Written as a pinch hit for madsciencechick as part of the 2005 Shackin Up Santa Challenge.|
O Lucky Man
by Beth H.
(c) December 2005
Sirius was bound and determined to blame Snape, and he swore he'd pay him back just as soon as he could figure out a way to prove that the greasy git had been the one to sabotage the potion without anyone noticing.
It had all started when Slughorn, still looking a little rat-arsed from the Christmas party he'd hosted the night before for his pets (and no, Sirius wasn't one of them, but then who'd want to spend a whole night in the same room with Snivellus, anyway?), had come into the classroom that morning carrying a small cauldron. It was filled to the brim with a potion Sirius had never seen before, but one glance at the molten golden potion, and he knew it couldn't be anything but Felix Felicis.
He pretended to take notes as his professor droned on about how long the potion took to prepare and how much time it needed to stew properly, but Sirius knew he didn't have to take notes; everything old Sluggy was saying was somewhere in Libatius Borage's Advanced Potions-Making. No, Sirius had better things to concentrate on, like how he was going to slip some of the Felix Felicis out of Slughorn's cauldron and pocket it for his own use later that evening. After all, his date to the Yule Ball, while not precisely his first choice, was one of the most popular girls in the school, and Sirius wanted to make sure the evening went according to plan.
He spent the rest of class alternating between charming pieces of parchment to fly across the room and stick to Snape's hair - and trying to get Remus to help him with his plans for the potion. Remus, true to form, had spent thirty minutes trying to convince Sirius to change his mind.
"You know if you take it, I'll just have to report you," he said quietly.
Sirius shook his head; pigs would fly (without the aid of a spell) before Remus ever grassed on him.
"I could take enough for both of us," Sirius said. "It wouldn't hurt you to make sure things went well tonight. Unless, of course, your mystery date is just some imaginary friend."
Remus rolled his eyes. "No, my date's real enough."
"Are you sure?" Sirius whispered. "You've been awfully cagey about who you're taking."
"Have you ever considered that who I go to the Ball with might not be any of your business?"
For a moment Sirius just stared at Remus, then he snorted and jabbed his elbow into Remus's side.
"Good one!" he said, loudly enough to draw Snape and Rosier's attention. He lifted his wand slightly, and making sure Slughorn was looking the other way, pointed it in the direction of the Slytherins. Snape and Rosier both gave him dirty looks, but they turned back toward their work.
"All right," said Sirius, standing up. "Time to go into action."
"What are you going to do?" Remus asked, worry visible on his face.
"Oh, I just thought I'd get a little help from Slughorn on my... project," he said with a smile, and before you could say "this is such a fascinating assignment, Professor," Sirius had insinuated himself between Slughorn and the cauldron. Two minutes later, he was back in his seat, a small vial of Felix Felicis hidden in the sleeve of his robe.
Remus shook his head. "When McGonagall asked about our career plans last year, did you tell her you were planning on a life of crime?"
Sirius smiled, then raised the vial to his mouth. "Wish me luck," he said, before taking a quick swallow.
Remus frowned. "I could still turn you in, you know. "
"You could, but you won't because you love me too much," Sirius said with a grin.
"I might, but they don't," Remus said, inclining his head to the Slytherin side of the room. Once again, Snape and Rosier were watching Sirius, but this time the expressions on their faces were far too triumphant for comfort.
"Do you think they saw me take it?" Sirius said, watching as Snape whispered something in Rosier's ear and started to raise his hand.
Remus nodded, and Sirius frowned. "I can't be caught with this on me," Sirius said. "You're going to have to drink
"Me? Why don't you just finish it off?"
"I can't! Didn't you hear what Slughorn said about 'too much of a good thing?' About giddiness and recklessness and dangerous overconfidence?"
"Right," Remus said. "Because that doesn't already describe you."
Sirius grinned and slid the vial across the bench and slipped it under Remus's fingers.
"I might as well not even be a prefect," Remus grumbled as he took the potion from Sirius's hand.
At first, it seemed as if the Felix Felicis had worked exactly as promised. Snivellus tripped as he scurried across the room to tell Slughorn what Sirius had done, and ended up with a bloody nose. That probably wouldn't have stopped him from peaching, but Slughorn shooed him out of the classroom and up to see Madam Pomfrey - and before Rosier could get any bright ideas, Sirius whispered Evanesco, sending the empty vial to wherever it was things went when you needed to clean something up in a hurry.
After class, things seemed to be going well, too. Dumbledore cancelled the final class of the day for all students who were Fourth Year and above, so that they could get ready for the Ball. Peter showed up giddy with excitement over having won a month's supply of Chocolate Frogs off a Fifth Year Hufflepuff. And when Sirius winked at his date, Julia Chanten, as he passed her in the hall, she blushed and nibbled at her bottom lip before hurrying off, which was, Sirius was convinced, a good sign where girls were concerned.
The only thing that seemed wrong was the fact that Remus was nowhere to be found. It wasn't like Sirius was his keeper or anything - Remus was a free agent - but somehow Sirius had got it into his head that when the two of them went to their first Ball, they would at least get ready together. Sirius waited for a bit, but finally he pulled out the royal blue dress robe he'd picked up in Diagon Alley last summer when the Potters had taken him and James to buy their school supplies and laid it out on the bed. He looked at the trim around the collar and smiled; you had to squint a little but if you looked closely, you could just see the pack of little golden-brown wolf cubs chasing each other around the border.
When Sirius was dressed, he went down to brave the madness that was the Gryffindor Common Room. It seemed like every single Gryffindor was crammed into the room, even the young ones who weren't old enough to be allowed to go to the Ball yet.
Everyone but Remus.
