Sandy Beaches and Imaginary Cigarettes
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Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. I do not own Harry Potter, its characters, or anything associated with it. I'm not making any money from this story, and I don't intend to.
Challenge & Summary: Challenge #5: Snowmen! Sirius, being the decidedly less eloquent of the two, tries to tell Remus he loves him through snowmen. (Ever seen Calvin's snowmen from the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes? Yeah, except maybe less mutilation.) May include magical moving ones, coloured, badly sculpted ones, suggestive ones, full-out scenes, snowmen with personalities and who attempt blindly to have disturbing conversations with onlookers, etc. At the end, the two have a veritable crowd of melting snowmen outside. James's brilliant idea for a prank goes awry when Sirius and Remus conjure up magical snowmen... Hogwarts Era.
Author Notes: I haven't stuck exactly to the challenge (because I am incapable of following instructions) and so there are only two snowmen in the fic.
“But I don’t want to build snowmen,” Peter says glumly. The Marauders are standing next to the frozen lake, dressed in large overcoats on top of their pyjamas. The twinkling starlight is reflecting off the snow, bathing the four of them in an eerily pretty bluish glow. Peter clutches his blanket to his chest, scowling fiercely. Remus is still wearing his faded bedroom slippers, and Sirius is hiccupping softly, as he always does when he’s been woken up early. Only James is wide-awake, eager, and in control. He has the intense look of a leader in his eyes. It might also be the intense look of a hormonal teenage boy on a power trip, but in any case, it demands obedience. Predictably, James is trying to persuade them to participate in a last-minute winter prank. A battered leather satchel is slung over his shoulder. It contains numerous spellbooks, lumps of coal, carrots, raisins, wigs, glasses, pipes, scarves, ties, hats and other accessories, all to be used for “decorating” the aforementioned snowmen.
“These will not be run-of-the-mill, ordinary snowmen,” James retorts, brushing snowflakes out of his dark hair. “They will be walking, talking, singing, dancing, jumping, prancing…”
“Shagging,” Sirius interrupts sleepily. He hiccups. James nods in agreement, his face solemn.
“I get the picture,” Peter mumbles.
“Cheering, leering, endearing…”
“I get it,” Peter repeats sullenly. “You know a lot of words that rhyme.”
“… absolutely fantastic snowpeople.” James finishes proudly. He beams at his three best friends, who stare back at him silently. Sirius hiccups after a pause, startling everyone.
“Prongs,” Remus says quietly. “Prongs, it is two o’ clock in the morning, and what’s more… I can’t feel my feet.”
“Why on earth would you want to feel your feet?” James asks rhetorically, clapping Remus on the back. Remus stares at him incredulously. “Buck up Moony, it’s not that bad.”
“Te odeo, interfice te cochleare,” Remus mutters, looking down at his (once Gryffindor red, now faded to a slightly un-masculine pink) bedroom slippers. They are soaked through, and the dye in them is leaking onto the snow. His statement throws James a bit, leaving him more than a little bemused, but he grins confidently nevertheless, and turns to Sirius. Sirius, who appears to be the only one listening attentively to his speech. Now that’s something you don’t see every day. James smiles gratefully at his best friend, who hiccups twice in response and then burps loudly. James rolls his eyes in amusement.
“What’d Moony just say?”
“He’s swearing at you in Latin,” Sirius explains in a low voice, looking genuinely concerned. “He thinks it’s ‘less vulgar’ than doing it in English.”
“It’s his new thing,” Peter adds helpfully, blowing a large puff of steam out of his mouth while he talks. He watches it evaporate with fascination. There is another pause, during which no-one speaks. Peter huffs and puffs a few more times, creating three more small, white clouds of steam. After that successful experiment, he tries and fails to blow a smoke ring at Remus. “Wow.”
“Basically, we make snowmen, and then we charm them to take on the appearance of people,” James goes on, choosing wisely to ignore Peter’s typical distraction and Remus’s unexpected Latin. “Well, it’s kind of a mixture of the Animatus charm and the one for the Simulacra on inanimate objects… it’s complicated. You lot don’t need to understand it. But, as you know, somehow I managed to figure it out –”
A hurriedly packed snowball hits James squarely in the face. James blinks evenly, and spits out little clumps of snow and ice. Sirius examines his fingers serenely.
