A/N: - sigh – I hope everyone appreciates the sacrifices I made. Lol. I had to put myself in the mind of not one but two teenage boys in order to write this correctly. Oy vay!
Rule Two: A friend must be allowed to borrow anything you own from tools to first-born children within a 12 hour notice.
"But you haven't even…"
"Why won't you just listen to what…"
Sirius lifted his head to give a steady look to his frazzled best friend. He was currently lounging on said best friend's bed flipping through a magazine on motorbike repair. "Because," he explained like one might to a very small and very slow two year old, "the last time you used that tone, I got two broken ribs. Two broken ribs, I may add, that are still trying to recover."
James rolled his eyes. "You're plenty healed. Besides, it's not like you were using those ribs anyway."
An ugly glare was sent in his direction. "Get bent."
"What ungratefulness! I take you into my very home after you run away from your sociopathic mother, I let you perform pranks as a Marauder, I even let you tell others that I'm your friend! The least you could do is listen to what I have to say before acting like a prat."
Sirius sat unmoved by such a passionate plea. Mostly because he was so used to making them himself. Instead he merely lifted his shirt to show his tightly bandaged torso. "Two ribs," he repeated flatly, sapphire eyes even.
His best friend stared at him for a moment. Unbelieving that his other half had refused such an honest request for help. A request that hadn't even been elaborated on yet before its rejection.
"That cuts deep, mate," James sighed. "Of course I totally understand that you wouldn't want to pick up girls in your delicate condition. Peter would be much more…"
"Woah, woah, woah," Sirius cut in. Prongs hadn't uttered the 'G' word before when making his request for aid. This changed all the rules. "Peter couldn't pick up girls with a Wingardium charm."
"But if you're not feeling up to it…" Prongs' eyes twinkled merrily, knowing his friend's valuable services were all but assured at this point.
"I'm not feeling up to breaking more ribs," Padfoot clarified. "You should have told me we were going girl-scoping earlier. We could have avoided all this arguing."
James sniffed proudly. "I shouldn't have to explain anything to get the help of my best friend."
"I'm your friend, mate, not your pet."
"No, you're not," James reached into his trouser pockets. "But you'll do."
"Come again?" Before he knew what was going on, Sirius found himself suddenly choking on a collar that was attached to a leash. Both were of the shocking hit-you-in-the-face-with-a-shovel bright pink variety. James had grabbed onto the leash's handle and was now dragging his dearly confused friend down the stairs and to the front door.
"Come on, Padfoot!" James hissed in impatience. "You're slowing us down! There's only so much shoreline we can walk in a day!"
Sirius used his taller self to his advantages and halted the insane exodus. Once assuring himself that no, his trachea was not permanently crushed and yes, that cracking sound had probably been a good thing anyway, he smacked James upside the head. "What the bloody hell are you on! What's with the leash!"
"This is our way in, Sirius!" James replied with the glee of a child on Christmas.
"To a sex slave convention maybe," Sirius snapped back. "How is parading me on a pink leash gonna pick up anything but cops?"
"Idiot!" It was James' turn to smack him. "Turn into your better self. Girls are nuts about cute little puppies… on short notice, I have to make due with you unfortunately."
"Oh, I see," Padfoot growled. "So when you say 'hey, we're going to pick up girls' you really mean 'hey, I'm going to take advantage of your animagus ability to pick up girls for myself'."
"Not just any girl, mate," James' eyes sparkled as he clapped a hand on his friend's shoulder. "The girl."
His friend growled again and moved to go back in. "Prongs! You made me move for this!"
James tugged on the leash, forcing him back. In the back of his mind he wondered if it was at all strange that he was having a lot of fun doing that. The front of his mind, however, was more concerned with convincing his stubborn canine to cooperate. "Padfoot, come on! She's going to be there, I know it!"
"This coming from the guy who holds the record of greatest amount of B.S.'ing on one Divination exam?" An elegant eyebrow raised in doubt. He crossed his arms with the intent to look intimidating. James thought the effect was lessened somewhat as the bell on the pink collar chose that moment to tinkle cutely at the turn of his head. However, as he liked his internal organs right where they were, he did not make mention of it, forcing his face to remain angry.
"No, this is different!"
"Different? Different how? Different than 'just knowing' that McGonagall wouldn't mind waking up with snakes for hair? Different than me waxing the Great Hall even though I was tucked snugly into my bed when it happened?"
