomes unhealthily engrossed in 'Torrid Tryst with a Ghost' and can't be separated from it. He has to enchant a different cover for it because the original -- a woman overflowing out of her white lace corset swoons across a sedan chair as a spectral but still muscular man reaches towards her with his surprisingly opaque hand (the cover artist has not quite captured the true pearlescent look of actual ghosts) -- is not exactly the kind of thing a young gentleman wants to be seen around school with.
'Listen to this,' he says one night, when they are all in their customary perches in their beds, and proceeds to read aloud a scene where a ghost acquires very dubious consent from his swooning lover before ravishing her not with his body -- although it is still lovingly detailed by the author, Limpid Q. Angelfire -- but with his telepathic ghost sex powers. 'D'you reckon ghosts can really do that?'
'No,' Remus says. 'Also, how did he get all those muscles? It's not like he can lift weights now that he's undead. He'd just drop them.'
'That was his form in death,' Peter says patiently. He paraphrases, 'He was a prince with great renown on the battlefield and his body is battle-hardened from the saddle and the wand.'
'Oh,' Remus replies, rolling his eyes. 'Did he flex himself to death?'
Sirius starts to laugh and Remus catches his eyes and gives his own another huge roll.
'Wait,' James says, 'who cares about his muscles? Does this mean that ghosts can telepathically have amazing sex with you?'
'I don't know!' Peter says. 'But I want to find out!'
And so Peter heads out in the name of an Enlightenment-style observational approach to magic to find whatshername, the Ravenclaw ghost, or maybe Moaning Myrtle. When he comes back not much later with his hair standing on end, and can't hear a loud noise or conversely any kind of moaning without jumping a foot for the next few weeks, he refuses to comment on what he has learned. He moves on to 'Eleven Elven Queens of the Amazon' and the fad continues.
Sirius isn't initially impressed by the offerings of the cardboard box. The first one he reads is 'Abandoned to a Banshee', about an innocent young woman who is captured by a banshee that secretly has a haunting singing voice and not-very-secretly is a wealthy wizard prince cursed to banshee form. He has to take the virginity of a pure woman to cure himself. Sirius personally finds the heavy-handed foreshadowing -- the woman often comes upon her captor doing things like demonstrating knowledge of magic or staring lingeringly at wands -- to be almost painful; the sex scenes appallingly unsexy -- there's only so much 'He stroked the inner warmth of her secret places' that Sirius can take; and the premise of the story, hinging on the main character staying a virgin long enough despite all the burning and steaming and white hotness of her emotions to make it to a secret de-bansheeing ceremony, to be simply ludicrous. He creeps downstairs in the dead of night intending to replace the book in the box and be done with the entire craze, but then his eye catches on another title, one which hadn't been in the box the first time he'd checked: 'The Werewolf's Enslaved Mistress'. He's mortified on behalf of the author, and on behalf of everyone who has read it, and hopes to god that Remus hasn't seen it. He decides to destroy it.
He stuffs it into his pyjama trousers in case he should meet someone else and leaves the room. Upstairs, hiding in the toilets off their room and using dim light from his wand, he looks at the cover while he thinks about how best to destroy it. There's a fantastically muscular man with long hair and impressive sideburns holding tightly to a swooning, dark-haired maiden as the moon rises over some silhouetted jagged peaks behind them. The man's clothing is strategically ripped, highlighting not only the enormous bulge in his trousers but also that the artwork is meant to depict a post-transition werewolf, but the moon shown is waxing gibbous so Sirius isn't sure. He keeps meaning to burn it, but he's also desperately curious. What if the book is accurate at all? What would it be like to be Mistress (or Mister?) to a Werewolf?
Over the next two weeks, as James develops his obsession with virgin mermaidens and Peter starts fantasising about telepathic ghost sex followed by one-breasted elves who keep men in cages for sexual pleasure, Sirius feverishly devours 'The Werewolf's Enslaved Mistress'. After the relative tameness of 'Abandoned to a Banshee', with its few, slightly confusing sex scenes (because aren't banshees women?, Sirius can't stop thinking, which rather takes him out of it), this book is downright sexual. The plot begins with a chance encounter between a young woman whose main character traits are that she's a virgin and dutiful daughter and a muscular, passionate werewolf. They meet cute when she is out collecting herbs to heal her ill father and encounters an enormous wolf who captures her and takes her back to his 'den'. There follows three hundred pages of absolutely torrid sex. She swoons onto a bed of furs as he contemplates ravishing her and awakens in a castle, still on a bed of furs, but this time in a tower above the clouds. She finds herself the captive of a man who by day would give Heathcliff a run for his money in both romantic brooding and anger management issues and who by night transforms into a massive wolf, and she's undeniably totally turned on by the whole situation.
