“How did you get a Playboy
?” Remus questioned Sirius.
He frowned and said, “If you want a copy, I’ll give one to you.”
The werewolf went a bright shade of red and he all but shouted, “I don’t want a copy!”
James was sprawled on the bed beside the magazines, flicking through them appreciatively. It was as though Remus and Sirius no longer existed to him; Playboy
had taken over his mind and brainwashed him.
“You’re underage, you’re not meant to have them. You didn’t force a Muggle into doing it, did you?” Remus said weakly.
Sirius blinked in surprise and lied, “Me? Of course not. I’m an honourable citizen.”
James would have snorted if his nose wasn’t buried in some woman’s-
“Sirius, tell me the truth,” Remus said in a sharper tone.
Sirius hated it when Remus spoke like that. Remus could always make Sirius tell him anything, just by changing his voice and looking at him with those serious grown up eyes. He supposed that maybe Remus was the responsible, caring mother he had never had- not that Remus would have been happy to know that.
“I didn’t force
her,” Sirius finally relented. “I have to do her a favour.”
“Her?” Remus asked, wondering what kind of girl would help Sirius, of all people, buy a copy of Playboy
“Yeah, she wants me to take her around London since she’s new here,” he explained and Remus’ brow furrowed in confusion.
“But Padfoot, she’s a Muggle.”
“Hey, just because they can’t use magic doesn’t mean you have to look down on them.”
“No, I didn’t mean it like that,” Remus interrupted quickly. “I meant you’re going to have to take her to all the Muggle tourist places.”
Sirius looked bored out of his mind. “And?”
“Do you even know where Big Ben is?” he asked in exasperation.
James stopped looking at a very pretty brunette to glance over at Sirius and noticed the numbers scrawled on his palm. “What’s on your hand, Padfoot?”
“Mm, not sure actually. Kit said it was her mow-bile number,” Sirius said, the foreign word rolling off of his tongue strangely.
“Have you called her yet?” Remus asked.
There was a long silence.
Remus changed his question. “Do you know how
to call her?”
“Of course I do. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet,” Sirius lied.
With a sigh, Remus asked, “Do you want to go call her now?”
“Hm, that’s an idea. Why don’t you come with me, Moony?” Sirius suggested.
This of course meant that Sirius had absolutely no idea what a telephone call was, how to make one or even where to find a telephone booth and he wanted Remus to show him what to do. Of course, Sirius would never say this straight out (he was much too proud and devious) but over the years Remus had learned how to recognise Sirius’ words for what they really were.
“Of course I’ll come with you,” Remus said, with so much enthusiasm that it would be hard for anybody not to realise he was being fake.
Sirius beamed at him.
“Well, hello to you too, Kit. Is that how you greet people all the time?”
“…who are you?”
“Sirius. Sirius Black.”
“If this is a racist joke, it’s not funny.”
“What? No! I’m serious - argh, I mean – I’m the guy you bumped into today at the convenience store.”
“You mean at Circle K?”
“The place where they sell Playboy
“…yeah, I remember you.”
“Nobody forgets Sirius Black. Anyway, what I meant to ask you was when and where you wanted to meet up for our date-”
“It is not
“Sure, sure; when and where?”
“How about tomorrow?”
“You’re that eager to see me?”
“Forget tomorrow then, how about this time next year?”
“No, no, I was just joking. Tomorrow’s fine; I’ll see you outside the convenience store?”
“You mean Circle K?”
“Yeah. That place.”
“See you tomorrow for our date-”
The nearest payphone to the Potter residence was about half an hour away, so Remus and Sirius had to wait for the Knight Bus to come along and pick them up. You could never make Sirius stand in one spot for too long, because he would soon start fidgeting and getting impatient, and then he’d eventually start to drive Remus insane. The only way to keep Sirius occupied was to talk to him- though sometimes that was worse than the alternative.
“So, what’s the name of the girl?” Remus ventured.
Sirius clasped his hands behind his head and leaned against a tall lamp post, staring up at the dark starless sky. He replied, “Her name’s Kit Asou. I think she’s a foreigner, but she’s pretty decent.”
“The name sounds Japanese,” Remus mused, completely ignoring Sirius’ latter comment.
Sirius added, “She speaks perfect English, though. She’s got a bit of an accent, but I don’t really know what it is. Do you know what Japanese people sound like?”
“No, I don’t know much about Asia actually,” Remus admitted and this came as a slap in the face to Sirius.