"Hey," Prongs frowned. "In my defense I had to shine every bloody suit of armor in the castle. Besides, I may have done the deed, but that's what you get when you give me the idea."
"Saying 'hey, wouldn't it be cool if…' at dinner the night before does not constitute as giving you the idea."
"It did to McGonagall," James smirked wickedly.
"All the more reason not to go along with you this time. Besides, even if that Evans girl is there, she hates you, mate."
"Hate is a rather strong word, Padfoot. I prefer the term 'in denial of her feelings'."
"Putting an itching charm on your backside that even Moony couldn't cure for a week indicates denial?"
"…Ok so she's in intense denial. Besides, she did it with love," he grinned rather stupidly.
"If it helps you to sleep at night, Prongs," Sirius sighed, realizing the futility of introducing his best friend to reality.
"It's true, Siri," he insisted vehemently. "And she's finally warming up to me."
"How do you figure?" This he had to hear.
"She didn't slap me that second time I asked her to the Wicked Wizards concert."
"You didn't make a comment about her legs that second time you asked her to the Wicked Wizards concert. And I think she didn't slap you that time because she was laughing too hard."
"Yes, well," the boy flushed furiously. "Anyway, we're wasting time talking about the past. The future awaits us out there in the sweet salt air, hot sun, and cool soft waves."
"Your future might. My future awaits me upstairs and inside a motorbike magazine." That being said, the disgruntled animagus turned his back on his friend.
"Ah, but my dear Padfoot," James purred, knowing he had the upper hand still. Sirius tensed, recognizing that tone. "The Code clearly states…"
"The Code says you must give 12 hours notice," Sirius swiftly responded. "I'm a guy, same as you, so don't you lecture me on Code etiquette. And it never mentions borrowing someone."
"It mentions children. Puppies should count," James defended himself.
"I am not a puppy!" Sirius exclaimed, still not turning to face the other boy.
James smiled and drew closer so he could whisper in his friend's ear. If the prankster weren't his best friend, Sirius would have been definitely freaked out. "Oh Sirius," James sang, going for the final blows. "Lots of women…"
Sirius remained strong. Motorbikes. Thinking of motorbikes was a good distraction. Let's try that for a while.
"Lots of scantily clad women."
He would not give in! The main front rotor of a motorbike's…
"Sunbathing on the beach."
He would stay strong! Top ten best ways to make your motorbike fly!
"Cause scantily clad women love pretty black puppies, you know."
Motorbike? What's a motorbike?
"Scantily clad women like to cuddle with pretty black puppies…"
"Why are you just bloody standing here talking? You're gonna waste the whole day! Get your arse in there and get your trunks on! Let's go!" Sirius spun around, pushing the manipulative stag animagus into the house. "I'll be right out here waiting! Move it!"
Grinning wildly, Prongs saluted and did as he was told. He knew it would work to his favor. He just needed to bring him around to his way of thinking… sort of.
Five minutes later, donned in swimming trunks, t-shirt, and towel, James exited his house. Waiting impatiently, electric pink color and leash in mouth, sat a black puppy with its tail wagging anxiously. His large blue eyes looked reproachful at the time already wasted.
"You ready, Padfoot?" James asked teasingly. The puppy yipped and spat out the leash at the boy's feet, showing his neck. He wanted to go and he wanted to go now. Already, he was practically vibrating with all the excitement flowing through his little black body. Once the collar and leash were secure, it was all the large puppy could do to not drag James forcibly to the nearby beach. As it was, very few people who saw the passing pair were quite sure just who was walking who.
The walk to the beach, normally taking a good 15 minutes at a healthy clip, flew by in a whopping 5 minutes, such was dear Padfoot's determination.
"S-stop! Stop, Padfoot!" James panted, collapsing on the sand. Taking a moment to catch his breath, the lone human glared at the innocent looking pup. "You trying to kill me, Siri?"
The puppy only yipped, not looking at all winded as it wagged its tail. Hopping up and down, little Sirius kept looking at the beach and then back at his friend. Lazy human, why couldn't he relax when they were on the beach rather than just before! This was sweet murder, seeing so many pretty girls just within paw's reach.
"Ok, fine," James sighed, sick of the little collar bell ringing incessantly. Why was this a good idea again? "Now look," he said in a lecture tone. A few people passing by took the time to glance at the strange boy who was speaking to his puppy like one might a person. "If you want to stay, you gotta do exactly what I say. The sign here says that dogs are only allowed if the owner cleans up after them. Let me just say that any mess you make you will clean up. Better yet, don't make any mess at all."
