Meanwhile, the authors for all but the spacesanta challenges have been revealed, so we are now free to link to what we wrote. I'm also going to repost them here over the next few days, just to have them all in one place. I'm not linking to the stories directly 'cause . . . umm . . . like all challenge stories they were way rushed and I've seen since errors in them, so if you *haven't* read them, I'd rather you read them here, since I've fixed some boo boos. (While undoubtedly missing more.)
For shackinup_sesa I wrote:
Accidental Mastermind for sojisaanaru and
Tables Turned for hiddendaze
For spacesanta I wrote:
Not Yet Revealed
For yuletide I wrote:
A Path Unvaried for v_voltaire
And I'll start by posting one of my shackinup_sesa stories today. And in a few hours I will, hopefully, FINALLY be seeing Narnia and Brokeback Mountain. Yay!
Title: Accidental Mastermind
Author: SullenSiren (adena(at)direcway(dot)com)
Fandom: Harry Potter
Summary: "It was halfway up the stairs, when James' thigh bumped into his and Peter collided with his arse, that Remus decided that it was very probable that he liked boys.
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
Author's Notes: Written for the Shacking Up Sesa. I drew sojisaanaru, who wanted a comedy. Hope this works for you!
"I may not have gone where I intended to go,
but I think I have ended up where I intended to be."
-- Douglas Adams
Sirius had that look. That indefinable, impossible, intractable look that said Remus wasn't going to get any sleep tonight. It said also that James was likely already snuck off to some corner to plot and bounce about like an over-excited pogo stick. It said that Remus would never finish the last four chapters of The Practical Guide to Applied Genealogy in Wizarding Bloodlines, which were the ones he'd gotten the bloody book for in the first place, as they had in-depth breakdowns of the lines of Black, LeStrange, Malfoy, Weasley, and Nott, amongst others. (Sirius had thumbed to that part earlier and pointed out the bits they missed, such as which ones had been gay, which had slept with their sister, which was secretly a bastard, and one deeply disturbing monologue on his great uncle six times removed who was notorious for something Remus hadn't known existed, and could happily have spent the rest of his life never being educated on.) It said that Remus was about to do something that would endanger their house points, his prefect badge, and – possibly – his life.
Sirius could say a lot with a look.
"No. Whatever it is, no. I want to read my book. I want to curl up in my bed and pull the covers over my eyes and pretend that I room with sane people."
Sirius pouted at the pre-emptive refusal. "But Moony we had this brilliant idea! We're going to-"
"James is doing it!"
"James is always doing it-"
"Not so long as Evans won't have him," Peter interjected from the bed next to Remus', idly flipping through a Quidditch magazine.
Remus ignored the interruption and went on as if Peter hadn't spoken. "Of COURSE James is doing it. You two are joined at the stupid. His being there is really more of a warning than an enticement. They're going to do away with all 'Danger' signs I hear and just put a big picture of Potter's face."
Sirius plopped on the bed next to him, scattering a quill, a book, a notebook, and the chocolate bar Remus had hidden under the pillow to thwart thieving Black hands. Remus knew that, logically speaking, it wasn't possible, but Sirius still somehow managed to become heavier when he was pouting. It was one of Sirius' many nonsensical qualities. His whole body became dense as lead and drooped until he got his way. "Moony . . . you would be sad if we did this without you. You would pine and wail and spend the rest of your life wishing that you'd pulled your nose out of a book and come with us."
Remus rolled over onto his back to avoid the pouting face. They both knew he would give in. He always gave in. Sirius was relentless, and in the end it was always easier to give in than to try to argue him out of it. It was like trying to argue a wall into being a spoon. "I'd survive, Sirius. Somehow I'd pick up the shattered pieces and move on without having snuck into the Slytherin girls' dorm, or put gender-bender potions in Snape's pumpkin juice, or whatever other improbable notion you lot have come up with tonight."
There was silence from Sirius. After a moment it became a terrible silence that said – in its silent and horrible way – that Remus had just given Sirius an idea.
Remus thought rapidly over what he'd just said and then groaned. "No. Gender-Bender potions are frowned upon in polite society, and Rabastan Lestrange would make a horrible female."
Sirius grinned and leaned forward, smacking his lips theatrically and enthusiastically against Remus'. "Moony, you are brilliant. The next time Prongs says you're stodgy and married to a book, I'll give him a thumping."
