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Remus was intensely absorbed in his History of Magic book in the Gryffindor Common Room. He had an exam tomorrow, and had managed to scare all of the younger students enough that they had scurried to the dormitories. He had staked out the best couch in front of the fire for himself, and was curled up amidst a pile of pillows.
There was one distraction, however. James had declined to leave the Common Room, instead plopping into the chair beside Remus and proceeding to fidget mercilessly. He kept glancing over in Remus’ direction, and clearly had something to say.
That usually meant nothing good. In this case, though, Remus wished James would just spit it out and get it over with.
“Remus?” James asked finally. “What do you think of our animagus forms?”
Remus closed his book with a sigh and glanced around the Common Room to make sure they really were alone before answering, quietly, so there was no chance of being overheard.
“They’re great,” he said sincerely. “I still can’t believe all the trouble you went to. I’m so—”
James had heard the thanks before. It wasn’t worth hearing again. “Because I think Sirius is really cute,” he said. “As a puppy,” he added hastily.
Remus raised his eyebrows. “‘As a puppy’,” he repeated flatly.
James threw his hands up defensively. “Well, he is,” James maintained. “He has those floppy ears that are kind of like his hair, and those big gray eyes.”
“He has big gray eyes when he’s a human,” Remus pointed out.
“Yes, well,” James muttered. “Maybe I just like…puppies.”
“Oh, I’m sure that’s it,” Remus said under his breath.
James continued on, oblivious. “And he has that fluffy black hair. As a puppy. And he’s so playful. I wish I had a puppy.”
“I’m sure he’ll turn into an adult dog in a few years,” Remus said reasonably.
Even that was not enough to deter James.
“I’m sure he’ll be adorable then, too,” he said wistfully.
Remus looked as though he was in shock. “Adorable,” he repeated blankly. “You just said ‘adorable,’ or is this a dream?”
“Well, come on,” James said. “You have to admit. He kind of is. I mean, I’m a stag, and the antlers are great and all, but I’m not fluffy. And Peter…well, he’s a rat. There’s only so much you can say about that.”
Remus looked thoughtful for a minute. “Yeah,” he admitted. “I guess he is, kind of. I mean, have you ever seen how big his paws are?”
James turned bright red and giggled.
Remus closed his eyes and pressed his fingers to his temples. “Do I even want to know?”
James giggled some more, but in between, Remus thought he caught, “Well, you know what they say about people with big hands…”
Remus blinked. “Did you really just say that?”
James assumed a straight face in an admirable amount of time. “No, I did not,” he said. Clearly a lie, but all the same comforting.
“Okay,” Remus said, relieved. “Because I thought…”
There was a lull in the conversation. Remus stared at the spine of his book, and James whistled the Hogwarts song under his breath.
“So…” Remus said casually. “You think Sirius is…erm, ‘adorable’, because—”
“As a puppy,” James broke in quickly.
“Yes, of course. Anyway, because of the floppy black hair, the eyes, and the…big paws?”
“And the smile,” James added. “The cute puppy smile.”
Remus rolled his eyes and groaned. “Of course, James,” he said, pressing his face into one of the squashy red pillows strewn across the couch. His voice was muffled. “Whatever you say.”
When this was greeted by silence, Remus gained the courage to poke his head out.
The portrait was opening, and Sirius Black had one foot in the door. James was gazing in his general direction looking like he had been struck by lightening.
“Hello, Sirius,” James said, seemingly no longer aware of Remus’ presence.
Sirius smiled winningly, and Remus hoped that James didn’t suffer a sudden heart attack. “James,” he answered, nodding in their general direction. Remus rolled his eyes.
“I’ll just be going now, shall I?” he asked sarcastically.
Neither of the other two seemed to notice as he retreated up the Common Room stairs.
Sirius scratched his head. “I feel a lot itchier since we finished the animagi spell,” he complained. “I wish I could scratch my ear with my foot as a human. That works much better.”
“Well, why don’t you turn into…you know, ‘Padfoot?’ Right now?” James suggested innocently.
Sirius tilted his head questioningly before grinning in consent and beginning his transformation. His knees turned backwards, and thick hair began to sprout from every inch of his body as he fell to the floor. Once his transformation was complete, he scratched his ear and barked happily before jumping onto James’ hand and licking his hand.
James turned bright red and snorted. “That tickles,” he gasped.
The dog crouched stealthily and wagged its tail before launching itself at James’ face. He licked James’ face frantically, while James fell into convulsions of laughter. James clutched his stomach as Sirius-the-Dog licked its way across his cheeks and nose and mouth.
The tickling sensation abruptly stopped, and James became aware of a heavy weight on his chest. He opened his eyes and found himself nose to nose with a very human Sirius Black.
James stilled instantly, and tried to stop his hands from shaking. He was very conscious of the hot red flushing across his cheeks. “Maybe I should try not being a dog for a while,” Sirius said, the faint tremble in his voice betraying his playful tone. “What do you say?”
James was barely able to make himself nod.
Then Sirius kissed him, and he didn’t have anytime to be surprised, much less think, this is my best friend, or he tastes surprisingly good.
Sirius’ hair turned out to be just as soft as when he was a puppy, and James was quick to run his fingers through it. Sirius, meanwhile, was enjoying the angles of James beneath him and the sounds they were both making as their lips moved.
Finally, before he got too carried away, Sirius pulled back. “Well?” he whispered.
James laughed a little. “Yeah,” he said.
That was when Remus walked in. He was not, of course, oblivious to the not-so-subtle redness around the mouths of his two friends, or the disheveled look of Sirius’ hair, and of course the fact that Sirius was lying on top of James.
“You like puppies, hmm?”
James smiled and shrugged sheepishly.
“I thought so,” Remus commented dryly before turning and heading back to the dorm, book in hand.