Sirius looked at him, wide blue eyes as innocent as the day he was born. He cocked his head to the side, woofing in affirmation. The bell chimed in emphasis. Prancing forward, he licked James' cheek playfully yipping and motioning that they should enter the bloody beach already.
Resisting the urge to commit puppy-cide, Prongs admitted defeat. "Alright, let's do this thing, first we need to find Lily and… no! Wait!"
The words were no sooner out of the boy's lips that Sirius took off like a little fuzzy black rocket, weaving in between people to reach his destination. The strong scents that invaded his sensitive nose was overwhelming for a moment, but nothing could keep him from his chosen goal.
James leapt to his feet, giving chase to his wayward best friend. And it was only due to his sharp Quidditch reflexes that no one was crashed into. "Get back here, you dumb mutt!" he hollered. How was he ever to find his future wife if fuzzy-brain couldn't sit still for 5 minutes! So now he was significantly puppy-less and in need of a good dip in the ocean to lower his body temperature.
No, his hazel eyes glittered in determination. He had to set his priorities straight. Lily first, Sirius' death second, and then he could swim all he wanted. Men have died for less noble ideals. This thought lending strength, James continued on, following the little paw prints wherever they led.
The tinkle of a little bell assured him he was on the right track. Two old couples, an ADHD 5 year old, and several families later he came across a large blanket laid out in the sand. And cooing and cuddling over one certain puppy was not only one, not two, not three, but four scantily clad sunbathing beauties. A red headed emerald eyed spitfire among them.
Said certain puppy, known to most as Sirius, was as happy as a puppy could be. Having allowed himself to be picked up, he lay nestled in Lily's arms where she fussed over him. Kissing the top of his head, Lily stoked the soft puppy fur. "Where did you come from, little guy?" she asked. The other girls crowded around her, each trying to pet the cute animal.
"Isn't it just the cutest?"
"Lily, let me hold him!"
"Me next! Oh, he's so soft!"
James watched for a moment in amazement. He was right! He was absolutely right! For once one of his theories on women worked! They were instinctively drawn to whatever grubby pet they could get a hold of. The smaller and fluffier the better so long as it wasn't a rodent. Old battle scars on poor Peter's back were proof enough that girls and rats just didn't mix well.
Now was the time to make his move.
Strolling up to the girls, James flashed his most charming smile. "Hello, ladies!" he chirped cheerily.
The girls all looked up, a particularly unpleasant glint in his beloved's eyes. "Potter," she nodded in greeting.
Undeterred, James indicated toward the puppy who had its eyes shut in bliss as it snuggled into Lily's arms. "Thanks for finding my puppy. I thought I lost him for a minute there."
"He's yours?" one of the girls, he thought her name was Joanne, asked. She reached over to scratch behind one of Sirius' black velvety ears. A back leg vibrated as she did so, a delightful grin on his little doggy face.
"What's his name?" asked a brunette who was petting him gently. Mary Anne, James remembered.
Name! Name! He forgot all about a name! He couldn't very well say Padfoot or Sirius as all the girls knew those names. Saying either would only open him up to very uncomfortable questions on why exactly he named a puppy after his best friend.
"Uh…" he blanked out completely, unable to think. "Snuffles!" he finally blurted. "His name is Snuffles!"
Lily stared at him as though he'd had a bit too much sun. And he might be inclined to agree with her too. "Oh really?" she asked skeptically. "Call him over then."
She thought he was trying to puppy-nap the dumb mutt?
Oh please oh please let Sirius pay attention to him just this once. Let there be some telepathy between them just this once. "Fine then," he responded in an unconcerned tone. "Snuffles! Come here, boy!"
Sirius had the good grace to open one sapphire eye and look at his best friend like he had sprung up antlers. Him? Leave the comfort of these fine ladies? What was he, stupid?
"Snuffles, come here!"
And Snuffles? What kind of dim-witted name was that to give to a fine noble mastiff such as himself? He barked irritably at his 'owner'. Get bent, Prongs.
"He's still just a puppy," James tried to excuse his canine friend. "Do you really think I'd say he wasn't mine unless he was?"
Lily still didn't look entirely convinced, but the defensive glint in her emerald eyes did soften. This gave him the courage to step a bit closer.
Sirius looked back up at his friend who had actually made it within a foot of the object of his desire without so much as a thrown insult. Well, progress was progress. Catching the boy's eye, he winked ever so slightly and snuggled again into Lily's lab, licking her wrist as she stroked his head.
