PG-13, 2150 words
Summary: The Hogwarts administration takes an unprecented step to combat the sheer level of mess in the school, enforcing a week of Muggle heavy-duty cleaning, which may or may not have anything to do with Lily Evans.
Note: This is complete insanity, unabashed madness. Fun as heck to write though.
Remus had become so distracted by this futile quest for anything clean to wear that he started to spin around in a small, frantic and rather pitiful circle, hands flying around uselessly.
‘Sirius, for the love of McGonagall, where are, oh, half of my clothes?’
Sirius lay with his head stuck out of the curtains, sticking his tongue out and watching Remus’ plight without feeling the slightest inclination to give him a hand.
‘Hmm, you must have left them in my bed, why not come back and have a look?’
Remus didn’t even bother looking at his useless waste of space idiotic boyfriend who obviously had no consideration for the fact he was utterly without any sort of clean shirt, and would probably only make another lewd remark if this were mentioned.
At that point, Lily appeared at the door, prompting a customary yelp from Sirius, who said that having girls in the dormitory was just unnatural, which was normally the moment James chose to have dark mutterings about what exactly was unnatural, and normally there would be wrestling, and if Peter was in the room you could guarantee that he’d get hurt somehow – how, they still hadn’t worked out after seven years.
Remus pre-empted any of this being discussed yet again. ‘Lily, good morning! And what can we do for you?’
Knowing Remus to be the only sane person in the room at the present time, Lily decided to ignore Sirius completely.
‘Remus. Dear, sweet, good Remus. Pray tell, are you aware of any of my possessions that may or may not be in this hellhole of a dormitory?’
‘No, I can’t say I am. Mind you, I don’t know where any of my own stuff is, so that’s hardly surprising. What sort of possessions are we talking about?’
‘Books, quills, clothing – no, Sirius, not that kind of clothing, the fact that various undergarments of mine have disappeared I am blaming on James and James alone, because none of the rest of you would have the balls, I don’t think.’
Remus shook his head vigorously, marvelling that after all of this time Lily could still put the fear of, well, women into him.
‘Dammit! This school is ridiculous – I swear it makes things grow legs. Right, on with the quest I suppose.’ Lily marched out again, shutting the door again with rather more force than was truly necessary.
Sirius made some sort of noise that was presumably meant to mock Lily’s ‘strop’ in an amusing way. It failed, as far as Remus was concerned.
‘You’re an idiot.’
‘You love it!’
‘Shut up. I’m stealing your shirt.’
‘Moony, Moony, what kind of crook are you? You don’t inform your anticipated victims of your intentions before the deed, you fool!’
‘I don’t care. Right, I am going – try not to chew your own leg off with only yourself to turn mad.’
Remus whisked himself down the stairs, ignoring the yell of ‘Remus Lupin, you are a cruel, cruel man!’
Lily appeared to be no longer searching for anything. Instead, she sat right in the middle of the common room, with a very smug look on her face.
‘Ah, Remus. I have a plan.’
‘Spring what??’ shrieked James as his eyes boggled at the notice board.
‘Cleaning. Spring cleaning. Without magic!’ groaned Peter in the tones of one who knows he is utterly doomed.
‘What’s all this?’ asked Sirius, far too casually in the face of imminent destruction, as he came through the portrait from lunch.
‘Oh hello, Padfoot!’ sad Remus chirpily. ‘We’re just looking at this little notice which says all of the Houses are going to spring clean their common room and dormitories – they’re making it into a competition, isn’t that nice?’
‘Bollocks, you’re making it up.’ Sirius shoved his way to front, ignoring the children felled in his wake. His jaw slacked as his eyes drifted to the bottom of the page. ‘ “The level of mess throughout the school is utterly unacceptable – failure to comply with the week’s activities will be severely punished.” Bloody hell! Well, I’m still not doing it.’
‘No, Pads, don’t do that to me!’ pleaded James miserably. ‘I’m Head Boy, I have to do it – you can’t abandon me like that!’