Sirius insisted, “But you know everything, Moony!”
“Um. Thanks, Padfoot,” Remus said awkwardly.
There was a brief silence between the two of them. Remus had never handled praise very well, and Sirius was just in his own little world for the time being. A figure in a dark cloak collided violently into Sirius, knocking him to the cold stone pavement, and Sirius swore loudly. Remus moved to help him to his feet, but Sirius’ offender had beaten him to it.
The mysterious boy apologised, “Sorry ‘bout that, mate, I didn’t see you-”
There was a short pause as the boy wearing the cloak saw the glossy cover of a dirty magazine and he released Sirius’ hand in awe, sending him to the floor once again. Remus recognised the boy now; he was in the same year as them in Hogwarts. He was John Abbott, from Hufflepuff, and Remus felt his stomach lurch sickeningly when he realised that John was unable to tear his eyes away from the Playboy
“Why did you bring it with you?” Remus asked in exasperation, but he might as well have been speaking to a brick wall.
“Oi, if you stare any longer I’ll charge you,” Sirius snapped irritably, now thoroughly annoyed. He was cold, he had fallen on his ass twice on the even colder pavement, and his new Playboy
magazine was being ogled by a perverted Hufflepuff.
Sirius hadn’t expected John to turn to him and blurt, “I’ll pay. How much are you charging for it?”
Sirius’ mind temporarily went into shock, but in the next moment he was planning. He had bought twenty four magazines for four hundred eighty Knuts. So that meant each magazine had only cost twenty Knuts. If he was going to sell a copy of Playboy
to John, then he would naturally have to charge him the same price he had gotten it for. Ripping off people was beneath Sirius.
“It’s a Galleon for a magazine,” Sirius stated.
Remus’ gaze snapped to Sirius’, but Sirius sent him a look that read clearly ‘I’ve got this covered’. Without even hesitating, John pulled out a black velvet pouch of coins and poured them into his white, calloused hands. He shoved a Galleon into Sirius’ waiting palms and ran off with the magazine as quickly as possible.
“You need to give him back his money,” Remus said, staring after John as he bolted like lightning away from them.
Sirius scoffed, “Give him back what money? He paid for the magazine and I gave it to him, I don’t owe him anything.”
magazine only costs twenty Knuts, Padfoot,” Remus chastised him.
“There’s nothing wrong with a little profit,” Sirius said conspiratorially, and there was a hiss and a bang as the deep purple Knight Bus pulled up beside them.
It was only when Sirius ascended the stairs into the bus that he came to a sudden halt. “Wait a minute. How do you
know how much Playboy
James awoke to the sound of a small brown owl tapping its beak frantically at the glass window. He looked around blearily and then groped around for his glasses on his messy bedside table, shakily putting them on when he found them. The clock hanging from his wall on the opposite side of the room read that it was thirty four minutes past two in the morning. Carefully manoeuvring his way around Sirius’ sleeping form on the ground, he pulled open the window and the excitable owl darted inside.
He swore and ducked as the owl shot like a bullet around his room, as though it was determined to become a seeker for a team in the Quidditch World Cup, and the sounds of rustling wings woke Sirius up.
“What the bloody hell’s that?” Sirius demanded in a tired slur.
James replied uncertainly, “I think it’s an owl.”
“That’s not an owl, it’s a mutant hippogriff,” he grumbled under his breath.
The owl finally came to a stop and landed on James’ table. It hopped from side to side like a jack in the box and James tried to remove the letter attached to its leg, but to no avail. There was a rustle of cloth behind him as Sirius stood up and a large hand grabbed the owl by its neck, holding it in place, to which there was a small ‘peep’ of shock.
James removed the letter and Sirius threw the owl out of the window. It seemed like it was used to such treatment because it set off quickly, as though it hadn’t just been strangled by a sleep deprived teenager.
Glancing at the name on the envelope, James frowned in confusion. He held out the extremely heavy letter to Sirius and said, “It’s yours.”
“Mine?” Sirius asked in surprise and he opened the envelope, pulling out a letter.
His grey eyes scanned the sheet of parchment and slowly, a smirk began to blossom on his face. James would know that smirk anywhere, it was the Smirk. Every time it appeared, it meant that the two of them were headed for a detention.
“What’s it say?” James questioned him.
“Oh, nothing. Go back to sleep, Prongs,” Sirius all but ordered him.
James wasn’t stupid, he knew something was up, but he reasoned that Sirius would tell him eventually. When it came to troublemaking, Sirius always managed to get him and Remus involved.
