title: Hair!
fandom: Harry Potter
characters/pairings: Remus/Sirius, James, Peter, Lily
rating: G
warnings: hair, mentions of sex
summary: Sirius makes a decision that will have huge repercussions for his friends.
notes: i have a problem. ever since my aisoku showed me this gorgeous fanart of school-aged moony and padfoot, with Sirius having long, gorgeous, bishie hair... i haven't been able to get that image out of my head. >_> now, the Sirius in my head had long, silky, gorgeous, wannatouchit hair down his back when he was in school. le sighs! i have a hair fetish. i make no apologies.
the pic in question can be found at Moonlight Secret though, i'm not really sure where. you can see the one that really inspired me here, the first one my aisoku posted. *swoons* godilovethispic. *sparkles*
oh, i also only accept the contents of the books as being Canon, and therefore, given that James was playing with a Snitch in OotP, i am left to assume that he was a Seeker. ^_~

It was just a typical Tuesday morning in the dorm. James was chasing the Snitch around the room, since Peter bumped him when he was going to make his catch. Peter was frantically scribbling out the remains of the essay that was due first class. Remus was sleepily stuffing his and Sirius' bag with the books and parchments they would need for the day.

And Sirius was staring at himself in the mirror.

"I am seriously gorgeous."

Peter looked up to nod enthusiastically, unfortunately squeezing his quill a bit too hard, spurting ink out over the last line he wrote. Remus tiredly nodded, and shoved Sirius' bag closer to him. "Yes, you are, all the girls are mad for you, let's go."

"Ah-ha!" James leapt down from the top of Peter's canopy, thrusting the Snitch in the air. "Another brilliant catch by James 'the Madman' Potter! And the crowd goes wild!" He waited for half a breath, and then looked to Peter expectantly.

Peter squirted ink onto his hands, and then fumbled around, until the quill fell onto the floor, spitting out ink as it went. He then looked up, his red face beaming, and clapped for James.

"No, really, I'm insanely gorgeous. And you know what else? I'm a rebel."

Remus looked balefully at Sirius. The only good thing about Sirius getting in front of a mirror was that it kept James away from it. If James got in front of the mirror in the morning, they would definitely be late to class. But if Sirius was going to pontificate on his many virtues...

"Yes, you're an inspiration to pranksters everywhere," James replied, bored, as he shoved the Snitch into his bag. "Let's go. Don't want to miss breakfast, now, do we?" James had that particularly sharp and pointed look in his eyes that he always got whenever they were about to have potential Lily interaction.

"You people are not listening to me." He glared at Remus from the mirror. "I'm rebellious and gorgeous. And I've made a choice. I'm going to grow my hair out."

The room was quiet, save for a soft 'Oh!' of excitement from Peter. Remus cocked his head to the side, trying to picture it. Sirius' hair was already chin length. That was pretty long, wasn't it? Of course, Remus knew it was becoming more stylish to get the 'hippie' look and wear the hair out, but that was really Muggles, wasn't it? Remus really didn't fancy Sirius getting facial hair. That might itch...

James rolled his eyes. "Have fun with that. Let's go to breakfast..."

"You're not catching my meaning," Sirius scowled, not to be put off. "I don't mean, eventually. Waiting for my hair to just grow will take too long. I require long hair. And I will have it. There must be a potion or something. Prongs, come to the library with me at lunch and find it, will you?"

"No," James replied flatly.

Remus hid his grin. Meals were some of the few times that James could hope to have some reasonably civil conversations with Lily. "You don't need a potion, Padfoot," Remus suggested lightly. "Your hair grows fairly fast..."

"No, I definitely need long hair right away. I am a lone rebel, parentless by choice, like a... a... ronin warrior from Japan, roaming the streets, searching for my identity in the strokes of my blade!" He turned, triumphant, to the other three.

James regarded Sirius blandly. "What you do with your blade is your business. Let's just get to breakfast."

Sirius rolled his eyes, and grabbed his bag. "Yes, yes. I'm sure this is the day that Lily will look at you and suddenly see that you are the prince in shining armor she has dreamed about in the darkest night, her hand stuffed between her..."

