Lovely chapter image by sunflower. @ TDA
11th November 1977
Remus Lupin stormed into the Gryffindor common room, crumpling a piece of parchment up in his hand. He gave a half-scream of frustration and threw the ball of paper into the fireplace. Sirius was quick to dive out of his chair and grab the parchment before it could burn to a crisp.
“Don’t look at it,” Remus said through clenched teeth. He gazed over at Sirius with pleading eyes, his hands slowly curling into fists. Suspecting the worst, Sirius’ brow furrowed with worry before he unfolded the piece of parchment and scanned through it. After reading, he sighed with relief and passed it to James.
“Your Potions essay,” Sirius said, causing Peter to fall back into his seat with a look of disappointment on his face.
“I got a P, Sirius!” Remus cried, sitting upright and staring hard into the flames. “Poor. Pathetic. Absolutely pitiable. How am I still in his class?”
“How are you so – and I say this with love – bad
at Potions when you’re good at everything else?” James asked, folding the parchment into a paper airplane and charming it to fly around the room.
“Simple,” Remus said with a hefty shrug. “It hates me. We have never seen eye to eye. It looks like Potions and I are going to have to go our separate ways.” Sirius rolled his eyes and pulled Peter up off the couch so he could sit nearest to Remus.
“You can be so overdramatic at the best of times; you do know that, right?” Remus frowned and raised his eyebrows as if saying I couldn’t care less. “Just get a tutor or something. I’m sure Sluggy can hook you up with one.” James lowered his wand and grinned over at his two friends. He folded up the essay as he got to his feet and stuffed it into Remus’ robe pocket.
“I can tutor you.” A loud, bark-like laugh came out from the back of Sirius’ throat and soon the older boy was clutching his sides, laughing hysterical. “I’m better at Potions than you are!” James retorted, offended by his friend’s teasing.
“My dear Prongsie,” Sirius said, standing up and slapping his hands against James’ shoulders. “You’re better at Potions than I am?”
“James, you couldn’t cut a sopophorous bean if it was stuck to the table right in front of you! You are not better than me...at anything.
” He stuck his tongue out at the boy and pushed him back down onto the couch before whirling around to face Remus. “I’ll tutor you.”
14th November 1977
“Professor Slughorn?” The Potions master turned around to see Sirius still standing in the doorway to the classroom.
“Mr Black, do hurry along. You’ll be late for your next lesson,” he said, attempting to get the classroom ready for the next group of students. “What is it, my boy?” Sirius stepped into the classroom, hitching his bag further up on his shoulder.
“Well, it’s just that my friend, Remus, is –”
“...failing drastically,” Slughorn muttered, stealing a glance back at Sirius over his shoulder. The black-haired boy coughed awkwardly and shifted on the spot so he was resting his weight on one foot.
“Yes, that. I was thinking maybe I could tutor him...here...in this classroom. Maybe?” Before Slughorn could get an answer in, Sirius raced forward, dropping his bag onto the nearest table. “Please, Professor? I promise he’ll do so much better. He doesn’t want to fail his N.E.W.Ts and you were really, really kind to let him back into the class in the first place.” He clasped his hands in front of him and gave the Professor a persuasive gaze. After a long pause, he quietly added, “...I’ll buy you some of that crystallized pineapple you love so much.”
“Mr Black, do you think cheap bribery is going to get you anywhere in life?”
“It might, Professor,” Sirius said, straightening up and fixing his robes to sit on his shoulders properly. “I’m a person who will try anything once.” Fifth year students then began pouring into the classroom, including Sirius’ younger brother, Regulus.
“Very well, Mr Black. You can have the classroom between seven and nine o’ clock on Wednesdays and Fridays. But try not to make too much of a mess,” Slughorn said as he wrote instructions on the board for the students. “I want to see Mr Lupin’s grade go up to an Acceptable at least before the holidays too!” Sirius swept his bag up onto his shoulder and left the classroom, but not before giving Regulus a swift, fleeting glance.
“What?” Remus hissed at Sirius when they were both seated in the Transfiguration classroom, fifteen minutes later.
“Professor Slughorn is giving us the classroom on Wednesdays and Fridays to do practical work. Now that I’ve got that
sorted, I can start putting together a timetable for theory. Are you free on Sundays after lunch?” James sniggered at Sirius’ sudden professionalism and shook his head in disbelief.
Remus blinked in shock and nodded meekly. “I g-guess so. You’re actually taking this seriously?”
“Well, of course!” Sirius gasped, scribbling down Sundays, after lunch
on his notes. “I don’t want one of my best friends’ to fail his N.E.W.Ts.” Before Remus could respond, Professor McGonagall bustled into the classroom, shortly followed by Lily Evans. She took a seat in front of James and immediately, he leaned forward to tap her on the shoulder.
“Hey Lily, would you –”
“You don’t even know what I was going to ask you,” he said, raising an eyebrow.
“It’s kinda obvious, James,” Sirius laughed while looking over Remus’ shoulder to copy his notes.