The first highlighted page is twenty-five of three hundred, when the man returns from his night out roaming the forest and finds his maiden lying on the furs. Somehow most of her clothing has disappeared in the night. Until this point, Sirius has not been paying much attention. Then he comes to this passage:
Amaylia stirred from her deep slumber when she heard Chareles enter the room and sat up on the soft furs.
She marvelled at what a physical creature he truly was. He was breathing heavily, sweat soaking through his thin white shirt to reveal a strong, muscled chest. Her eyes couldn't help but be drawn to the laces of his trousers, which seemed to strain against the thick bulge she could see underneath them. The thought of that bulge made wetness spread between her legs. She was wearing her only her laciest lingerie. Her heart started to beat in time with his heavy breaths.
He crossed the deep red carpet to her. His strong, corded hand seized her arm and drew her to her feet, hard enough to leave a mark. 'Does my beastliness arouse you?' he demanded of her.
'What, my Lord?' she gasped, lost in his strong grip. She longed to run her hands through the thick hair she could see through his shirt.
'You are perfect,'he told her, and then he pressed her against the wall, his heavy body holding her tightly as she gasped and writhed against him. 'You must be my queen.' His hairy, strong hand pressed between her thighs and she found herself opening up, wanting him to put his huge throbbing hardness inside of her and ravage her on the bed of furs.
'Please,' she gasped, not even knowing what she was asking, just wanting to take his enormous muscular cock and ride it like the dragons she had ridden as a child. She forgot to be embarrassed even though she had never had feelings this depraved before. Then he shoved away from her, and fled the room.
After that one, there is highlighting and underlining on nearly every page. Sirius reads them all in terrifyingly elated stretches, barely breathing, but only able to snatch a few pages here and there lest it be discovered that he's reading a book about having lots of sex with a werewolf instead of destroying it. The sexy parts of the novel culminate in a fifteen page long scene in which they have ritualised sex on a massive dais before an audience of other werewolves, leading to a magical pact in which Amaylia is forever bound to Lord Chareles because he is a wolf and must mate for life. Sirius reads it with the curtains drawn around his bed and his duvet over his head, late one night after he has waited an hour for everyone else to fall asleep. After he finishes the sex scene, lying on his side, a little out of breath, he decides to just finish the book, which has ten pages left.
The plot drops in, not seen for nearly two hundred and seventy five pages of uninhibited fucking. Amaylia's father, having made a miraculous recovery despite the interruption of Amaylia's herb-gathering mission, arrives at Lord Chareles's castle and, using a silver knife, stabs Chareles, who proceeds to transform from werewolf to human. He and Amaylia are then free to live happily ever after. Those ten pages follow a similar pattern to all of the books in the Dark Creatures series: the Dark Creature is revealed to either have been human all along or is redeemed by becoming human and thus finally worthy of the love of a wizard or witch. Sirius lies curled on his side, thinking about what he's read, for a long time.
As the years at school have gone by, their work has gotten more and more difficult, to the point that even James and Sirius sometimes have to crack a book. Thus the next afternoon, the Marauders dutifully troop off to the library with the intention of writing an Astronomy essay. Sirius, who has been brooding about Amaylia and Lord Chareles all day, slinks off to the small section of shelves -- in a back corner, behind high stacks -- that has books about Dark Creatures. Sirius, James, and Peter had broken in here as first years, when they were too young to be allowed in this section of the library, to try to solve the mystery of Remus, but Sirius hasn't been back since. It appears that he has not been alone in ignoring it; the shelves have a thick layer of dust and many of the books are faded, with cracked spines.
Sirius scans the titles, until, squinting and standing on tiptoe, he finds two promising books. He opens the first -- Field Guide to Dark Creatures Encountered in Transylvania, 1868 -- and flips through the guide until he finds a chapter dedicated to werewolves. He reads:
The werewolf is truly an unfortunate creature. When in the form of a wolf it has an insatiable lust for blood that cannot be checked and will certainly tear apart anything that comes near it.
