A/N: No real excuse for the delay, just too many fics and too little time. I apologise and hope that the next update won't be as long in coming.
Is there anybody there?
"Six hours," Remus commented as two rather damp marauders staggered in the door. "I guess that makes it a tie."
"Makes what a tie?" James asked he tried to duck out of the way of Sirius, who was shaking the rainwater out of his hair in a very dog-like manner.
"I guessed five hours on how long you'd be, Wormtail thought seven," Remus explained with a smirk.
"Did you have to walk back as well?" Peter asked with a barely concealed grin of his own.
"No, we got a ride in a taxi," Sirius crowed.
"And came back via Hogsmeade?" Remus asked innocently.
"Oh, ha ha," James replied. "So, we've now completed loads of our tasks."
"Two of your tasks," Remus amended. "Shopping and travelling by muggle methods."
"And tonight, we are cooking dinner the muggle way," Sirius declared.
"Maybe we could leave that until tomorrow," James interrupted, raising his eyebrows meaningfully. "I thought we could order food in tonight, we deserve a little relaxation."
Sirius nodded in agreement. "Good idea."
"Are you going to make the call, or am I?" James asked, trying unsuccessfully to cover up his eagerness to pass the task onto Sirius.
"Oh, you can do it," Sirius replied with a wave of his hand towards the phone.
Remus smirked at Peter. "At least he remembers what the phone is," he commented as the two boys continued to argue over who should make the call.
"Why don't you toss a coin for it?" Peter suggested.
James nodded and pulled a bunch of coins from his pocket. "That reminds me," he said, turning to Peter with a glare. "You gave us the wrong money this morning."
"You gave them money?" Remus asked.
"He gave us American money," James clarified. "Which can't be spent in England. If it wasn't for some old dear outside the muggle shops we wouldn't have been able to buy anything."
"You took money from a pensioner?" Remus asked with a fair degree of shock.
"'Course not," James replied. "She helped us get it exchanged though. We even paid her for the help she gave us."
"How much?" Peter asked curiously.
"Only fifty pounds," Sirius said. "She said that was a fair amount."
"Fifty pounds?" Peter squawked.
Sirius nodded. "Why are you saying it like that?" he asked. "Is it a lot?"
"I told you it was too much," James pointed out. "The shopping was forty eight pounds and we had loads."
Sirius mumbled something that sounded rather uncomplimentary and Remus stepped in before they started squabbling in earnest. "Didn't you read the writing on the money?" he asked.
"I read the numbers on it," James muttered. He turned back to Peter with a glare. "What do you have American money for anyway?"
"Must have been from my parents' holiday during term time," Peter replied with a shrug. "I was only trying to help."
"'Course you were, mate," Sirius replied. "Just because Prongs is an idiot, it's not your fault."
"Hey!" James turned to glare at Sirius. "I didn't see you noticing the money was wrong either."
"You were in charge of the money," Sirius replied with a smirk. "There wasn't anything wrong with the shopping itself…the part of the task I was in charge of."
"It was a joint effort. I pushed that stupid metal contraption all around the store. All you did was put things into it."
"I had to find the things first."
"We were walking up and down the aisles for hours, we passed the milk twice before you spotted it."
"I was concentrating on other things."
"Yeah, like the dark-haired girl at the bakery counter."
Sirius huffed and turned back to the telephone. "What are we going to order anyway?"
"The menus are pinned to the board in the kitchen," Peter told them.
"Thanks," James said, giving Peter a not entirely hidden wink as he ducked into the kitchen, Sirius close at his heels.
"What was that wink for?" Remus asked curiously.
"For telling them where the menus are, I guess," Peter replied with a shrug.
"Do you have anything ready made in case they muck this up?" Remus asked. "I don't fancy starving just because that pair are useless with muggle things."
"There are some muggle crisps in the cupboard but not much else."
Remus nodded as Sirius and James came back into the room, various menus in their hands.