James elbowed Sirius hard enough in the gut to shut him up, but he was smiling. "Now, watch it. That's the tender flower of my dreams. Finish that thought, and I'll have to castrate you."

"Hey," Remus protested softly, causing Sirius to look back at him and wink. "I don't go stomping on your flower garden, now."

James laughed uproariously, and jumped down the last few steps. "Sorry, Moony, but a man's got to do what a man's got to do!" He winked, and raced out the common room to get to the Great Hall as fast as he could, with Peter toddling off after him.

Remus shook his head. And Sirius threw his arm over Remus' shoulder heavily. "You'll help me find a potion, won't you, Moony?"

That was patently unfair, because Sirius knew that Remus couldn't say no to him. "Are you really sure? I mean... your hair isn't short now..."

"Nope, I've made up my mind," Sirius declared, his eyes shining. "I'm going long. It's the new, liberated look, to go with the new, liberated me. I won't look at the old me in the mirror anymore, Moony! It's all about the new me, now!"

Remus smiled sympathetically. Sirius would die horrifically a thousand deaths before saying so, but leaving his family was hard on him. "All right, I'll help you look. But I can't picture it. What you'll look like, I mean."

"Don't worry," Sirius laughed, tapping Remus on the nose. "In a few days, you'll be able to see it." He winked.

Remus cursed himself for his inability to control his blush, once again.

They searched all through lunch, and after class, even though Sirius had Quidditch practice. According to Sirius, some things were just more important.

Like hair.

Which was, surprisingly, a difficult thing to research. There were a number of potions for removal of hair, many more for growing hair from bald spots, but finding one that would make existing hair grow wasn't as easy as it seemed.

It was getting close to the closing time for the library when Remus found it. He tugged on Sirius' elbow, and showed him.

"This is it! It doesn't look that complex, either. Well... it comes in three parts. The starter is a paste, you apply it to your scalp, and let it sit for thirty-six hours, no less, and you can't let even a drop of water touch your head in that time."

"Potions always have weird stipulations like that," Sirius sniffed, dismissive, peering over Remus' shoulder.

"Then there's the activator. You use it like shampoo, as often as desired, until the hair is the length you want. Then, you use the stop formula, and that's it. Oh, but... it calls for follicles of a veela." Remus wrinkled his nose. "Where are we supposed to get that?"

"James has some," Sirius smiled, leaning forward to pore over the potion.

Remus blinked. "Why would Prongs have veela follicles?"

Sirius rolled his eyes, and looked at Remus. "C'mon, Moony. If it's expensive, rare, and mostly useful only to make mischief, of course Jamie will have at least two. Now, this potion doesn't look too bad, does it?"

Grinning, Remus enchanted a parchment, and laid it over the potion, rubbing it quickly while keeping an eye out for the librarian. "Nope, not too bad at all. Still can't picture it, though." He looked at Sirius, excitement shining in his eyes.

Sirius beamed.

Remus pulled the parchment up, looking it over to make sure it had copied perfectly. "Great. Let's get back, then. Still have homework tonight."

Sirius laughed, pinching Remus in the waist, of course without looking around first to see if anyone was looking. "You think I'm going to let you study tonight?" He wiggled his eyebrows, and licked his lips, waiting until Remus was just a tiny bit flushed before finishing.

"We have a potion to make tonight." He patted Remus on the shoulder, and strode out of the library toward Gryffindor Tower.

Remus groaned, walking much more slowly behind Sirius. "You and Prongs can potion it up tonight, then, since you seem to do just fine without studying. Some of us need to actually do our homework from time to time."

Sirius winked at Remus over his shoulder, but he didn't say anything else.

There was much discussion at every corner of Hogwarts when Sirius began to wear the tight fitting cap over his head to protect the starter potion, which, naturally, was exactly as he wanted it. He told the fourth year girls from Hufflepuff who asked him that he'd had a terrible run in with a niffler in Care of Magical Creatures, and he needed some time to heal. He told the seventh years from Ravenclaw that he was considering taking monastic orders, so he was preparing to cleanse himself. He told a different story to everyone in the Gryffindor common room who came up to ask him about it, until it got to be such a game that people were coming up to him two or three times and getting a different story each time.

