Title: Dog Days of Summer
Summary: Sirius and Remus and their problem solving skills.
Disclaimer: All characters belong to J. K. Rowling.
Notes: For Morgan.
"Well," Sirius said brightly.
Remus had a passing acquaintance with several languages because of his not-so-passing acquaintance with Sirius Black, including but not limited to French, Spanish, Ancient Egyptian, Gaelic, Russian, and Japanese.
Most of his knowledge lay in rude words and semi-legal (which sounded better than mostly-illegal, James always said) hexes, but there were also numbers. Usually he could get to sixty. This was less a credit to his memory skills than it was that was generally how high he had trained himself to mentally count while getting his bearings in check over whatever Sirius had done to warrant counting in the first place.
It was a much-repeated habit. It helped to have some variety.
"Sirius," Remus said with what he thought was admiral restraint, "my chimney is leaking whipped cream."
Sirius, James had once posited, spoke a language entirely of his own although they couldn't decide whether to call it Blackese or Sirius-ian. It would explain why they didn't always understand his rationale for certain actions; he was trying to explain but the language barrier prevented comprehension. Thus, "Can I borrow the invisibility cloak," was really, "Please take my wand and tie me to the bed and gag me so you won't be sitting outside the infirmary tomorrow while Madame Pomfrey treats my doxy bites that are located in unnervingly intimate areas."
"Yes," Sirius said. His grin stretched to immense and horrifying proportions. "I'm sorry."
"Sorry." Sirius did not sound sorry, Remus thought. "I'm quite sure you are."
"Whipped cream, Sirius."
"I don't even particularly like whipped cream."
"That's a shame, seeing as we now have so much of it."
In the field nearby, a bird started to sing. There were no flies buzzing nearby yet. Remus prodded his wand forward a bit and tried to decide whether a preservation charm or a simple pest deterrent charm would be more apt. He wondered if the latter would work on something larger and roughly the size of an ex-Azkaban-convict.
"Do you think they would put me on a chocolate frog card for this? I could share with Alderton Archibald if they didn't want to give me my own." Sirius turned his head from side to side consideringly. He looked as though he was running through a mental array of poses in his mind.
"You didn't blow up Hamlet of Little Dropping, though." Remus looked up again. "Just my house."
"You know what I mean."
"Sirius, how did this happen?"
Remus waited. Nothing seemed to be forthcoming.
Sirius looked up at the sky. He scratched his right elbow, and then started staring at it cross-eyed. Remus strongly suspected that he was trying to figure out how to lick it.
"How," Remus enunciated perfectly after a suitable pause, "does July enter into this? Besides the fact that the heat will probably cause all of this to go over in a very short time, and we will be two creatures with particularly strong olfactory senses stuck living in a house that smells of spoiled milk?"
"You still use words with extra syllables when you're upset. I almost forgot that."
"It's July. It's almost Harry's birthday. I was baking him a cake. I had already separated the eggs, and I was sifting the flour at the same time that I was whipping the cream. We're out of cream of tartar, by the way. And the wand I was using, your old school one, was a bit dodgy, so something must have happened."
Remus waited. "And?"
Sirius looked at him, genuinely surprised. "And?"
"And then out of nowhere, several bakeries worth of whipped cream simply appeared in the kitchen and filled my house to such a capacity that it actually overflowed through the chimney, I take it?"
Sirius scratched his head. "Well, yes, that's pretty much how it went over. Except it was a little slower than that. I had time to get out through the window."
Sirius shrugged. "Oops?"
Back in Hogwarts, their best solution to problems of this sort was to knock Sirius down and sit on him. Thankfully, Remus found out that it still worked. The classics never died.
"Oof," Sirius said.
"Oops," Remus said.
"I think I'm lying on a rock," Sirius said. He wiggled a bit. "Perhaps a tree root."
"I'm sorry. Here, move over a bit."
They moved a foot to the left. Remus sat back down on Sirius.
Sirius scuffed his foot into the grass, or as much as he could while lying flat on his back. "You've rolled us into the whipped cream, Remus."
"I seem to recall discussing this cake business with you earlier. We agreed that we would buy one in the village because neither of us was much good at baking, and we would put a preservation charm on it and send it to Harry."
"Yes, I thought it was a very good idea of yours."
"We could have even included a little packet of those trick candles that don't go out."
"The Muggle kind or the wizard kind?"
"You could have at least picked a decent flavor to fill my house with. Like chocolate."
"I was just worried about Harry. His last letter sounded so desperate. I didn't want to put you to any trouble with the buying or the baking and I honestly did not mean to destroy your house, except I don't think it's completely destroyed and we could probably do something with it if you would stop sitting on me."
"I know," Remus said gently. "And you know that I'll always offer you a home and you're one of the few people who I would trust to fight at my back and to even attempt making a birthday cake with. But to be strictly honest, I'm a bit terrified that some spell is going to go wrong and backfire on us, and that we'll end up partially eviscerated or incorporeal together forever-- and you'll still never listen to me."
Sirius nodded. "Moony?" he asked.
"You've got it in your hair, now."
"Nnnghfph." He hadn't made that sound since his bathroom door had hit him in the face three years ago. He let his forehead drop against Sirius's. "Oh, bugger."
Sirius smiled brightly. "I was just waiting for you to say so, Moony," he said. He propped himself up on his elbows, craned his head at an improbable angle that Remus had thought only possible for when he was in canine form and trying to lick a particularly rude area, and flicked his tongue out far enough to get a good dollop of whipped cream.
Remus settled himself back, and stared at the sky.
"Mind the teeth," he said once.
And rather a bit later, "There's still the question of what we're going to do about all the whipped cream."
And rather a bit later then that, "Of course it will keep, where do you think you're going?"
Hours later, when the sun was just a faint memory of light in the sky and the evening had crept softly over the world, Remus stretched out on the damp grass and toed his discarded trousers idly. Sirius was lying nearby, curled in a comma of pale skin and dark hair. The dew had settled and it was getting a bit cool out. They were still both breathing a bit hard.
Whipped cream wasn't all that bland when you got down to it, Remus thought. You really just needed to have something to counter it a bit and serve up some contrast. And Sirius, amazingly enough, did seem to be able to lick his own elbow.
Things were all right.
…Until Sirius said in a bright tone, "Since the first cake didn't quite turn out--"
Remus reached for his wand.