Sirius frowns. That doesn't seem quite right. After all, Remus in wolf form is downright friendly to non-human animals.
As a man, the book continues, the werewolf is most unfortunate, for its 'human' body is such a poor facsimile of a real human that it is immediately obvious to anyone with the smallest amount of knowledge that they are a cursed creature. The visage is often mean and covered in coarse fur, the eyes yellowish and too small to be trusted. The body will be hulking and overpowered, clumsy in human clothing and covered in thick fur.
Sirius thinks about Remus -- slender, brown-eyed, nice-to-look-at Remus -- and wonders if the author has even seen a werewolf. Disgusted, he shoves the book back onto the shelf and starts to open the second book, Dealing with Dark Creatures Vol. 22: The Werewolf, when Remus himself comes around the corner of the shelves and stops dead. Startled, embarrassed, Sirius clutches the book to his chest, hoping that the title isn't showing over his crossed arms. Remus's eyes flick to the shelf and Sirius swears he sees them linger on the exact spot where he's taken the book from before he steps forward and says, 'Is this where we're going to find out about why Muggles are no good at horoscopes?'
'No,' Sirius says, mouth dry. 'I was just interested in, uhm, something else.' He adjusts his arms and scans the area for a place to surreptitiously ditch the book. 'What are you doing here?'
'Looking for you.' Remus gives Sirius a searching look and then says, 'Ah,' quietly, reaching out and tapping the cover of the book. 'So you're the one who's been reading that absurd werewolf novel for two weeks.' He laughs, though it sounds a bit hollow. 'I was hoping it had been lost.'
'I was going to get rid of it,' Sirius says, staring down at his shoes and wishing for the kind of seismic event that would either swallow him whole in the earth or be so shockingly destructive that Remus would forget this conversation forever. Sirius knows that he never will, personally, and that at any dark moment it will play on the highlights reel of awkward encounters that sometimes starts up unbidden behind his eyelids when he can't sleep. 'But then I started reading it and wanted to know what happened.'
'It must be scintillating literature,' Remus says, rolling his eyes. 'I don't see the appeal personally.'
'I don't know,' Sirius says miserably, not sure exactly why this conversation is being prolonged. Can't Remus recognise how much he wants it to end?
'What were you looking up, anyway?' Remus asks instead of taking the psychic hint.
'At the end of it, the, uhm, the main character gets stabbed with a silver knife and, uhm, then he's not a werewolf anymore.' Remus gives him that searching look again so he carries on, feeling idiotic even as he says it, because of course Remus would have known if there actually was way to stop being a werewolf. 'I just wanted to know if there was anything to it.'
'There's only one cure for lycanthropy,' Remus says in an offhand voice, turning away from Sirius and scanning the shelves. 'Death.' He finds a book, pulls it down, and looks back at Sirius, lips pursed. 'Are you done in here?'
Sirius finds the book that Remus had taken from the library lying neatly on his bed that night. The title is unassuming -- it's an essay collection about literature featuring Dark Creatures -- but someone, Sirius has to assume Remus, has stuck a sliver of parchment into it to mark out one chapter called "Fetishising the Other: Dark Creatures and Sexuality in Classic Wizarding Literature". It's nearly twenty pages of dense, academic language, and it takes Sirius so long to read it that he might as well have just re-read the entirety of 'The Werewolf's Enslaved Mistress', except the essay makes him feel awful for even thinking that because, as far as he can grasp, it's about how wizarding literature often uses Dark Creatures not as characters but as plot devices representing scary, outside-the-bounds-of-society sexuality. The essay points out what he'd noticed -- that for characters to be redeemed, they have to become fully human -- and lists several examples of novels where either that happens or else the Dark Creature is killed and never mourned. The essay's author notes that there are no authors who have admitted to being Dark Creatures themselves and that books sympathetic to Dark Creatures are banned under a Ministry directive for literary censorship and have been since the Morality Laws of the 1830s.
