Summary: In order to cure their friend of his ridiculous fear of Muggles, the Marauders ship Sirius off to spend Christmas with a Muggle family. The lucky host family? None other than Lily Evans and her family, of course!
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters…blah blah blah…I own the plot…blah…the rest belongs to JKR. Any questions?
Chapter 1: Determining the Problem
James bounded up the stairs to his dormitory as fast as he could, taking them three at a time. He clutched a letter in one hand while he used the other one to grasp the banister and pull himself up the stairs at an alarmingly fast rate.
It was lucky no one came between him and his destination because that person would have found themselves as flat as a pancake before they could even recognise the boy who was charging at them.
Fortunately, nothing of that sort happened, and James soon found himself at the door of the dormitory he shared with his three best friends. Flinging it open, he was pleased to see all three of them were inside, apparently not doing anything of importance.
The door flew open with a bang, causing Peter to squeal in fright, Remus to jump slightly, and Sirius to fall head first off of his bed where he had been attempting to read a magazine upside down. They all looked towards the door, not knowing what to expect, but found that it was only James Potter.
Today, however, James looked very excited about something. He cast a quick glance around the room and upon gathering that everyone of importance was accounted for, he closed the door behind him and dashed to his bed where he waved a letter in Sirius's face.
"Bet you don't know what this is," he said smugly.
"Another love letter from that 'secret admirer' we all know is that girl with the acne?" Sirius guessed, rubbing his head.
"No," James replied haughtily, his grin faltering slightly. "It's from my mother."
"Is she sending you love letters too now, Prongs?" Remus teased.
"I don't know why I put up with the three of you," James muttered.
"I want to know what your Mum said," Peter said quickly. "Tell us!"
James sighed and decided he was unable to keep it a secret after all.
"Fine," he said. "She says we're going to Germany this summer and that I can invite all of you to come along."
"Really?" Peter squeaked. "Great!"
"Yeah," James continued. "It'll be fun. We won't stay in a Wizarding community though. We'll stay in Muggle hotels and live among Muggles for two weeks. No magic or anything! Doesn't that sound exciting?"
"It sounds like fun!" Remus put in. "I can't wait."
"What about you?" James asked his best friend. "Are you in?"
Sirius had not spoken a word in quite some time. It was very unusual for him to be this quiet. James frowned when he turned from Remus and Peter to Sirius only to find him staring unblinkingly ahead with his mouth slightly open.
James was just beginning to think that maybe Sirius had fallen asleep with his eyes open again when he finally spoke.
James frowned again. "I asked if you wanted to come."
"Erm," Sirius hesitated. "I don't think I can. I'm busy. You know, family stuff."
"Oh," said James, slightly put out that they would be one Marauder short on this adventure. "That's alright. Good luck with that though. I know how much you hate spending time with your family. Though, frankly, I don't blame you. What is it you have to do anyway?"
"Er," Sirius said, hesitating again. "My mum told me I had to… I have to… clean my room."
James just stared.
"Clean your room?" Remus repeated. "You can't go to Germany because you have to clean your room?"
"Yes," Sirius replied confidently. "It's very dirty."
"It can't be that dirty," James said, narrowing his eyes as though trying to see what Sirius was thinking. "You don't even live there anymore. You moved in with me last summer. I thought you weren't ever going back."
Sirius sighed, unable to think of anything to say.
"I'm not," he muttered. "I've left home for good. And I guess I'm going to Germany as well."
"Of course you are," James replied, still not smiling. "You didn't think I'd take no for an answer, did you? I never do. You should know by now that I'm a very persistent person."
"Just ask Lily Evans," Remus added.
"So why didn't you want to come with us?" James asked. He completely ignored Remus's interruption.
Sirius looked down at the floor.
"I don't know. It was stupid. Never mind though. I'll come."
"Look at this," Peter said suddenly.
He held up the Daily Prophet and pointed at an article on the front page. It was titled "Muggle Sighted in Hogsmeade".
Snatching the paper from Peter, Remus quickly scanned the article.
"It says here that yesterday afternoon, a Muggle was seen wandering through Hogsmeade," he read. "Apparently, he and some others had been on a hiking trip through the area, and he had wandered off to do some exploring of his own. One of the shopkeepers saw him and immediately contacted the Ministry. They were able to lure him out of the village and modify his memory."
"That's odd," James commented. "It was so close to Hogwarts, too. It was lucky he didn't wander this far."
"Y-you don't think there will be more of them, do you?" Sirius stuttered.
James looked up at his friend and was quite shocked to see him hugging his knees to his chest, his face white and his whole body shaking.
Then, everything clicked.
James smacked himself on the forehead.
"Of course!" he cried, startling Peter. "That's why you didn't want to go to Germany this summer, wasn't it? It's because you're afraid of Muggles."
Sirius nodded slowly.
"Oh yeah!" Remus exclaimed. "I forgot about that. It all makes sense now. Sorry about that, Padfoot. It must have slipped our minds since we hardly ever go near any Muggles."
"Yeah," Sirius muttered. "Lucky you."
"Look," James said sternly. "We aren't going anywhere without you, and we're definitely not missing this trip because of you. So, it would appear the only other option there is would be for you to get over your fear."
"I can't do that!" Sirius said loudly. "That would involve getting near Muggles."
"Exactly," replied Remus. "Sometimes I honestly don't know what your parents did to you when you were a kid. Most people would come out of your house hating Muggles, not fearing them. You obviously weren't paying attention to you mother's rants, were you?"