Remus watched him from behind his books and parchment, somewhat amused, and somewhat in awe of Sirius' never ending stable of stories that he could spin at a moment's notice. He was working on Potions, sitting near Peter and Lily. Lily had been tutoring Peter ever since the unfortunate incident of third year in which Peter turned his skin purple for six months. Since she was always either the best or second best Potions student in their year, Peter benefited greatly from her kind interest. And since Remus was never too great at Potions, he benefited from it as well.

He was watching Sirius, though, and not Lily's herb diagram, as Sirius pantomimed an encounter with a dragon, with some help from James. Really, who would believe that? But the first years he was telling the story to were fairly enthralled.

He suddenly felt the poke of a quill, and he turned his attention back to Lily. "Hey. What is your friend up to with that, anyway? It's not part of some strange prank, is it? Because McGonagall wanted to take away Hogsmeade weekends for the next six years after the thing they did with the stairs..."

"Allegedly did," Remus tiredly corrected, although it was perfectly clear that James and Sirius were responsible. That was rather annoying, too, because the stairs never stayed still anymore, even now, because Dumbledore had found the prank rather clever, so he decided not to dejinx them. If only they had thought that through... "Anyway, it's not a prank. You'll see soon enough."

She frowned. "You shouldn't play along with him in these delusions. It only encourages him."

"You don't know the half of it," Remus sighed under his breath, smiling.

"Have to give him credit, though," Lily said, begrudgingly smiling. "Haven't heard the same story twice."

Remus turned to her and smiled. "Did you hear the one about the fairy queen? That's my favorite."

"Lily, did I do this right?" Peter asked anxiously.

Reluctantly, he and Lily turned back to their work.

That night, Sirius would wash his hair with the activator potion. Remus couldn't help being a bit excited.

Sirius had taken to sitting in the very front of every class, because he noticed that people liked to watch his hair grow, much to the consternation of every teacher in Hogwarts. Still, it was a fascinating thing. Hair growth came at about one to three inches a day, so if one made careful note of where Sirius' hairline was at the beginning of class, the doldrums could be warded off by checking where it was periodically throughout class.

Potions was the worst, though. Slughorn, never too keen on the students who weren't keen on sucking up to him, seemed to take affront at Sirius' hair. The first class, he didn't say anything, but he kept wandering over to Sirius and Remus' table, frowning over their cauldrons and piles of ingredients, finding faults wherever he could. He even loudly proclaimed the source of Remus' failures in Potions to be his inferior quality cauldron. That incited Sirius enough that he boasted proudly to the Slytherin girls who were turning in their potions at the same time as he that this class was really a waste, anyway, since it was basically just a cooking class. If you had a recipe, you didn't need a teacher, did you? They got a good giggle out of that, and admired Sirius' growing hair, but Slughorn didn't appreciate it.

So, the next class, he was beaming froggishly at them. The blackboard behind him was gleamingly bare of even the slightest mark, which was highly unusual, since the Potion of the day was generally spelled out there before class had begun.

Still, Slughorn ignored the questions that buzzed around the room, his eyes narrowed and fixed on Sirius. When the class had settled into a pensive quiet, he got up, and started to pace around the room, circling toward Sirius.

"So, it seems that some of you have been experimenting with Potions outside of the classroom, which I think is just excellent. And with good results, too!" He was standing behind Sirius, and picked up a lock of his hair, which was now just below Sirius' shoulder blades. He couldn't see the sneer of contempt that twisted Sirius' lips, but most of the class could, and they snickered quietly. "Oh, yes, yes, we've all enjoyed Mr. Black's success with the hair growth potion. A not too tricky one, but it does require patience. If done wrong, there can be some very nasty side effects. I trust you haven't experienced any of them, Mr. Black?"

Sirius yawned loudly. "The side effects are really for the potions that work on growing hair on bald heads, aren't they?" he asked, looking pointedly at Slughorn's thinning hair. "All I've had is some itching due to the excessive growth, and it's not so bad." He smiled broadly, running his hand through his hair, shaking out the gorgeously shining locks.