Therefore, there is never an exploration of what the Dark Creature itself might be feeling, what its personal journey might be, and/or what the struggles of being a Dark Creature in Wizarding Society might entail. Instead, the Dark Creature functions as a cautionary tale that heroes and heroines cannot help but be drawn to as a site for exotic and erotic pleasure before they abandon it to enter the sanctity of a society-approved match, almost certainly with another Pureblood (see Hawkes 1971 on the use of Muggleborn wizards as a similar literary device in most Wizarding literature). What becomes of the Dark Creature itself is of little or no importance to these authors.
Sirius carefully shuts the book, takes 'The Werewolf's Enslaved Mistress' out of his Potions textbook, carries it into the toilet with two fingers, and lights it on fire. He feels awful.
Remus doesn't mention the essay to Sirius though, and aside from a few sarcastic comments over James's new obsession (another vampire novel, this time featuring wooden stakes used in a way that seems wholly unrealistic and also very terrifyingly splinter-ful), seems to have taken a non-engagement policy on the Dark Creatures series as a whole. Gryffindor's enthusiasm for them remains unabated and a note even appears on the box in the common room, in letters painstakingly cut from the Daily Prophet, asking what has become of 'that werewolf one' because 'people would quite like to read the full set' so someone should 'stop selfishly hogging it'.
Sirius ignores the note and continues to feel sick about the misinformation about werewolves. Now that Remus -- via the essay -- has pointed out the lack of representation for Dark Creatures, he's suddenly seeing it everywhere. He wishes there was just one realistic book -- either a factual one, or even a stupid novel -- told from a werewolf's perspective. In History of Magic, his freest period of any day, he starts trying to write one of the latter, with the idea of eventually sticking it into the box and having people read a sympathetic story. He's not sure how he's going to tackle the sexy bits -- they'll have to be really good, after all, to draw in readers -- so he starts trying to come up with characters to start. After an hour of class, he has:
Protagonist: A Werewolf. Smart. Nice. Always has a witty comeback. Doesn't get mad easily. Really nice brown eyes. NOT FURRY AT ALL when human! Very very ha ndsome!
Love Interest: Virgin. Very beautiful. Loves Protagonist madly.
Plot: Protagonist meets Love Interest in a forest. Definitely does not kidnap Love Interest (LI) or otherwise do something violent. Is charming and LI agrees to go on a date. They go on a date (at a pub? what's a good date?) and Protag. meets someone who is mean and makes fun of him for being a werewolf. LI defends him. They have LOTS of sex. LI says it's ok to be a werewolf, in fact it's great! Makes protagonist way more interesting! Who cares what stupid people say! They live happily ever after!
He spends the rest of the the day pondering what his story's love interest could be like. Virginal and beautiful seem important to the romance novel genre but that's all he can come up with -- he's more interested in the werewolf character, which is the one he wants to portray in the best light anyway. That night, James, Peter, and Remus are all out (Quidditch, Gobstones Club/trying to pull a Hufflepuff girl, and something prefect something, respectively), so he sits on his bed, holding his pen and trying to get further without much luck. He attempts to jump straight into writing a sex scene to jumpstart his ideas but he finds that without any clue about his Love Interest and even less of a clue about how to get the two into a sexy situation together (maybe setting the date in a pub was a bad idea? Are there places you can have dates that have beds in them?) he just writes a bunch of stupid dialogue between them trying to build up to sex. Unfortunately he's burned the romance novel he is most familiar with so he can't refer to it but he definitely remembers that there wasn't a lot of talking before the fucking in that.
The door to the room opens and Remus enters. Sirius grabs the parchment and stuffs it into the pile of his notes, shuffling them around as Remus says, 'Hey.'
'Hey,' Sirius replies, doing his best not to look or sound guilty. He has a feeling that becoming a romance novel author is the kind of career that will lead to a lot of friendly ridicule. He's going to have a choose a pen name. Too bad Lupin is already taken; S. Lupin sounds lovely.
'What are you working on?' Remus asks.
'Oh, uhm, just some revising,' Sirius says. He holds up the first textbook to hand -- Potions -- and smiles. 'How was your, uh, prefect thing?'
Remus laughs. 'Do you really care?'
'Sort of,' Sirius admits. 'I don't know. You were there. Seems polite to ask, anyway.'
'Well, it was fine,' Remus says, smiling. He pulls his own Potions textbook out of his bookbag and asks, 'Mind if I join you?'
'Oh, sure,' Sirius says, and Remus comes over and sits beside him on his bed, flicking through the pages of his book and taking out several sheets of parchment covered in his precise handwriting.
