Chapter 6 : Best Friends
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“Open the door!” Sirius demanded.
“Go to hell.” Remus replied from his bedroom.
“Open the door or I’ll blow it to bits!”
“Be my guest. You’ve already proven you have no respect for what’s mine.” Was the cold reply.
“Remus...” Sirius groaned, pressing his forehead against the door. “For gods sake don’t be so immature.”
The door flew open, and Sirius staggered forwards, nearly falling on top of Remus. “Immature?” Remus raged. “Let me think about that. Surely it’s not immature to take up a friend’s offer to go out and get some fresh air, and then the first frigging thing you do is snog the girl he likes behind his back! No! Not immature in the least!”
“That’s not what happened.”
“I don’t care what happened. You can go to hell for all I care. I just hope someone warns the women down there to watch out because the utterly unstoppable Sirius Black is on the way.” He reached out to slam the door, but Sirius grabbed it aggressively.
“You know if you weren’t fucking blabbing to everyone about my sexual history, then none of this would have happened!”
“W-what?” Remus exclaimed.
“Tonks told me about the EEL story you all had a good laugh about. It was really great, hearing about it that way, seeing as it’s something I swore you to secrecy about!”
Remus stared at Sirius for a moment. When he spoke, his voice was whisper quiet. “You stupid jackass. You told her that. We were all there, the three of us together, and you had been drinking, and you started bitching and shooting your mouth off about women and Shasta in particular. I was the one who shut you up before you got to the really humiliating part.”
“The really humiliating part...?” Sirius cringed.
“Yes.” Remus said. “The part about the girl you dated to get back at Shasta who also became a lesbian?”
“Oh…right…” Sirius muttered. “Had a bit of a trend going on that term, didn’t I?”
“Apparently." Remus said, trying desperately not to smirk. “But as you said, you swore me to secrecy about it, and not only did I not tell a soul, but I also stopped your pathetic drunken ass from telling Tonks that you were a one-man recruiter for the other team.”
Sirius searched his mind to find anything that would contradict Remus. But in all honesty, he could not remember Tonks saying that it was Remus in particular who had told her the secret. She had said “we talked about it”, and he had just assumed that she meant two people, not three. And even more damning was the fact that it wouldn’t be the first time he couldn’t remember the exact details of a drunken night.
Sirius’ heart was suddenly very heavy.
“Aw crap. I’m sorry.” He muttered. “I thought you had been making fun of me behind my back.”
“So you kissed Tonks behind MY back to even the score? Jesus Sirius, this is a new low, even for you.” Remus looked genuinely hurt, and it made Sirius feel more worthless than the most miniscule piece of dirt.
“I said I was sorry.” Sirius grumbled.
“It’s not me who you should apologize to. It’s Tonks.”
Not gonna happen, Sirius’ mind sang. Never one to admit defeat, Sirius suspected that there had to be a way to get himself out of Remus’ doghouse and avoid telling Tonks the truth. Suddenly, inspiration hit him like a bolt of lightning. He rubbed his hands together eagerly. Time to make some wiggle room.
“Okay Moony, here’s another way to look at it.” Sirius began to negotiate. “When I kissed Tonks, she thought I was you. So in a manner of speaking, she didn’t entirely kiss Sirius, she kissed Remus.” Remus screwed up his face, confused. Sirius ignored it and pressed onwards. “So, if you ask Tonks who she wanted to kiss and who she actually kissed, she’ll say you and you. So no harm done dude! And let me tell ya, that was no mean kiss she gave me. Oh man, she was getting right in there, you should’ve seen it, she was all hands and gasps and moaning and your body knows just what to do and good god, her knee was - ” Sirius stopped when he noticed the murderous look on Remus’ face. “Er, what I mean to say is, she likes you Remus. I was right all along. Now, doesn’t that make you feel better?” He shone Remus the brightest smile he could muster.
“No, but glad to hear you enjoyed yourself.” Remus said with a frown that could melt stone. “Besides, Tonks can do better than me. I don’t believe I am the one for her. And she only kissed me-” he scowled, “I mean kissed you, under false pretenses.”
“Aw, don’t be a jackass Remus. You can’t push her away forever.”
“We have to fix things.” Remus said determinately. “We have to go back down there and set the matter straight.”
“We can’t tell them about the switch!” Sirius was mortified.
“We have to.”
“No!” Sirius gasped. “Tonks will kill me! She’s scary when she’s mad, you have no idea!”
“You should have thought about that before you half fucked her.” Remus said meanly. “Although your mother would be so proud that you’re keeping it in the family.”
“Don’t you dare go there!” Sirius covered his mouth as if to prevent himself from hurling all over the floor. “It only happened because your body is set to KILL for pete’s sake! I just can’t take it! My own goddamn reflection turns me on Remus! I stared at two squirrels doing it for nine seconds and it was all I could do not to lose it right there on the park bench! Your senses, your hormones are just so hair-trigger it’s driving me mad! How can anyone live like that?”