“Of course, by I, I mean Padfoot and I. Sirius did… some of it. A little. Mainly the research. But it was all my idea.”
“Was it also your idea to wake us up at the crack of dawn to execute your little prank?” Remus inquires, glaring at James. James smiles placatingly. The correct answer is Yes, but he’s almost positive that’s not the response Remus would like to hear.
“You always have good ideas, Prongs,” Peter says serenely, diverting everyone's attention. Remus looks up to heaven despairingly, and Sirius glances briefly at his friend. Then he does a double take.
“Wormtail… stop. Now. With the imaginary cigarette. It’s. Not. Cool.” Peter lowers his splayed fingers reluctantly, looking reproachfully at Sirius.
“Yes, but – it looks like smoke, if you pretend to take a drag on the end, right, and then you puff…”
“I get it. We all bloody get it. Excellent observation, ‘Tail.”
Peter looks wounded and turns to James. James the protector, James the provider, James, the glue that holds together the gears of Sirius and Peter’s entire friendship. James will sort Sirius out.
“Prooooongs,” he whines petulantly. It’s never overtly attractive when a fifteen year old boy acts like a five year old, and Peter is no exception. Already his face is getting pink and blotchy, and he's thrust out his lower lip as if he's about to have a temper tantrum. “Padfoot’s making fun of me. Again.”
“You looked like a twat,” Sirius murmurs through gritted teeth. He hiccups loudly and looks at James for confirmation of this fact.
James sighs tiredly, and strokes his chin in an impressively wearied manner. It’s not easy, being the leader, he thinks, gazing at Peter and Sirius reflectively. Have to keep these three in line, tell them what to do, put up with their Latin and their imaginary cigarettes and their Dungbo- hold on… is that hair?
What? No, it can’t be… Hair? On my chin?
Yes! Finally! Hair! Stubble! A beard! A goatee! A moustache! A WALRUS moustache! Hair! On my chin!
Peter stares at James, pawing his chin with a kind of frenzied excitement, and frowns darkly.
“I’m going inside now,” he announces, pouting. His blanket flaps in the breeze. Remus shivers.
“No,” James breathes heavily. “Don’t. Just – wait a sec. You don’t have a – um – mirror, do you? Like a little pocket… thing. Christ – um – do you have one?”
“No, not with me,” Peter replies slowly, his eyes darting nervously from side to side. “But I’ve got one in the dorm. Do you need it for the snowmen?”
“Kind of… yeah…” James lies, fingering his chin obsessively. “Hmm… Could I Accio it? No, it’d break…. Moony, Pads – would you two mind getting started on the… um…”
“Snowpeople.” Peter finishes helpfully. “You said snowpeople.”
“Yes.” James straightens up, and clears his throat officiously. “Padfoot, Moony, you just start making your basic snowmen. Nothing too elaborate, mind. When Wormtail and I return with the – ah- mirror, we’ll charm them to move.”
“You’re leaving us here, outside, to make some enchanted snowmen?” Remus asks, shuffling about in his sodden slippers in a vain attempt to keep warm. His teeth chatter as he talks. Sirius jerks his head slightly in Remus’s direction and Peter, preoccupied with James’s dilemma, hands Remus his blanket.
“Snowpeople,” James corrects, taking Peter forcefully by the arm. “Not too fussed about the gender. Come on, Wormtail. We’ve got a lot to do. Mirrors to fetch, beards to cultivate…”
James and Peter scurry off over the snow-covered grounds, leaving a trail of tiny imprints in the snow. From these tracks it is apparent that James is half-guiding, half-dragging Peter back to the castle. At one point in the journey, Peter breaks into an awkward jog, with James kicking at his heels and making loud exclamations. Sirius and Remus watch the pair go in silence.
