Operation Attraction
By: Rynne

Chapter One

“Sirius? Sear, what’s wrong?” James Potter asked, coming up and sitting down next to his best friend in the nearly-abandoned common room. Sirius had been sitting on the plush red-and-gold rug right in front of the fire, resting his head on his knees and looking utterly lost, but when James came and sat down, Sirius sighed, stretched a bit without standing up, and lay back, head underneath his hands.

“Nothing’s wrong, James. ‘M fine,” Sirius replied thickly. “’M just a bit tired.”

“Bullshit,” James replied roughly, surprising himself as well as Sirius. “Something’s been bothering you for weeks now, and you won’t tell me what it is! I’m your best friend, Sear, you can at least tell me. Maybe then we can work it out and it won’t bother you anymore.”

Sirius chuckled a bit. “You should have been Padfoot, James, you’re like a dog with a bone.”

“No distractions, Sirius,” James warned, though a smile flitted playfully around his lips. “Tell me what’s bothering you.”

Sirius sighed noisily. “Fine, fine, whatever,” Sirius said flippantly, but James could tell it was hard to start. “James…”

“Yeah, Sear?”

“How did you know you were in love with Lily? I mean, you’ve always been playing all those pranks on her, and she doesn’t seem to like you very much, but you’re so persistent, and I was wondering why,” Sirius said, glancing over at James, who lay back down on the rug next to his friend, thinking.

“I don’t know,” he answered finally. “It just seems like it was always there. I just always wanted her to notice me. I wanted her to pay attention. Positive attention, negative attention, whatever—it didn’t matter as long as she was paying attention to me. When she was…I just felt, oh, I dunno, calmer, I guess. More…at peace with myself. Even when she was yelling at me.” James chuckled. “It didn’t matter if she was yelling at me, because it was her doing it.”

“So you feel like you’d let her do anything she wanted, just because it was her? As if there was nothing she could do that would be so bad you could stop loving her?” Sirius’s voice sounded funny, and when James looked over at him, he could see a troubled look on his face.

“Yeah…like that, I suppose,” James mused. “Why? Are you in love, Sirius?”

“…I think so. But I don’t know…what to do about it,” Sirius mumbled. James rolled over and tugged a tendril of Sirius’s hair, causing his fellow Marauder to glare at him.

“Just tell the other person, you ninny,” James advised.

“That’s all well and good for—wait a minute. James, did you just call me a ninny?” Sirius raised an eyebrow and made a face, and James laughed.

“Ninny!” James taunted, and had to jump up and run away, laughing, as he was chased by a mock-annoyed Sirius, who was laughing too. They chased each other around the common room, and it only got more interesting when Sirius became Padfoot and caught up to James, jumping in front of him and then on him, sitting on his chest and looking very pleased with himself.

“Erk…! Get off me, Padfoot! You’re heavy!” James complained to the Animagus on his chest, who swiftly changed into a smirking Sirius.

“Not until you apologize for calling me a ninny, you prat,” Sirius said. James tried to push Sirius off, but Sirius stayed stubbornly seated on his friend’s chest, playfully sticking his tongue out. Finally James lay back, defeated.

“Fine, fine. I’m sorry I called you a ninny…” Sirius looked proud and vindicated “…you dorkus.”

“Dorkus? Dorkus? Prongs, just what the hell is a dorkus?!” Sirius asked, reluctantly getting up off of James and crossing his arms over his chest.

“That would be you,” James said, smirking and sitting up. Sirius glared at him, then sighed and sat down beside him. They were silent for a few minutes.

“I can’t just tell the other person, James. They won’t feel the same,” Sirius said finally, going back to their previous topic. He sounded confidant, and when James looked over at him, his face proclaimed his dejection.

“How do you know that?” James asked, feeling a quick surge of anger at how sure Sirius was that the person he was in love with didn’t love him back. Sirius is a great guy!You know you’re handsome, the girls know you’re handsome, and so many of them have had crushes on you that it’s not even funny. Why would this one be any different?”

Sirius looked over at James and sighed. “James, can you keep a secret?”

“Of course I can. You know that. What would you call Moony and Prongs and the rest?” James replied. He laughed, but Sirius did not.

Sirius looked away from James, his face still troubled. “I…it’s not a girl, James,” Sirius said, and James blinked. Not…a girl. Then…well, that explains a lot. Like why he never seems to care when girls flirt with him.

“Oh,” James said. Sirius looked back towards James, obviously worried.

“You don’t care, do you?” Sirius asked anxiously. “I mean, because I’m gay…”

“Of course not, dorkus,” James interrupted, and Sirius looked a mix between annoyed at the name and relief at the thought of his friend not hating him. “But in that case, I can certainly see why you would be afraid that he doesn’t love you too. Do you know if he at least likes you? As a friend, I mean?”