Several girls in class sighed with delight, and Slughorn was near shaking with rage.

"Well, I can certainly speak for all of us when I say that's a relief, eh? But, since we are all being so industrious with our potions studies, I feel that I need to gauge your knowledge with a little oral pop quiz. Everyone will get at least five questions. No books, no notes, no speaking unless you are called on! We'll start with you, Mr. Black. Can you tell me what kinds of roots are most effective in potions for protection?"

Sirius rolled his eyes, and rattled off the answer, sounding as bored as he possibly could.

However, while Sirius wasn't too put off by the pop questions, everyone else seemed much more nervous. The only people who were able to answer all their questions perfectly were Lily and Snape. Sirius got the hardest questions in class, by far, but he still managed to answer three of them correctly. James' questions weren't exactly easy, either, presumably because of guilt by association. For some reason, Remus had taken the table behind Sirius, so James was next to Sirius. Also, it was a given that if Sirius was into something, James would be, too.

However, by chance, Remus got two of the easiest questions asked, but he botched them both, and he botched his other three questions, too. He was, in fact, the only person in class who got none of his questions right. Still, he hardly seemed to notice.

In fact, James was just realizing, he hardly seemed to notice anything except Sirius' hair.

After class Sirius put his arm around Remus' shoulders as they walked back to the Tower. "Bad luck, Moony. I can't believe you got that question about witch hazel wrong. Slughorn was really being a prick, though."

"Yeah," Remus replied, dazed. He leaned closer to Sirius, turning his face abruptly to brush his nose against Sirius' hair. "Well, it's only class."

"That's the spirit, Moony! I think you've always spent too much time with your nose in those books, anyway. We should just skip studying tonight, and do something fun." Sirius beamed. Clearly, he didn't notice anything odd.

"Sure, fun, I like fun," Remus repeated.

Sirius started planning what they could do with their newly acquired 'free' night.

James hung back, smiling to himself.

The only time one could hope to find Sirius without at least one of his mates about him was if he was coming out of a solitary detention, and after what James and Sirius did to the floor of the Astronomy room, they always had separate detentions.

Regulus waited patiently in the alcove under the stairs, keeping his eyes on the door to the Charms classroom. He wasn't sure what Sirius did this time, but it wasn't important.

It was probably about his damned hair.

Sirius left the classroom, waving absently to Professor Flitwick. He whistled as he went toward the stairs.

Regulus stewed. Like Kings in their own castle, Sirius and his friends walked these halls... but then, that was always how it was with Sirius, wasn't it?

"Mother will be incensed when she sees your hair," he stated calmly. "She won't let you into the house looking like that."

If Sirius was surprised that the shadows were talking to him, he didn't show it. "Good thing I don't want in to her ruddy house, then, isn't it?"

"How long do you intend to keep this up?" Regulus demanded, stepping out of the shadows.

"I don't know. It depends on the maintenance, really," Sirius sighed, lifting up a strand of his hair. "I'm quite liking it, really."

"Idiot," Regulus spat out. "I meant, this stupid feud with Mother! How long do you think you can stay away? We're your family, Sirius. You... you are coming home for Christmas, aren't you?"

"I'd not be caught dead there, thanks very much, and I'd like to forget that I'm related to vile, treacherous brood of vipers, if it's all the same to you," Sirius snarled, storming up the stairs.

Regulus would have preferred it if Sirius had punched him in the gut. "Y-you... you don't mean that, do you?"

Sirius stopped in his tracks, spinning around, but whatever he was going to say, it died when he saw Regulus' face. Slowly, he made his way down the stairs again. "Reg... Reg, look," he sighed, and put his hand on his brother's shoulder. "There's real evil out there, Reg, and there are people who are killing folk just for the blood or because it's convenient. Times like these, everyone is on a side. You're either doing everything you can to stop evil, or you're with them. I can't... can't put up with it anymore! You can't tell me that you think cousin Andromeda is a disgrace because she fell in love with a Muggle born! There are Muggle born students here, and halfbloods... you can't be so blind that you really think they are all slime, like Mother does!"