“Guess we’d better start on the snowpeople, then,” Remus says uneasily, once James and Peter have disappeared from view. Sirius yawns noisily and excessively.
“Sod that. Snowmen? I’m going to sleep.” He eyes the blanket on Remus’s shoulders hopefully. “Can I have that to lie on?”
Without a word, Remus removes the blanket and lays it down on the ground. Sirius curls up on it gratefully. Remus smiles, watching him.
“You can bury me if you like,” Sirius mumbles, his eyes closed.
“What?” Remus is confused. Sirius wriggles around on the blanket, trying to get comfortable.
“You know… on the beach… when someone goes to sleep, you bury them until all anyone can see is their stupid head poking out, and then you put a plastic bucket over their head and run off laughing.”
“I think that’s sand, not snow.” Remus looks at Sirius’s huddled form archly. “You know it’s sand, right?”
Remus begins to use his bare hands to scrape the crumbly white snow at his feet into a ball. He’s never been to the seaside. James has, he went to Spain once when he was seven. He remembers it as being hot and Spanish, he says. Hot and Spanish, Moony, that’s the best way to describe Spain. Even Peter has been to the seaside, on the occasional family trip to visit his grandmother in Cornwall. Peter admitted privately that he doesn’t actually like to actually swim all that much, so he just “paddles a lot”.
Remus doesn’t know which seaside Sirius has been to, but he imagines it to have palm trees and coconuts and clear, sapphire-blue waters. And miles and miles of pure-white, sandy beaches.
“Sand… snow… same bloody thing.” Sirius mutters resentfully from the blanket. He opens one bleary eye to look at Remus. “Are you actually building a snowman?”
“Yes.” Remus looks down at the ball he’s been scraping up. It’s quite a good size, actually, considering he’s only just started. He’s been careful not to scoop up any grass either, so that there aren’t any annoying blotchy spots in his snowman’s complexion. “I… kind of want to build one now.”
“Well, why the feck aren’t you using a Shovelling Charm?” Sirius groans, rolling over onto his side. “Your hands’ll be like claws once you’ve finished, all frozen and hard.”
Despite the undisputable truth of this statement, Remus doesn’t stop or get out his wand. He simply continues scraping the snow, working furiously. Sirius shrugs.
“Just don’t come crying to me when your fingers turn black and drop off,” he mutters grumpily, and promptly falls asleep.
A short while later, Sirius wakes up again. Something is extremely odd. He doesn’t have a pillow, and his bed is decidedly wet. Sirius knows from experience that waking up to a wet bed is never the most pleasant of sensations, and sits up slowly, dreading the early-morning trek to the laundry room. Remus glances at him over the shoulder of a life-sized snowman.
“Oh, you’re awake,” he remarks thoughtfully. Then his expression changes from one of nonchalance to one of abject horror, and he darts in front of the snowman to hide it. “Don’t look!”
“Calm down, Moony.” Sirius grunts, averting his eyes reluctantly. Despite the insanely huge snowman, this isn’t a dream. He’s much too cold for this to be a dream. Then it all comes rushing back, Peter’s imaginary cigarette, the ‘snowpeople’ prank. “How long have I been asleep for?”
“I don’t know. It’s been about-” Sirius turns his head to gaze at Remus sleepily, and his best friend screeches in protest. “Don’t look! It’s not finished yet!”
“Ok, ok. Keep your hair on.” Sirius grins conspiratorially. “Oh, shit – do you know, the snow underneath the blanket’s all melted? I’m soaked.”
“You should have used the Impervius charm,” Remus sniffs primly. “Repelled the water.”
“Well, I would’ve if I’d thought of it,” Sirius complains childishly, casting the spell and watching the trickles of water drain away. “I’m sorry that we can’t all be logical geniuses like you.”
Remus turns bright pink, as he does every time Sirius pays him a compliment. Sirius, busy getting comfortable on the newly dry blanket, doesn’t notice.
“Have Prongs and Wormtail come back yet?”
“No.” Remus breathes deeply and goes back to sculpting his snowman’s head. “I think Prongs is hoping that if he stays away long enough, we’ll have done all the dogsbody work.”