He rocketed off the bed, bellowing, "POTTER! NEW PLAN!" at the top of his lungs.
"James never says that, you do," Remus mumbled at his rapidly retreating back. (He could vaguely hear James' disappointed voice demanding what he was "supposed to do with all this bloody dental floss, then" and would have been deeply glad to never know the answer, if he hadn't been so confused at this particular moment.)
When the door swung shut behind Sirius, Remus stared in befuddlement at it, putting a finger absently to his lips.
Sirius had only kissed him for a moment, but Remus could somehow still taste him. And smell him. And- "Bugger," Remus swore.
It was not at all on to fancy one's mate. Especially when one did not know if one liked boys.
"Why am I here again?" Remus stared morosely around the room. It was small and dank and decrepit and likely hadn't had anyone in it, save them, for several centuries. James and Sirius had stumbled upon it during Map-Making Misadventure #72, when they had ended up fleeing from a screaming portrait who accused them of violating his frame in impure ways. (The sad thing had been that when James explained it, Remus rather thought the portrait had a point.) They had promptly declared the room perfect for clandestine activities. Remus really thought it was more perfect for developing a fatal allergy to dust and mold, but didn't really see any point in mentioning that.
"You're here to help."
"I'm bollocks with potions and you know it."
Sirius looked impatient. "Then you're here because it was your idea and you want to see it come to beautiful fruition."
"It was NOT my idea. It was my listing of something I thought ought NOT to be done and you running off to do it anyway," Remus protested.
Sirius scowled. "Moony, would you please reach into your trousers and give your knickers a nice untwisting? You've been even more of a rag than usual lately."
"Sirius, shut up. Cut up the Drake-root. Moony, you're here for moral support, and to be a test subject," James interjected placidly, his attention focused on carefully dissecting a worm. (Remus hadn't read all the ingredients but he hadn't seen "worm innards" on it, and was somewhat disturbed by the idea that James might be painstakingly taking a worm apart simply for the squishy pleasure of it.)
"Nah. Moony's not testing. Wormtail is," Sirius threw a smirk in Peter's direction.
Peter, used to such threats, continued his careful stirring. "Sod off, Padfoot."
"You ought to be willing to take one of the team, Pete old man. Lousy sort of mate."
"I take lots for the team. I take loads. And anyway, why do we need to test it? If it doesn’t work they stay blokes. Big bloody deal."
"What if you muck up the potion and they explode?" Remus asked sensibly. He ducked his head as Sirius shot him an incredulous look for daring to suggest they'd not brew the potion properly.
"Then we all get detention cleaning off Slytherin brains, but it won't take long 'cause they haven't many, and we'll have done the world a service by finishing them off before they bred a new generation of beastly little offspring destined to know only the love of their own hand." (Remus thought that was a bit unfair, since several of the Slytherins did inordinately well when it came to attracting company, and since James, due to his fixation with an unreceptive Lily Evans, was not exactly carving notches in his bedpost these days.)
"They won't," Sirius muttered in irritation, completely ignoring James' interjection.
It had taken two weeks to procure the ingredients for the potion, and another three days to figure a time to brew it and when it was best to administer it, since the potion was only potent for a short period of time.
Remus had spent the last two weeks studiously and subtly avoiding Sirius. He'd done such a spectacular job that Sirius, who could be utterly oblivious when it suited him, had managed to notice it less than two days in.
Which meant that by this time, he was in a serious (Damn Sirius and his puns, they snuck into his everyday vocabulary now) sulk. Remus had no intention of explaining why he'd been avoiding Sirius, which left Padfoot imagining god only knows what reasons of his own. He was saved being asked by Sirius' decision to snark and snipe at him rather than directly asking what was wrong.
James, however, was beginning to give Remus fuzzy looks of concern that meant he would soon be given A Talking To. Which was odd, as Remus was usually the one Doing the Talking when such conversations came up. Or at least the one directing the flow of conversation when it was diverted onto topics such as what color underwear Evans wore. (Green – which traitorous fact had been discovered when Sirius snogged Ethel Circise into looking.)
