Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters, events and/or places that are recognized as being written and created by J.K. Rowling. J.K. Rowling owns all the characters and places from the Harry Potter books including the ones used in this story.
A/N: This is just a silly little one shot. Hope you enjoy it!! -Nikki :D
It isn't enough for them to sit at lunch and just eat their food. Remus doesn't mind light talking or even reading, but mostly when lunch comes around he just wants to, needs to eat. It must be some sort of weird werewolf high metabolism low glucose type of diabetic disease he's secretly suffering from. Or maybe he should eat a bigger breakfast. Either way at lunch Remus is content to simply sit there and eat. Unlike his three "friends" who have the same attention span as a newborn fly. Usually they're performing some ill planned prank or planning some ill conceived prank or daring each other to snort a line of mashed potatoes. Today it's more mellow, but Remus is still scared for humanity.
It's a staring contest. Sirius vs. James with Peter keeping score.
James is always impeccably talented at staring contests. Remus suspects that he charms his glasses somehow. And there's always the frustrated part of the staring contest where Remus demands that James remove his glasses and he does and he still wins.
Sirius on the other hand is awful. Completely shit. He uses the excuse that his eyelashes are too heavy to hold up for that long. And, against everything that is sane in the world, they all believe him.
Peter plays, but he allies himself with James and is, by default, also a staring contest champion.
Remus doesn't say anything, he watches, he observes. He doesn't dare speak.
Right now he watches a trail of tears stream from Sirius's eyes as he uses everything in his soul to stop himself from blinking. His eyes are red and watery. There's a stranded droplet hanging from the tip of his nose, and it looks like that may be the catalyst for his downfall.
Remus feels bad.
He reaches a delicate, long finger out and catches the tear before it could cause any damage. He runs the side of his hand along Sirius's cheek, smearing the translucent paths. "Come on, Padfoot," he says, completely forgetting why he started the no talking rule. "You can do it. James is ready to crack."
"Ha," Sirius shouts, eyes still straining and leaking. "Remus is on my team."
"Fuck," Remus sighs. That's why he made that rule. Stupid Sirius Black and his stupid tears.
"No. Moony can't play," James says calm as ever, like he isn't even bothered by not having to blink. "He's got powerful werewolf eyes."
Remus grits his teeth. He's found in the past that if he explodes and yells when one of his "friends" uses the W word, it only draws more attention. They never say it maliciously and it's a testament to how comfortable with it they are that they use his condition as a way of making fun of him. Still the less people to hear it, the less people there are to figure it out.
"Too late, Prongs," Sirius manages to breathe out in a tight voice.
Remus pushes his plate away and turns his eyes on Sirius. Just in time to witness, in dramatic fake slow motion, Sirius's top eyelid slide down to kiss his bottom eyelid.
"Sirius," Remus shouts. "You did that on purpose."
James and Peter do their patented victory dance, which for some reason involves holding hands in a very unmanly fashion.
"Moony," Sirius says, vigorously wiping his face. "I was crying. In the middle of the Great Hall. I think it's time to switch players."
"But, I'm not a player. I'm not playing."
"Yes you are mate." Sirius grabs Remus's shoulders and presses their foreheads together. "And you're going to win."
Remus pushes back from Sirius and glares at his bloodshot, red rimmed, wobbly gray eyes. "And what will you be doing?"
Sirius laughs. "Composing our own victory dance of course."
"So sure your Moony's going to pull through, aye Padfoot?" James sneers.
Sirius laughs. "Yeah! Look who he's playing against!" Sirius points a bony finger at Peter's pudgy face.
James reaches forward and guides Sirius's hand to the right. "Wormtail composes the dances. I win the game."
"What?" Sirius and Remus say in unison. "That's the epitome of not being fair."
"No big words at the lunch table, Moony." James points both fingers at his down trodden friends. "Switch seats."
For the sake of not arguing, Remus and Sirius switch seats. There's only twenty minutes left of lunch, so Remus feels he's pretty safe from anything really dangerous happening.
