Fandom: Harry Potter
Word count: 1,079
Summary: A few moments of domestic shenanigans on Christmas Eve.
Notes: For rs_small_gifts. Originally posted here.
Cheeks flushed with liveliness, Remus unlocks the door to their flat and stamps his boots on the Welcome Mat. Ordinarily, the mat would start complaining about everyone walking all over it if it was in a melancholy mood, or singing rude limericks if it wasn’t, but Remus had cast a Silencing Charm on it last week so powerful that Sirius hadn’t yet been able to undo it. Sirius had been disappointed at the undoing of his prank, of course, but Remus is only glad the neighbors have stopped complaining about them.
Sirius bounds up the stairs behind Remus in Animagus form and mimics Remus’s stamping with his great black paws, which are gloved in mud and snow. Then he casts a sad look at the Welcome Mat, and a sly look at Remus, who knows exactly what’s coming next.
“Oh, don’t,” he says without much force, because it’s hopeless trying to stop Sirius from doing anything, especially when he’s in such a good mood.
As predicted, Sirius throws back his shaggy head and howls as loud and unhindered as he used to when they ran together under the silvery cast of the full moon. A pleasant shiver of memory crawls up Remus’s spine like fur, and a laugh tugs at the corners of his lips, and it takes everything he has to mold his face into sternness.
“Bad dog,” he grumbles for the neighbors, who always wonder why he and that lovely young chap he lives with don’t ever walk their dog together. Might take two to keep him in hand, they say, but Remus always shrugs and never tells them it takes at least three – one of whom must have antlers – though an army is always a better bet.
Satisfied, Sirius noses open the door and gambols into the flat, tail wagging, tongue lolling, muddy footprints spattered all over the floor looking like sloppy instructions for a dancing bear. His mess hardly seems calculated, until Remus notices the wide berth he’s given the enormous Christmas tree, with its needles as thick as your fingers and a modest stack of presents carefully arranged but hopelessly dwarfed underneath. (But that monstrosity of a tree is the sort of thing that happens when you take someone impressionable to see “The Nutcracker.” Though Remus hadn’t exactly discouraged him when he’d put the Undetectable Extension Charm on the ceiling. The presents had remained small due to the wards he’d put around them to prevent peeking.
“But you like being surprised!” Remus had exclaimed once many years ago, when he’d first started paying attention to such things.
Sirius had looked startled, and then grinned. “Yeah,” he’d agreed, “but it’s only fun if the surpriser has to work a bit to surprise the surprisee.”
Because what Sirius secretly likes best is being outfoxed by a worthy opponent. It’s no fun, he says, being clever when there’s no one else clever enough around to appreciate you. Which is probably why he and Remus work so well: Sirius and James think so much alike, they’re rarely at opposite ends.)
Once Remus shuts the door behind him, Sirius jumps up and rests his paws on Remus’s shoulders.
“Don’t think I’m snogging you like that.” Remus laughs as Sirius gives his face one big lick. “I don’t care if there is mistletoe. Even a hundred sprigs of mistletoe and a crowd of aggressive traditionalists egging me on couldn’t change my mind.”
“That’s good,” Sirius says, shifting seamlessly, and Remus’s heart flips over in that stupid way he’s never been able to reign in. “I mean, since your face is covered in dog slobber. And we always thought you were the clean one, Moony.”
“Hardly a chance you’ll be taking my place,” Remus comments wryly, eyeing Sirius’s hands, which are still on Remus’s shoulders, and still covered in mud – which means there’s mud on the floor, the sofa, and Remus’s favorite cable-knit jumper.
Sirius places one grubby hand over his heart. “I embrace my filth. I don’t believe in putting on airs.”
Remus snorts. “Oh, you never.”
Sirius gestures grandly to the tiny kitchen behind him. “Indeed! Which is why you, and not I, shall be roasting the Christmas turkey tomorrow for Prongs & Co., because I... cannot cook! But let us not forget that it is only thanks to my fabulous efforts that we can afford this most splendid bird in the first place!”
Which is completely untrue, since James had bought the turkey himself, and had only thrust it at them after Lily had refused to cook it herself, saying that she shouldn’t have to just because she was the only female of the lot of them. Nevermind that she’d helped her mother do it for years.
Remus crosses his arms. “We could’ve afforded it just fine without you performing in the park every afternoon this week, thank you very much. Those people probably only paid us because they thought I was homeless, and you were some half-mad stray I rescued from a dustbin.”
Sirius scoffs in mock offense. “I am an acrobat, and an artist. No other dog can do a somersault through a hoop or pull a rabbit from an ugly top hat. That, my dear Moony, is why they showered us in gold.”
Remus feels himself grinning again. “Oh, hush, you.”
Sirius raises his arms over his head with a wicked gleam in his eye. “I shall not be silenced!” he cries, as both a challenge and an invitation, and an exclamation of joy, and then he darts out of the door again.
Remus will chase after Sirius until his heart is full to bursting, and then they will collapse together in some as yet undetermined stretch of snow, lying there while the cold Christmas air tries and fails to bite the tips of their noses, thinking of the leftover ham and mince pies they will share later that evening as the wireless crackles to the tune of the fire and blinking fairy lights, and realizing that the world has never been so crisp and beautiful as in that moment.
Sirius pokes his head back inside. “Aren’t you going to follow?” he asks, his eyes suddenly unsure and a little hurt that his game seems not to have been taken up at once.
Remus shakes his head and pulls on his mittens. “Of course I’m going to, you silly mutt. Merlin help me, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop.”