Title: Tell Him
Moment in Time: 7th year
Author: Beah Blue
Rating, Warnings, Spoilers: PG, No warnings, No spoilers
Note: Answer to the 02-08-04 Valentine's Day Drabble Challenge of the SiriusXJames group.
Remus looked up from his book. "Yes?"
"Are you going to the dance?"
Remus frowned. "If this is the start of another tirade--"
"No! I don't care who you go with."
"I want to ask someone."
Remus shrugged and returned to his book. "So ask someone."
James squirmed uncomfortably.
When he didn't say anything, Remus looked at him again, the frown back on his face. "Is there something stopping you?"
"Is it Lily Evans? She doesn't have a date yet. You can ask her."
"No, it's not her."
"Who, then? Beth Blotts? Greta Salem?"
James sighed heavily. "Sirius Black."
Remus dropped the book. He stared at James with his mouth hanging open in mute shock.
James dropped his head into his hands and groaned. "Don't tell him! Don't tell anyone! Please, Remus!"
"I-I--" Remus stammered, trying to gather up his book off the floor, but his eyes never leaving James. "N-No, of course not, James!"
James parted his fingers and peered at his friend. "Are you horrified?"
Remus's eyes were still wide as saucers, and twin spots of red had appeared on his usually pale cheeks. "Of course not!"
"Yes you are!" James accused. "You look scandalised!"
Remus opened his mouth to retort, but stopped, shaking his head.
"Well?" James demanded after a tense minute. "Are you?"
"I'm just surprised," Remus said slowly, obviously choosing his words with care. "I spent six years thinking I was all alone, James. Then I found out about Severus... and Sirius almost ruined that for me. Now I find out you are, too. I don't know what to think anymore."
"Yes, well..." James sniffed, kicking at a wadded up piece of paper on the floor. "Sirius is still straight as a rod, you can bet on that."
Remus cocked his head to one side, looking thoughtful. "I wouldn't be too sure of that."
James leaned forward, betraying his eagerness. "What do you mean?"
"Just this --" Remus set aside his book and got up, beginning to pace in front of James. "If I had been told one of my dorm mates was queer, Sirius is the one I would have put my money on." He smiled sheepishly. "If I had any money, that is."
"Why? I never noticed anything."
Remus shrugged. "Just a feeling."
James's shoulders slumped. "Oh."
Remus came over and patted him on the back. "Ask him, James. As hard as it is, it's the only way you'll know."
James pulled away. "What if he isn't...? What if he doesn't want to be my friend anymore?"
"Now you know how it was for me. Believe me, you'll feel better once it's over, even if he doesn't return your feelings."
James shook his head. "I can't!"
Remus and James whirled around, James scrambling from his seat and twisting his hands nervously.
Sirius was leaning casually against the door frame. "Can't what, James?" he repeated.
"I'll just be going," Remus said, picking up his book and squeezing past Sirius. "Have to revise, you know."
Sirius waved him off without much interest. "Don't kill yourself studying, Rem." He turned back to James. "Are you going to tell me or not?"
James thought desperately, but no plausible lie came to mind. "Uh..."
"Keeping secrets from me, are you?" Sirius crossed the room and draped himself over an armchair. James's flustered expression seemed to amuse him. "What were you and Remus talking about?"
"The Valentine's dance," James admitted, averting his eyes.
"I see," Sirius said, arching his eyebrow. "Are you going to ask someone?"
James shook his head, feeling his face redden. He grabbed the half-empty bottle of Butterbeer from his nightstand and took a large gulp.
"Huh," Sirius said, looking bored and picking at a bit of lint on his sleeve. "And here I was getting my hopes up."
James choked, Butterbeer spraying out his nose and dribbling down his chin.
"Lovely, James," Sirius said, wrinkling his nose as James sputtered helplessly. "Really suave."
Finally, James got his breathing under control, wiped his face on a corner of the sheets, and faced Sirius again. "You heard all of that, didn't you? You were eavesdropping."
Sirius shrugged. "Maybe."
"Are--Are you angry with me?"
Sirius pretended to think hard, his lips pursed. "I don't know... Let me think."
James waited, hardly daring to breathe. He knew Sirius was teasing, but he also couldn't tell what Sirius was really thinking.
"Nope. Not angry," Sirius said at last.
"And... uh..." James remembered Remus's advice and took a deep breath to steady himself. "Are you?"
"Am I what?" Sirius drawled, looking as if he didn't have a clue what James might mean.
"Gay. Are you gay."
"Am I gay?" Sirius repeated. "Sure I am."
James almost collapsed from relief. He sank onto his bed.
Sirius was looking him over appraisingly. "Which means it's just too bad you don't plan on asking anyone to the dance. I hear it's going to be something this year."
James's heart began to pound in his chest. This was the moment of truth. "Sirius? Would you go to the dance with me? I mean, if no one's asked you yet?"
"Well," Sirius said slowly, "Edna Sage has been trying to catch my eye all through Potions..." Then he grinned. "Of course I'll go with you."
James was still searching for words when he found himself squeezed in a rough embrace, Sirius's deep laugh vibrating in his ears.