“We should just go to school in Muggle clothes. They’re so much more comfortable,” Sirius commented, holding out his arm and admiring the sleeve of his big, woollen, orange jumper.
He was wearing yellow rubber boots, into which a pair of faded jeans had been tucked into. He looked like an absolute idiot, not that James or Sirius would have known. They had all decided that since Sirius was going out on a date with a Muggle, he needed to look like a Muggle. The day before, they had gone scouting for discarded Muggle clothing and had picked up what Sirius was now wearing.
“I don’t know, Padfoot, I think you’re overdoing it a bit,” Remus said worriedly.
“You worry too much, Moony, he’ll be fine,” James reassured him. “He’ll have her hanging on his every last word.”
“Why thank you, Prongs,” Sirius told him.
“No, no need to mention it. It’s true, you’re an irresistible man, Sirius Black,” James complimented him dramatically.
“Oh, you don’t really mean that. But if you absolutely insist, I’ll have to accept your flattery,” Sirius said, as though it greatly pained him, and James nodded sagely.
“If anything goes wrong, use the two-way mirror and tell Prongs,” Remus reminded him and Sirius waved his hand dismissively.
“Sure, sure. I’m going now,” he said as the Knight Bus pulled up beside them and he stepped on.
He didn’t need the directions to Circle K, he had memorised them. As he walked towards the convenience store, he passed a travel agency and noticed a brochure in the window. It clearly read in bright blue letters, ‘A Tourist’s Guide to London’.
On instinct, Sirius walked into it and glanced back at the door when it jingled. He went over to the brochure and held it up inquiringly to the obese man sitting behind a counter. “Can I take this?”
The man was lost for words as he took in Sirius’ attire, and all he could do was nod dumbly. Sirius grinned winningly at him and left the agency to continue on his way to Circle K. He flicked through the brochure on his way there and frowned at some of the things he saw there.
Trafalgar square? It sounds a bit like someone vomiting. Trafalgar.
“Sirius?” a vaguely familiar voice behind him called.
He turned and came face-to-face with Kit Asou. She was dressed in a red shirt with Marilyn Monroe’s face embossed on the front and a short black skirt. Four badges, including a bright yellow smiley face one, were pinned to her skirt and she wore long black socks with a dark purple spiralling design trailing up the sides. Her shoes were black, chunky high heels and she had a purse made entirely of linked silver paperclips over her shoulder.
He grinned at her widely and said, “I knew you’d show up for our date.”
“I’ve told you, it’s not a date. And what are you wearing?” she asked, looking over him with disgusted, unimpressed eyes.
“You like it, huh? I thought you would.” He smirked at her proudly.
“I am not going out with you dressed like that.”
Sirius’ hopeful face fell and he asked, “What’s wrong with it?”
She stared at him for a long minute, wondering if he was just joking around with her. However, he said nothing; he was really waiting for her answer. Shaking her head in disbelief, she opened her bag and began to rifle through it. From it she produced a bundle of men’s clothes and Sirius eyed them suspiciously.
She held them out to him. “Take these.”
“Why do you have men’s clothes in your bag?” he asked jealously. “If you’re involved with another man, you should have told me before I agreed to date you.”
“They’re my brother’s,” she interrupted him hastily.
He asked in surprise, “You have a brother?”
“Yes, now please go change,” she told him, growing irritated.
“There’s no loo though,” he pointed out.
She blurted, “No what?”
“Loo,” he said with a straight face.
“What the hell’s a loo?” she demanded, wondering if he was insulting her.
“Well, you and I wouldn’t be able to go into the same one. It’s where you go to – ahem – relieve yourself, so if you came in to mine you might see a bit more than what you bargained for-”
“A toilet,” she realised.
She fell deep into thought, and then suddenly she brightened again. She suggested, “I saw an alleyway a couple of blocks back. You can change in there and I’ll guard the entrance.”
“That could work,” he agreed.
As she led him to this alleyway, he felt something like foreboding settle deep into the pit of his stomach. This seemed extremely familiar, but he couldn’t exactly pinpoint why until she showed him the alleyway she had mentioned. They were standing at the entrance to Diagon Alley.
He couldn’t exactly kick up a fuss now that they were there, though. She would get suspicious and then he’d have to make up an excuse- and he didn’t really want to lie to Kit. He sighed in resignation and decided he’d just have to change at light speed.
