The Practical Ramifications of Living in the Fridge
The first thing he noticed was the smell. Putrid, fetid, repulsive, it emanated from the refrigerator inexplicably placed in the living room of Sirius's (muggle) flat. The combined forces of himself, Remus, Lily, Peter, Sirius's cousin Andromeda, the cat next door, and Sirius's last three ex-girlfriends had not been enough to convince him to move the thing into the kitchen, where at least it could be avoided when Sirius forgot to give it it's bi-annual cleaning.
As he had, apparently.
James skirted around the brown monster anxiously, giving Sirius a frightened look as he sat on the couch, eating a bag of stale, crushed Lays (eight months old and having been used as ammo in three major pillow fights, seven snowball wars, two therapeutic sessions given by Wormtail to Moony, and a truly spectacular argument between Sirius and his most recent ex – the one that made her an ex – all before it had been opened contributed to this. James wondered what they tasted like.) Sirius looked up impassively as he walked in.
"Sirius? Are you… eating those?"
"Yeah, why not? I was hungry and there was nothing else." James watched in fascination as Sirius picked up a moldy chip and ate it.
"Was that mold?"
"Hmm?" Sirius chewed thoughtfully for a moment, then pulled a face. "Yeah. Yeah, that would be mold. Must have gotten wet at some point. Probably one of the snowball fights." And he ate another chip.
"Not really. I hear people in France eat moldy cheese all the time."
"I was actually talking about the stench coming from that refrigerator."
"Yeah, that is pretty foul." Another, slightly less moldy, chip.
"Are you going to do anything about it?"
"Not really. I mean, the smell has to go away eventually, right? Soon enough, it'll all rot through and then I don't have to clean." James stared at Sirius blankly, then looked around the room. Dirty clothes were piled everywhere, dust was apparently too afraid to stay on the mantle as it was precariously close to the refrigerator, there was mud all over the carpet in front of the door, and a green bowl of what must have been Macaroni and Cheese once-upon-a-time sat on a side table.
"You're a slob."
"Thanks so much. Because you're so clean yourself." James flushed slightly.
"Yeah, but I don't have green Macaroni growing on my tables." Sirius looked confused for a moment, and then picked himself off the couch to see the table.
"I don't either. That's… Oatmeal, I think."
"Oatmeal?" He gave another glance toward the bowl on the counter. "Oatmeal does not look like that in the real world, Padfoot."
"Oh goody, I live in Oz, then. Everything's green there, I think."
"Padfoot, Susan would have a fit if she saw this."
"Then I suppose it's a good thing she won't."
"You need a maid."
"Maids don't like me." Sirius flopped back down on the couch, and, making a face, dropped the moldy chips on the ground next to him.
"Well, you aren't supposed to jump them when they walk through the door."
"That was once, and she was hot. She was a freakin' nude model and you expected me to keep my hands off her?"
"Her girlfriend thought so." Sirius scowled from the couch.
"What a waste of-" He was cut off by the door opening, and Remus walked in. He, like James, immediately wrinkled his nose at the smell.
"God, Padfoot, how long has it been since you cleaned that thing out?" Looking offended, Sirius mumbled something like 'I don't remember' and stumbled down the hall and into the kitchen.
"Prongs, I think we need to clean it out for him." James looked apprehensive, and glanced at the door, as if hoping that Lily would run in and save him from an almost certain death. Failing that, he sighed.
"Fine. I need a whip and a chair." There was a snort from the kitchen and they heard Sirius's voice.
"Didn't know you were into all that bondage stuff, Prongs! I'll have to tell Lily!" James snatched a vase shaped like a certain male body part, reminiscent of Juliana-the-wannabe-porn-star, and waited for Sirius to come back in. Apparently knowing better, Sirius stuck his head out the doorway tentatively at first.
James let the vase fly. Having been a chaser, his aim was good, but not true, as Sirius leapt out of sight and the vase crashed against the wall.
"Hey! Juliana What's-her-name gave that to me!"
"The porn star? The one who called you her sexy hot-tamale kitten-of-love and was later found inexplicably in Northern Ireland while you moved and left no return address?" Remus asked. Sirius turned red.
"When was this?" James shouted, laughing, which only made Sirius turn redder.
"None of your freakin' business. What was it you wanted to do?"
"Clean out-" Remus started, but James cut him off.
"Go to dinner! I have great news to tell everyone!"
