Kiss the Puppy
“Oh, come on, we’ve played Truth or Dare a million times already!” complained Dorcas.
Remus privately agreed. He was bored of the game, and of course truth telling games were never his favorites. He could sit it out, of course, but then he’d have to leave the common room or he’d get teased mercilessly, and the fire really was quite cozy. Although really, he just enjoyed spending time with his friends and housemates once in a while. A surprising amount of upper year Gryffindors had stayed for the holidays, nearly everyone was there, and naturally, they were bored.
“Let’s play Never Have I Ever,” suggested James.
“Oh no Potter,” said Lily, “we’re not playing that again. I did not enjoy dragging you and Black to the infirmary for alcohol poisoning last month.”
“Oh, lighten up Evans,” said Sirius. “That only happened because this arse here was using his best friend privileges to target me specifically. Of course I had to give as good as I got. He’s learned his lesson now.” He smirked. James hit him upside the head, starting a tussle.
“I have a game,” said Peter. “Hey!” he yelled at James and Sirius’s red faces. “I have a new game we can play! I learned it from my cousins over the summer.”
Sirius perked up. James pushed at him and got up. “Hey, Peter has a game for us,” he announced to the room at large. “Go on Pete, how does it go?”
“I-I have to get something first, then I’ll explain,” said Peter, darting up the stairs to the dorm.
A minute later, he was back with a familiar looking toy. It was the stuffed dog James had gotten Sirius for his birthday. Remus stared at it suspiciously. If he was not mistaken, he knew that game, and that game was a kissing game. He wanted to be a good sport and play, but he hoped he wouldn’t have to something that would count as cheating. He had a boyfriend, after all.
“Hey, that’s mine!” yelled Sirius indignantly. Then he realized he’d just admitted to owning a stuffed toy for no discernible reason. “Right, gather round,” he said, changing the subject. Several people moved to sit closer.
“Actually, um, I need everyone to sit in a circle on the rug,” said Peter.
Yep, thought Remus, it’s that game. He sat down between Dorcas and a seventh year girl he thought was named Susan. Girls, girls were safe. He didn’t even like girls.
Once the circle was formed, Peter explained the stuffed dog would be passed around the circle, and everyone would have to kiss it on a different body part, no repeats.
“Of course no repeats,” huffed Lily. “Wouldn’t want to catch your germs.”
“Aren’t you a bit old for the cootie phase, Evans?” Sirius teased.
“Children!” said James. “Let’s play.” He motioned to Peter, who remained standing, and Peter threw the toy towards him. James caught it and kissed it loudly on its pink nose. He passed the toy to Sirius, who was sitting on his right.
Sirius followed James’s example of making a loud ‘mwah’ sound with his kiss, but he kissed to toy on its mouth. Remus rolled his eyes. Trust Sirius to always go big. To Sirius’s right, strangely enough, sat Lily. Oops. Remus foresaw a fist fight in his friends’ futures.
Lily kissed the toy delicately on the forehead, and passed it on.
By the time it reached Remus, there weren’t that many innocent places to choose from. He picked a front paw, already envisioning the mocking he would get about his supposed gentlemanly ways. Dorcas, who was sitting to his left, had kissed the toy on its left ear, which was not the best but not terrible. Ear kisses could be quite sexy, but you’d have to really try to make them so, so he was probably safe.
Just as he was thinking that, Sirius plopped down next to him, Dorcas moving a little to accommodate him. “Hey Moons,” he said, raising his bottle of butterbeer at Remus before looking, as everyone was, at Kingsley, who was the last person left.
Remus panicked. Did Sirius move on purpose? Did he know the game? Or did he really just get up to get a butterbeer and then sat down in a spot closer to the coffee table?
Once Kingsley had kissed the toy on its tail, Peter explained the second round. This time, each player in their turn would kiss the person to their right at the same location they had kissed the toy. Kingsley immediately protested that James did not have a tail. Snickering but not wanting to disclose that was not exactly correct, Peter said he would just have to kiss him on the arse.
“Tailbone,” said Remus out of his stupor. “Humans have a tailbone.”
“Same difference,” said Sirius airily.
Lily snickered. “Do you hear that, Shacklebolt? You only have to kiss the very top of his arse,” she said, dissolving into hysterics.