'What were you looking at?' Remus asks him, which is a perfectly reasonable question, but inspires panic that makes Sirius's stomach clench.
'Just flipping through the pages,' Sirius says. 'Not too focused, you know.'
'Oh,' Remus says. 'I thought when I came in you were taking notes.'
'Just, you know, some general notes.'
'Ok,' Remus says. He flips to the back of his textbook and says, 'Well, I'm working on the revision questions. I'm on question 33 in chapter six but I'm not making any progress on it.' He looks over at Sirius and smiles. 'You know how crap I am at Potions. Maybe you can help?'
'What are the revision questions?' Sirius asks.
Remus's mouth does a complicated frown-into-smile thing. 'I thought you'd been flipping through the book,' he says, though it's not particularly accusatory. 'Look,' he reaches out and turns Sirius's book to very near the end. 'Every chapter has a hundred additional revision questions that you can use to review what you learned.'
Sirius stares at the page in front of him -- text in two columns, so tiny and dense that he feels like his eyes are crossing -- and says, 'Do you do all of these?'
'Usually,' Remus says. 'I'm crap at Potions, remember?'
Sirius blinks a few times to clear his head and says, 'I don't know if getting an E instead of an O on your O.W.L.s equals "crap at Potions", Remus.' He leans over the book and reads question 33. 'So I think all it's asking you to do is use the transitive property equation, with an immutable object as the variable "o".'
Remus frowns. 'Do you know the equation?'
'It's on page...' Sirius flicks the pages of his book until he finds it. 'Right here. Page 201.'
'Oh,' Remus says quietly. 'I think I have an earlier edition of the book.' He shows Sirius his page 201, which is indeed missing the equation.
'I think Slughorn said we needed the one I have,' Sirius says. 'We should order it for you.'
'That's ok,' Remus says, still quiet. 'I bought it used.' He writes down the equation quickly and says, 'Now, what did you say was variable "o"?'
They work on Potions for quite a while, changing postures on the bed to get comfortable until they're both lying on their stomachs with their books on the floor at the foot of the bed, stretching out to write and laughing more than they're revising. Sirius winds up falling asleep like that and doesn't wake up until Peter returns quite late and trips over his Potions book, dropping his box of Gobstones with a noise like an exploding snap and sending the tiny stones skittering everywhere across the stone floor. Sirius falls out of bed and lands on Peter, who yelps and collapses as Gobstones roll everywhere. James sits up in his bed, bleary-eyed, and mumbles, 'Shut up,' before collapsing backwards into his pillows. The lump of blanket that is Remus doesn't move, as expected, given his sleeping abilities.
Sirius helps Peter find most of his Gobstones and collects his notes and book from the floor. As he's pulling on his pyjamas, he notices that his notes have been rearranged. With a feeling of panic, he climbs into bed, pulls the curtains shut (if James were awake the comments about wanking would already have started), pulls his blanket over his head, and illuminates the tip of his wand. He finds his story outline almost immediately, now covered in Remus's handwriting.
Protagonist: A Werewolf. Smart. Nice. Always has a witty comeback. Doesn't get mad easily. Really nice brown eyes. NOT FURRY AT ALL when human (well a little bit, it's not like he's hairless either)! Very very ha ndsome! I thought you were trying to write something realistic here. How about also doesn't ever want people to see he's angry in case they just dismiss him as an angry werewolf? Doesn't ever want to fail at anything because then people will just say that he failed because he's a werewolf?
Love Interest: Virgin.???? Very
beautiful. handsome. VERY. Pureblood aristocrat. Posh but not obnoxious about it (usually). The kind of voice that could uncurdle months old milk. Black hair that falls just so across the forehead. Kind, clever, funny, loyal. No one but the werewolf knows how kind. Easily misunderstood. They have that in common.
Loves Protagonist madly from first sight. Really? Shouldn't they get to know each other a bit first?
