Warnings: Slash (RL/SB) – If you don't like slash, don't read it. If you don't know what slash is, don't read it (you might actually like it, get addicted, and then where will you be, I ask you?)
Disclaimer: Surprisingly enough, I don't actually own Harry Potter nor do I think I will make any money off of this. Feel free to prove me wrong and send me some cash though.
Subtlety, Thy Name is Sirius Black
Remus Lupin was fairly adept at keeping his attention focused through many distractions. After 6 years of studying in the Gryffindor common room, he could filter out the giggles of the first and second year girls, the rowdy mock-fights of the hyper teenaged boys, and even the sudden sounds from the odd exploding snap game.
Tonight his attention was focused on a truly fascinating discussion in his Ancient Runes text pertaining to the relative magical potentials of Greek versus Latin based runes. Remus was so intent on his book that he had managed to ignore the antics of his fellow Marauders. At least he was able to ignore them until Sirius Black decided the common room was the perfect place to learn how to do a cartwheel. With the dubious advice of several other students, Sirius tried again and again to figure out how exactly one flipped feet over hands without crashing.
Remus had to admit to having a difficult time not staring each time his friend turned upside down and then fell into an improbably graceful heap. It may have had something to do with the fact that Sirius' shirt managed to expose a fair bit of skin each time, though really, he saw much more on most days; they were roommates and Sirius was hardly shy. The staring might also have had to do with the unusual and unlikely positions in which Sirius found himself on each consecutive try at the cartwheel. Unfortunately, Remus had a very fertile imagination and this was hardly the first time it had featured Sirius Black in interesting positions.
At some point, Remus told himself, he would have to do something about the whole situation. Though Sirius could be quite irritating and seemed to bring trouble with him wherever he went, his brilliant smile and fun loving nature balanced things out. Remus had to admit to himself that he was quite enamored with his dark haired roommate.
Just as he was getting back into his book, Remus caught the tail end of a conversation from across the room.
"I just think that the astronomy tower at night is a perfect, err, learning environment for experimenting on new star chart positions." There was a short pause. "Especially since this particular Dog Star loves trying out new positions."
The sound of a slap echoed across the common room.
Sirius retreated to the Marauder's corner of the common room with his sexiest pout on display for the audience his actions always seemed to garner. As far as Remus was concerned, the pout did nothing to get sympathy but produced quite another reaction altogether.
"Subtlety, thy name is Sirius Black." Remus rolled his eyes and tried unsuccessfully to hide his amused grin.
"Hey, at least I know right away if the person is interested. If they aren't, I can just move on to the next one, right?" His gaze swept the common room, possibly looking for that next person already. Sirius' eyes were met squarely by a certain redhead who glared and tossed her hair over her shoulder before returning her attention to her friends.
"Not that the knowledge of someone's disinterest seems to have made a difference for our man James… Lily can't seem to say 'no' often enough." Sirius smirked over at his best friend.
"Leave me and my precious Lily-flower out of it, you evil bastard." James' words were belied by his amused eyes and warm smile.
"Both of you could use some subtlety. I mean, really. I am shocked girls even talk to either one of you." Remus shook his head in mock wonder.
"Hey, at least I have dates," Sirius shot back at his friend, slightly annoyed.
"And you are implying what exactly?" Remus calmly raised an eyebrow and returned his friend's gaze with a challenging one.
From behind Remus, James made gestures to Sirius which most people might have interpreted to mean that Sirius should cease and desist. Sirius on the other hand, either thought they were encouraging signals or he just ignored them.
"When was the last time you had a date Remus? How about never. Ha." Sirius crossed his arms and threw himself onto the couch.
"Oh really? You think so Padfoot?" The sandy haired boy casually leaned back into his armchair, an amused smile playing around the corners of his mouth.
James sighed but was pleased that Remus seemed amused rather than offended. At this time of month, James knew the werewolf was a little more volatile than normal (though Remus would never admit to it).
"Sirius, sometimes you are so into yourself it is a tad nauseating. Do you really think Remus has no life outside the Marauders?" James chuckled at the expression on his friend's face. Obviously Sirius had missed quite a bit.