"Alright, nearly done." Sirius added the Drake root and took over stirring duties as James carefully added in worm-bits. (Remus was glad to see he'd just missed the worm entrails in the ingredients.) He shot a spiteful glance at Remus, tossing his sleeve dramatically. "Now if some of us can remember we're not bloody skirts and grow a set of balls, we can get this-"
"Padfoot?" Remus interjected calmly.
"You've set your robes on fire."
Sirius swore a blue streak and yanked off his robes and shirtsleeves, stomping with gratuitous enjoyment on the flaming sleeves.
Remus saw a flash of smooth back and obstinately crossed arms and turned to go, saying he was checking to be sure the pumpkin juice was ready.
He felt three sets of eyes on him as he fled and wondered when, exactly, seeing Sirius half naked had gotten to be the sort of problem that had his breath hitching and his stomach tightening. Sirius made naked into a career. He'd once done an entire Detention naked. (Thereby earning three more.) There wasn't a Gryffindor who hadn't seen the full Black Glory at least twice. It had never affected him before.
He desperately wished it didn't now. He was already different than everyone else. He didn't need to be a ponce on top of being a wolf.
He definitely didn't need to fancy his own mate.
When an unused stirring spoon came sailing at the back of his head Remus wondered how it was possible to (maybe) want to snog someone and strangle them for being an impossible prat at the same time.
In the end, it had been Remus who managed to sweet talk the Slytherin portrait – which was well known to have an enduring love of post-romantic-era poetry and to be greatly chatty given a knowledgeable and interested partner in the conversation – into giving them the password.
After a long and rather involved discussion that continued a good deal after Remus had gotten the password, he was finally dragged away by Wormtail, who had sat down against the wall and started snoring less than five minutes in.
Some people had no appreciation for culture.
When they'd returned James had demanded to know what had taken so long, Peter had confessed, with the sort of pale-faced shock that was usually associated with major wars and torture of some kind, that there had been poetry. James have given Remus a chastising look and Wormtail a consoling pat on the back as Sirius rolled his eyes, not deigning to address Remus in anyway, which had by then begun to include looking directly at him. The three of them had fallen into a discussion on which color dress robes would best suit – and by "best suit" they meant "look most atrocious on" - various Slytherin males.
It was at that point that Remus had given up any hope of ever living through graduation with his sanity intact. There was no point being the lone sane puddle in a sea of madness.
With that in mind, he'd helped them set up in the Slytherin common room. They'd managed to buy, beg, borrow, and "borrow" (which was Remus' way of justifying outright theft) a grand total of seven cameras.
Once Sirius had entertained himself by going through an entire roll of film snapping pictures of his own arse – and those of several girls who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the right sort of derriere – they'd set the extra cameras up in the Slytherin common room and the four of them snuck up under James cloak with one each.
The four of them had stopped fitting comfortably beneath that cloak around third year. It was now sixth year, and in order to keep all limbs from showing, they basically had to transmute themselves into one many-legged, many-armed ball of boy.
Remus had not fully thought through this plan prior to adopting his new philosophy in life.
It was halfway up the stairs, when James' thigh bumped into his and Peter collided with his arse, that Remus decided that it was very probable that he liked boys.
It wasn't until the top of the stairs, when Sirius leaned over to whisper "Make sure you get a good shot of Malfoy" to James (Sirius having developed a new and special sort of hatred for Malfoy when he'd begun dating Narcissa) and Remus shivered at Sirius' breath on the back of his neck, a warm flush rising to his cheeks and . . . other areas because Sirius' chest pressed up against his back for a moment that Remus admitted it was also very probable that he liked one boy in particular.
It would be his luck that the boy in question was Sirius "New Skirt Once a Week and Twice on Holidays" Black that caught his attention.
Sirius was saying something to him but Remus didn't catch it and Peter stumbled into the back of him again and suddenly their precarious bundle of boy limbs was falling askew and Sirius and Remus were tumbling out from underneath it with a crash and a wince and – on Remus' part at least – not the slightest idea just how that happened.
"Bollocks!" Sirius swore, eying a hand he'd managed to tear on the edge of the final stair.
"You all right?" James hissed from beneath the blanket.
"Been better," Sirius answered.
"What's wrong?" Remus turned to look at him in concern.
Sirius gave him a wry grin. "Only talk to me when you're afraid I'll bloody bleed to death, you prat. Hell with you and your deathbed confessions."