Sirius wanted to take a quick walk and see where his friend had got to, but Julia had told him she wanted to pick him up for the dance, and it probably wouldn't be a good idea for Sirius to be missing when his date came to get him. He flopped down into a chair by the fireplace and waited as, one by one, the older Gryffindors set off for the Ball, and the younger ones wandered up to their dorm rooms.
He looked at the big Muggle pendulum clock against the far wall and frowned. He and Julia had agreed to leave at 8:00, but it was already half past. He got up from his chair and walked across the room, wondering where Julia could be; maybe the Fat Lady had some kind of grudge against Hufflepuffs and was keeping her from knocking on the door to the Gryffindor common room? Not likely, but anything was possible.
Sirius opened the door and peered out out. No Julia...but Remus was sitting cross-legged on the floor in the hallway, leaning back against the wall.
"Um...what are you doing out here in the hall?"
A half smile crossed Remus's face. "Would you believe I couldn't remember the password?"
"No," Sirius said. "And you're not even dressed yet. Aren't you supposed to be...."
"I'm not going."
"The Ball. I'm not going. I think I'm just going to stay up here tonight. Catch up on my revision or something."
Sirius frowned. "You can't do that. Besides, you spent most of the Galleons you had this term on those poncey dress robes. Can't let them go to waste, can you?"
Remus shrugged, then pushed himself up off the floor and stood next to Sirius. "Really, I'm not much interested anymore. My date said something came up, and he...."
"You were going with a guy who invited you and then backed out at the last minute?"
"Actually, I asked him."
Why was Remus trying to defend that jerk, whoever he was?
"It wasn't really serious," Remus said. "Just a few kisses, that's all."
Sirius nodded. Just 'a few kisses.' Right. If he'd known that Remus was interested in guys, he would have asked him to the Ball himself. At least Remus couldn't have stood him up like Julia seemed to have done; kind of hard to hide from a guy who shares your dorm room with you.
"All right, enough mooning around, Moony. Come with me!"
"What, to the ball?"
"No, not to the ball. Let's go...flying or something."
"Now? We could get kicked out of school if we're caught flying at night, you know."
"That's what makes it more exciting!" Sirius said with a grin, "Come on...I'll 'borrow' Prongs' broom and you can use mine. It'll be fun."
For a moment, Remus looked as if he was going to say no, but Sirius used the pleading expression he'd been perfecting as Padfoot, and Remus finally laughed and agreed. The two boys changed into warmer robes, then climbed the stairs to the Astronomy tower, where they had the best chance of taking off without being seen by any of the staff.
Sirius pushed open the door, and there - leaning against the far wall - was Julia, with some Ravenclaw boy that Sirius couldn't remember having seen before.
As soon as Julia and the mystery boy heard Sirius and Remus come into the room, they pulled apart, but it was pretty obvious what they'd been doing. Sirius glanced to his right, and by the look on his friend's face, it was also pretty obvious that Remus recognized the Ravenclaw boy as the guy Remus was supposed to have gone to the Ball with.
Neither Sirius nor Remus said a word. They just stood in the doorway with their arms folded over their chests, both making mumbled apologies.
"Algernon and I had a fight, you see," Julia said finally. "And I thought, well...maybe if I could make him jealous...you are awfully good looking, after all," she simpered at Sirius.
Algernon frowned. "Hey!"
"Oh, like you have a leg to stand on. You were going to go with him!" Julia said with a toss of her hair.
"We're just friends," Algernon said, blushing a little and not meeting Remus's gaze.
Yeah, friends who kiss each other, Sirius thought, but he said nothing.
"I'm sure they understand what it's like, us being in love and all," said Julia. "You do, don't you Sirius?"
What Sirius wanted to say was "Yeah, I understand the two of you are jerks," but instead he just grinned and
Julia breathed a sigh of relief, then grabbed Algernon's hand in her own and pulled him quickly toward the door.
As they walked off, Sirius waved his wand after their retreating forms.
Remus narrowed his eyes at him. "Sirius, what did you just do?"
"Oh, not much, really. But at midnight, their lips are going to turn into pumpkins."
"What?" asked Remus, trying to sound horrified, but failing completely.
"Don't worry," Sirius said with a grin. "They'll just be small pumpkins."
The two boys walked over to the window and leaned on the sill, their brooms leaning against the wall next to them. The night sky was clear and bright, and when a shooting star flew by, Sirius wished he was still young enough to make a wish.
The wind blew, and Sirius shivered. Remus moved closer, sharing his warmth with Sirius
Sirius turned his head. "Snape didn't do anything to the potion, did he?"
"The Felix Felicis. When Julia didn't show up, I thought maybe Snivellus did something to the potion."
Remus rolled his eyes. "Snape was on the other side of the room, Sirius. No, it was the real thing, straight out of Slughorn's cauldron." He sighed. "I'm sorry things didn't work out for you tonight."
"Don't be," Sirius said, leaning against Remus's arm. "She wasn't who I really wanted to be spending tonight with, but that Algernon...."
"He wasn't who I really wanted to spend tonight with," Remus said quietly.
Sirius frowned. "So who did you want to spend this evening with?"
Remus snorted. "Too bad Slughorn didn't have a wit sharpening potion for you to steal from class too. You could use it."
Sirius tilted his head to the side and just looked at Remus for a moment. "You know," he said finally, "I think my wits just got sharper, even without the potion."
He leaned in and kissed Remus, and when Remus kissed him back, Sirius put his arms around his friend and thought about the Felix Felicis.
"So," Remus said. "Are you feeling lucky?"
"Yeah," said Sirius. "Right now, I'm feeling very lucky."
Comments, critiques, chit chat: beth-h @ mrks.org
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