For his part, James never thought he could be jealous of a dog before this day. What did that dumb dog think he was doing! He was supposed to help James win over Lily's affections, not steal them for himself.
Giggling at the tickling sensation the small pink tongue gave her, Lily's attention went back to the puppy in her arms. "He's such a sweet thing," she said. And so well behaved."
And so dead too, when James got his hands on the overgrown rat. As though reading his mind, 'Snuffles' leaped up to flick his tongue at the girl's cheek, yipping ever so adorably. Prongs wondered how he might possibly explain to his mother why he was burying a black rodent in his back yard.
"You know," he said, trying desperately to bring her attention back onto himself. "I still have that extra ticket to that Wicked Wizards concert if you've changed your mind."
To his relief, 17 year old neither laughed nor did she slap him. Playing with Padfoot had eased her somewhat. But that didn't mean she would accept without a fight. "Why should I?" she asked, rubbing Sirius' stomach as he lay on the sand.
He would have preferred having this conversation away from her little giggly friends, but beggars couldn't be choosers apparently. "I know I've been a real prat in the past," he admitted guiltily. "But I would really like you to come.
"Prat is an understatement," she said, eyes narrowing.
"Alright, I've been a bloody idiot and I'm real sorry. I'm not like that anymore, I swear! Just please say you'll go with me. We'll be working together as Head Boy and Girl next year anyway and we should get to know each other."
"That's true…" she was considering it at least. That was a start.
Feeling sorry for his woman-retarded best friend, Sirius stood up and walked over to his friend's change of clothes. Wrestling with the pants for a moment, he returned to Lily with a ticket in his mouth. Wagging his tail, he offered it to her, eyes large and watery. When she didn't take it immediately, he shook himself slightly and stood up on his hind legs, waving the front two and yipping.
There wasn't a girl alive who could resist that.
Smiling and even blushing a little, Lily took the offered ticket, kissing the pup's nose. "Well, I can't say no to you, Snuffles."
Sirius bared his teeth in a wide grin, tail wagging harder. She could call him Snuffles whenever she wanted!
Later that day, as they walked home together, Sirius and James contemplated that day. Both had large smiles on their faces as they remembered just what had transpired.
James had finally gotten his date with the most beautiful, most kind, most wonderful girl in the world.
Sirius had never been cuddled by so many women before in his life.
"Padfoot, my friend," James sighed as they climbed the porch stairs. "Today was a fine fine day."
"That it was, Prongs, that it was." Sirius pocketed the pink collar and leash. He had grown rather attached to it.
James stopped for a moment, the smile dimming just slightly. "And the thing with Lily and everything, that was just…"
"Relax, mate," the other boy grinned, slapping him on the back. "She's all yours. You asked that I help you get your date, and Padfoot delivered."
James tried not to show his relief. No girl, not even Lily Evans, was allowed to come between best friends. Sirius was like his brother. But that didn't mean he wanted a rival in her affections. If his friend said he didn't want her, then he didn't want her. Case closed.
"But honestly, Prongs, if you marry that girl, I am going to be your permanent house pet. That girl can pet like nobody's business."
"Way too much information, Padfoot," he shook his head. "Go back upstairs and play with your motorbike magazines."
"Just like that? Dismissed!" Sirius crossed his arms. "After all I did for you?"
"Let's see, you were pup-handled by no less than a dozen teenage girls. I can see how you sacrificed so much."
The silly grin reappeared on his friend's handsome face. "Well, ok, there was that. But I demand full belly rub rights with your wife upon marriage."
"By then, she'll probably know it's you and then we'll both get hexed," James shook his head. "And besides, that's just wrong, mate. On so many levels."
"Fine," Sirius pouted. "Then I demand your first born child."
"Padfoot, if me and Lily get married, you can be the best man and godfather."
"James? Could you get that, dear?" Lily called, bouncing her son in an effort to calm him down. So far, her efforts were entirely fruitless, but there was nothing she could do but hope he tired himself out enough to fall asleep.
"Sure," he responded wearily, opening the door. To his surprised delight, none other than Sirius Black stood in the doorway, leather coat and all. "Padfoot! What brings you here? I haven't seen you in a while."
"Not on a pleasure visit I'm afraid," Sirius shook his head regretfully.
"Why? What's up?" he let his friend enter, growing concerned. With the war steadily increasing in intensity, one could never become complacent. If Sirius needed something, he was fully prepared to give it.