Remus was about to answer when a thump of feet reminded him that they were, in fact, not in the best place to argue. He turned his head and stared into the eyes of eight *very* unhappy and manly Slytherin girls. Most of which had not yet realized their state of change, and were thus half dressed. (And Remus could feel James and Peter staring and it was disturbing)
They all had wands.
Sirius took stock of the situation and said what might be the only sensible statement he'd ever uttered. "Ummm . . . . run."
Remus turned and did as he was told, Sirius at his heels and a slight hiss of fabric and flat pound of footfalls ahead of them said that James and Peter were just ahead, hidden by the cloak.
They managed to dodge hexes and curses, but were caught by their own cameras, which flashed merrily as the four – Slytherin's finest and most Newly Endowed on their heels – ran through the common room and out the portrait.
The portrait gave Remus a chastising look as it swung closed. "Really dearie, if you'd wanted in that bad you needn't have gone to all the trouble of chatting me up you know – the Prewett brothers' little sister still sells all the passwords."
Remus nodded dumbly as behind them Lucius Malfoy – his voice a high feminine shriek – suddenly wailed. "I HAVE BREASTS!"
Beside him two invisible madmen and one he could see started to snort with laughter and after a moment Remus couldn't help but join in. Sirius flung an arm around his shoulders and announced, "We're hanged old man – photo evidence."
Remus shrugged. "McGonagall will go easier on me. She likes me. Unlike you gits."
The portrait began to swing open again and Remus and Sirius dove back beneath the cloak, all four of them stifling their laughter. A lone Slytherin emerged, rushing toward their Head of House's office. (Female and born that way. Clearly the newly female refused to leave the dorm and had sent a representative.)
Through the open portrait all four of them managed to get decent shots of the befuddled looking boy/girls.
Later, they would agree that Lucius Malfoy – arms tucked protectively over a bare chest – made a disturbingly pretty woman. Which was far less disturbing than the fact that Crabbe and Goyle did NOT, and that Goyle, apparently, slept in the nude and was too thick to grab a robe before he went downstairs chasing Gryffindors with cameras.
Sirius, later staring at the pictures as they blew them up for framing and hanging in the Great Hall, made a face of piteous pain and announced that he never wanted to have sex again, since the sight of that had put him off women for the rest of his life.
Remus attempted to ignore the little voice that wondered about whether men were off limits too.
McGonagall was eminently fond of Remus, had little love for the Slytherins – for the most part – and was, like all heads of houses, a bit more lenient with her own boys.
All of which meant absolutely nothing when it came time to give out detention. She set them to scraping gum from the Quidditch bleachers the first night – no wands, just a scraper that barely worked and their fingernails.
The second night was dishes night, and the House Elves watched in mournful sorrow as Remus and Sirius battled their way through the mountain of crockery. (The Slytherins used four plates each that night, and dropped their utensils at every opportunity.)
The third night it was polishing all the silver on the second floor. There was enough silver that if you loaded it all up onto a ship, the ship would straightaway sink and the silver would fall to the bottom of the ocean and need a frightful polish when it was brought back up.
The fourth night James and Peter held invisible vigil while Remus and Sirius were forced to trim weeds in Greenhouse 7b, where the Plants with Wandering Tendrils lived. Sirius very nearly ended with a tendril inserted where no tendril was meant to wander, and Remus had to remove one from his left nostril. Twice. Peter took pictures.
The fifth and final night was laundry. The House Elves were too bereft to watch and James and Peter were jointly composing a love poem to Lily. (Peter had a frightful and unusual talent for rhyming that ended in the sort of love poem one would only send to someone you either wished to drive insane, or thought smoked a great deal of marijuana and thus would find such things funny. Maybe. Remus would have hoped that listening to the Slytherin portrait's insightful dissertation on meter would have helped him, but since Peter had snored eloquently through, he held out no hope for the project.)
Sirius had, by the third bag of laundry – charmed to sort itself into the proper bags to be returned to its owner – grown bored and begun writing choice comments on the crotches of various people's underthings in Disappearing/Reappearing ink. Remus had pointed out the likeliness of this ending them with another detention, but Sirius' boredom was, and always had been, impervious to logic.