"We already know that you're going to propose to Lily and that you're nervous and that you don't know your speech by heart and that you haven't done it yet and that you got her the perfect ring and that you've already worked your way through eight-hundred and forty-six thousand ideas of the best ways to give her the ring and that you haven't decided on any of them." Remus deadpanned. James looked taken aback and slightly hurt.
"I've told you already?" Sirius slammed his head into the wall.
"Only a million times, Prongs. And you get pissed off at me about my crap memory."
"At least I've taken a shower in the past three weeks, Padfoot." Remus looked disgusted and turned to Sirius.
"You haven't showered in three weeks? Sirius, that's disgusting!"
"Two weeks, Moony, and I've been working!"
"On what? Certainly not cleaning out your fridge." Sirius gave an apprehensive look toward the fridge.
"Well, it has a mind of it's own…"
"Padfoot, that thing has a life of it's own." James said, taking a tentative step in the refrigerator's general direction.
"All the more reason to leave it be." Remus sighed.
"It needs to be cleaned." He declared, in a final tone. There was a ringing silence as all three men thought about this.
"Hmm… Well, we'll need a whip, a chair, an old priest, a young priest, a bible, holy water, a few thousand washcloths, Lysol, and trash bags." James said, ticking them off as if a list. Sirius glared at him, snatched the Lays back off the floor and ate a chip in a somehow threatening manner. Remus, however, looked thoughtful.
"We will need the Lysol and trash bags and washcloths. And we might just need those – Sirius, are those the War Lays!" Remus was staring at Sirius as if he'd suddenly grown eight heads. "Do you know how old those things are?"
"He's been eating them all day. I've given up asking." James said, and took one, munching on it thoughtfully. "Actually, the mold gives them a distinct flavor. Kind of like cheese, actually."
"It does, doesn't it?" Sirius said. Remus continued to look disgusted.
"…And I'm the one who can't get a date?" James grinned, and offered Remus a greenish-brown chip.
"Then why don't you take a chip and become one of us?"
"One of us, one of us!" Sirius echoed in the background, howling with laughter as James and Remus stared at him.
"Do you know what he's talking about?"
"Ah. I was afraid I was the only one." Remus said, giving the chip an uneasy look. "This won't kill me, will it?"
"Nah. Actually, in some ancient cultures, moldy, 8-month-old Lays were considered a powerful aphrodisiac." Remus gave James and unimpressed glare, but Sirius brightened.
"What?" He snatched the bag from James and the uneaten chip out of Remus's hand. "These are mine!"
"Oh, God. Sirius with even more libido. Hide your wives and your daughters!" Remus yelled to no one.
"More like hide your dogs." James added, receiving a snort from Remus and a smack on the back of the head from Sirius.
"I'll have you know, I've never done anything with any dog."
"Right, Padfoot, we believe you." James said solemnly.
"Yeah, that poodle just followed you around because it was fascinated by your silky, flowy, locks." Remus added with a grin. Sirius shuddered and looked nauseous.
"And it kept hanging around even when you turned back into a human!" James cried, laughing.
"And the poor thing just whimpered when you ran away from it!"
"And followed you back home!"
"Okay, shut the hell up! And weren't you going to clean my refrigerator?" Sirius shouted, face the color of fire. Both Remus and James stopped laughing immediately. James took a deep breath and slowly began to walk toward the fridge.
"I can almost hear the Jaws music." Sirius whispered, then started singing it. "Daaa-dum. Daaaaa-dum. Daaa-dum. Da-dum. Da-dum. Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da…" And James opened the door. "AAAAAAH!"
"HOLY SHIT!" James shrieked like a little girl and leapt back from the fridge as something flew out and latched onto his arm. For a moment, everyone was yelling and James was flinging his arms around, smacking Remus and Sirius in the face with something thick, sticky, and flesh-colored. Finally, Remus grabbed James's arm and stopped the chaos. There was silence.
From somewhere, someone let out a barely stifled laugh. Remus and James turned to see Sirius, eyes watering.
"You look constipated, Padfoot. What's so funny?" Remus said, narrowing his eyes at him while James examined the thing on his arm. Sirius burst into laughter.
"You sounded like a girly chipmunk on acid when you screamed!"
"What the fuck is this?" James said, lifting his arm. Sirius held up a hand, still laughing uncontrollably, and all of them waited for a full five minutes as his laugher finally subsided.