Sirius nodded, smiling a bit. “It’s easy to talk to him, you know? And he’s really smart, and funny, and thoughtful, and compassionate, and beautiful. He’s amazing, but what gets me is that he doesn’t see it. I mean, who cares if he’s a bloody werewo…” Sirius trailed off, and his eyes widened as he inadvertently revealed who he was in love with. James grinned.

“Sirius likes Remus, Sirius likes Remus,” James sang teasingly. Sirius lunged at James and covered his mouth with a hand, but James didn’t drop his grin.

“Be quiet, will you?” Sirius growled. “I don’t want anyone to hear!”

“The common room’s empty, except for us,” James pointed out as Sirius’s hand left his mouth.

“Yes, but Remus and Peter are upstairs,” Sirius replied, looking nervously towards the dormitory stairs.

James snorted. “They’re asleep! It’s two in the morning you know, and since I couldn’t hear your customary snores, I came down to see why you weren’t sleeping.”

Sirius shrugged. “Couldn’t take it anymore,” he replied. “My self-control was about gone, and I didn’t think Remus would have appreciated being woken up by a kiss, so I came down here to bemoan my sad and sorry fate.”

James snorted again. “Sad and sorry fate, my arse! How do you know Remus wouldn’t have wanted to be woken up by a kiss?”

Sirius threw a dirty look at James. “Because Remus is straight?” Sirius replied dryly. James smiled enigmatically.

“Don’t be so sure about that,” James remarked, and nearly started laughing again as Sirius’s head whipped around to face James so quickly that James got a faceful of Sirius hair. James batted it away. “Watch where you put that hair,” James warned, but he was still smiling.

“What do you mean, ‘don’t be so sure about that’?” Sirius asked slowly and deliberately, completely ignoring the statement about the hair. “James? Is there something you know that I don’t?”

“Nope,” James said cheerfully. “But it’s always possible that Remus has some deep-seated feelings for you too. I know I’ve seen him watching you when he thinks no one else is looking, but Remus is such a private person that it’s always possible for him to like someone without telling us.”

“You—you really think so?” Sirius asked hesitantly, and James nearly laughed at the begging-puppy look on his face.

“Don’t know, but there’s always ways to find out. Just you wait, Sirius Black,” James grinned, his hazel eyes sparkling with mischief. “I’m going to make Remus fall in love with you if it’s the last thing I do!”

Sirius groaned and buried his head in his hands. Judging by the look in James’s eyes, he knew he was going to regret this…

“A poem, James? A poem?!” Sirius stared at his best friend, who had just suggested writing Remus a poem to show him how he felt, like he had grown an extra head.

“People love it when someone writes them a romantic poem!” James defended himself.

Girls love the romantic poems, Prongs! Moony’s a guy,” Sirius protested.

“I’m well aware of that,” James rolled his eyes. “But that doesn’t matter.”

Sirius groaned. “James, he’ll laugh at me!”

“Not if you don’t tell him it was you who wrote the poem!” James was fairly bouncing in his excitement. “Just don’t sign the poem, and let him wonder who wrote it. Then once he figures it out, he’ll be happy and you two can get together.”

“What’s wrong with this picture…hmmm…let me think. Maybe that Remus might not like the fact that I’m writing him poems?” Sirius asked sarcastically.

“So you’ll do it?” James beamed, and Sirius sighed, defeated.

“Yes, I’ll write him the bloody poem…stupid…” Sirius muttered as he got out a bit of parchment and a quill. He continued muttering, usually bad things about James mixed in with bad things about Snape (because Sirius could not go a day without cursing about Snape), interspersed with completely nonsensical rhymes.

“James, listen to this and tell me what you think,” Sirius said after about half an hour. He sat up straighter and cleared his throat before speaking.

“If ever I had know before The beauty that is you, I would have told you long ago The love I have is true. Before I’d ever seen the light Reflected in your eyes of gold, My life was only empty dreams That now I can’t have told. So now I cannot keep it in. I have to let you know. If you understand my heart, My love for you will grow.

“So what do you think?” Sirius asked anxiously when he finished reciting.

James blinked, and vaguely noticed that his mouth was hanging open. I’d never have thought Sirius to be a love poet… He closed it, and blinked again before saying, “That was…not bad. Rather good, in fact. I’m sure he’ll like it.”

“You don’t think it’s too soppy, or something?” Sirius was still worried.

James sighed and clapped a hand to Sirius’s shoulder. “He’ll love it,” James said seriously. “Now let’s just get up to the Owlery. You can send it with a school owl and then you can see his reaction for yourself tomorrow.”

So they took off for the Owlery, James grinning happily, and Sirius with a feeling of impending doom.