"Well who are these people you have dated then Remus?" Sirius asked, red-faced at having misjudged his friend but also still a bit disbelieving.
"I don't kiss and tell Sirius. It is called discretion, and like subtlety, it is another word you might want to learn about." Remus grinned broadly, amused.
"Bah. I have no use for discretion!"
"Indeed, I noticed that a few months back when you stood up on the table here in the common room to announce the particulars of your date with that Ravenclaw 7th year."
Sirius rolled his eyes and decided to switch tactics. "Well, I'm sure with your subtle and discrete self, it must have taken ages for anyone to notice your interest."
"Actually it is quite an effective method." He disregarded the scoff that was sent his way. "I thank you for your kind concern about my personal life though, Sirius. I have no idea what I would do without you and your helpful words." Remus nodded gravely, looking as if he was terribly impressed at such thoughtfulness while his dry tone gave away his sarcastic intentions.
"Hey!" A pillow had found its way from Sirius' couch to his friend's head. This inspired much laughter from around them.
"I know you did not just transfigure my homework into a pillow!"
"Not my fault! I ran out and you always conjure them. I needed another pillow!"
"Isn't it a good thing I practiced so hard on the spell to conjure pillows since you never do your homework? I wouldn't have anything to transfigure if I relied on your method."
"Moooooony! You are so mean to me!" Sirius yelled a war cry and launched himself at his friend, inspiring a wrestling match filled with pillows and laughter. James and Peter followed suit, every man for himself.
After tipping over the table and completely destroying the neat stacks of parchment and books, the boys finally called a truce. There was a comfortable silence as the Marauders tried their best to right all the damage done to their corner of the common room.
As the evening wore on, first Peter, then James wandered away to do other things, leaving Sirius and Remus alone.
"So you really have dates and stuff, Remus?" Sirius was still curious about their conversation from earlier.
"Yes Sirius, I really have both dates and stuff."
Scowling a bit at being made fun of, Sirius continued digging for information. "Well who are you dating right now then?"
"No one. Though I do have someone in mind... I have yet to make a move though." He shrugged.
"Make a move? Right. Can you even do that with this subtlety technique you have been going on about?" Sirius obviously doubted the possibility.
"Oh I think it will be fine, don't you worry your pretty little head about it, Sirius."
"Tell me who it is." Sirius flashed his best, brightest, most charming smile.
"No." Remus had seen The Smile used too many times for it to be as effective as it might. He had to admit, it still looked quite nice.
"I just want to see you try out this subtlety thing, Moony."
For some reason, Remus thought this was very amusing.
"You do, eh?" Remus chuckled. "Well Sirius, I am not going to tell you who has captured my interest."
"You are just saying that because you know that my method is better."
"Subtlety works just fine, Sirius, I promise you."
"And how exactly could you and I bet about this?" Remus raised an eyebrow.
"If you can get your crush to ask you to date her only using your methods, then you win. If not, I win!"
"So if the person I likes asks me out, I win?"
Sirius did not seem to note the delicate rephrasing of the bet to a more gender neutral version.
"And who is going to judge all of this Sirius? I said I wasn't going to tell you. Are you going to just take my word for it when I win?"
"Tell James and he can judge."
Remus got a speculative gleam in his eyes as he considered the idea of telling James.
"Oh," Sirius added, "it has to be someone who isn't already aware that you are interested. Otherwise it is not fair. And no cheating like having someone else tell the girl or writing love letters or anything obvious like that."
"No, I agree. Nothing obvious. It still won't matter. I will win." Remus grinned.
Sirius thought Remus' grin was quite confident. Cocky, in fact. And almost, well, predatory. He shivered involuntarily. How odd, I wonder what that was about, he thought to himself.
"Hmph. Let's get James." Sirius started walking toward the dormitory. "And you have to update him to tell him what has happened and how it is going. That way, he will know if your techniques are subtle or if they are more blatant and normal like how I work."
"Well I suppose I could do that." Remus smiled. This was going to be fun.