“Fat chance,” Sirius laughs. “Well, the chance would be fat, if you weren’t so obsessed with perfecting your snowperson. What’s so special about it?” He cranes his neck to see it, and Remus yelps.
“Nothing’s special,” Remus insists, growing pinker by the second. “Just… I want it to be a surprise. Don’t look.”
“Fine,” Sirius grumbles. “I’ll just lie here, and avoid looking in your general direction until you tell me it’s okay. That do?”
“Yes, that would be nice,” Remus answers distractedly, absorbed in the work of framing the snowman’s shoulders. Sirius sighs.
“Will you at least tell me whether you’re making a snowman or a snowwoman?”
“That’s a bit unoriginal, isn’t it? No-one wants bog-standard male snowpeople any more. Snowwomen are all the rage this year, I’m told. We could enchant it to act like McGonagall. It’d be hilarious.”
“It’d be too weird.”
“What’d be weird? Making a snowwoman? A snowgirl? Snowbabe?”
“Why, for fuck’s sake?” Remus feels slightly irritated.
“Well, you’d have to know the proportions of a female body, for a start… you’d need to sculpt her chest and legs and-”
“Moony, this isn’t the bloody Mona Lisa! It’s a snowman, not a sodding work of art!” Sirius sits up and turns to look at Remus and his snowman. His mouth drops open. “Fuck me, it is a sodding work of art.”
“Don’t look,” Remus moans, agonised. He runs towards Sirius, blocking his view. He covers Sirius’s eyes with his hands. “Why did you have to look?”
“It’s fucking amazing,” Sirius whistles. He wrestles his head free of Remus’s fingers. “Moony, mate – your hands are frigid.” He grabs Remus’s hands in his own and blows hot air on them, rubbing them together. “Did you use magic for any of that?”
Remus shakes his head, and Sirius grins, deeply impressed.
“You’re a lunatic, Moony. Stark raving mad.” His dark brown eyes flash mischievously, and something deep in the pit of Remus’s stomach contracts. “Can I take a look at it properly?”
“No.” This comes out almost immediately after Sirius finshes the question. Sirius laughs nervously, taken aback.
“What do you mean, no?
“I mean, no. It’s crap. I don’t you want to see it.”
“I’ve already seen it, I just want to take a proper look at it!”
“You’ll hate it.”
“Moony, I’m hardly an art critic. Though I do know bad art when I see it. Do you remember when ‘Tail thought it was his calling to be an artist? And he drew this picture, and I said it looked like a grizzly bear making love to a hippo, and it turned out to be of him and James hugging?” Sirius is doubled up with laughter now, recalling the memory. He goes on. “And then Peter thought I was just being mean and he showed it to James, and James, he thought it was a… he thought…” Sirius pauses in his chuckles and glances up at Remus’s stony face. “Look, what I saw of it was brilliant. Just show it to me. I’m going to have to walk past it on my way back up to the castle, won’t I?”
Remus is silent.
“Well? Won’t I?”
“Thanks, you’re a star. A regular little shooting star.” Sirius kisses Remus on the cheek and leaps up excitedly. He dashes round to the front of the snowman, and peers at it in the dim light for a few. He screws up his eyes to see the facial features, and then his eyebrows shoot up past his hairline. “Hey - is that… me?”
Remus doesn’t answer, because it’s obvious that the snowman is Sirius. From the cocky, arrogant stance, to the cheerful, animated grin, to the tie hanging loosely from his neck, to the cigarette packet in his pocket, it’s simply Sirius. The real Sirius touches his snowself’s face in wonderment.
“Well, at least you didn’t give me a carrot for a nose,” Sirius jokes uneasily. His face is so perfectly sculpted, each line on his face matching a groove traced into the snow. And although the dishevelled wig Remus picked out isn’t as perfectly shaped and soft to the touch as Sirius’s real coiffure, he has to admit that this is a pretty good replica of him. It’s slightly unnerving how well Moony seems to know him – after all, someone who hadn’t been watching him incredibly closely wouldn’t be able to reproduce the line of his jaw, the curve of his shoulder… Sirius thinks back to what Remus said earlier. Well, you’d have to know the proportions of a woman’s body, for a start… How does Moony know the proportions of his body?