Plot: Protagonist meets Love Interest in a forest. What are they doing there? Just wandering around in a forest? Doesn't seem very likely. How about a library? Or a bookshop? Or a train? Or they go to school together and they share a room? No, let's stick with library. That's more believable. Definitely does not kidnap Love Interest (LI) or otherwise do something violent. Is someone looking at stupid pulp novels? That might lead to violence, at least on the werewolf's part. Is charming and LI agrees to go on a date. Is that all the werewolf has to do? Just be charming and then ask? How is he going to be charming, exactly? What would charm this particular 'LI'? They go on a date (at a pub? what's a good date? How about a long dinner over a bottle of wine, with lots of conversation, and then when dinner is over, they don't want to say goodnight, so they wander around town until they wind up sitting on a park bench talking until the sun comes up. Alternately they could go on a more active date where they have to traipse around a castle evading hundreds of other people (possibly with the aid of an invisibility cloak and/or magical map?) in order to get a moment alone. Various diversionary tactics may have to be employed, and they will continually impress one another with the creativity of their magic.) and Protag. meets someone who is mean and makes fun of him for being a werewolf. Must we introduce real world strife into the plot? I preferred it when there was lots of gazing into each other's eyes and nothing else. LI defends him. Oh, well, that's very sweet then, if completely expected. I hope the author won't try to introduce any artificial dramatic tension by implying that LI wouldn't!!! They have LOTS of sex. Given living arrangements that don't include roommates... LI says it's ok to be a werewolf, in fact it's great! Is it great? Makes protagonist way more interesting! LI, you're terribly sweet. Who cares what stupid people say! Again, LI, I think the werewolf will be completely smitten if you tell him this. They live happily ever after! You know, I think they would.
Heart hammering, mouth dry, hands producing enough sweat to darken the edges of the parchment, Sirius re-reads Remus's edits three times and then takes several deep breaths before folding them up carefully and sliding them into his Potions textbook. He straightens his pyjama top and licks his lips, then, as quietly as he can, pushes open the curtains around his bed. Peter is snoring softly to his left; to his right, James lies on his back with his mouth open, making a little whistling sound with every rise and fall of his chest. Directly across the room, Sirius sees the lump of blanket-covered Remus. He takes a few more deep breaths and then crawls across the floor to Remus's bed, terrified of waking anyone. He gets to the side of it and pushes up on his hands to peek at the blankets.
Remus's eyes are wide open, and he nods at Sirius, who's so startled he almost screams. Remus clamps a hand over Sirius's mouth, shaking with suppressed giggles. Sirius removes Remus's hand and mouths, 'Talk?'
Remus bites his lip and nods. He sits up and swings his legs out of bed. Sirius, starting to shiver in the cold room, grabs the blanket off the bed and wraps it around his shoulders. It smells like Remus.
They leave the room as silently as possible and descend a few stairs away from the door into a narrow alcove known as a prime scheming location when not all Marauders need be involved. They look at each other, Remus still biting his lip and Sirius's stomach suddenly somersaulting.
'I thought you were asleep,' is the first thing he manages to say.
Remus smiles. 'I was too nervous to sleep.'
Remus looks at him like he's lost his mind. 'I wrote all those notes to you,' he says. 'I was waiting for you to find them.'
'Oh,' Sirius says. He's coming to a rapid decision. 'Right. When you snooped through my things.'
For just a second, Remus's face is unsure, something Sirius almost never sees. 'You fell asleep,' Remus says lightly. 'I thought they might be Potions notes and wanted to check something.'
'And just kept reading,' Sirius says, putting his hand against the stone wall beside Remus's head and leaning. 'And then wrote all over them.'
Remus looks down at his feet. 'Sorry,' he says.
'No,' Sirius says quickly, not wanting to overdo it with the playing hard to get. Amaylia certainly never did. 'It was good. I was having writer's block anyway.'
'With the love interest?' Remus asks, looking up at Sirius through his eyelashes.
'That,' Sirius agrees, stomach fluttering. 'But, I was trying to write a, you know, sexy scene.' He makes eye contact quickly. 'To draw the reader in.'
'Of course,' Remus says softly.
'But I kept having this problem,' Sirius continues. 'It was like the characters had a life of their own. They kept talking to each other. I couldn't force them to do anything except talk. It was like they had too much to talk about.'
Remus smiles. 'Is that really a problem?' he asks.
'It is when you're trying to write one of these stupid novels,' Sirius says. His fingers are tingling but he doesn't want to move his hand. Remus's head is cocked slightly towards it and he can almost reach out and touch the curling edges of his hair. 'The people don't want to read a bunch of, what do you call it, dialogue.'
'The people?' Remus asks. 'Who's the audience, exactly?'