Sirius took a deep breath. ‘Ok, fine. You owe me one, Prongsie-boy.’
‘I’ll be sure to make it up to you, provided we survive the week – I think the chances of that are pretty small.’
‘ “Activities start first thing tomorrow morning – implements will be provided.” Implements?? What are they going to make us do?’
‘Oh, Wormtail, cheer up!’ beamed Remus. ‘This will be fun! Just think of all the valuable life skills we will gain – just think, you three might finally be able to learn how to magically pack your trunks properly.’
Sirius, very calmly, gave Remus the biggest shove-and-punch manoeuvre he’d administered since Fifth Year, when Remus had tried to enforce his Prefectly authority for the first time.
Peter sat miserably at the end of his bed, fabric hanging limply from his outstretched hands.
‘Prongs,’ he mourned. ‘It’s pink. It’s frilly.’
‘I know, mate, I know,’ James consoled, patting him solemnly on the back. ‘Chin up, Gryffindor spirit, all of those good things.’
‘What I don’t understand,’ remarked Sirius, eyeing his feather duster from a safe distance, ‘is how Remus is the only one who ended up with something decent. By rights, you know, should be Prongs with the broom – far more fitting than you, you barely go five feet up without squeaking.’
‘I do not squeak,’ answered Remus with supreme dignity. ‘Which is more than I can say for some.’
James interrupted Sirius’ inevitable retort. ‘Gentlemen, enough. It is time to lay down our pride, to forsake our dignity, to sacrifice our manhood. Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, and Padfoot – it is time to clean.’
Well, that certainly added a sense of prestige to the proceedings.
They scrubbed, they swept, they polished, they wept. The entire Gryffindor student population flew through the tower like so many be-aproned bees, with the single-minded, grim determination to do this properly, because if Slytherin, the ambitious bastards that they were, beat them at this ridiculous endeavour, life at school would be unbearable.
Day 1 was dedicated to windows and surfaces, Day 2 to all sheets, upholstery and hangings, Day 3 saw floors and rugs and a special task force assigned to the Fat Lady’s portrait. On Day 4, they ventured into the bathrooms, and it was rumoured that some First Years were unable to emerge for several days, and didn’t regain the ability to communicate verbally until after a long and soothing spell in the hospital wing. Day 5, Gryffindor discovered to its horror it had been assigned the Owlery to clean.
‘This is so… bloody… unfair!’ panted Sirius as he nearly overbalanced in between two beams. ‘Ravenclaws have the library – the library! Why couldn’t we have got the library – don’t you dare answer that, Remus Lupin…’ A nearby owl, thoroughly disgruntled by this whole event, took off through the window closest to Sirius’ head, clipping him soundly round the ear as it went.
‘AAAAAAH! That – is – it! Moony, please, you’ve got to help me, I can’t take it any more, please, please, I’m going to go insane – the owls, Moony, the owls!’ Sirius was raving now, and he grabbed onto Remus like a drowning man.
Lily sashayed past. She’d been doing an awful lot of sashaying, all week in fact. She appeared to have taken it upon herself to micromanage every single student in her House, ensuring they were up to scratch. She also constantly carried a basket, into which she placed all items that had previously been misplaced, with stern warnings where appropriate. She had often attempted to rope James into the proceedings, but he had eventually won out with the argument that he would rather be there doing the dirty work with the common soldiers.
‘Hello everyone, how is it going over here?’
‘Lily,’ gasped Sirius, releasing Remus unceremoniously and throwing himself at her feet. ‘Please, have mercy on my pitiful soul. I cannot clean any more, I can’t do it, otherwise I’m going to go out of my tiny mind.’
‘Oh Sirius, but you’re doing so well! Come on, don’t flag now – just a couple more days, and it will all be over. Besides, I am utterly powerless, you know I can’t do anything.’