“As much as I’m flattered you’re so keen to kiss my arse,” said James, grinning at Kingsley, “it’s not your turn yet. It’s mine.”
That made Lily stop laughing. “No way,” she said. “I’m not letting Potter kiss me.”
“It’s just on your nose,” said Peter.
“I know him, he’ll say he slipped and kiss me on the mouth!”
“Marauder’s honor,” said James, lifting his right hand.
“What does that even mean? Anyway, you can’t make me!”
“Those are the rules, Evans!” crowed Sirius.
But James turned serious. “No, I can’t make you. If it’s that repulsive to you, I won’t. But it’s just a game, I promise I won’t read anything into it.”
Lily blushed, but then raised her head to look at him. “Okay,” she said.
James rose to his knees in front of her, cupping her face with both hands, and gently kissed her lightly freckled nose.
He sat back on his heels to look at her for a moment, and then moved back to his seat. Lily was red as a tomato. She rose onto her knees like James had done, and kissed her friend Mary affectionately on the forehead.
Remus’s mind was reeling. What was he going to do? He couldn’t cheat on Mark, but he was afraid his friends would think him a wet blanket. They might think it doesn’t count if it’s a game, and they didn’t seem to take his relationship with Mark very seriously. It was true they didn’t spend as much time together as other couples, but as a pair of introverts, that suited them. He also didn’t want to give Sirius the wizard flu he was still recovering from after all the trouble he went to to never share bottles and wash his hands often.
Everyone else was being a good sport, though. Soon Marlene was kissing a giggling Dorcas on the eyelid, and then Sirius was moving his hair aside to allow Dorcas to kiss his ear, and it was Sirius’ turn and what should he do?
Sirius was looking at him with an intense expression, not moving. It occurred to Remus he must be waiting for permission, game be damned. The thought warmed him. “I can’t!” he blurted out. “I have a boyfriend and the flu!” Both reasons together would surely have enough weight.
“Sod the flu!” Sirius called out, and tackled Remus. His face was very close to Remus’s for a moment, but then he winked and sat back up.
Remus also sat up, shaken, and hastened to deliver Susan’s kiss.
After the game, Remus suddenly felt very tired and decided to go to sleep, even though everyone else was still up and up to no good. That removed him from Sirius’s presence for a while, but the relief only lasted till morning. When Remus opened his bed curtains, he could see Sirius bouncing on James’s bed. He felt a rush of excitement, which he tried to suppress unsuccessfully.
“Morning Moons!” said Sirius, grinning at him.
Remus flushed and fled to the bathroom. Fuck, fuck, fuck! He could absolutely not have a crush on Sirius. He had a boyfriend, for Merlin’s sake! He wasn’t supposed to get crushes on other people!
Unfortunately, his body hadn’t gotten the memo, and every time he saw Sirius in the next few days, his ribcage felt three sizes too small. He had never had a crush that intense. He knew, logically, that it had to be the forbidden nature of his crush that made it so strong, but he couldn’t bring himself to let go of the guilt. He had a boyfriend and it was wrong, wrong, wrong.
Remus wished Mark hadn’t gone home for the holidays. Surely if he was around, that would be enough excitement to distract Remus from inappropriate crushes.
When term started, Remus was relieved to see Mark again. They took a walk on the grounds, talking about their holidays. Remus didn’t mention the game or his crush. He didn’t want to hurt Mark. They snogged, and Remus relaxed a little because Mark was tall and handsome and so very pleasantly masculine. His inconvenient crush would go away soon and he would once again be a good boyfriend and no one would have to know about his slip up.
Unfortunately, before that happened, somebody noticed. Peter found him in the dorm one afternoon, while James and Sirius were at Quidditch. “Hey, Moony?”
“Do you fancy Sirius?”
Remus sputtered. “I have a boyfriend, Pete!”
“That doesn’t answer my question.”
“Yes it does, because I can’t fancy him, because I have a boyfriend!”
“That’s not how it works, Rem. The heart wants what the heart wants,” said Peter sagely.
“It’s just an infatuation,” protested Remus. “It’ll go away. It already is, a little bit.” Which was true, Remus’s heart didn’t beat nearly as loudly as before when Sirius threw a friendly arm over his shoulder.