“You hate it, don’t you?”
Sirius looks over at Remus, who is huddled on the blanket, looking very small. Sirius comes back to the blanket, and puts an arm round him.
“I don’t hate it. I like it. I really, really do. I mean, it’s so good.” Sirius pauses, wondering what to say next. Remus sniffles.
“I’m so stupid.”
“You’re not stupid,” Sirius shushes. “You’re not. It’s just – well – Prongs kind of wanted the snowpeople to be funny, and that’s really not funny. You can’t take the mick out of something like that. But it still looks amazing, honest.”
“You know what I think we should do,” Sirius says brightly, drawing his wand. “I think we should make another snowman, one that everyone can take the piss out of. We’ll make a SnowRemus. And then we’ll enchant them and they’ll go round in a pair, wreaking havoc.”
“You said we’ll make a what?”
“A SnowRemus,” Sirius responds happily after casting the Shovelling charm. “Just like you made a SnowSirius, I’ll make a SnowRemus. Except mine won’t be nearly as good, but who the hell cares, right?” Sirius scurries over to James’s satchel and begins ferreting around for accessories. Remus watches him, open-mouthed.
“You’re making a snowman. Of me.”
“Yes, you twat, you.” Sirius glances over his shoulder and grins at the massive pile of snow his Shovelling Charm has produced. “Oh look, my snow’s almost ready. And to think you wasted all that time doing your snowman the Muggle way.”
Sirius carries an armful of items over to the SnowRemus. Remus can see a packet of raisins, wigs of varied and shocking hues, pince-nez, a scarlet bra and a long riding whip. This is not good.
“Now, now,” Sirius protests. “Turn around! Can’t have you watching while I construct my masterpiece, now can I?”
Remus doesn’t move. He’s too shocked. A transvestite wearing pince-nez, he thinks in horror. I’m going to be immortalised in snow as a transvestite who wears pince-nez.
“Turn around!” Sirius booms bossily. Remus does so, feeling numb, and lies down on the blanket. Behind him he can hear Sirius dressing him up. There’s the rustle of wigs as they’re tried on and discarded, a crack as the glass in something (hopefully the pince-nez) breaks, and the occasional exclamation of “Fuck! Why won’t this raisin stick?”.
“Oh, by the way,” Sirius remembers, just as Remus is beginning to doze off, “can I have your Prefect badge? Just for the… you know… air of authority?”
Remus fishes around on the inside of his overcoat and unpins his Prefect badge. He holds it out, trembling in the chill air. Sirius grabs it and pats Remus on the head affectionately.
“I knew you slept with it on!”
“To keep it safe,” Remus protests, his lips quivering in the cold.
“From who? Badge thieves?” Sirius bounds over to Remus and nearly lands on his stomach. “Get up, get up. I’m done. You’re done!”
Remus sits up groggily, feeling exhausted, cold, and not a little bit stupid.
“Pads, you didn’t have to make me a snowman, we didn’t even have to make snowmen in the first place, this is all getting a bit –”
“One,” Sirius interrupts, his eyes flashing dangerously, “you are not sufficiently excited, and two, I worked a long time on this SnowRemus, and you are going to look at him and love him, no matter what. Understood?”
Sure, you worked a long time, Remus thinks wryly. All of fifteen minutes.
“All right, let’s see this famous snowman, then.”
“SnowRemus,” Sirius corrects. “Or SnowMoony, if you prefer. Damn – I wish I had time to re-christen him! My one’s name works better because it alliterates, right? SSSnowSSSirius. But yours just sounds-”
“Enough,” Remus states firmly, standing up. “I’m happy. I’m excited. Let’s just look at this SnowMe, and go back up to bed. Agreed?”
“Agreed.” Sirius stands up, brushing snow off his pyjama bottoms. “Shall we turn around on three? One… Two… THREE!”