"Won't it take ages to get here from China?" James said as he perused the menu. "Muggles can't magic it over here like we can. Where's that menu for?"
"Italy," Sirius replied. "That'll take ages too."
"I quite fancy pizza," Remus commented.
"What's pizza?" Sirius asked as he looked for it on the menu.
"Delicious," Peter replied. "Why don't you order a couple and we can have a choice of toppings?"
Sirius nodded, appearing thankful that the choice was taken out of his hands. He walked over to the phone and gave it a look that was blatantly suspicious.
Peter turned to Remus and whispered into his ear. "Should I tell them that the number is on the menu?"
Remus nodded. "We'll never eat tonight if you don't."
"The phone number's on the menu," he called across to Sirius.
"I'd have found it myself," Sirius muttered as he turned to the phone, dialled two digits and waited.
Remus raised an eyebrow towards Peter, who shrugged with confusion.
"Is that it?" James asked.
"That's the number beside the large cheese and tomato topping pizza," Sirius said. "Do I just wait a minute and then put in the number for the ham and pineapple?"
Remus snorted and pulled a cushion over his face to hide his laughter.
Sirius looked at him briefly before turning to James. "I've done something wrong," he said in a loud whisper.
James was still looking at the menu. "How can you tell?"
"Because Moony's about to wet himself laughing," Sirius muttered.
"Just put the number in," James said. "Hey, it says here that if the order isn't with us in thirty minutes then we get it free. It'll take longer than thirty minutes to get here from Italy. We could eat this way every night and get free meals all the time we're here."
Remus chewed on the edge of the cushion in an effort to contain his mirth. Peter had escaped to the kitchen on the pretext of getting a drink, but everyone could hear him giggling and hiccuping through the door.
"Let me see this," James insisted as he pulled the menu out of Sirius's hand in order to look at it properly. "If muggles can do it, it can't be that difficult."
Remus watched as James quickly skimmed the menu and eventually realised that Sirius had been dialling the item number on the menu instead of the phone number. "This is the number you need to dial," he said, pointing to the number in question.
"What about the bit in brackets?" Sirius asked.
"Dunno, put it in anyway, just in case."
Sirius nodded and dialled the number.
"Is it working?" James asked a moment later.
Sirius shrugged. "I can't hear anything."
Remus, suspecting that they had missed a digit out of the number suggested they redial, but the two boys at the phone glared at him huffily. "We can manage," Sirius said with a sniff. "Ah, hello there. Yes, we'd like to place an order for two large pizzas."
"Are you sure we can eat that much?" Remus asked. "Cold pizza is pretty revolting, so it won't keep for tomorrow."
"Who's placing the order?" Sirius asked.
"You are," Remus answered meekly.
Sirius nodded and turned back to the phone. "Two large pizzas, numbers 14 and 17 from your menu. Thank you."
Remus watched as Sirius hung up the phone. He smirked across at the two boys. "I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the pizza to arrive," he said with a grin. "It kind of helps if you give them our address."
Sirius flushed and Remus collapsed into giggles again.
"I'm sure they can tell where we are from their end," James said. "It can't be that hard. If they wanted to know, they'd have asked."
"Asked?" Sirius whispered loudly. Remus wondered why he even bothered to lower his voice; he seemed to be incapable of speaking quietly.
"The bloke or bird in the other end of the phone would have asked you where we are if they needed to know," James pointed out.
"For Merlin's sake, spit it out!"
Sirius rubbed at the bridge of his nose. "I couldn't hear anyone speaking in the telephone. I just gave them the details and hoped they could hear me."
Remus's giggles turned into full gales of laughter. "You mean you just…faked…the…call?" he gasped out.
"They might have been able to hear me," Sirius insisted.
"I doubt it," Remus snickered. "Why don't you do what I suggested before and dial it again. Did you hear it ringing?"
"The phone. Did you hear it ringing at the other end?"
