PG, 750 words
Gen, actually (how did that happen?)
Summary: Peter arrives and now the holiday can really begin, though that means nothing but embarrassment for poor James Potter.
Remus is just setting out glasses on the table when Peter whirls in through the fireplace.
‘Your timing is impeccable, as always – dinner in five minutes!’ Remus laughs, walking over to clutch Peter in a warm (but very manly, of course) hug.
‘I try,’ replies Peter, grinning. ‘Where’re the lord and lady of the house?’
‘Just in the kitchen.’
‘Wonderful, wonderful.’ Peter collapses into a chair, sighing deeply. ‘It’s just mad at the Ministry at the moment – everyone on edge constantly, information channels completely blocked – it’s a wonder I could even get this time off!’
Remus frowns in sympathy. ‘I don’t know why you stay on there, I really don’t.’
Peter shrugs. ‘I know, mate. But Dumbledore wants as many people keeping an eye on the Ministry as he can – especially Crouch, his tactics have been dubious at best recently.’
‘Well, not to worry – you’re here now. Can I get you some water?’
Peter grimaces. ‘Going to need something stronger than that, Moony – got any Firewhiskey?’
‘We are in the house of James Potter, are you kidding? I’ll go grab some now.’
He leaves, passing Sirius who’s carrying a tray of cutlery.
‘Wormtail!’ he yells happily. ‘Good to see you, mate. How are you?’
‘Oh, you know – same old, same old. Yourself?’
‘Me? I’m bloody brilliant! This week’s going to be fantastic, you know.’
Peter smiles wearily. ‘Yeah, it will. I just need some sleep, can’t remember the last time I had a full night.’
Sirius grimaces and thumps Peter on the shoulder.
‘Where’s Remus?’ Peter asks suddenly.
‘Huh? He just went to grab you a drink,’ answers Sirius, confused.
‘Oh, yeah… course,’ says Peter, looking thoughtful.
‘What?’ Sirius asks sharply. ‘Something wrong?’
Peter looks up again. ‘Hmm? Oh no, it’s nothing.’
Sirius stares at Peter, who merely shakes his head and looks blandly at a portrait on the wall before Remus comes back with a glass.
‘Brilliant, Remus, cheers!’ Peter says with relish, accepting the drink and downing most of it in one gulp.
Remus looks sideways at Sirius, who appears lost in thought.
‘Sorry? Oh, right. Nothing.’
Then James and Lily come in bearing platters of food, and the evening begins. Sirius compliments Lily profusely on her potatoes, before she drops the bombshell that they were cooked the Muggle way. Sirius can’t help but look horrified, and everyone laughs – some habits die hard when one is a disowned pureblood aristocrat.
After dinner they retire outside to the Potters’ terrace, where they sprawl out in deckchairs and fondly relive the old days. Lily leans forward and suddenly there’s a roaring fire in front of them, and she slyly produces five sticks with marshmallows on them, to general adoration. All of them fail to notice the gnats moving around in the twilight, but they will in the morning when the whole company will wake up with assorted bites all over their anatomies.
Sirius narrates at length the time when James tried to sneak into the girls’ dormitory through the window and instead ended up being sucked down a chute straight into McGonagall’s quarters.
‘And the best bit?’ crows Sirius, and James slides even further down his chair, face resembling the red stripes on said item of furniture. ‘She was getting dressed at the time – Prongs here has seen McG in a corset.’
Lily, who hasn’t heard this story, shrieks and claps her hand to her mouth, before she looks over at James and promptly bursts into hysterics.
‘It’s not funny!’ James protests. ‘I am scarred. Scarred, I tell you! But no, you don’t care, you just wish to laugh at my misery.’
‘Personally,’ says Peter with a lecherous leer, ‘I think it was deliberate on McGonagall’s part. I think it was all part of the, err, punishment, if you know what I mean.’
‘He has a point, you know,’ says Remus mildly, ‘there’s a rather mysterious gap in time after that. James was attempting to shimmy over to you at about nine o’clock, and he didn’t return until after midnight.’
‘I was drowning myself in the Lake, you perverted little man.’
Lily by now is gasping for breath and holding her sides. ‘Oh, James, I had no idea! Are there many more stories like this?’
Sirius cackles. ‘Why do you think we’re really here? You’ve got to know what sort of father your child is going to be afflicted with.’
Lily nods seriously. ‘Absolutely, this really is vital information you’re sharing with me – true friends, all of you.’
‘I’m moving to Timbuktu,’ James mutters under his breath. Everyone cheerfully ignores him.