"Halfbloods," Regulus sneered, spitefully. He can't help the bitter swell of jealousy that swallowed him up. He has looked up to his big brother his whole life. And never once has Sirius cared about him at all. But... "Like your dear friend, Lupin? If pauper trash like that is..."

Violently, Sirius slammed Regulus into the wall, his hand tight on Regulus' neck. The wind knocked out of him, Regulus needed a few moments to just... just be able to...

He looked up at Sirius, viciously pleased, at least, to see guilt on Sirius' perfect face. "If only you cared about your family half as much as you do your mates, things would be very different."

"You're wrong, Reg," Sirius sighed, sounding sad. He dropped his hand from Regulus' neck, and stepped back. "Nothing would change, even though I do love you all, even Mother. Because there's still right and wrong. And I can't be counted among the wrong anymore." He turned around slowly, starting back up the stairs, his feet sluggish.

"Don't worry, Sirius," Regulus called out, grateful that his voice was steady, at least. "No one counts you among our members anymore."

Sirius didn't reply, and he didn't turn around, which was just as well, because Regulus didn't want him to see his little brother crying.

Sirius came back from his shower, strutting about as he combed out his hair. It was how about halfway down his back, and though he complained loudly and often about how much care it was getting to be, it was clear that he was enjoying every minute of it.

Remus sat on his bed, his Arithmancy textbook slowly slipping out of his hands as he watched Sirius pacing the room. James and Peter were sitting on the floor, a large parchment spread out before them, and several brightly colored quills floating around in the air around James' head. Peter scooted away as Sirius paced toward him, but James didn't budge, so Sirius turned back and paced the other way.

"It's takes so long to shower now!" Sirius complained, looking to Remus since he was the only one paying attention. "There's just so much hair to wash. And it takes forever to dry. Good thing for drying charms, eh? But it still takes more than one."

Sirius was running his fingers through his hair as he paced back and forth. Remus dropped his book, but didn't notice it at all. He even tried to turn a page that wasn't there. His eyes were fixed on Sirius' hair.

James smirked, and pulled the purple quill out of the air to add another line to his chart.

Frowning, Sirius looked around the room. Remus was listening to him, but he wasn't saying anything. James was paying no attention at all. Peter was half paying attention, but he was more paying attention to James and whatever the hell James was doing.

"Prongs, what the hell are you doing?" Sirius stalked over to where James and Peter were working. "What is all of this?"

James grinned up at Sirius. "It's a chart. See, here, we're tracking the length of your hair. And here, we're tracking Moony's grades. Look, you see how Remus' grades keep dropping the longer your hair gets? Out of pity for poor Moony's progress, you should stop growing your hair out." James looked up at Sirius and winked.

Sirius frowned, and picked up the chart. There were numerous lines, of different colors. Different assignments were marked on the chart, such as the Potions pop quiz, all tracked against Sirius' hair growth. There were also lines for Remus' sleeping patterns, the number of times he dropped his books, and the number of girls that Sirius was flirting with, which was the line that actually went off the parchment to float precariously in the air.

Grinning, Sirius kicked James lightly. "Nice work, Prongs! If you can do stuff like this, why did you have to drop out of Arithmancy?"

James grabbed the parchment back from Sirius. "Just look at poor Moony! You're ruining the brains of our little gang with your devious hair-growing ways."

Laughing, Sirius went over to 'poor Moony.' "Do you disapprove of my hair-growing ways, Moony?"

Remus blinked owlishly. "Oh, do you want me to cut your bangs? I can do that. Just let me get the scissors." He jumped up eagerly.

Sirius grabbed at the hair covering his face. "Ah, I guess they are a bit long..."

James snorted. "See? You're ruining him, Sirius."

"Ha," Sirius leaned back on Remus' bed. "That depends on what you consider 'ruined,' mate. He seems perfect to me."

"Poor Moony. Death by hair fixation... what a way to go..." James laughed, grabbing a blue quill.

Remus came back with the scissors, looking quite eager.

Sirius just beamed.