"Okay. Let's see this." Sirius took James's arm and inspected it closely, tapping the mass with his wand. It wriggled angrily and shrank back from him. "De-shelled, magic-infused, oyster, if I had to guess. I seem to remember picking some up about four years ago off some guy in a pub." James stared blankly at him.
"You mean to tell me," James said softly, "That I have a black-market, magically enhanced, shell-less oyster latched onto my arm?"
"Ehh… Three, actually, I think."
"I have three black-market, magically enhanced, shell-less oysters attached to my arm?"
"Yeah." There was a tense pause, then James tore the oysters from his arm, letting out a bit of a scream as they took along his arm hair, and shoved them in Sirius's face. "What the…? What?"
"I said eat them."
"Over my dead body."
"I will shove these through your glued-shut, cold, dead mouth if I must, then. But you will eat these oysters."
"Ah, Prongs, don't make him. They'll probably give him Salmonella." Remus said, discreetly trying to get as far away from the blob as possible.
"It's what he deserves. Now, eat!"
"No!" Sirius grabbed the Lays and started using them as a shield. James threw the oysters at him and they missed the bag and hit him in the face. He yelled and the oysters flopped into his mouth. He swallowed.
"So, explain to me again what happened, exactly?" Lily asked, standing over a sweaty and semiconscious Sirius in St. Mungo's.
"He ate a bad oyster." James replied.
"He ate three four-year-old, magically 'enhanced', black-market oysters that had been previously attached to James's arm and some random part of his refrigerator." Remus cut in. Lily made a face.
"Ugh. What were you doing in his refrigerator, anyway?"
"Trying to clean it out." Remus answered.
"A noble, if fruitless, pursuit." James added. Lily nodded.
"That doesn't explain the moldy chips that the healer found lodged to the wall of his stomach."
"You remember the War Lays?" Remus asked, making a face. Lily looked even more disgusted.
"He ate those?" Both men nodded. Remus seemed to think for a moment and then added,
"Well, so did James."
"It was a dare and I only ate one. And I've brushed my teeth since. About 8 times." He lied at light speed. Lily still looked revolted.
"You two have got to be the strangest people I've ever met."
"But you love us?"
"Don't count on it." James grimaced. "The healer said he has a severe case of food poisoning."
"I suppose that comes from being a slob." James muttered.
"Because you're so much better." Lily said. "I'm forever cleaning up after you."
"And I think it's an amazing and all-around perfect thing for you to do." She just rolled her eyes.
"Whatever. Let's go and see if we can fix Sirius's fridge while he's out." A look of panic overtook James and Remus's faces.
"Actually, I was thinking we should go out to dinner!"
"James, I already ate and that refrigerator is probably eating Sirius's flat as we speak."
"Well, you know, it's awfully late, so I'll just be going home…"
"Remus, it's seven thirty."
"That's awfully late in my book."
"Except for all those 4 AM parties we used to have up in the dorms." James cut in.
"You scum! You betrayed me!" Remus yelled in desperation, backing away as Lily laughed. "I don't believe it! You'd choose your girlfriend over me!"
"Yes, Moony, I would. I love you like a brother and all, but Lily has talons and knows how to use them."
"Some Gryffindor you are." Remus muttered darkly. "Fine. Let's go."
"Oh dear God" were the first words out of Lily's mouth when she stepped into the door. Turning back to go outside, she ran into James, coughing.
"Got a whole lungfull of it?"
"Two." She cried into his chest.
"Ooh. That's bad." Remus and James said at the same time. James reached around Lily, and played rock-paper-scissors with Remus. Remus lost.
"Damn." And, taking a deep breath of fresh air before the plunge, he poked his head in the door. "Oh, God. It's open. And there's something seeping over the floor."
"Bubble head charms?" James asked. Remus nodded. Still pressed against him and trying not to cry, apparently, Lily nodded.
Four hours, eight grocery bags, two heavy-duty, deluxe trash bags, three spilt containers of three separate unknown substances, six boxes of wet wipes, nine spray cans of Glade and three acid-like burns per person later, the fridge was clean.
"That was an experience."
"Ugh. Look at this place! Sirius has got to learn to pick up after himself!" Lily was glaring disapprovingly around the flat. James's eyes widened.
"Uh oh. She's delving into cleaning mode. We'll be here until the place is spotless." James muttered. "Lily, it's Sirius's house. He can keep it however he likes it."
"Lily, if you want to clean it, I'll stay and help." Remus said chivalrously, standing up to come to her aid, ignoring James mouthing 'traitor' at him.