Remus turns around. The SnowRemus and SnowSirius standing in front of him, arms linked. They’re wearing identical grins. Admittedly, SnowRemus’s grin is made out of raisins and coal, but it’s still unnerving. And what’s even more unnerving is the way SnowRemus is kitted out. Remus stares at his snowself, disbelieving.
“O di immortales,” Remus pronounces.
“What on earth did you make yourselves for?” James thunders. Remus stares at James blearily. He’s sporting a wispy goatee – it makes him look rather like a billy goat. He’s covered in melting snowflakes and his cheeks are flushed. “And that monstrosity with the –”
“Don’t shout… at me…” Remus mumbles, sitting up in bed groggily. “Only… got about… five minutes’ sleep…”
“You really don’t understand the potential that prank had, did you?” James asks, shaking his head regretfully. “It could have been legendary, mate. Classic. Our names would be whispered in the hallways –”
“Yours will be, at any rate, with that beard,” Remus snaps. James looks slightly mollified.
“It is quite impressive, isn’t it?”
Remus can hear yells of delight and shrieks of laughter coming from outside. He doesn’t really care about joining in the frivolity, or finding out what they’re so excited about, but he needs to cut off the source of the noise, which is coming from the open window.
Ignoring James, who is busy scratching his beard thoughtfully – There’s probably loads of tiny lice living in it already, Remus thinks, shuddering – he staggers towards the window, grasps it with both hands, and is about to yank it downwards, when a snowball flies into his face.
“Snh…” Remus chokes on the snow and glares out the window, scanning the grounds for the culprit, his cheeks bright red. The SnowSirius stares back up at him with its frozen grin, and hurls another snowball. Remus ducks just in time, and the snowball hits James, who has come up behind him. James reacts the way he always does; he checks to see if anyone <strike>important</strike> female has witnessed his humiliation, and then fixes his hair.
“Who threw that?” Remus asks indignantly. He’s trying very hard not to throw a tantrum, but it’s difficult practicing self-restraint when he’s only had two hours’ sleep, a snowball’s just been lobbed at his face, and his only companion is his vain, self-obsessed, newly hairy best friend.
“Padfoot,” James mutters resentfully. Sirius, lying in the bed behind them, snores loudly. Remus gives James an odd look.
“Sirius… is right here.” He glances at Sirius, whose jet black hair is matted against his forehead, and fights against adding the slightly juvenile ‘Duh’.
“The other Padfoot. The one you two complete and utter twats made. Out of snow.”
Remus peers over the windowsill. The SnowSirius throws its arms up joyously and grins up at him, beckoning. It’s waving a tree branch in its snow fist. Peter, the rest of the Gryffindor boys and several small groups of students from the other houses are standing at a safe distance, giggling madly.
“MOOOOOOONY,” it booms menacingly. “I LOVE YOU. COME AND PLAY.”
Remus slumps onto the carpet, horrified. James crouches down next to him and pats his back soothingly.
“MOONY COME AND PLAY <U>NOW</U>!”
“He attacked me when I went outside to shut him up,” James tells him disparagingly. “Took that branch and lobbed what it called a Bludger at my head. And then he started chasing me on all fours, saying he wanted to ‘play’.”
Remus stares at Sirius, sleeping peacefully, tangled up in the sheets of his four-poster. He’s purses his lips, as if he’s blowing an imaginary raspberry. Remus hates him for enchanting the snowmen when he’d told him not to. He hates him for being asleep when a massive snow sculpture (that he enchanted) is professing its frozen love to him from the grounds outside. And he hates him for looking so excruciatingly adorable at the moments when Remus most wants to kick him. Hard.
“Sirius, you ponce, wake up!”
“Enervate,” James mutters, pointing his wand at Sirius. Sirius chokes on his pillow, and sits up instantly, spluttering indignantly.
“Prongs you wanker that hurts and I was having this amazing dream, and it was about-” He notices Remus, huddled under next to the window beside James, scowling at him. “Oh. Hello.”
“MOOOOOOOOOOONY. COME AND PLAY NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW.”
Sirius raises one perfect eyebrow.
“MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. NEE. MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. NEE.”
“Merlin, is that the SnowMe?” Sirius asks excitedly. He clambers out of bed with some difficulty and rushes over to the window. “Hey! Over here! Sirius!”
“SEE-REE-US!” The SnowSirius exclaims in its thundering monotone. The crowd outside squeals delightedly, turning to look at Sirius standing in the window. “WHERE MOONY, SEE-REE-US?”
Remus tugs at Sirius’s pyjama leg from the floor urgently. His hazel eyes widen.
“Don’t tell that thing to come inside.”
“I left Moony with you, Sirius,” Sirius tells the snowman comfortingly. “Didn’t you see him? He was the one wearing the tiara and the blazer.”
“Just what you’d wear,” James snickers. Remus punches him in the ribs.
“I NO SEE MOONY WHEN I WAKE UP. HE GO WHERE?”
“Where’d you go?” Sirius hisses down at Remus.
“I don’t know, you made the snow me,” Remus hisses back.
“Yeah, but it’s still the snow you. You have to know where you would go, it’s logical.” Sirius re-hisses irritably.
“Bloody great giant snowpeople aren’t remotely logical,” Remus answers, hissing slightly.
“I GO. WEE-LOW. I GO WEE-LOW, SEE-REE-US. FIND MOONY.”
“Yeah, do that,” Sirius calls back hastily, running a hand through his hair. The snowman turns around, heaving its icy legs across the ground inelegantly. Sirius flops down next to Remus and James, breathing heavily.
“Hey - with any luck the Willow’ll bash its head off and kill it. ” He stretches, yawning. “I’m done. ”
“Done?” Remus squeaks, not caring that his voice is a full octave higher than it should be. “Your snowman is stumbling round Hogwarts like some kind of Frankenstein’s monster trying to find me so that we can ‘play’ and you’re done? My snowperson is lost somewhere in the grounds, wearing that hideous outfit you put on it last night and you’re done?”
“O tempora! O mores!” Sirius cries, burying his head in Remus’s chest. James rolls his eyes at them, and Remus tries to prevent Sirius snuffling at his navel.
“Do you even know what that saying means?” Remus asks, shying away from Sirius’s head. There is a huge shout of laughter from the grounds outside, and Peter’s voice pipes up above the rest of the voices, inordinately horrified.
“THEY’RE KISSING! MOONY AND PADFOOT ARE KISSING BY THE WILLOW!”
“No, not a clue,” Sirius replies, answering Remus’s question. “But I feel it’s appropriate, given the circumstances.”
The snowmen are not kissing by the time Sirius, Remus and James have scrambled into proper clothes and out of the dormitory, and giving allowance for Peter’s tendency to exaggerate it’s not completely certain that they ever were, but the SnowSirius still has wrapped its arms around the SnowRemus and is hugging it tightly, resting its giant head against its shoulder. It’s not something that can just be explained away.
“MOOOONY.” It rumbles cheerfully. “MOOONY. SO HAPPY. MOONY.”
The SnowRemus is silent, but there is a faint rumbling coming from the vicinity of where it’s throat would be if it had one. Its tiara is lopsided and its blazer is covered in crumbly white snow. Its silver Prefect badge gleams in the sunlight, the engraved Remus Lupin winking at them. They’re completely oblivious to the Whomping Willow sapling lunging ferociously at their backs, fortunately missing every time. The crowd gathered round the cuddling snowmen make silent faces and point at the boys, mouthing questions about the snowmen. Sirius ignores them, obviously choosing to pretend that nothing is out of the ordinary.
“If you hadn’t taken my Prefect badge, then no-one would have known it was me,” Remus mutters regretfully, looking daggers at Sirius.
“Course they would,” James whispers. Remus’s mouth drops open, about to point out the pince-nez, the unexplained moustache, the tiara. The insane fright wig. James interrupts him before he can get out a single syllable. “It’s wearing a tweed blazer.”
Remus shuts up.
“I still wish it would fall in the lake and drown,” he grumbles eventually. The SnowSirius turns round at the sound of his voice, letting go of the startled SnowRemus.