"How can I hear what is happening at the pizza place?" Sirius asked with confusion. "We're not there, we're here. If we were there we could just get a pizza and bring it home instead of using this contraption to get it sent here."
Remus buried his head in the cushion once more. This was just too easy.
Finally, Remus recovered himself long enough to explain the way the telephone worked again. "Do you hear a dial tone?" he asked after Sirius had picked up the receiver once more.
Sirius shook his head. "I don't hear anything."
Remus frowned and walked over to the phone. "Let me hear?" he ordered, holding his hand out for the receiver. Sirius looked reluctant to hand it over, but finally relented enough to hold the handset up to Remus's ear. "There's no dial tone," he said, trying to step past Sirius to look at the phone itself.
A few minutes of fiddling with the phone produced no results and eventually Remus checked the wires. "It's unplugged," he said as he pulled the cord out from behind the sideboard.
"Is that important?" James asked.
Remus rolled his eyes as he dragged the sideboard away from the wall and plugged the phone back in. "Try it now," he suggested.
Sirius picked up the receiver again and gave a very unmanly squeal when he heard the dial tone. "There's this weird sound," he said.
"Really?" Remus asked in mock surprise. "Do you think you can take it from here?"
"Of course," Sirius replied, snatching the menu back from James and dialling the number once more.
"Is it ringing?" James asked, leaning his head closer to Sirius so that he could try to listen in. Sirius nodded and pushed James away.
A moment later Sirius made a sound of triumph. "I can hear someone speaking!" he exclaimed. "It's like they're right here in the room. Wow!"
"What are they saying?" James asked as he tried to pull the receiver from Sirius's hand.
"Something about Mario's pizza. We don't want Mario's pizza though, we want ours."
Remus snickered from his seat on the sofa. Peter, who had returned to the room whilst Remus was getting the phone working began to laugh again. "That's the name of the pizza place," he told them. "They're introducing themselves so you know if you have the right number."
"Oh." Sirius flushed a little. "Hello Mr Mario. This is Sirius Black of London here. I'm here with James Potter, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew. We're all staying with Peter in his parents' holiday cottage. What?" Sirius looked confused for a moment. "I'm introducing myself and my friends…yes we want to order some food…okay…"
Sirius seemed a little put out by having his introductions and explanations cut short but wasted no time in giving the details for the order, this time remembering to give the address for delivery.
"When do we pay for the food?" he asked after he had hung up the phone.
"We pay the person who delivers it," Remus explained. "Thankfully Wormtail didn't give you all the funds this morning, so we have plenty to pay the delivery boy."
"Unless they take longer than thirty minutes," James crowed. "There's no way they can deliver from Italy that quickly."
Remus shook his head and exchanged an amused look with Peter. Their friends truly had no clue at all.
Twenty five minutes later the doorbell rang.
"That'll be the pizza," Peter said, turning to Sirius and James. "Do you want to get the door and pay for it?"
"It can't be that," James said. "They can't have got here from Italy so quickly."
Nevertheless, James and Sirius went to answer the door. Outside on the drive was a small moped and the delivery boy was on the step with two large pizzas. "You ordered two pizzas?" the youth asked.
Sirius nodded. "How did you get here so fast?"
"We aim to please," the youth said with a smile. "And we rarely have to give our food away."
Sirius pointed at the moped. "You came on that?"
"Sure did," the youth said as James fumbled with the money.
Sirius looked impressed, and were it not for the other deliveries the youth had to make, he would have proceeded to engage him in a lengthy discussion about the moped in an effort to discover how he had travelled to England from Italy so quickly.
"How is it they missed the address on the menu?" Peter whispered.
Remus smirked back at him. "How is it they manage to get through life without knowing anything about muggles?" he replied.
They were still laughing when James and Sirius opened the pizza boxes and the delicious aroma rose from the contents.
At least they weren't going to starve…at least not yet.