"If I win," Remus says as he attempts to extract a fallen eyelash from the edge of his retina. "During tomorrow's lunch, can we have civilized discussions and pretend we're normal people for once?"
"No," is the answer Remus gets in three part harmony.
"Ready Moony?" James says. He's laughing. He's looking at Remus, getting all his blinks in while he can and laughing.
And something snaps in Remus. James thinks he has this in the bag. Peter's sitting there like a lump ready to witness a total annihilation.
Remus steadies himself. He's ready to fight. However long it takes. Fight for his dignity. Fight for his pride. Fight for his Padfoot.
"Count it down, Wormtail," Remus spits out, sitting up straighter in his chair.
Sirius puts his hand on Remus's shoulder. "You can do it, Moony," he whispers.
"Sirius," Remus starts, shaking the hand off. "Don't touch me for the next twenty minutes. Can you do that?"
"I can do whatever you want. If it means watching James cry when he loses."
"I'm not going to cry in public, Pads."
"OK," Peter interrupts. "On the count of one." James and Remus lock eyes for battle. "Three….two…one!"
And they stare.
And it's really, really boring.
Remus, of course, never really pays attention to their stupid games, but he's just now come to the conclusion that staring at someone, and watching people stare at each other is probably the most boring activity four rather obnoxious friends can do together.
It's still early, but Remus feels that he's doing pretty well. His eyes don't hurt yet. Which is a good sign. He guesses.
"What's the time, Peter?"
"Twenty seconds passed."
"What!?" Remus shouts. Luckily he keeps his now widened and shocked eyes on James's. "Twenty seconds!?" Remus exhales through his nose. He was sure at least ten minutes went by.
"Now it's forty," Peter says. Remus can see him out of the corner of his eye playing with his watch.
"Is that watch fixed? Pads, the watch is fixed."
"The watch isn't fixed, Moony. Your doing good. This is about the time where my tear ducts burst, so…you've got that to look forward to."
"That was real reassuring, by the way. You're an excellent coach," James says to Sirius. He's laughing, Laughing and not blinking. Frankly, he looks a little insane or on the brink of mental instability; not that he doesn't live everyday looking like that.
James smirks. "Are you ready to stop, Moony? Do you feel the burn of wanting to blink yet?"
Remus smirks back at him. "I've lived through worse pain." He runs a finger over a particularly large scare close to his left eye, hoping it'll distract James. "Bring it on."
"Are we playing dirty now, Rrrrremus?" James purrs, running his finger down his own scar-less face. He did have pimples though. Ugly, unattractive pimples. "So, Moony, since we're not going anywhere…let's chat."
Remus feels the corners of his eyes start to twitch. He ignores it. He is not losing to unattractive pimple boy; not today; not ever. "Alright. Nice weather we're having today."
"Yes. Pleasant. Why did you tell Sirius not to touch you for the next twenty minutes?"
Remus's left cheek gets hit with a full on spray of what he thinks is pumpkin juice. He can't see him, but Sirius's choking cough told him all he needed.
"Did he blink? Did I make him blink?"
"No, Sirius," Remus grits out. Sirius sighs in relief. "Next time try to aim your spit take at our opponent please."
"OK, OK. Sorry! Shall I dab you?"
Remus sighs, and so wants to roll his eyes. But then he'll lose and disgrace the Lupin family. He simply nods his head.
"Ooooh, look Wormtail! Sirius is touching Remus. Are you going to be able to play Moony?"
"James…" Sirius hisses.
"Can we just play?" Remus almost growls. "Wormtail. Time."
"One minute and three, no four, no five, no-"
"We get it! Seconds are passing!"
"Calm down, Moony," Sirius says. Remus can feel him sitting on the edge of his seat, biting those nubs he calls fingernails. "If you get angry, you're going to want to do that thing where you breathe evenly and Close. Your. Eyes. And we can't have you doing that!" Remus nods and keeps looking at James's face. James's smirk is permanently chiseled on there, taunting him.
His eyes hurt; they hurt almost worse than the transformation. It's a burning sensation and his vision is blurring and he can't stop moving his eyeballs around because if they're still for a second he's going to blink, he knows, he knows it, he wants to blink so badly.