"Well, do you remember the summer before 7th Year? You remember that favor? I find I need to collect on it. You see, I am on a hunt myself." Sirius' eyes sparkled as a mischievous smile formed, assuring his best friend that he wasn't in real trouble.
James picked up on the tone and smiled as well. "I don't know, Padfoot, old friend," he shook his head. "Deer apparently don't have much sex appeal according to my wife."
"As much as I know you want me to parade you on a bright pink leash, I'm afraid I'm not here for you. Remus tells me that women are also suckers for babies. And as I don't have one…"
"Ah, you want to borrow mine, I see," James nodded in understanding. Hope leaped in his chest that this knight in black leather would save him from the ear torture that was his current life. Sirius offering to babysit for an undetermined amount of time? Praise be to Merlin! "But I'll have you know that Harry hasn't stopped crying for, oh… I'd say 2 hours now."
The dog animagus sighed in exasperation. "I swear, I can't leave you with him for a minute, can I?" he walked over to Lily, taking his godson in his arms. She slumped gratefully in a nearby chair, completely worn out. There was no way he could cure what the child's own mother couldn't. "Come on, Harry, let's see a smile for your Uncle Sirius, huh?"
Looking up with watery emerald eyes, the 9 month old baby gradually stopped crying. Little tear tracks made their way down his face, but not even a whimper escaped. As his godfather kissed his forehead and whispered soothingly, he clapped his hands in glee, burbling happily.
James and Lily could barely believe it. Silence reigned throughout the house at long last.
"There, see?" Sirius told his amazed audience. "It's not so hard."
"Pa-pa-pa," Harry added knowingly.
"That's right, Padfoot's here," Sirius grinned in pure delight. "And he's gonna take you on a little adventure."
"You be careful with him, Sirius Black," Lily ordered sternly. "If there is so much as one wrinkle out of place on his clothes, I will transfigure you into a 15 year old girl."
"Relax, mama," Sirius purred. "Me and the little man here will be just fine. Isn't that right, Harry?"
"There, see?" He headed toward the door, nodding his gratitude to James. "Snuffles thanks you for the contribution."
"Snuffles?" Lily wondered aloud. "James, wasn't that the name of your…"
Emerald eyes grew wide.
Hazel eyes grew wide.
Sapphire eyes danced in glee.
"Sadly yes," Sirius sighed in mock grief. "Isn't it regrettable that we must be reunited in such a way? You, who first showed me the gentle touch of a woman, must be taken by my best friend. Our long ago kiss, alas, must remain the only one in a sea of sweet memories."
He'd never seen so much blood rush to someone's face before. Was she ok? It was hard to tell where here face ended and her hair began.
"Sirius, I think you'd better leave now," James growled, murder in his bespeckled eyes. And it was only for the sake of his son that he did not attack. He had never intended for Lily to find that little tidbit out.
"Hey, Lils," Sirius added at the doorway, eyebrows wagging. He was fully prepared to run for his motorbike at the slightest hint of danger. A danger that was becoming more real by the second. "Do you still give those amazing belly rubs?"
End Part Two
A/N: This came as a result of feeling so guilty at not posting in the HP section that I finally said to Hell with it, I may as well just finish the darn thing! I have many more 'rules' to write out, but I can't promise they will be up soon. Finals are coming up in the wonderful world of college and real life must prevail.
Lirimaer Elearie: lol, thank you so much for your support! I would love to write professionally. Perhaps after college I'll have room on the side. I already have plenty of ideas. I do have one thing on Fiction Press, but that's from when ff . net decided to be silly and split up the original vs. fanfiction.
Nuwie: I'm still working on your translation, so I'll be sure to send it soon. Let me know on any updates on the forum. I'm eager to try it out. Send your mum my complements and apologies for making her daughter crazier than she was before : ) Actually, the idea didn't come from Sick As A Dog, it's been floating around in my nogan for a while now. But yeah, that scene from Sick As A Dog is a classic! I did see the sequel to Gone With the Wind by accident because it was on t.v. It was terrible! Lol, yes I could have done The Fifth Element, but that would have been too easy to make fun of ; )
Tijiya: Thanks! I like your suggestion, I think I'll use it. The ideas are flowing…
Kyia Star: Oh yeah, Titanic would definitely be a good one to do. But unfortunately it wouldn't have made sense timeframe-wise. But then, I'm not quite sure when 'Plan 9' came out…
Bluerain627: Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy!