Sirius plays dress-up. He is not alone.

Illustrated on AO3; link in profile

"Lend him yours, then," the muggle was saying irritably in Snape's voice when Sirius approached him and Remus half an hour later.

Of course, he wasn't really a muggle. That was beyond improbable, and then there was the nose. Besides, he was transfiguring Snape's cloak into a frock coat, sighing regretfully (presumably at being a citizen of the twentieth century against his will), further transfiguring it into a thigh-length peacoat, and charming it brown.

Nothing had been done to alter Snape's face aside from the suggested healing-up and wash. His hair looked clean under the cap. Still limp, it was actually glossy, which made Sirius's eyes hurt a little. "It's not as though you'll be able to use it tonight anyway," he was saying. "But he's not taking that one out of this house."

"I could go with you," Remus was pointing out reasonably.

"I'm not exactly in disguise; they know me there," Snape said flatly. "It'll be hard enough to explain away one companion, let alone one who might turn into a bloody enormous full-grown 'dog' if the errand goes long."

"It couldn't possibly that you don't trust your own po—"

"You look in disguise to me," Sirius interrupted Remus's disingenuous needling, surveying Snape from soft cap to heavy boots to cable-knit tunic-thing to ratty grey scarf tied in a sloppy not-cravat. Remus's disingenuous needling was always fun, when not aimed at oneself, but Sirius had been promised OUT.

"And you look like a clown; I thought you were good at transfiguration," he was sniped at in return. "This is just… garb. It's not important for me to go unrecognized, and, in fact, I ought not to. We'll be going through a mixed area, and muggle clothes will attract less attention."

"...You've got your old quidditch boots on," Remus pointed out mildly.

"They'll just think I'm clinging to the rags and tags of a misspent youth," he said dismissively, adding with only moderately sadistic brightness, "Like Black."

"Then we're going? A clown is better than a dog?" Sirius teased.

"Yes," Snape admitted grudgingly, while Remus took on an indecipherable expression, "but still entirely unacceptable. I'll fix them. Your facial alterations look all right, but will they hold for a finite?"

"Double layers."

"What's the underlayer?"

"Same as the first."

"That's no good," Snape scorned him, as the clothes changed shape around him. "Same as the first with acne, or something of that nature, and the same below it if you can manage three. Lighten your hair to an unattractive shade under a really blond look, that sort of thing. I know looking vain isn't beyond your talents." Sirius flashed him a V, which he sneered at. "If there's a spell detector on, you want to make it clear to it why it's picking something up; that you have an innocent reason for walking around beglamoured."

Sirius jumped and nearly squeaked as his trousers shrank and stiffened. Then he grinned slowly, and said, "You just turned my father's trousers into jeans."


"Can they be bellbottoms?"

Remus stifled a laugh as Snape declaimed an appalled, "No!"

"But he would have hated it!"

"Not the point of the exercise." Snape drawled.

"No one wears those anymore, Sirius," Remus put in.

"Okay," Sirius said unbegrudgingly, despite having just been bloody magically goosed, "but here's the thing, Snape. I may not know how to dress like a muggle anymore, but you don't know how to wear color."

"I do, in fact," he snapped. "I know my trade, thank you so very—"

"Where did you get that monstrosity, anyway?" Sirius nodded at the jumper.

Snape looked like he wanted to argue the point for a minute, then sighed and muttered, "Albus."

"Made it himself?" Remus asked sympathetically, and got a gloomy nod. Remus nodded back, wincing.

Sirius assumed this was a Hogwarts staffroom in-joke. Or not-joke. "Why is it reaching for your knees?"

Snape looked scandalized. "We're not all panting to wave our tails in everyone's faces, Rex," he said acidly.

"Uh, okay, yeah, right, well, anyway. As I was saying, you're dressed like a blond," Sirius informed him while Remus made a valiant effort not to dissolve into snickers. "My precious coz La Peroxide can wear beige. You can't."

Snape stared, and uttered, "Livia beata," in an oh-good-Merlin tone. "Tell me, did you even bother experimenting with witches? I'm merely raveningly curious."

Sirius ignored the barb (if you could call it that) and Remus's stifled, treacherous (let's be honest) giggles, and took the victory. It didn't take a lot of imagination to see Narcissa fluting makeover! and teaching a fawn-kneed Sniv to wear pretty cravats and put on kohl and soften his nose with eyeshadow and introduce him to shampoo and brushes, throwing up her hands in despair and allowing him his blacks when all the colors she liked just washed him out.

Well, okay, maybe it did, but once you had it, the image just popped.

"Look, I'm just going to fix it so every bird and queer bloke you pass doesn't stare at you and wince in pity. Less likely to remember you then, right?"

Snape growled, but didn't actually stop Sirius from casting richer and more suitable hues across his skin, making his pallor less ashy and more inviting.

Remus discarded the rather pained there-really-is-no-hope-for-you-at-all look he'd been giving Sirius, in favor of delicately asking "Severus, er, I'm not sure how to put this, but… is this… all right? Going out together?"

"I'm exercising my intuition guided by experience," Snape said loftily. The expression looked ridiculous under the knit cap.

Actually, everything did; it made him look like a parrot. Sirius stole the abomination, deftly dodging defensively swatting hands. Snape was dressed for cold well enough without it, and everything looked good on Sirius; he could walk out in clothes James laid out for him while in a snit and look like a trend-setter.

…Everything had looked good on him. At least he still had better hair.

So did Hagrid.

"You mean, better to ask forgiveness than consent?" he translated, giving Snape an intrigued look instead of dwelling on his own ravaged frame.

"I mean as follows," Sniv answered, favoring them with a very crooked, nasty, oh how sorry you are going to be for asking smile.

"Well done, Paddy," Remus groaned, burying his face in one hand.

"I'm not expected to be on my feet yet," the prat bulldozed over him, clearly enjoying himself, "so no one will be looking for me. We're not going to anyone's known usual haunts. If you leave the damned wand home and keep to two legs you shouldn't trip any wires either. I don't have class till this afternoon today, as it's my turn to lose the first years to Madam Hooch's foul-weather flying class. Tomorrow is Saturday, so I can put off my grading for a few hours. After yesterday, I don't have anything on the simmer that isn't already irretrievably ruined. This needs to be done in case of emergency, and the only people who could reliably be trusted to stand escort shouldn't be asked to actively help flout the Manhunt for Sirius Black in case they're questioned cleverly. In summation—"

"Thank Merlin," they chorused, even though it was obviously going to make Snape bare all his teeth in inappropriately and glintily evil self-satisfaction, which it did.

"In summation," he repeated smugly, "I think we can probably get away with it."

"But Dumbledore—"

"I'll take responsibility with the Headmaster," Snape said flatly. "Obviously. He'll probably think it's charming, as risks go. Heel, Black."

"Ha ha," Sirius grumbled, meeting Remus's worried look with a grimace. "D'you mind, Moony?"

He took the wand and the sigh Remus gave him, swapping the former for his own, and also took to heart the murmured, "Be careful of you both, Padfoot. I don't know what he thinks he's running on, but it's not food or rest."

"What, still?" he asked, his turn to be disgusted, and then Snape had taken his arm and brusquely apparated them away. "Give a bloke some warning, Sniv," he suggested when the greyery (like greenery, only uglier) had stopped swirling and his stomach seemed less likely to come out his nose. "Where are we?"

"Nottingham. Just outside the Sherwood. The forest proper doesn't take apparition well." Dryly, "For some unaccountable reason."

"Sherwood," he blinked. That's when it hit him: OUTSIDE.

He instantly flopped onto his back, heedless of dirt, chill, and potential grass-stains. Sky. Merlin. Trees. SKY. He wanted to, he was going to, he HAD to roll, splay out and wag his tail and dig his fingers and toes into the dirt and smell EVERYTHING!