“Actually no, it’s not obvious. I got my schedule for when the Christmas decorations are going up and I have Quidditch practise in two of the slots. So –”
“You want me to fill in because you’d rather play your stupid sport than do your Head Boy duties,” Lily snapped, turning around in her seat and glaring at James. He heaved a heavy sigh and shook his head.
“Stop jumping ahead of me, would you? I was going to ask you to fill in for me if I can’t reschedule the practises!” Lily looked taken aback when James snapped at her. Remus pursed his lips and pulled his notes away from under Sirius when he noticed the boy had snagged them.
“Oi, the notes are on the board, Sirius.”
“Yeah but the effort of lifting my head, writing them down and repeating the process is all too much for me. It’s not like it’s a test.”
“You’re right, Mr Black, it’s not.” Both the Marauders and Lily jumped at the sound of McGonagall’s voice. “Am I interrupting something?”
“No but you’re blocking the board from view,” Sirius said smartly.
By the end of the lesson, Sirius managed to score a double detention.
16th November 1977
“Maybe I should do a little theory before getting to the practical stuff,” Remus said in a nervous tone as he followed Sirius into the Potions classroom. Sirius chuckled quietly and slapped his notes down onto the table.
“You’ll be fine. You’re with me, aren’t you?”
“Sirius, in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been your partner in Potions since first year and I’ve gotten even worse!”
“Pish posh; with a little private
tutoring, you’ll be better than Slughorn and Snivellus put together. Now, what potion shall we do first?”
“Draught of Living Death,” Remus squeaked, wringing his hands together nervously.
“You have trouble with that?”
“I think everyone does, Sirius.”
“Not me,” the black-haired boy said smugly. Remus rolled his eyes and proceeded to pull faces while Sirius gathered the ingredients. Despite dreading the tutoring at the start, Remus found himself having a lot more fun than he imagined. They laughed for minutes on end when attempting to cut a sopophorous bean to release the juice into the potion.
When Sirius finally managed to do it, Remus added in the rest of the ingredients and stirred the potion counter-clockwise seven times. To his amazement, it became clear as water, indicating it had been brewed properly. Remus raised his eyebrows in shock while Sirius grinned with satisfaction.
“So how was that for your first lesson?” he asked as they left the dungeons, half an hour later.
“It was so much better than I expected,” Remus laughed, hitching his bag up higher onto his shoulder. “I can’t believe I managed to brew A Draught of Living Death so...perfectly!” Without warning, he let out a cry of happiness and flung his arms Sirius’ neck. Sirius, who was normally used to Remus’ ways of friendly
affection, widened his eyes and stuttered at how close his friend was.
He gave the boy a gentle pat on the back and eased his arms from around his neck.
“S-sorry,” Remus stammered, pulling away with a blush. “I guess I don’t have any words to describe how happy I am right now.” Sirius clapped him on the back and bumped his hip playfully.
“I hear you loud and clear, mate.”
11th December 1977
As the weeks wore on, Remus found himself getting better and better at Potions every day, thanks to Sirius. His grades had improved hugely and Slughorn didn’t shake his head anymore when inspecting the boy’s potions. The only problem Remus had left was with potions theory. He joined Sirius in the library every Sunday after lunch to help him with the concept of his essays.
“I don’t see how you have so much trouble with this stuff,” Sirius said as he inspected Remus’ essay on Everlasting Elixirs. “I imagine Slughorn would give you an Exceeds Expectations on this at least.”
“You think so?” Remus questioned as Sirius slid the essay back towards him. Sirius nodded sincerely and began flicking through the pages of the Potion book. “What Potion are we going to be working on next?” Remus added, scooting closer to gaze down at the book also.
“Actually, I think we’re done with the potion-making. It’s just your theory that needs a bit more work.” Seconds later, Sirius crossed one leg over the other and accidently brushed his foot over Remus’ calf. Both boys turned to glance at each other and flushed bright red. Sirius cleared his throat and lowered his gaze back down to the book, his cheeks still burning with embarrassment.
“How about we continue this tomorrow instead?” Remus said quickly. Without waiting for an answer, he gathered up his essay, shoved it into his bag and left the library without a backwards glance. Sirius sighed heavily and rubbed his hand across the back of his neck. He leaned forward on the table and began writing up a plan for tomorrow’s lesson.
Remus, on the other hand, was hurrying through the hallways, being careful not to bump into any students coming in the opposite direction. It was by coincidence, however, that he bumped head-first into James.
“You owe me an – Oh!” James began with a snarl but stopped when he saw Remus. “Going somewhere, Remus?”
“James, I am so, so sorry!” the boy cried, climbing to his feet and helping James up also. James shrugged it off with a wave of his hand and straightened his glasses. “I was looking where I was going, I swear.”
“Are you heading back from the library? Didn’t your study session only just start?”
“Y-yeah but something came up. We’ve moved it to t-tomorrow,” he spluttered out while shifting on the spot. James raised an eyebrow and reached out to place his hand on Remus’ shoulder.
“Hey, are you okay?”