A week later, his hair just a shade above his rear, Sirius decided to use the stop potion. Remus took him to the prefect's bathroom, and they stripped down together to slip into the water. Sirius put the potion on Remus' hands, and Remus dug his fingers into Sirius' hair, scrubbing his scalp with it. After that, they tried a few different spouts, making bubbles and using different shampoos.

When Sirius found the spout that poured out thick, heavy, scented oil, he declared it the lube spout, and he coated his fingers with it. The mermaid on the wall watched avidly as Remus leaned against the side of the bath, spreading his legs out for Sirius. As Sirius pushed into Remus, Remus grabbed a few strands of Sirius' hair, clinging to them as he groaned with pleasure.

Afterward, Sirius spread a few towels out on the marbled floor, and he leaned over Remus as he recovered, kissing Remus softly. Sirius' long, gorgeous hair stuck to Remus' chest in thick, inky black strands. Remus was smiling beautifully, touching Sirius' hair.

"Sirius Black, you really are a genius," he sighed, wrapping a few wet strands around his fingers, and pulling his fingers down the whole length of the hair.

Kissing Remus' chest, Sirius grinned. "Aren't I, though?"

After another week or so, it seemed that Hogwarts had recovered from Sirius Black's Amazing Hair Growth Adventure. They would sing tales of it, if Sirius had anything to say about it. And, as Sirius rather forcefully explained to some first years, he most definitely did have a say in it.

However, there was one small feature that had yet to be considered.

After the first Quidditch practice of the year, James had come storming back into the common room, looking like he might start spitting dragon teeth. Sirius waltzed in coolly a half an hour later, feigning ignorance at the cause of James' fury.

Still, Peter had been there, and in frightened, hushed tones, he told Remus and Lily all about it from behind their Potions homework.

"Sirius couldn't fly at all! His hair kept getting everywhere! Halfway through, Leslie pulled out a hair tie and put his hair into a ponytail, but that didn't help at all. It still got in the way, and Sirius refused to let her tie it up in any 'girly' style. James was so furious, he threatened to chop it all off in the night!" Peter's buggy eyes darted from Lily to Remus, certain that one of them must know the solution to this terrible, terrible problem.

"Oh, well," Lily sighed. "I suppose the great hair adventure had to have some dramatic closure to it. Though I wouldn't let Potter anywhere near me with hair clippers if I were Black."

Her expression had turned dark, as it always did when she was talking about James, and Peter squeaked nervously, as he always did when she was talking about James.

Remus was staring preoccupied off into the distance. "No. No. There has to be another way... Definitely."

Peter and Lily stared at Remus as he muttered to himself. Lily was about to open her mouth to say something, but Peter leaned over and stage whispered, "He's gotten a bit attached to Sirius' hair, you know."

Lily grinned at Peter, and whispered, "I can imagine, but you should probably phrase that a bit differently, or else people will get the wrong idea, eh?"

"Huh?" Peter blinked. "No, I mean, because I think they do weird sex things with..."

Lily put her hand over Peter's mouth, sighing heavily. Remus looked over at them, annoyed. "Excuse me, but I'm trying to think here."

The morning of the first Quidditch match was tense in the dorm room. Peter was hunkered back in his bed, furiously scribbling on a parchment to look like he was writing to his mother. James was pacing rather loudly back and forth, occasionally stopping to adjust his Captain's badge, or muss up his hair.

Sirius was in the bathroom.

Remus had already gotten up, and gone somewhere, no one knew, so Peter had no one to buffer him from James and Sirius' ire when Sirius came out of the bathroom.

The door to the bathroom opened, and Peter slunk back further in his bed.

James stopped pacing. "Fine. I'm cutting it, then."

"Touch it and die, Prongs," Sirius replied flatly.

"You can't fly like that! The wind is strong today! This is our first match, and we ARE going to win, Padfoot!" James shouted.

Sirius yawned. "If you touch my hair, Prongs, I will feed you your balls. And I'm saying that as the best of mates."

"I will replace you on the field if you don't do something with that mane of yours," James snarled.

Peter wondered if he could hide under his pillow.

"Got it covered," Remus gasped, closing the door behind him.

"Moony?" Sirius asked.