Sirius frowns. 'Well, I figured I'd just enchant a cover onto it and stick it back into the box. And then people could read something realistic about werewolves instead of,' he pauses, frustrated, trying to think of what to say.
'I don't think the people are too interested in realism,' Remus says, eyes twinkling. 'Recall James's foray into the lake.'
'What do you mean? He didn't tell us anything about it.'
Remus grins even more widely. 'Padfoot, merpeople are green. Their hair is green.'
Sirius gasps in mock horror, delighted at James's misfortune. He's going to take the piss as soon as he sees him. 'Next you'll tell me they aren't all virgins.'
Remus manages to compose his face into a semblance of seriousness. 'Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.'
'Quite all right,' Sirius says. He moves his hand a fraction closer, sliding it over the cool wall, and does touch Remus's hair then, just with his fingertips. It feels like silk. Remus takes a deep breath as Sirius says, 'I'm not really interested in merpeople anyway.'
'But I thought you wanted to debunk myths,' Remus says, tipping his head closer to Sirius's hand so that he's leaning into his touch.
'Well, I'm starting with werewolves,' Sirius says.
Remus looks sceptical. 'Weird place to start.'
'All the books were just so wrong,' Sirius says. 'Even the ones in the library that are supposed to be factual. One of them claimed you could tell a werewolf by looking at his "mean face" and "yellow eyes". That's just stupid.'
Remus shrugs, suddenly nonchalant. 'But why should you care?'
'Because I know it's wrong!' Sirius says. 'And because like that book that I assume you left for me said, it implies that no one cares about werewolves. Which is wrong.' He looks at Remus, a little unsure himself. 'You must know that I care.'
Remus reaches up with both hands and takes the edges of his blanket, which Sirius has wrapped around his neck, and pulls him forward so that their foreheads are pressed together, their breath mingling, suddenly sharing a much smaller space than before. It feels hot and close and wonderful. 'So,' Remus says, and Sirius can feel him swallow, somehow, over his own pounding heart, 'you were saying you had this problem when you were writing. Where the two characters just kept talking.'
'Uh huh,' is all Sirius can manage to say. His fingers are curled in Remus's hair and he's struck by how much he wants this. He feels like he's been hit by lightning. His legs are complete jelly. The damned book was right about this part at least.
'But you wanted to get to the,' Remus takes a little breath, and his voice drops, 'sexy parts?'
Sirius nods, not able to say anything else, breathing in Remus's hot breath.
'And just so we're clear,' Remus says, running one hand up and down Sirius's arm under the blanket and not quite meeting his eyes, 'you were actually describing me, right? And I haven't completely misread this situation?'
Sirius hesitates. 'I didn't quite mean to describe you,' he confesses. 'It just sort of happened.' Remus raises an eyebrow and Sirius adds, 'I mean, I was trying to describe the perfect werewolf hero, so...'
Remus does a little laugh, smile, eye roll, head shake combination that Sirius finds irresistible. 'You're ridiculous,' he says. 'Here's your plot solved then. Kiss me.'
Sirius closes the gap between them with a smile on his face, and as their lips meet, he can feel that Remus is smiling too. Their noses touch and Remus takes his hand and he strokes Remus's hair and they kiss until Sirius is out of breath and his head is swimming.
'I don't want us to stop talking though,' he blurts, leaning back.
Remus grins and nuzzles into Sirius's neck, putting his arms around his waist and pulling them close together. Sirius tugs the blanket so it's around both of them and puts his nose into Remus's ear, snuffling. 'I don't think that's a worry,' Remus says.
'No?' Sirius asks, holding Remus as tightly as he can. 'I just want to kiss you.'
Remus turns his head and kisses him again, and somehow it's even better the second time.
'No,' Remus says, a little out of breath, putting his hand to Sirius's face. 'Your conversational skills are one of the sexiest things about you. I should have put it in the description. And think of how much time we spend together. Surely there's room for both.'
'Especially when James and Peter are around,' Sirius agrees. He hesitates, nervous, and adds, 'So, we'll just have to make the best of our time alone?'
'"They have lots of sex?"' Remus murmurs against Sirius's cheek, his hands tightening on Sirius's arms. Sirius wonders if swooning is appropriate.
Instead he goes for the witty reply. 'At least experimenting worked out for one of us.'