‘Bollocks,’ said Sirius with feeling, leaping up again. ‘I know you’re involved, somehow. I can tell, you are far, far too happy about all of this. And you as well, Moony,’ he snapped suddenly, whirling around. ‘You’ve had that ridiculous smug smile on your face all week. So, let it be known that I am blaming all of the pain and suffering of this week on the pair of you. Scheming fiends… I will have vengeance, rest assured.’
‘Sirius, I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ Lily replied sweetly. ‘Do you, Remus?’
‘No, I think the excess of clean has finally got to him, poor sod.’ Remus shook his head sadly. ‘It’s a terrible thing, really.’
Sirius collapsed back onto the floor, then swore extravagantly as he realised he’d landed in a big pile of owl poo. ‘I hate you all,’ he glowered.
‘Ah, well isn’t that nice?’ remarked Remus airily to Lily.
‘Oh yes, absolutely charming, that Sirius Black.’
Sirius’ arms flailed woefully, as he appeared to lose the ability to stand upright at all.
Lily sighed. ‘Well, that’s just sad. Alright, Sirius, you’re off the hook here.’ With a muttered spell, the rest of Sirius’ and Remus’ allotted area cleaned itself. Chuckling to herself, she disappeared, leaving Sirius with his mouth hanging open in a way that was really only attractive to Remus.
‘Well, Padfoot, it appears we suddenly have a free afternoon!’
‘Why, Moony, I believe so. Now, usually I would have any number of ideas for ways to amuse ourselves communally, but you know, I just can’t forget what a traitor you’ve been this entire week,’ said Sirius sadly. He adopted a facial expression that was probably meant to resemble a long-suffering, martyred angel. Really, he just looked as though he’d eaten too much cake.
‘Oh, I see. Well, if that’s the case I’d best be off – things to do, places to go.’ Remus attempted to whistle as he strolled away, but sadly it was never his forte, and so what ought to have been the Marauders’ preferred version of the school song instead sounded a bit more like Nearly Headless Nick attempting to read poetry, which always seemed to involved an awful lot of dramatic noises and wheezing around the subject.
‘Wait, what? Remus, come back!’ Sirius started to run after him, then somehow managed to get his foot in a bucket, whereby he found himself on the floor for the third time in as many minutes. ‘Bastard,’ he muttered to himself. ‘Sly, evil, clean bastard!’
When Sirius finally managed to extricate himself from myriad cleaning appliances, he returned to the dormitory to discover Remus sitting serenely on the bed, happily looking at a pile of clothes in front of him.
‘Look, Pads! It’s all of my stuff back! And some kind soul has folded them all up for me. Isn’t it nice to know there’s still some charitable spirit in the world?’
‘Err, yes,’ said Sirius warily, looking Remus up and down for signs of insanity. No dribble, that was good; all of his clothes were affixed correctly, also good. Apparently, just Moony being Moony, then.
He plonked himself down next to Remus - his Remus, as he always still thought rather giddily. ‘Well, I suppose that wasn’t that bad, in the end.’
‘I think Peter in that apron alone made it completely worth it.’
‘Err, not sure about that – I was considering getting a quick Obliviate for that one,’ shuddered Sirius.
‘It made the week more interesting, anyway.’
‘It did at that. And I’m sure we’ve all learnt our lesson, Professor Moony.’
‘That’s the spirit!’
‘It’s knackering, Muggle cleaning, though. Don’t know how they put up with it.’
‘Yes, yes, it’s a wonder they keep going at all, I know.’
Sirius looked at Remus quizzically for a moment. ‘I really love you, you know. What on earth is that about?’
Remus laughed. ‘Hah, it’s worse for me – being devoted to a git like you? It’s a wonder I’ve turned out so well.’
‘Hmm, Prongs and Wormtail probably won’t be back for a while,’ noted Sirius, consulting his watch. ‘Seeing as we’ve got the setting the stars alight with the passion of our romance bit out of the way, fancy a shag?’
‘Goodness me, what a charmer you are, excuse me while I swoon,’ cackled Remus, rolling his eyes. He paused to consider the offer for a moment. ‘Yeah, go on then,’ he agreed, struggling to suppress a ridiculous beaming smile.