A Marauder competition of the manly sort. Pre-series.
This was, of course, a 'werewolf thing,' considering he could never consciously make his ear twitch. Not that he had really tried before. It just seemed like the kind of thing he would never be able to do on cue. But twitch it did now, and the warning it carried was noted.
He concentrated harder on the open book in his lap, eyes scanning the well-worn pages with determination and a sense of urgency.
The hair on the back of his neck rose.
He turned the page, trying to take in as many words, sentences, and paragraphs as possible. He could hear the sound of footsteps in the hall, coming up from the common room and heading straight for the boys' dormitory. They kept getting closer and closer and closer....
Remus clung to the pages desperately. Only a little bit more, another page. A bit further and he could finish the chapter before-
A horrible chill traced up his spine. Time was up.
The door swung open with a grand flourish, something the werewolf couldn't accomplish on his best of days, and Remus gave in to his fate.
"Wotcher, Moony?" Sirius asked as he bounded into the room. Sirius was born to make entrances and could easily put the door to shame. James and Peter followed him in, the former idly twirling a stick around in his right hand.
"Oh." The tone suggested he was disappointed but not surprised and Remus swore that Sirius's ears drooped a bit. He wondered if it was contagious and made a note to watch James closely for the next couple of days. Then Sirius spoke again, with pure glee, his face turned towards the other two boys. "Too bad he missed dinner though, eh?" he asked with a grin.
Peter laughed squeekishly from his bed. James looked up from where he was examining his stick with a grin of his own. "A moment of bliss that will comfort me for many a night."
"I only wish I had had something to do with it. Brilliant. Utterly brilliant."
Remus stared at them blankly, unwilling to let morbid curiosity get the better of him.
"Truly," Sirius continued, "the highlight of the term." He paused thoughtfully. "For now, anyway."
"The term just started," Peter pointed out.
James raised a hand. "Don't. You'll throw his whole world off balance."
Remus squinted. "James, why do you have a stick?"
"It's my Leader Stick."
"James, stop distracting Remus. He was about to unleash his burning curiosity and unearth all of his questions," Sirius huffed.
"I was?" Remus asked. Sirius shot him a Look. Right. "Well then, what was this miraculous event?"
Sirius shifted in excitement. "A mouse." Remus stared at him. "There was a mouse apparently, and it ran right by Snivellus while he was eating. And he /screamed/."
"Like a girl," Peter supplied.
"Lily has a manlier yell."
"Hey!" James nearly dropped his Leader Stick.
"It was music to my ears, as much as my eardrums cried," Sirius finished, flopping down onto Remus's bed.
"I pity your eardrums. I don't see the humor in it though. Really, Sirius, no one ever makes fun of your fear of leprechauns. And I'm quite sure it isn't healthy to obsess over one person like this," the bed's owner said as he tried to slide the book he was reading under his pillow.
"It isn't obsessing. It's a mission of God." Sirius noticed the hand movement. "Oooh, Moony. Reading something dirty, eh? Eh?" He made a grab for the book. Remus realized the pillow would not be enough cover. "Full of buxom ladies and other smutty fantasies?"
"Nothing of the sort!" Remus said, clutching the book and pillow to his chest. "Just boring old literature that makes you yawn and sneeze and have allergic reactions."
"Then why are you hiding it?" James asked, watching the pair with interest.
"I..I....Sirius, would you stop?- I simply don't want any of you to get your undoubtedly- ow! Sirius!- undoubtedly dirty hands on the pages."
Sirius snorted. There was a brief and no doubt pointless struggle before the black-haired boy crowed in triumph and Remus slumped back, defeated. Peter and James leaned forward slightly.
"/Little Women/?! Honestly, Moony, why couldn't it just be porn?" Sirius howled in what seemed like despair.
"There's nothing wrong with it," the other boy mumbled into his pillow.
"Nothing wrong?! It's...it's....it's for girls!" Arms were waved for emphasis. "It's worse than that Pride and Prejudice thing you had your nose stuck in." Sirius sighed melodramatically, head bowed. If he had the ability to cry on will, a perfect silver tear would have rolled down his cheek. "All of Mankind mourns the loss of one so young, Moony. Mankind withers away at the thought of you and your disgraceful books!"
Remus raised an eyebrow. "Why doesn't it weep over your habit of jumping anything that moves?"
"Because I'm manly about it."
"And your love of silk gloves?"
"A guilty pleasure of utmost masculinity."
"Is this a competition over who's girlier?" Peter asked. He seemed to have found a piece of pie from somewhere on nightstand.
"No," Remus stated as Sirius said "Yes" which was quickly followed by "That's my pie!"
"It is no such thing," Remus sniffed and grabbed his book back. He examined it for any signs of abuse but found none.
"Just because you'd lose," Sirius muttered.
"How do you figure?"
The black-haired boy leaned back, raising an eyebrow. "Moony, Moony, Moony. Denial does not befit you. Face it, you would lose. You know every word to that Muggle musical Greece."
"That proves nothing, and it's /Grease/, not Greece. With an 'a.'"
Peter blinked. "How did you know that he mixed them up?"
"I'm not sure, but it makes me sad."
"Sirius once confessed to me that tiaras make him feel pretty. In fact, he has one stashed away in his trunk," James said. "That beats the musical."
Sirius's eyes widened and he jumped up. "I disown you, James Potter! Disown!"
"Either way, you still lose!"
"Yeah, well, should I tell them about that lacey pink nightie I found in your closet this summer?"
James jumped up, dropped his stick, and tackled Sirius. "You prat! I don't have one of those!"
"Aha! Denial again! My friends are all deluded," Sirius shouted as he wrestled the offended boy.
"I'm not," Peter chimed in.
No one noticed the doors opening and closing. Free, Remus sighed heavily and stared at the book in his hand. So much fear and war over such a little thing.
Heading towards the library, he hoped he wouldn't tear up again when Beth died.