Kit had her back turned to him and she stood at the mouth of the alleyway, hiding him from view. He pulled off his bright orange jumper quickly and began to tug on a tight grey shirt. There was a grating of bricks behind him and he turned instinctively, his shirt only half on.
A girl from Hufflepuff he only vaguely recognised stood there, staring at him in complete shock. She went a bright red and couldn’t bring herself to say anything. Sirius hissed at her, “You’ve got to go back in! There’s a Muggle here!”
Of course, Sirius’ warning didn’t have quite the same effect as it would have, had he been properly clothed. The girl could make out quite a bit of Sirius’ muscular, toned stomach and she couldn’t quite tear her eyes away from it. She was frozen in place and with an exasperated sigh, Sirius quickly tapped the combination for the entrance to Diagon Alley on the brick wall. He pushed her back into the bustling shopping area and pulled on the rest of the shirt.
There was a pair of shoes along with the shirt Kit had given him, which were black lace up boots (how had she managed to fit those into her bag?). Sirius held them up and scrutinised them before coming to the conclusion that he really liked them. Taking off his bright yellow Wellingtons, he pulled on the boots and tucked the ends of his jeans into them since they were much too long for him. Picking up the discarded clothes, Sirius walked back to Kit and tapped her on the shoulder.
“What do you think?” he asked cockily.
She paused and gave him a once over. “Give me your old clothes.”
In confusion, he handed them over to her. She walked over to a nearby dustbin and shoved them into the opening, brushing her hands off on her skirt as though she might have caught some kind of disease from his furry orange jumper.
“I actually wanted to keep that,” Sirius said, feeling rather hurt.
“You’ll thank me eventually,” she muttered darkly.
She turned and walked away. Sirius quickly fell into step beside her, tugging at his shirt experimentally. It was tighter than he was used to, but it was kind of cool. He really liked Muggles. And their clothing. And their women weren’t too bad either.
Kit stopped suddenly and he nearly stumbled over her. He caught himself at the last moment and she asked him, “Where are we going?”
“Um.” Sirius thought long and hard. “What about Trafalgar square?”
Her brow furrowed suspiciously and she ran her long, slender fingers through her bleached hair. He noted that her fingernails were long and that they were lacquered with four different colours. On the end of her right index fingernail, a tiny hole had been punctured into it and a small diamond charm hung from it. Sirius wasn’t quite sure how he felt about it - what happened when she needed to wipe her bum?
“All right,” she agreed finally.
She looked at him expectantly and Sirius realised that she was waiting for him to lead the way. He grinned back at her and turned, walking as though he knew exactly where he was going and she foolishly followed him.
“There are no bloody signs anywhere,” Sirius said in frustration.
Kit asked him, “Don’t you know where we’re going?”
“Of course I do,” he snapped irritably.
“Well, sorry for asking,” she spat back angrily.
Sirius paused and looked at her for a moment in complete surprise. She returned his look with a venomous one of her own. She was tired, her feet hurt and she didn’t even know why she was walking around with this guy-
“You’re forgiven,” Sirius told her kindly.
Sarcasm was completely lost on Sirius.
She didn’t quite know what to say next, but her feet decided for her. She took a step and her knees buckled. She collided into Sirius’ side and grabbed onto the fabric of his shirt for support. This ended up choking Sirius, who gagged unattractively, and Kit hit the pavement painfully.
While Sirius struggled to breathe again, Kit let out a loud moan of aggravation and she ripped off her high heels. She forced them into her seemingly endless paperclip bag and began to walk barefoot on the dirty cement.
“Your knees are bleeding,” Sirius commented.
“I don’t care.”
He ventured, “Do you want me to carry you?”
She shot him a scathing look.
“Is there something wrong?” Sirius asked the one question that sent everything to hell.
“Something wrong?” Kit demanded. “We’ve been walking for over an hour, you don’t even know where we’re going, my feet hurt, I’m bleeding and I’m wasting my time with some perverted stranger!”
“…do you want me to carry you?”
It was all she could do to keep from gaping at him.
“Fine. You stupid gaijin,” she mumbled.
Without any warning, he swept her into his strong, muscular, sexy arms, very much like Prince Charming would have. She fidgeted awkwardly, trying to make sure that her skirt covered anything that shouldn’t be revealed to the rest of the world, and Sirius let out an ‘oomph’ of pain when she elbowed him in the ribs. He wisely kept quiet though, and she hugged her bag to her stomach protectively.
And then a very awkward silence fell.