Remus was still gasping for air. He waved off James. "Just... go down to the pitch. Sirius will be there in a moment."

James narrowed his eyes. "Are you sure?"

"Hey, now, this is my hair..." Sirius complained.

Remus winked. "I got it covered. Just go."

James watched Remus for a moment, and then smiled. He patted Remus on the shoulder as he walked by. "Good man. See you out there. Peter, come on, get my broom!"

Peter scampered out of the bed, grabbing James' broom carefully. He smiled at Sirius and Remus as he ran to catch up with James. "Good luck!"

He was just glad to be getting out of there.

Sirius threw his towel after James. "Look at him, the big man! Did you hear him? This is my hair, damn it! And he thinks Quidditch is everything! Just who the hell does he think he is, telling me what to do with my hair?"

"I'm staking a claim on that hair, too," Remus replied dryly. "Now sit down."

Sirius blinked, and stared at Remus. Slowly, he began to smile. "You're staking a claim, are you?"

Remus grinned, his stomach flipping. Sirius was too damned sexy for anyone's good. "I think I get more use from it than you. Now, please, sit down. I've got the solution. I'm going to braid your hair."

Sirius was about to sit down, but then he reared back, glaring. "Moony, I'm not some damned girl, you know."

"I'm eminently aware of that, Padfoot," Remus replied wearily. "Now sit down. Look. This won't be some girly braid. It will be the kind of braid that a warrior wears. Like those natives in North America. A warrior braid, tied off with leather." He held up the thin strap of black leather.

Sirius' eyes gleamed, and he sat down in front of Remus' bed.

Sighting with relief, Remus sat down on the bed behind Sirius, and started to run his fingers through Sirius' hair. It was magnificent. Sirius had always been blessed with gorgeous hair, but at this length, it just... shimmered. The fine, silky strands slipped through Remus' fingers like the softest sand. He divided Sirius' hair into sections, and then... let it fall down so he could start over again.

"Don't forget, mate, I do have a game this morning," Sirius cheekily reminded, though he didn't sound much like he was in a hurry.

Remus grunted. "Next time, we'll start earlier."

The crowd gave a big cheer as the quaffle was tossed up, and the snitch let loose. James zipped through the sky, chasing after it, the Hufflepuff seeker hot on his tail. Remus scooted between the rows of people, getting to the seat that Lily had saved for him.

She smiled, and shifted over, making more room for him, though there was plenty. Lily wasn't a great fan of Quidditch, but then, everyone went to the games anyway.

"That was a near thing," she said into his ear, trying not to shout, but still speak so she could be heard over the crowds. "Black just barely got out there in time. I thought Potter was going to start bursting kittens."

He grinned. What a mental image. "You don't need to sneer every time you say his name, you know."

"You don't need to defend him every time his name is mentioned," she returned.

He sighed. He wondered if she would ever see James' better qualities. "Well, he is my mate. So. I think I actually am required to put in the good word at every opportunity."

She rolled her eyes.

The Hufflepuff beater tried to send the bludger after Gryffindor's chasers, but missed wildly, sending it careening toward the Gryffindor stands. Sirius zipped over, smashing the bludger off toward the Hufflepuff seeker, giving James some room. Before he zoomed back into the game, he turned and winked to the stands, and then kicked off, sending his braid flying behind him.

"Nice work on the braid," Lily commented breezily. "I can see why it took so long."

"Thank for teaching me, and letting me practice on you," Remus said quietly into her ear.

"No problem," she grinned, winking at him. "Did he buy that thing about the warrior braid, or did you have to hex him to get him to sit still?"

"He bought it," Remus smirked, but only for a moment. "Well, it does resemble..." He stopped, because she was laughing too hard.

They watched the game zoom onward for a while. James was flying beautifully, keeping the Hufflepuff seeker guessing. Sirius was thwacking the bludger around even more joyfully than normal. It was a bracing, fun game, but the outcome was in little doubt.

As they were walking down the stairs at the end of the game, Lily leaned down. "So I guess the great Sirius Black Hair Adventure has really only just begun, huh?"

Remus was grinning broadly all the way back to the castle.