“Fine!” Remus side-stepped James and hurried off down the hallway, his bag swinging from side to side and banging against the back of his leg. He raced up the staircase, only stopping to gasp for breath when he finally reached the seventh floor, where the Fat Lady was situated. He choked out the password and stepped into the common room, flinging his bag onto the ground and flopping down onto the couch. He turned his head to gaze into the fire, allowing his mind to wander but found himself cringing when he remembered Sirius brushing up against his leg.
Remus closed his eyes and within minutes, he had drifted off into a deep sleep. A while later, Sirius marched into the Gryffindor common room, only to stop when he saw Remus’ legs dangling over the arm of the couch. Smirking, he wandered over towards him and raised his eyebrows at the sleeping boy in front of him. Sighing quietly, he decided not to disturb him and got started on his own potions essay.
16th December 1977
“One single week of not brewing potions and I forget how to poxy stir already,” Remus grumbled one morning in Potions class. He ducked his head when Slughorn passed by, praying that he wouldn’t stick his nose over his head to sniff at his sorry excuse for a potion. Sirius set down his spoon and stood behind Remus to gaze down at his potion over his shoulder.
“Even I get confused at this part. Here,” he said, placing his hand over Remus’ and directing him in which way to stir. “It goes clockwise three times, then counter-clockwise, clockwise...again...” He trailed off as he met the other boy’s gaze and the two shared a small smile between them. When Sirius went back to stand beside James, the bespectacled boy chuckled quietly and pushed his glasses further up his nose.
is what I call sexual tension,” he whispered. Sirius’ jaw dropped at James’ words and he was quick to begin shaking his head. “Don’t deny it, Padfoot.” Before another word could be spoken, they both jumped and turned around when Remus squealed loudly. He was grinning up at the potions master as if he had just been told a cure for lycanthropy had just come into effect.
“What’s up?” Sirius asked when the professor walked away.
“He just said I earned my first Outstanding!” Sirius gazed up at Remus, beaming brightly and feeling ecstatic himself to see his friend so happy. “And I have you to thank.”
“Oh? And how are you going to thank me?” Remus paused to think for a few minutes before winking and turning back to his potion.
“I’ll think of something.”
21st December 1977
Their first term at Hogwarts quickly came to an end and soon, the Marauders were decorating the Christmas tree in James’ living room. “I’m so glad you could all come for Christmas. I think my mum would cry for a week if she thought you’d be spending it at the new place,” he said in addition to Sirius.
The black-haired boy smirked and wrapped some tinsel around his neck. “I’d never turn down the chance to have some of Audrina’s amazing cooking.” At that very moment, a woman with long red hair and a kind face came into the living room, carrying a large platter of cookies. “You certainly know when to come at the right time,” Sirius laughed, dropping the tinsel back into the box and bounding across the room.
He snagged a cookie and gave her a smile of thanks before stuffing the entire sweet into his mouth. Audrina gave him a disapproving glance and set the platter down on the coffee table. “Try not to choke, Sirius,” she said as she left the room.
“Don’t worry about me, Mrs P!” After the boys finished decorating the tree, they wandered into the kitchen to pig out on some snacks, apart from Remus who decided to head straight to the library. When he was finished stuffing his face with several more cookies, Sirius departed from the kitchen and headed into the library to join Remus. The boy was stretched out in an arm chair with his legs hanging over the side and a book propped open on his stomach.
“You’d rather read a book than eat cookies?” Sirius chortled, dropping himself down onto the chair next to the other boy’s.
“Maybe later. I’m kinda stuffed after the cookies Audrina gave us.” They both fell silent when Remus went back to his book and Sirius moved into a lounging position on his armchair. A couple of minutes later, Remus marked the page he was on and closed the book with a sigh. “The silence is killing me.”
Sirius laughed quietly and pushed his hands back through his hair. “Well, what do you wanna do?”
“I’ve been thinking of a way to thank you for helping me in potions actually,” Remus said, throwing his legs over the arm of the chair and planting his feet firmly onto the floor. “ -if you haven’t forgotten that is.”
“No!” Sirius cried, sitting up with a grin. “What did you have in mind?” Remus kneeled down onto the chair next to Sirius and inched even closer to him. Sirius’ breath hitched in the back of his throat when Remus’ lips met his; his eyes fluttered closed when he found himself slowly kissing the other boy back. Remus whimpered quietly against Sirius’ lips when he could taste the faint trace of chocolate and butterbeer lacing their kiss.
He shifted closer until he was kneeling in a more comfortable position, no longer straining to lean over and kiss the boy. He cradled Sirius’ neck in between his hands and deepened their kiss, pressing his lips harder against his friend’s and forcing his mouth open. Sirius let out a shaky breath and broke the kiss but kept their lips lingering. He smiled softly and smoothed his hand across Remus’ cheek, staring hard into his bright-blue eyes.
“Thank you, Padfoot,” Remus whispered with a small smile.
Sirius pressed a light kiss to his lips and nodded. “The pleasure is all mine.”