Sirius made a face and turned to James.
"Please don't make me do it," he whined. "I can't get near one. I can't talk to one. I can't touch one. Please don't make me! I'll kill myself!"
James rolled his eyes.
"Shut up, Padfoot. What we need is someone who you are comfortable with and is willing to stay with you and a group of Muggles." Slowly, a grin spread across his face. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Moony?"
Remus smiled too and nodded.
Sirius looked completely lost and confused.
"I don't get it," Peter complained.
"We'll just need to do a bit of persuading," James said. "Leave it to me. I think I'm the best candidate for the job."
- - - -
James was within an inch of dropping to his knees and begging. He would do it, too. It was for the good of his friend.
"He just needs a Muggle home to stay in during the Christmas holidays," he repeated for what seemed like the fiftieth time. "You won't even notice he's there. Please, Evans? He needs to get over this ridiculous fear."
"No," Lily said firmly. "I don't care if he goes on being afraid of Muggles for the rest of his life. I am not spending my holiday with Sirius Black. My sister is enough to deal with. I don't need two of them."
"You don't understand how bad his fear is, though. He needs your help."
"Honestly!" Lily cried, exasperated and tired of arguing. "He's seventeen-years-old. If he still has such a childish fear at his age, he deserves to have it for the rest of his life. I don't think I would be of much help."
"But you would! Please, Evans? I'll do anything." James paused to think of something to offer. "I'll give you sweets, jewelry, books, anything! I'll… I'll take you to Hogsmeade with me next weekend."
"As tempting as that offer is, the answer is still no."
James wracked his brains trying to think of something she would like. He could only think of one thing, but he had been unwilling to propose the idea knowing she would probably jump at it. But now, unable to think of anything else, he decided he had no other options.
"I'll stop asking you out."
As he had figured it would, this caught Lily's attention.
"Would you really?" she asked with narrowed eyes.
"You'll never ask again?"
"I can see this is hard for you. It must be important to you that I help Sirius."
She thought it over for a moment before agreeing.
"Really?" James exclaimed. "Thank you, Lily! Thanks a lot!"
Without thinking, he wrapped a laughing Lily in a hug.
"You have no idea how great this is," he continued loudly, attracting the attention of several nearby students. "I can't wait to tell Remus and Peter… and Sirius! I'll see you later, Lily. Thanks again!"
And with that, he sped away to find his friends, leaving Lily behind, laughing and shaking her head at him.
- - - -
"Padfoot!" James exclaimed.
He tore through the library and received a scolding from the librarian. He didn't listen to her. He was too preoccupied.
He found Remus and Sirius at a table. Predictably, Remus was working on an essay while Sirius was sleeping with his head resting on an unopened Transfiguration textbook and a sugar quill in his hand.
Remus looked up when he saw James coming and tapped Sirius to wake him.
"She said yes!" James cried.
"Who?" Sirius asked drowsily.
"Evans agreed to let you stay at her house during the holiday."
Now Sirius was wide-awake.
"No," he said firmly. "Evans lives with Muggles. You think it will help me if I live among them, but it won't. It will only hurt me. I can't do it! I'm not strong enough!"
"Give it a rest, Padfoot," Remus scolded, rolling his eyes. "You'll be fine. Lily will be there the whole time to make sure you're okay."
"Yeah," added James. "She won't let her parents do anything to you while she's around."
"What would they do if she wasn't around?" Sirius asked.
"They would probably suck your brains out with straws."
Sirius let out a whimper and stared at James in terror. James couldn't help but laugh at the reaction he got.
"Prongs!" exclaimed Remus. "I can't believe you just said that! I thought you wanted to help him. So far you aren't being very helpful."
"Sorry," James said between laughs. "I couldn't help it. The look on his face was priceless."
"Well, I didn't find it funny at all!" Sirius cried.
James wiped the tears from his eyes and cleared his throat.
"Sorry, Padfoot," he said. "It was all a lie. Where's Wormtail?"
He had only just noticed that they were lacking a Marauder. Peter did not usually stray from the rest of the group. It was unusual.
"Detention," Remus said simply. "He didn't do his homework for McGonagall."
"We should do something about that. What's wrong with you now?"
Sirius had once again gone white and was staring off into space.
"S-so, they don't… you know?" He made a slurping sound.
"No, Sirius," Remus replied, shooting James a look. "Muggles don't eat brains. James is a pathological liar. You should know that by now."
"But it makes sense," Sirius said shakily. "I've always wondered what those 'straws' are used for. I'll bet they're the perfect tools to suck brains out. I'll bet the bendable ones are even better."
He shuddered at the thought.
Remus groaned and dropped his head to the table.
"Erm… maybe we should just leave Evans to deal with this," said James. "I almost pity her right now."
A/N: This story will be six chapters long. I have it all written and saved on my computer. The only thing that might slow down my updates would be my beta, but have no fear; I shall try my best to update about once a week.
It will end up being a Lily/James story, but that's really not the focus of this story. This is Sirius's story, and Lily and James just happen to be major characters. Be patient, it will happen eventually.
If you want updates or previews of upcoming chapters, visit my live journal under the user name findingemo00. The link is in my profile. You can also leave a comment, question, suggestion, or review (or anything else you can come up with). You're chances of getting a response from me there is better than here.
This is also being posted on Portkeybecause I couldn't decide where to post it first. So, I decided to be logical and post it on both sites at the same time (smart, isn't it?).
I think that's enough rambling for the moment. Please read and review.