“I don’t know. How could anyone live like that, Sirius?” Remus retorted. “If I think of anyone who lives with that kind of curse every single day of his life and manages not to kill himself, I’ll let you know.”
“I didn’t mean it like that and you know it! I’m just not used to it, and I never said it was a curse! It’s actually pretty entertaining.”
“Entertaining. Right. Glad we cleared that up.” Remus said coolly.
“Argh!” Sirius hated the way Remus could express so much disapproval with so few words. “You know you’re no saint either Remus! You don’t think everyone is gonna be pissed off at YOU for pretending to be me? You're pulling the wool over their eyes too! Molly’s been planning this party for weeks!”
Remus felt the headache returning. “Oh yeah, Molly. I forgot.” He looked at Sirius grimly. “I think I crossed some wires with her today. She seems to have gotten the impression…I didn’t mean for it to happen…that you’re, ah, interested in her.”
Sirius looked like a broomstick had just been shoved somewhere inappropriate. “No!” He exclaimed. “No! You stinking bastard!” He stomped his feet like an impetuous child. “Molly? Not Molly! Good god, no!”
“Molly… actually, yes.” Remus smiled weakly. “I tried to be nice to her, I helped her with cooking and the chores. And well, she may have misinterpreted my intentions.”
“I never help with the cooking!” Sirius gasped, horrified.
“I realize this now. You should make more of an effort though.” For a moment he thought about telling Sirius that she had agreed that he was a thoughtless boar, just to make him angry, but he realized he could not do that to Molly.
“Remus, you have to fix this!” Sirius was still frozen with the same horrified expression. “She grabbed my ass! You have to start being a jerk to her again for me!”
“I will do no such thing!” Remus was indignant. “If anything, I will explain things to her, let her down slowly. I don’t want her to hate you again. She is, after all, a good woman who has your best interests at heart, and for the first time in her life, she thinks you appreciate her.” Remus cringed. Perhaps appreciate wasn’t the best word, but it was all he had. “And I don’t want to undo all the happiness she feels by telling her that it wasn’t you. She cares as much for you as she does for everyone else in this house. And you happen to require a lot more maintenance, what with the moods and the drinking.”
“I never thought about it that way.” Sirius was surprised to find things made a lot more sense now. Maybe she hadn’t tossed the firewhisky out of spite, but because she cared. And the eel story was just more proof of the kind of trouble his drinking had lead to. He had always known Remus was wise beyond his years, especially now that he felt like a bloody idiot.
“Does this mean you’re not gonna snitch?” Sirius asked hopefully.
“No. We can’t tell them the truth now.” Remus’ mind was set. There was no way he was going to humiliate Tonks and Molly with the stupid game they had played. They would have to take the ruins of what they had done and set things back to the way they were. “You’re going to keep your hands off of Tonks, you hear me? No more stringing her along. You need to tell her that you want to be friends only for now, that you want to take it slowly.”
“I never strung her along!” Sirius exclaimed. “I just wanted to get her to admit her feelings for you because I HATE that you’re all alone all the time. You, after everything you've been through in your life, deserve some happiness. And I tried downstairs to get her to cool it, I really did, but she’s a nippy little doxy!”
“Then try harder.” Remus stared at his friend with an odd expression. He had been touched by Sirius' tender motivations for getting involved between himself and Tonks. As a result, it was becoming increasingly difficult to be angry at him. “Look, I’ll talk to Molly, tell her that I care about her as a friend, but by no means did I intend to give her the impression that I wanted to interfere with her marriage.”
“Think it’ll work?” Sirius could not hide the dubious tone of his voice.
“I hope so.” Remus replied uncomfortably. “I mean, it couldn't get any worse, could it?"
Sirius did not mention that just when people said things couldn't get any worse, things usually DID find a way of getting worse. "Yeah." Sirius said. "Let’s just get back down there and get this over with. Besides, I want to open your presents.”
They started to head towards the stairs when Remus stopped. His mind rested upon Sirius' heartfelt words.
I HATE that you’re all alone all the time. You, after everything you've been through in your life, deserve some happiness.
Unable to resist, Remus put a hand on his friend’s shoulder. It was time they made amends. “Hey. It’s all right, what you did. I know you’re sorry, and you couldn’t help it, and I accept your apology. Tonks is pretty hard to resist at the best of times.”
“Thanks Remus.” Sirius replied hoarsely, pretending to wipe away a tear. “That means a lot to me.”
A small smile touched Remus’ lips. “Hey, did we at least give her a good kiss?”
“The best.” Sirius grinned.
And together they went downstairs to repair the damage.
Chapter seven is called "Damage Control". (*Hint: It's a misnomer...*)
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