“What’s a gaijin?” Sirius asked her.
Kit blinked up at him in surprise. Oh God, he really did look like Prince Charming from this angle. She could make out his strong defined cheekbones and his flawless skin. His grey eyes swirled lazily like mist over a mountain and one of his aristocratic eyebrows was arched upwards questioningly.
Then she scowled. This was definitely a cliché.
“It’s a Japanese word for…people like you,” she tried to explain vaguely.
He frowned and said, “That’s not very nice.”
“I mean westerners. People with white skin,” she explained.
“Oh, I see. So you’re Japanese?” he questioned. She nodded and he began to nod sagely as well, as though he had known all along.
“Are all British people like you?” she wondered.
Sirius grinned. “What? You mean sexy?”
“Ouch, right between the legs,” he complained, wincing dramatically.
For a fleeting moment, she smiled. Sirius noted that it was the first time that he’d actually seen her smile and he completely forgot what he was going to say next. He tripped over something absentmindedly and she screamed, latching onto his chest.
“You’re so clumsy!” she chastised him and he grinned unabashedly back at her.
He said dismissively, “You love me anyways.”
“What did you even do with all those Playboy magazines?” she asked him, changing the topic.
“I’ve read most of them. They’re really good,” he replied happily.
She pulled a face and said, “That’s gross.”
“What else am I meant to do with them?” he pointed out.
“I suppose,” she relented. “But why so many? You can’t be that desperate.”
“Well, not anymore. I have you now, don’t I?”
“Don’t push your luck,” she threatened him.
Another silence fell and, Sirius inevitably broke it. “What would you do if I really dropped you?”
“Don’t think about it,” she snarled at him.
He asked, “Would you kill me if I fell on you?”
“I said, don’t think about it,” she repeated, stressing her words.
With a wide crooked smirk, Sirius goaded her, “I don’t know, I think you’d quite enjoy it.”
He glanced at her face and noticed that she was frowning, causing her face to tighten and her eyes to grow extremely narrow. “No offence, but you shouldn’t frown. You look really ugly.”
“You’re really ugly,” she snapped back defensively.
“What a comeback,” he muttered sarcastically under his breath and she smacked him in the arm, causing him to flinch.
Luckily for Sirius, Kit didn’t hear the next comment he made (“You hit like a man.”) as she stared over his shoulder in amazement at something in front of them. He had been looking at her so he hadn’t really noticed, and he directed his attention towards what she was gazing at.
“Wow, I never thought I’d see so many pigeons,” Sirius blurted in complete surprise. “Where are we anyways?”
He came to a stop in front of a huge stone pillar that had four huge brass lions surrounding it at each corner. There were too many pigeons to count sitting on the gigantic structure and an engraved sign caught Kit’s eye.
“What’s that say over there?” she asked Sirius, pointing to her left.
Sirius hitched her higher up on his back and she tightened her grip around his neck as they turned in the direction she had pointed. He walked slowly towards the brass sign and when they finally got there, Kit strained her eyes as she tried to read it. She still wasn’t very good when it came to reading English, even though she could speak fluently and a lot of the places in London had strange names, like Westminster or Piccadilly.
She began to mumble to herself as she tried to make out the word, “Tr…fal…?”
“Trafalgar, actually,” Sirius supplied helpfully.
“It sounds a bit like someone vomiting,” she mused to herself and he nodded in agreement.
She slid herself off of Sirius’ back and put her shoes back on, holding onto his shoulder for support in case she fell. Her feet still throbbed, but the pain wasn’t nearly as terrible as it was before. Her eyes lit up mischievously as she looked back at all the pigeons. Sirius watched her and suddenly she dashed towards them. They flew up and around her, surrounding her with loud frantic squawks, and she was hidden from his view for a few moments.
Then he saw her.
An unrestrained joyful laugh slipped from her glossy lips and a contagious smile spread across her face as the wind ruffled through her platinum blonde hair. The dim sunlight made her skin glow and her brown eyes sparkled vividly, childishly even. All Sirius could do was stare at her.
Merlin’s beard. She should be in Playboy.
Thanks to hail_rowena for beta-ing. Thanks to her, I've realised after fifteen years that realised does not have a z. I'm not American and I'm taking my GCSEs this year- I can already see my A* disappearing because I used American spelling. (not that I'm going to get an A*. I'm terrible at directed writing.)
I won't put in an incredibly witty phrase here that will make you laugh or smile. Instead, I'll tell you quite plainly.
Please review. : )