"So, Remus," James says. "Do you fancy Padfoot?"
Remus almost loses it there. Last he knew this was a staring contest, not bloody Truth or Dare.
"Of course he does, Prongs," Sirius jumps in. And Remus knows he's not being egocentric (for once); he's helping him. "Everyone fancies me. Insert award winning smile here."
"Yeah, but…" James is a beast when it comes to playing games. He has to win. Nothing fazes him; nothing pushes him off his course. "Remus really fancies you. Don't you Moony?"
Remus can feel a tiny tear began to slide off his eyelashes. "I'm not sure what you're referring to James. Are his glasses charmed?"
"No," Wormtail says.
"Oh, like you can be trusted," Sirius says.
"Wormtail can be trusted," James says, blindly patting Peter's head. "But, anyways, we were discussing Remus."
"Hi Lily," Sirius shouts, waving in the general direction of right behind James.
Remus watches James (because he can't look anywhere else unless he wants to lose) bite his lower lip and frown. "Hi, Evans," he says. "Can't look at you I'm afraid." He motions between himself and Remus. "Staring contest. But, I'm imagining you starkers in my mind right now."
"You are so lucky," Remus laughs.
"Remus! Why'd you give it away? We had him!"
"Oh, Sirius," James says. "I can't be had. Remus, on the other hand…"
Remus groans. It's a groan for James's incessant babbling and a groan for the fact that his eye sockets have burst into flames. They're burning. Burning right off. He'll no longer be known as That Weird Loony Boy With The Scars, but instead they'll call him That Weird Loony Boy With The Scars And The Burnt Holes Were Eyes Should Be. He starts digging his fingernails into his palms and slapping his knee against the underside of the table. He's going to crack soon. And if Sirius's pouts, Remus is going to punch him.
"Poor Moony," Peter coos. "Just give up."
"He can't," James cuts in. "Then he won't be able to have a victory snog with Padfoot."
"What Padfoot? This is finally my, and your, chance to drag answers out of the well locked vault we refer to as Remus Lupin. Finally I'll be able to prove my theory that Moony loves you. And I'm almost OK with it, by the way. But I'm right and I'm going to prove it! You like Sirius, don't you Moony? You want to kiss him. Run your tongue down his chest. Gross. Twirl your fingers in his girly hair. Suck him off. Can't believe I said that. Might vomit. Am I right, Moony? You want to do the horizontal dance with Sirius?"
Remus is ignoring him. Turning beet red, but ignoring him. He's singing God Save the Queen in his head and ignoring James. Sirius has gone mute, so that's nice. Just when the taunting starts to hit a new level, Remus gets an idea. A lovely, horrible idea.
He smirks. Sits up straighter. "Actually, James," he says, drawing out James's name. "You're right about everything…." Slowly, carefully Remus slips his foot out of his sneaker and rises it up from the floor, pushing it forward without moving his upper body. "Expect the person."
"Remus!" James screams backing up from the table, covering up his crotch, and sticking his head under the table.
"Prongs!" Peter shouts.
"What?" James says looking at him. "Oh, fuck!" he screams when he realizes that he's looking at Peter and not Remus John Lupin.
"Mr. Potter! No swearing in the Great Hall," Professor McGonagall shouts from the Professor's table. "Come up here immediately!"
James nods sheepishly. "Moony is not allowed to play Staring Contest ever again."
Peter, despite being slightly put off at losing, is laughing uncontrollably into is arm. James gets up nosily from the table, hitting Peter in the head. "I'm right," James hisses. "And you know I don't rest until everyone else agrees with me!" He glares death rays at Sirius and Remus as he leaves.
Remus sits back, wiping his eyes from the stray tears and blinking, rapidly and repeatedly. "Did you compose a victory dance, Padfoot?" he asks, looking over at Sirius.
Sirius leans closer to Remus, nose to nose. His eyes are sparkling and burning and if Remus had to go against him in a staring contest, he'd lose before it even started. "Yeah, I did. But it's horizontal."