"I will too." He added and stood up. She looked unconvinced.
"Since when have you cleaned anything?"
"I do clean!" Both she and Remus turned and looked at him. "I do! I clean… I clean the bathrooms in our house!" He said, pointing at Lily.
"Because I threaten you at curling-iron-point if you don't." Remus barely managed to choke back his laughter.
"The great James Potter, taken down by a curling iron?" Remus said, mock disapprovingly. "James, man, you'll have to do better than that. Before you know it, you'll be completely whipped!"
"No." Lily said, with a smile, as she threw away the oatmeal-pretending-to-be-macaroni. "He already is." And she headed into the kitchen.
"I am not whipped!" James yelled, turning to Remus as he threw a filthy pair of jeans into a washer.
"Oh really?" Remus said with a Cheshire grin. "Tell me, when was the last time you uttered a curse word in Lily's prescence?" James paused, gaping. "Or the last time you dressed up for Halloween. And then there are the flat-out examples. What was that about you apologizing for glancing at another woman, even though you said that her dress was caught in her underwear and you had wanted to tell her?"
James looked away, whistling.
"Face it, my dear man. You are whipped."
"Well, you do things for love!" He yelled. "I mean, I honestly think I could spend the rest of my life with her – in fact, if I could ever get up the courage, I'd ask her to – and you're accusing me of being-" He stopped at the look of amusement-slash-horror on Remus's face. "She's right behind me, isn't she?" Remus nodded. James nodded as well, closing his eyes. "Naturally."
"What?" Lily asked. "What was that about asking me to spend the rest of my life with you?" James looked petrified, and Remus mouthed to him, 'Just do it, already!' "Are you talking marriage?" Remus backed out of the room. There was either going to be an extremely mushy scene or an extremely violent one, and he wanted to be present at neither.
"I'll just go to the, ah, bathroom. If you'll excuse me…" James was staring at him like he'd been betrayed. Ignoring it, Remus ran.
"What were you saying, James?" Lily said in a frightening voice. James whimpered. "Did you say that you wanted to marry me or not?"
"You know, this really isn't-"
There was a long pause. "And how long have you been contemplating this?"
"Seriously or wishfully?"
"Six months." She repeated. "And why do I know nothing of this?"
"Because I like my dignity, I keep secrets well, and I threatened Sirius with blackmail so he wouldn't breathe a word of it to you."
"Why did you want to keep it a secret?"
"Because I'm really clumsy and got all tongue-tied whenever I tried to ask." Lily seemed to be thinking for a moment.
"So is this why you accidentally drank the candle wax on our last date?" James grimaced at the memory.
"That would be it."
"Oh." She paused. "Well, that's good. I thought you were drunk, high, or having an affair and trying to keep it from me."
"Or drinks or joints?"
"Or drinks or joints."
"Good." There was another long, awkward pause. James was trying to think. It sounded kind of like she was waiting for something. It was then that he realized that he hadn't yet turned around to face her. It was like that would cost too much of his pride. And it would. "Well?"
"Are you going to ask me or not?" She was starting to get irritated. "And for God's sake, turn around." He whipped around, looking scared witless. "Well?" He reached into his jacket pocket, sent a mental prayer up to any and all deities he could imagine existing, and held out the ring.
"Doyouwannamarryme?" He said in one garbled word.
"With diction." James sighed.
"Do you want to marry me?"
"Hmm." James felt his stomach hit his heart. She wouldn't have led him on like that. Would she? There was a very long pause. She took the ring out of his hand, a slender, sliver ring with a carved diamond lily in the center. And… She handed it back to him.
He nearly cried. But then she held out her hand, spreading the fingers wide. James stared at her blankly.
"You're supposed to put the ring on my finger. It's traditional when the girl accepts."
"Oh." And he continued to stare. Lily started to laugh.
"That means yes."
"Oh." He paused for a moment, then it hit him. Slowly, he grinned.
James slid the ring onto her finger, and Remus walked back in. "It's about freakin' time."
"Ignore him." Lily muttered, and kissed him on the cheek. James just shrugged.
"Whipped, Prongs. Whipped." Remus said with a grin.
"You say that like it's a bad thing." He replied.
(A/N: It was just a stupid plot bunny that rammed me in the middle of the night. Let's see, I'm writing this A/N at exactly 11:48 PM, and Thank God it's spring break. Reviews are loved. Button to your down, please?)