“No,” Remus croaks, terrified. He points a trembling at the silent SnowRemus. “Behind you, that’s Moony. You. You’re Moony.” The SnowSirius looks from the tweed blazered and frosty white Remus, to the horror stricken, shaking one, apparently confused.
“I CONCUR, I AM MOONY.” The SnowRemus agrees. It stares blankly at the real Remus, who makes a mental note never to grow a moustache. Even though his snowman’s ‘tache has been constructed out of raisins, he doubts actual facial hair would be more flattering. The SnowSirius, unable to tell between them, looks at Sirius for help.
“That one’s your Moony,” Sirius confirms, pointing at the tiara-wearing snowman in front of him. The SnowSirius appears to pout, and tugs at the tie around its neck.
“WANT MOONY. CON-FOOZED.”
“Me too,” Sirius responds soothingly. “I think you and Moony should go somewhere where it isn’t confusing. Somewhere nice and warm together. Like Brazil. I went there when I was ten and I stayed at the beach all day and it was wicked.”
That’s the seaside Sirius went to, Remus thinks. That’s where he learnt how to put buckets over people’s heads and run off laughing.
“BRA-ZILL. WE GO TO BRAZILL.” The SnowSirius offers its white hand to the SnowRemus hopefully, which gazes at it in an appraising sort of way.
“Go to Brazil with Padfoot,” Remus tells him. “Then bury him in the sand.”
“I CONCUR. BRA-ZILL.” The SnowRemus takes the offered hand gingerly and looks over its shoulder at James, who pales visibly. “WHICH WAY BRA-ZILL?”
“South,” Peter answers eagerly, trying to be helpful. A tall Ravenclaw girl sneers at him, and he falters. “It’s by… by the… Equator. And Argentina.”
“It’s that way,” Sirius interrupts, saving the situation. He points in the vague direction of Hogsmeade. A Hufflepuff first-year standing in the snowmen’s path yelps and scuttles over to his friends. “If you just keep going, you’ll reach Brazil in no time.”
The two snowpeople nod curtly at Sirius and begin to make their way eastwards, to Hogsmeade. The gang of students watch them leave in silence. A particularly foolish Slytherin boy throws a snowball at their retreating backs, but it falls several metres short. After shuffling around for a couple of seconds in the cold, most of them congratulate Sirius and Remus on their performance and hurry back inside the castle for Sunday breakfast, Peter at the forefront of the throng. James suddenly remembers he has a prior engagement (‘Fuck! Quidditch practice! Fuck!’). Soon only Sirius and Remus are left standing in the snow next to the Whomping Willow, which seems to have given up all hope of connecting with one of its branches with a body, and is only making half-hearted swipes at them when it thinks they aren’t looking
“Think they’ll ever reach Brazil?” Remus asks thoughtfully. The snowpeople have already disappeared from view.
“Nah, the spell is going to wear off long before they get out of the grounds,” Sirius answers, blowing on his hands to keep them warm. “And they’ll melt, you twat.”
“It would be quite nice if they made it to the seaside, though…” Remus trails off and glances at Sirius. “What on earth are you doing?”
“Smoking an imaginary cigarette,” Sirius answers, exhaling a long plume of steam and blowing it upwards into the air.
“I can see that,” Remus says patiently. “Why?”
“It looks like smoke, if you pretend to take a drag on the end, and then you puff…” Sirius ‘removes’ the invisible cigarette from his lips and offers it to Remus. Remus looks at it, then into Sirius’s earnest grey eyes. He sighs resignedly, and takes a drag on the air.
“Not bad, eh?” Sirius asks. Remus ignores him, and turns to go back to the castle. Sirius stubs the cigarette into the snow with his toe and jogs to catch up. “I think I’ll be smoking a pack a day from now on.”
Remus ignores him.
“Although they’re doing awful things to my lungs,” Sirius continues hopefully. He affects a hacking cough. “All those imaginary toxins… clogging up my arteries…”
Sirius stops abruptly in the middle of a particularly violent coughing fit.