Remus had tuned out Sirius – who was lamenting Wormtail's absence while trying to compose a dirty limerick to write on Regulus' undershorts – to the point where he barely heard what he was saying when a bra was flung into his face. (He would bet that it was Diedre Pieson's, since he didn't think anyone else had enough to fill it out.)
"Moony, why weren't you talking to me?" Sirius asked, as if brassiere-to-face was a common attention-grabbing technique.
Remus put down the towel he'd been folding. "Wha-huh?" Later he was sure he would pride himself on the intelligent response.
"Were you brassed off about something? If it's because I ate your last chocolate bar, I'll get another one you know. I always do. Bloody woman."
"Uh. No. You eat everything. If I was going to take offense to you consuming something that wasn't yours, I'd spend the rest of my life in a twist until I finally sank into a coma."
"Nothing Padfoot. Just needed some time to myself. Isn't a crime you know."
"Didn't need time off from Prongs or Wormtail."
"They're not as irritating as you are."
Sirius snorted. "Prongs is."
Remus couldn't really argue that point. "I'm not brassed Padfoot, all right? Don't worry about it." He began attempting to remove the bra from his head, but it seemed to have caught on his ear and his nose.
"Yeah all right." Sirius went quiet for a moment. Sirius' quiet moments were always worrisome. Remus though it ironic that while Sirius might be the dog, it was he who'd developed a Pavlovian response to Sirius' moods and actions. Sirius went quiet for more than thirty seconds, and Remus began to worry. "Hey Moony?"
"You're pretty bloody dense you know."
"Wha-huh?" Remus was impressed by his own ability to repeat inarticulate stupidity when in a crisis.
Sirius leaned over, pulled the bra from his head, and kissed him. It was awkward and a bit unsure and he tasted like tea and lemon. Remus would remember later that the bra-strap caught on his ear and scratched it.
At the moment all he could process was that Sirius was kissing him.
When the lips pulled back away and Remus stared, dazed, Sirius gave him an appraising look and then stretch like a cat. "Poncy bastard. Think I wouldn't suss it out? Forget I'm BRILLIANT Moony."
"Not always," Remus mumbled stupidly.
"Always. Just don't always use it. More fun to be stupid sometimes."
"Why did you do that?"
"'Cause I wanted to, and you wanted me to." Sirius suddenly lost his arrogant smugness, expression slipping into a rare moment of uncertainty. "Didn't you?" Sirius could say a lot with a look. He rarely looked anywhere near to vulnerable though, and seeing it made something catch for just a minute in Remus' chest. Later he would chalk it up to indigestion. (Though much later, he would confess that he'd been lying to himself.)
Remus shook his head. "No." He crawled the foot or so that separated them. "I wanted to kiss YOU. Cocky arse." He fastened his mouth to Sirius', hungry, demanding and rough, his hands tangling in dark hair. It wasn't all that different than kissing a girl, really, except it was because it was a bloke and the body along his was harder and leaner and the mouth was Sirius' mouth and that made more difference than he was prepared to admit right now.
Remus broke the kiss and they stared at one another for a moment before Sirius' grey eyes narrowed. "Who've you been SNOGGING, Moony?"
"No. Angry. Secrets are against the code."
"We haven't got a code."
"We should." Sirius eyed him speculatively. "Who then?"
Remus smiled. "Not you."
Sirius smiled back. "Guess we'll have to fix that."
"Guess so." Sirius leaned forward to kiss him and Remus decided being a shirtlifter wasn't all that bad, so long as he didn't have to be one alone.
They didn't break apart till a voice cleared its throat pointedly and they spun to see McGonagall looking disapprovingly at them. "Three more days' detention. Separate, detentions. But you're free to go tonight. The elves will finish."
She looked down her spectacles at that. "Honestly Mr. Lupin, you COULD do better you know."
She turned and left and Sirius feigned a look of deep hurt. "She's going to make me scrub the loo. I can feel it. This is your bloody fault. The whole gender-bender potion was YOUR idea, Moony, you git."
Remus sighed at that. "Fine. My idea. I am a mastermind of delinquency."
"Except for the getting us caught bit." Sirius paused and then added. "'sall right though. Ended up worth it."
Remus smiled at that and turned to leave as the house elves began popping in, giving them pointed looks that very politely said "Get out. Now."
Remus was more than happy to oblige.