Disclaimer: I don't own these characters etc. etc. J.K Rowling does, and I'm terribly jealous. This is all for laughs.

Muck out the pond

Wax the kitchen floor

Alphabetize and categorize all the books in the study

Polish the furniture in the hall, sitting room and the lounge

For the first few minutes, all Sirius could do was stare blankly at the list his mother had given him, though it wasn't much worse than the chores he did for detention at Hogwarts. He heaved a great sigh, and stretched his arms.

"Well, I might as well start from the top of the list, and work my way down." he thought, and headed outside.

It was safe to say that standing waist deep in the small pond in the back yard was about the last thing he wanted to be doing. It wouldn't have been quite so bad, had the day not been so chilly and rainy. He pushed his dark hair out of his eyes for the umpteenth time in an hour, smearing more mud on his face in the process, and got back to work.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he slogged out of the murky water, and pronounced himself done. Walking back toward the dark and menacing looking house, he pulled the now soggy piece of parchment from his pocket.

"Wax the kitchen floor." He said aloud, although there was no one around to hear him. "Bloody hell." The first order of business, he decided, would have to be a quick shower and a change of clothes.

All in all, the kitchen floor really didn't take all that long, but the fact that his mother had a devoted (albeit nasty) house elf that would jump at the chance to wax the floor for the old witch nagged at him the entire time, and made the job seem quite long. Muscles aching, he set the mop down and decided that now was the perfect time for lunch. He contemplated calling Kreature, and getting a decent meal, but quickly decided against it. No food was worth dealing with that unfortunate being, and besides, he was perfectly capable of making a passable sandwich.

"Having yourself a bit of a break, brother?"

Regulus seemed to have the irritating habit of interrupting him during meals, Sirius noted.

"Come to help out Reg, or just making an ass out of yourself as usual?" Sirius asked. His brother scowled slightly at this, but quickly smiled again.

"Actually" he said slowly, "I just came by to see how you were doing."

"Well, lovely talking to you then." Sirius rolled his eyes. There had to be a point to this, and he wished Regulus would just get to it quickly, and leave him to his misery.

"She has it in for you, you know." Regulus said abruptly. "And you know she'll find something, eventually. You may as well just screw up now, and get it over with, because she needs to prove it, y'know?"

"Prove what?"

Sirius wondered why he bothered to ask. He already knew what Regulus had to say, and he also knew that his brother was right.

"Prove that she hates you."

Alphabetizing the manor's library was not all that bad, although Sirius thought it would be a task better suited to Remus's sensibilities; it was a job for the orderly and precise, and Sirius was certainly neither. Despite this, he found himself not entirely unhappy here, and it wasn't surprising.

The Grimmauld Place study was one of the few places in the house that Sirius felt at all comfortable. One of his happiest childhood memories took place in this dusty old room. He had been 8, or maybe 9, and it had been Christmas time. The whole family had been over, and even before his Hogwarts days this wasn't a pleasant event for him. His uncle and father had begun an arduous debate on.something or other; Sirius couldn't recall what, exactly. His cousin Andromeda had recently begun Hogwarts herself and had been getting the cold shoulder from most of the family due to her "unsatisfactory sorting".

Bored and angry, she had snuck up to the old study, away from the mob of bigoted, slightly drunk relatives downstairs. Sirius had followed her, after a time, and the two of them had spent hours going through the old books, sometimes laughing at what lied within them, or staring in fascination at the horrible and repulsive pictures in some of the 'darker' books. They had sat on the carpet, he remembered, and she had told him all about Hogwarts, while he listened with uncharacteristic attentiveness.

And so the hours in the study passed with a quiet swiftness that Sirius was smart enough to appreciate. After he had moved the last book to its proper place, Sirius stood back appraised the neat rows. They looked almost exactly the same as they did before he'd organized them, and he knew that no one would ever notice, but he felt a small twinge of pride just the same.

He snorted derisively at his own foolishness. Pride for a pointless task, set upon him by his mother, in a house he couldn't wait to be rid of forever - and it would be forever, he promised himself. Once he left, it would be for good, and no force on earth would ever get him back here again.

He checked his watch - 4:45. If he hurried with the furniture, he could be done by late evening and have some time left over to read for a while. He grabbed the Pritchard's Pepperpunch Polish from the cabinet.

"Ruddy polish, on the very top shelf. How typical." He mumbled.

He was feeling decidedly cranky now, and every hardship seemed magnified to him. He decided to start in the sitting room, as it was the room he liked the least out of the three. Better to get it out of the way as quickly as possible. The reason Sirius disliked the room was simple; there were far too many delicate things in it, and Sirius had already broken, or almost broken enough of them to seriously want to avoid going in there, in fear of ruining any more Black family heirlooms. Besides that, it was an imposing room. With dark wooden walls, heavy curtains and more than one picture of a long dead relative adorning the walls, it was not a room that you would ever want to spend time in for fun.

And so Sirius set to getting the shine back into the antique furniture. The polish stunk like hell, and he vaguely noticed a burning sensation where the solution made contact with his skin. He was polishing so quickly that he began to work up a sweat.

This time, Regulus' entrance didn't take him by surprise. Neither of them spoke, for a moment.

"She's in the next room, you know." His brother had an odd, expectant look on his face, and Sirius didn't like the implication one bit.

Casually, Regulus strolled across the room, his eyes searching the space until he found what he was looking for. It was an urn, and had been in the Black family for untold generations. It was almost certainly priceless, and was made even more special by what it held; the ashes of Sirius's great grandfather - his mother's grandfather.

Regulus turned the urn over and over in his hands, and tossed it in the air, playfully.

"It would be a terrible shame if this broke."

"And an even bigger shame if mother's golden boy was the one who broke it." Sirius snapped. But he knew that if something did happen to the priceless heirloom, he'd almost certainly get the blame, no matter what. That's how things worked in the House of Black.

Regulus grinned a sick sort of smile, and with an abrupt, happy movement, kicked a nearby chair. It clattered to the ground noisily.

"Sirius, stop it!" He shouted, in a performance that Sirius hadn't thought his usually unimaginative brother capable of.

"Ouch!" He thumped on the table with his fist, smiling all the while.

Mother would hear it, surely, and they both knew it. And then, almost casually, Regulus let the urn fall from his fingers.

Sirius dove for it, but even his quick Quidditch reflexes couldn't save his cremated grandfather now. The urn hit the ground, shattering into a million pieces, and a great cloud of ash and dust enveloped him as he went sliding through the whole mess.

The dust cleared just in time for Sirius to see his mother striding into the room.

"WHAT IS GOING O-" His mother's voice was cut off by the sight that lay before her.

"You, you.." She stammered, for once at a complete loss for words.

It was then that Sirius realized just how bad this looked. Had he let the vase fall, and not tried to catch it, he could have claimed innocence. He may not have been believed, but he could have protested his guilt, maybe wormed his way into a lesser punishment.

But he was sitting in his great grandfather, and there was no way of getting around that. He was covered head to toe in ash, hunched over on all fours in the middle of the room. And Regulus had come out clean, no, better than clean. Regulus would be the victim - of course he would be! After all, his brother had planned it that way, and planned it well. There was no two ways about it - the little bastard had outsmarted him. There was no point in even trying to deny his guilt.

Indeed, the more Sirius thought about it, the funnier it seemed. It was so ironic, so beautifully horrible, that he began to giggle, and once he began, there was no stopping him. Even the murderous look on his mother's face didn't put an end to the torrent of laughter, which was coming, unbidden, from his mouth.

This was going to be the longest summer of his life, and there was nothing he could do about it but laugh.

The End.