People Ought To Know
It might not have sounded like much, but that one soft syllable was enough to draw the other three Marauders’ attention to Remus right away.
“What is it?” James asked from across the table.
“It’s…oh,” Remus said again, tearing his eyes away from the Daily Prophet that had just arrived in the mail and looking blankly up at his friends. He was clutching the paper a little tightly, crinkling the edges.
“Let me see,” Sirius coaxed, reaching over to pry Remus’ fingers off the paper and smoothing it out on the table between himself, James, and Peter. Remus pretended to go back to his cereal, but was really just staring into the bowl and stirring the contents about.
James saw the article and sucked in a breath, Sirius was silent.
“I don’t see…” Peter began and James impatiently tapped a finger under the article. “Oh, that one?”
Ministry of Magic Declares Marriage Protection Week, the headline of the article proclaimed. Fudge’s official quote proclaimed marriage as “a revered union of a Witch and Wizard dedicated to raising families.” Mercifully, there were no pictures.
“It’s not that bad,” James ventured finally. “We are having something of a population problem, after all. Maybe they’re just trying to encourage Wizards to settle down.”
“Maybe,” Remus responded softly.
“Not like it matters to us,” Peter added, still trying to absorb the meaning of most of the article.
“We’re ages too young to worry about getting married and that sort of rubbish."
“Exactly!” James agreed heartily. He suddenly noticed that Sirius was not joining in. “Right, Sirius?”
Sirius was still sitting silently, pretending to stare at the paper, but really watching Remus sink lower and lower in his seat out of the corner of his eye.
“I think it’s RUBBISH!” Sirius spat suddenly, loud enough to make Remus jump a little. “Use your brain, idiots, they aren’t talking about having kids, they’re talking about not letting queers marry!”
“But Sirius,” Peter looked perplexed. “Queer people don’t get married.”
“Only cause the ministry won’t let ‘em,” Sirius snorted. He saw Remus sit up a little straighter and give him an odd look. “Why shouldn’t they?”
“Why would they?” Peter looked even more confused.
“It doesn’t matter!” Sirius retorted heatedly. “The point is that the Ministry just can’t go about telling us who we can and can’t marry! Next they’ll be saying Wizards should only marry purebloods, and look where that got my family!”
“Calm down,” James said, also giving him a strange look. “It’s not like it matters, since none of us are…well, you know.”
“It doesn’t matter if we are or aren’t!” Sirius’ face was flushed with anger and he stood up from the bench quickly enough to knock over his pumpkin juice. “It isn’t right and somebody ought to do something!”
James and Peter exchanged glances as Sirius stormed away.
“What was that about?” Peter asked James.
“I have no idea, Pete,” James furrowed his brow.
Remus silently mopped up Sirius’ juice with his napkin.
* * * * * *
Sirius bore an ominous expression for the rest of the day. From long experience, James knew that the best thing to do was wait until Sirius’ mood blew over, and immediately after class he led Peter away with talk of Quidditch practicing. He asked Remus too, but Remus refused, mumbling something about homework.
They stayed out until it was dark, then headed back in for dinner, hoping both of their friends were in better moods by now. On the way up the stairs to the dormitory, Sirius nearly ran them down, clutching a roll of paper in his hand, his scowl replaced by a look of fierce determination.
“What’s that?” James asked cautiously.
“You’ll see,” Sirius replied, not even pausing on his way down. James and Peter glanced at each other, then followed Sirius back down the stairs, sighing.
Sirius was in the Common Room, putting up something on the announcement board.
“There,” he said with grim satisfaction, stepping back.
The roll of paper actually turned out to be a poster of the Demon Maxwell tour from last summer. It was the infamous newspaper photo of Curt Wild and Brian Slade’s open-mouth kiss onstage, blown up to sizable proportions, no pun intended.
Sirius had charmed it so that the bottom blinked the words “Demon Maxwell presents: Marriage Protection Week”.
“You’re really riled up about this,” James said to Sirius, trying for a neutral tone.
“It isn’t right,” Sirius repeated stonily. “People ought to know.”
Just then the portrait hole swung open and Remus stepped through, carrying several library books. He noticed the others and came to stand beside them, staring at the poster silently. Sirius was staring at Remus, waiting for a reaction.
James had no idea what was going on with either of them, he only knew that he was uncomfortable.
“Come on, Pete,” he said a little too loudly. “Let’s go change or we’ll miss dinner.”
Sirius flicked a glance at them as they climbed the stairs, but Remus didn’t seem to notice. Shoving his hands in his pockets, Sirius finally addressed Remus.
“Well?” he said. “Say something.”
Remus turned his head to look at Sirius, his expression strange and unreadable.
“Thank you,” he murmured quietly with a tiny grateful smile. Sirius grinned with relief and punched Remus in the arm lightly.
“Is it enough?” Sirius asked. “I could probably charm it so they moved like in Wizard posters…”
“No!” Remus interrupted, laughing out loud. “No, this is fine. Please don’t.”
Sirius struck Remus in the arm again with his knuckles, so light this time that is was more of a caress than a punch. They stared at each other for a long moment.
“Let’s go to dinner!” Sirius exclaimed suddenly, breaking the moment. “I’m starved!”
Remus trailed after Sirius willingly, stealing a last glance at the poster on his way back out the portrait hole.
Marriage Protection Week, it blinked.
See the picture Sirius' poster is made out of here [EDIT] or just glance at my icon. It's an icon challenge after all *facepalms*