The next morning at breakfast, Sirius waited nervously for the owls to swoop in with the mail. On one hand, he desperately wanted to see Remus’s reaction to his poem, but on the other, he just wanted to go back to bed and hide himself under the covers so he could be spared seeing Remus’s reaction to the poem. What if he hates it? What if he laughs? Sirius thought frantically, glancing up again for the flutter of owl wings. There! Oh bloody hell, and there’s my poem…

The owl came winging to a stop right above Remus and dropped a letter on his plate, which he had just recently emptied.

“Who’s that from, Remus?” Peter asked as Remus picked up the envelope and turned it around, looking at it quizzically.

“No idea, Peter. I don’t recognize the owl…” Remus said as he opened the envelope and pulled out the piece of paper inside. His eyes widened as he viewed what was on the paper.

“What is it, Moony?” Sirius asked casually, desperately hoping his face didn’t reflect the butterflies in his stomach.

“…It’s a poem…” Remus said disbelievingly. “Someone wrote me a love poem…”

“Oh really?” James said casually, though his eyes were twinkling as he reached across the table for more bangers. “What’s it say?”

His voice shaking a bit, Remus read the poem aloud to the other three, two of which had heard it before. When he was done, all four of them sat in silence for a bit. Sirius thought he might explode with nerves if he didn’t say something.

“Wow, Moony,” he said. “Looks like someone’s got it bad for you.” He smiled at Remus, ignoring the knowing look James sent his way.

“Yeah…” Remus replied in wonder, then frowned as he turned the letter over and over. “…there’s no signature.”

“Maybe the poet wants you to figure out who it is yourself,” James suggested, winking at Sirius, who abruptly decided that if James continued acting like a knowing prat because of this, Prongs would soon be minus a few prongs.

“The handwriting looks vaguely familiar,” Remus commented as he read through the poem again. Sirius had changed his handwriting slightly; just enough that Remus didn’t guess who it was right away and immediately think it was a prank. I need time to show Remus that I’m serious…oh bloody hell, sometimes I hate my name…Sirius’s thoughts were cut off as Remus spoke again. “I wonder why someone sent this to me...could it be a mistake, do you think?”

Sirius felt a hot surge of anger—not at Remus, of course, it was impossible to be mad at Remus when he just looked at you with those expressive golden eyes—but at Remus’s persistence in thinking he wasn’t worth much. “Of course it’s for you!” Sirius exclaimed, drawing surprised looks from the other three Marauders at his vehemence. “It describes your eyes and all, and who else do you know whose eyes get all golden like yours do?”

“Er...okay, Sirius,” Remus said uncertainly, blinking those beautiful golden eyes at him. “I suppose you’re right...”

“Of course he is,” James agreed, then grinned wickedly. “Remus has a secret admirer! Remus has a secret admirer!”

Remus groaned, and Sirius put his head in his hands. “James, you’re nearly seventeen, for crying out loud. Stop acting like you’re seven,” Sirius growled, feeling a headache coming on. However, all traces of a headache vanished when Remus smiled gratefully at him. Sirius flushed a bit and smiled back, which James—observant prat that he is—noticed. He stopped singing, but his wicked grin didn’t go away. He simply raised an eyebrow at Sirius, then shook his head slightly in the manner of an indulgent father, which only annoyed Sirius even more. That’s it, next full moon, Prongs will have to worry about Padfoot more than Moony!

“Still,” Remus mused, eyes going over the poem once more, “I wonder who it was. It’s not like I know many people well enough for them to…like me.” Remus was blushing a bit, but Sirius thought it was very adorable, so he was a bit distracted and almost missed Peter’s next observation.

“There’s that sixth-year Hufflepuff girl, the one who keeps making eyes at you in Herbology,” Peter pointed out, and Sirius felt like banging his head against the table and then yelling that it was he who sent the poem. But he just settled for looking vaguely disgruntled, then resting his head on the table as if he were tired.

Remus frowned. “I never noticed any Hufflepuff making eyes at me in Herbology,” he objected.

James rolled his eyes. “You’re too busy being enamored by the all the pretty plants to notice much of anything, even the pretty girls,” he teased, and Remus laughed a bit.

“Well, I do like plants,” Remus agreed calmly, and Sirius nearly shot up in excitement as he thought of another idea to get Moony to like him. As it was, James, Remus, and Peter were startled when his head shot up off the table, and he gave them an apologetic grin.

“Speaking of Herbology, don’t we have that in about ten minutes?” Sirius asked, and the other three blinked as they realized that they did, in fact, have Herbology in ten minutes, and if they didn’t leave right now they were going to be late. So they set off for the greenhouses, and Sirius was happy to notice Remus carefully folding his poem and putting it in a pocket, which he would continuously put his hand in throughout their classes.