“Is what you have with Mark more than an infatuation, then?”
“Obviously,” said Remus. “It’s a relationship.”
“True,” Peter conceded. “I mean, mostly. You don’t spend much time together, do you?”
“We’re introverts! That’s how introvert relationships work!”
“Is it?” said Peter. “Shacklebolt and that Ravenclaw spend an awful lot of time just studying next to each other, not talking.”
“Well,” said Remus, “you have to be really comfortable with the person to do that.”
“Like you’re comfortable with Sirius?”
“I’m comfortable with you and James too, you’re my friends.”
“But you don’t have a crush on either of us. If I almost kissed you in a game, you wouldn’t develop a massive crush on me, don’t deny it.”
“Yes, because you’re not ridiculously gorgeous!” exclaimed Remus. “Er, sorry Pete, not that you’re unattractive, but Siri-”
“I know,” said Peter, “I may be straight, but I do have eyes.”
“So it’s just a ridiculous crush on a pretty boy,” concluded Remus.
“I don’t think it’s just any pretty boy, Moony,” said Peter. “You and Sirius are such a great pair. You work really well together, that’s why you always end up teamed up for pranks.”
“We do,” Remus admitted. He loved working with Sirius, on pranks and in class. He really felt like they were on equal footing, bouncing ideas off each other and refining them. “I’ll think about it,” he told Peter.
As it happens, Remus didn’t think about it. His crush had successfully subsided, along with his relationship with Mark. He focused on schoolwork, and his feelings towards Sirius returned to the previous warm affection of before, albeit more than for his other friends. He’s my best friend, he told himself. People play favorites with their friends all the time. The desire to partner up with Sirius for every project and activity didn’t disappear, though. Now that Remus had noticed it, he realized it was always there.
It was all very confusing, really. He was happy with what he had with Sirius, he didn’t need to add snogging or romance to it, but the thought of snogging him still sent a little jolt through him. Was it even right to be in an exclusive relationship when you have a friend that close?
The question seemed immaterial when Remus realized his relationship with Mark didn’t really exist anymore. They had grown apart without even noticing. Officially, however, they were still a couple. Remus needed to know where he stood. He caught Mark on his way out of the Great Hall after dinner, telling his friends he’d catch up with them later.
Once he and Mark reached a quiet enough corridor, Remus took a deep breath and said his practiced line. “Are going to put more effort into this relationship or are we going to break up?”
Mark didn’t hesitate. “Break up,” he said.
Remus was a little offended that Mark was giving up so easily, almost like Remus was a nuisance to get rid of, but then reminded himself he was the one who had had a crush on someone else.
“Okay,” he said and turned towards Gryffindor tower, marveling at how little he felt about his first break up.
“What was that about?” James asked when Remus entered the common room.
Peter grinned smugly.
Remus rolled his eyes. “Mark and I broke up,” he said.
“Really?” James asked. “I didn’t realize you were still dating.
Remus huffed. Introvert problems, your friends underestimate your relationships. Or maybe they hadn’t, really.
Sirius, however, was silent, expression unreadable. Remus smiled at him. "Help me with that Charms essay, will you Pads?”
It was late and only Remus and Sirius remained in the common room. Remus was putting the finishing touches on his essay, and Sirius was sleeping with his head in Remus’s lap. Only he wasn’t sleeping, Remus realized when he glanced at him. His eyes were open and he was looking at Remus.
“Time for bed,” Remus told him, blowing on his parchment to dry the ink.
Sirius rose and brandished his wand, drying the ink with a spell.
“Show off,” Remus muttered.
But Sirius was already rolling his parchment for him.
“What are you doing?” asked Remus. “I can get my own stuff.”
Sirius straightened up and looked at him. “You don’t have the flu, do you?”
“No,” said Remus, confused.
“And as of this evening, you don’t have a boyfriend,” said Sirius slyly.
Remus felt all the overwhelming excitement come back, as if no time had passed. Sirius wanted to kiss him! “N-no,” said Remus, a little wobbly.
“Good,” said Sirius, who was now very close. “Because if you’re willing, I believe I still owe you a kiss.”
Remus giggled a little at the silliness of it all, but Merlin help him, he was willing. “Yes please,” he said, not quite succeeding in containing his grin.